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Toshiba to pay $3.68bn for 2 nuclear plants after US subsidiary files for bankruptcy

RT | June 11, 2017

Embattled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba has agreed to pick up the $3.7 billion tab for its faltering nuclear engineering division, Westinghouse, which has been forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Toshiba signed on for the construction of two nuclear reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia in 2008 but the project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays for years.

“We are pleased with today’s positive developments with Toshiba and Westinghouse that allow momentum to continue at the site while we transition project management from Westinghouse to Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power,” said Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers, the utility which is working with Westinghouse on the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion project, as cited by the AP.

The Japanese company will cap its liability for the construction of two of Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia but the future of the development remains uncertain.

Government intervention may be required, however, as suggested by Tom Fanning, CEO of the Southern Company which is in talks to take over management of the project from Westinghouse.

“This is a national security issue,” he said on a recent a call to analysts, as cited by the Financial Times. “If the United States wants nuclear in its portfolio for the future, we’ve got to figure out a way to be successful here.”

In a statement Saturday, Toshiba confirmed the payments will be made from October 2017 through to January 2021. The company reported $8.6 billion loss for fiscal year ended March 2017.

Toshiba has factored the payment into its earnings reports. Auditors though, have refused to endorse the reports and are viewing the figures as projections and not true financial reports.

Toshiba is struggling to stay afloat financially and has been forced into selling its lucrative and highly prized computer chip and semiconductor business.

Toshiba President, Satoshi Tsunakawa, has acknowledged the flaws in the company’s strategy regarding Westinghouse, reports the AP, but nuclear power will remain part of Toshiba’s near-term business strategy which includes the decommissioning of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

The Evidence-Free Claims Against Trump and Syria

Undermining Peace Efforts and Threatening More War

By Robert Roth • Unz Review • June 12, 2017

Disinformation and lies have been used to justify the wars on Syria that started in 2011.[1] But lately I’ve been amazed at the extent to which our entire public discourse now rests on disinformation and lies. This is a broader problem, but it also affects the prospects for peace in Syria, one of several places where U.S./NATO activities heighten the risk of nuclear war.[2]

I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed by it all lately, capped (most recently) by the third U.S. attack on Syria. As I put that together with President Trump’s giving the military free rein over “tactics,” it sank in that, with this delegation of authority, war-making power has now devolved from the Congress through the President to the military itself, in areas where not only Syrians but Russians, Iranians and others operate.

In the apparent absence of an organized peace movement, the concentration of so many people on opposing Trump, rather than on opposing U.S. wars, distracts attention from this problem. Otherwise under fire from all directions, Mr. Trump gets approval – across the spectrum – when he does something awful but military, like launching cruise missiles at Syria or dropping that horrific bomb in Afghanistan. Meanwhile his attempt to reset U.S. relations and reduce tension with Russia is being used to lay the groundwork for impeachment and/or charges of treason.

The lies about Syria have of course continued. First, Amnesty International issued “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison Syria,” claiming that the Syrian government executed between 5,000 and 13,000 people over a five-year period. Then another chemical weapons incident, blamed without evidence on the government, was used as the excuse for a second U.S. attack on Syria. Both of these charges were widely and uncritically reported in the major media, though neither of them is credible.[3]

But the use of disinformation has been expanded in what I now see as an attempt to destabilize the U.S. government itself, to achieve “regime change” at home as it has been practiced in many foreign countries over the last 70 years.[4] It started right after the election with the attacks on General Mike Flynn. And as it has continued, the campaign to demonize Russia and Russian president Vladimir Putin has also intensified.

Bottom line: It seems clear there is no evidence, let alone proof, that computers at the DNC were hacked at all, let alone by Russia, or that Russia tried in any way to “meddle” in the U.S. election. It has thus far made no difference that, soon after the charge of Russian interference in the last election was first made, an organization of intelligence veterans who have the expertise to know pointed out that U.S. intelligence has the capability of presenting hard evidence of any such hacking and had not done so (and, I would add, still hasn’t). Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity stated bluntly: “We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack.” They then explained the difference between leaking and hacking.[5]

There was ample justification for President Trump’s firing of FBI director Comey. Ray McGovern and William Binney observed:

The Washington establishment rejoiced last week over what seemed to be a windfall “gotcha” moment, as President Donald Trump said he had fired FBI Director James Comey over “this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia.” The president labeled it a “made-up story” and, by all appearances, he is mostly correct.

That’s because Mr. Trump

had ample reason to be fed up with Mr. Comey, in part for his lack of enthusiasm to investigate actual, provable crimes related to “Russia-gate” – like leaking information from highly sensitive intercepted communications to precipitate the demise of Trump aide Michael Flynn.[6]

And there was nothing unlawful, or even wrong, in his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak at the White House. This is, after all, what foreign ministers and ambassadors do – confer with leaders of other nations – but that didn’t stop the media and what James Howard Kunstler called “the Lindsey Graham wing of the DeepState” from acting “as if Trump had entertained Focalor and Vepar, the Dukes of Hell, in the Oval Office.”[7]

Regarding the continuing investigations by the FBI, several Congressional committees, and others looking for, if not proof, at least evidence of pre-election “collusion” by Trump or his people with Russians supposedly hacking computers to influence the U.S. election, these are thus far based on no – as in zero – evidence, and it’s hard to know what might be made of anything they eventually claim to find, in light of this:

On March 31, 2017, WikiLeaks released original CIA documents — ignored by mainstream media — showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs like Cyrillic markings, for example.[8]

Or as Mr. Putin himself points out,

today’s technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual [so] that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.[9]

Granted, this can be a costly enterprise, in that “The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the “Vault 7″ trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines.” But not to worry, “the DeepState has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for ‘proving’ the Russians hacked.”[10]

Put it all together and you now have “an extraordinary proportion of our public discourse [resting] on nothing but ideologically inspired disinformation.”[11] A glaring example is the most recent baseless charge against the Assad government. Of this Patrick Lawrence writes, in part quoting Nation magazine contributing editor and Princeton University professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen:

The May 16 editions of the government-supervised New York Times carried a report that we—we Americans, this is all done in our names—now accuse the Assad government of running a crematory at one of its prisons to dispose of the corpses of murdered political prisoners so as to eliminate evidence of war crimes. This is based on satellite photographs in the possession of American spooks for the past three or four years … released a few days prior to the next round of peace talks co-sponsored by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Trump, a day after meeting Lavrov, sent a fairly senior State Department diplomat to the talks in Astana, the Kazakstan capital. …

I note this latest on Syria only in part because it is a here-and-now adjunct of the Russiagate insanity in Washington. It also marks a new low, and I do not say this for mere rhetorical effect, in what now passes for credible assertion in our nation’s capital. Here’s my favorite passage in the piece—which, had a student in one of my courses submitted it to fulfill an assignment, would have merited an ‘F’ and a private discussion in my office:

“Mr. Jones acknowledged that the satellite photographs, taken over the last four years, were not definitive. But in one from 2015, he said, the buildings were covered in snow— except for one, suggesting a significant internal heat source. ‘That would be consistent with a crematorium,’ he said. Officials added that a discharge stack and architectural elements thought to be a firewall and air intake were also suggestive of a place to burn bodies. ‘That would be consistent of a crematorium,’ he said.”

Most certainly it would. And also a bakery, a heated basketball court, a machine shop, and… I think you will understand: The assertion means bananas. Even the Times, to my surprise, took a step back from this silliness. The next paragraph:

“The United Nations is scheduled to begin another round of Syria peace talks in Geneva on May 23. The timing of the accusations seemed intended to pressure Russia, Mr. Assad’s principal foreign ally, into backing away from him.”

Well, half a step in the direction of reality—which is half a step more than our Pravda on the Hudson typically takes.

[As Professor Cohen said on the evening of May 16 to Tucker Carlson on the latter’s daily Fox News program:]

“The preposterous nonsense about the Syria crematorium pushes me into positing a kind of meta-phenomenon. The Russia case is a problem, the Syria case, the Ukraine case: There is a far larger and more consequential problem running through all of these matters. It is the frightening extent to which we are succumbing to fabrication. An extraordinary proportion of our public discourse now rests on nothing but ideologically inspired disinformation.”

As Prof. Cohen has said, we’re thus creating our own new national security “threat,” in that, as Mr. Lawrence put it, we are watching as our 45th president is deposed.[12]

There are many sound and urgent reasons to oppose many of Mr. Trump’s policies – and I do. But a constitutionally elected sitting president should not be removed from office by an orchestrated campaign of disinformation and lies. Nor should “ideologically inspired disinformation” dominate our public discourse on critical issues – in any case, but especially when the result is a heightened risk of nuclear war.[13]

Prof. Cohen, frozen out by the mainstream media, summarizes the risks we confront:

[W]e’re at, maybe, the most dangerous moment in U.S.-Russian relations, in my lifetime, and, maybe, ever. The reason is, that we’re in the new Cold War, by whatever name. We have three Cold War fronts that are fought with the possibility of hot war – in the Baltic region, where NATO is carrying out an unprecedented military buildup on Russia’s border, in Ukraine, where there’s a civil and proxy war between Russia and the West, and, of course, in Syria, where Russian aircraft and American warplanes are flying in the same territory. Anything could happen.[14]

Looking for a little light in this deepening darkness, I find some comfort in former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin’s book Return to Moscow (University of Western Australia, 2017). Mr. Kevin examines past and present attitudes toward the people of Russia and to its leaders with sympathetic eyes, and a deep understanding of Russian history and culture. Regarding the treatment of Russian president Putin in Western media, for example, Mr. Kevin observes:

Not since Britain’s concentrated personal loathing of their great strategic enemy Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars was so much animosity brought to bear on one leader. Propaganda and demeaning language against Putin became more systemic, sustained and near universal in Western foreign policy and media communities than had ever been directed against any Soviet communist leader at the height of the Cold War. This hostile campaign evoked an effective defensive global media strategy by Russia. […] A new kind of information Cold War took shape, with – paradoxically – Western media voices more and more speaking with one disciplined Soviet-style voice, and Russian counter voices fresher, more diverse and more agile.[15]

I have been watching in some dismay as those disciplined Soviet-style voices do their best to, among other things, discredit and thwart Mr. Trump’s efforts to normalize relations with Russia. This is especially troubling in the case of The New York Times, whose relentless summaries of the various investigations are routinely reprinted in local newspapers all over the country, which can’t afford to follow such “news” with their own reporters. The Times’ mantra-like repetition and characterization of the activities ostensibly under serious investigation is a subtle, but effective, form of brain-washing – or as Vanessa Beeley puts it, gaslighting.

In an insightful exploration of the psychological issues we confront in criticizing U.S. foreign policy and countering the media that support it, which I think helps explain the ease with which the current batch of lies is being successfully promulgated, Caitlin Johnstone opens with this powerful combination:

“What we’ve been undergoing to a large extent is a form of psychological abuse, actually, by very narcissistic, hegemonic governments and officials for a very long time. It’s a form of gaslighting where actually our own faith in our ability to judge a situation, and to some extent even our own identity, has been eroded and damaged to the point where we’re effectively accepting their version of reality.” ~ Vanessa Beeley

The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil. They have no trouble believing that a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country could be gratuitously using chemical weapons on children at the most strategically disastrous time possible and bombing his own civilians for no discernible reason other than perhaps sheer … sadism, but the possibility that their government is making those things up in order to manufacture consent for regime change is ruled out before any critical analysis of the situation even begins.[16]

Unless we can penetrate the resulting fog, we confront the situation described by Tony Kevin:

Under the false and demonizing imagery of “Putin’s Russia” which has now taken hold in the United States and NATO world, the West is truly “sleepwalking”, as Kissinger, Gorbachev, Sakwa, Cohen and others have urgently warned, into a potential nuclear war with Russia. It is the Cuban missile crisis all over again, but actually worse now, because there are so many irresponsible minor European actors crowding onto the policy stage, and because American policy under recent U.S. presidents has been so lacking in statesmanship, consistency or historical perspective where Russia is concerned.[17]

Hopefully, the efforts of activists and analysts to make the real facts known, combined with the escalating preposterousness of what we are told to believe, will produce enough cognitive dissonance to wake us up before we sleepwalk into the end of the world. Meanwhile, if you share these concerns, stay tuned to each of the dedicated and courageous authors I’ve mentioned, and the sites that have posted their work, express your concerns to your federal legislators – and tell your friends!

Robert Roth is a retired public interest lawyer. He received his law degree from Yale in 1971 and prosecuted false advertising for the attorneys general of New York (1981-1991) and Oregon (1993-2007).


[1] I explored these in “What’s Really Happening in Syria: A Consumer Fraud Lawyer’s Mini-Primer” – “the primer” for short – which may be downloaded at )

[2] I first became aware of that heightened risk in following US/NATO activities in Ukraine, also widely misrepresented by the media; my work on that matter is posted at .

[3] Regarding the first, as Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report pointed out, the AI report “is based on anonymous sources outside of Syria, hearsay, and the dubious use of satellite photos reminiscent of Colin Powell’s performance at the United Nations in 2003.” . See further Tony Cartalucci, US Revives Discredited Syria “Slaughterhouse” Story (Global Research, May 16, 2017), Land Destroyer Report, .)

The second charge seemed preposterous to me under all the circumstances, including its predictably negative results for the Syrian government, and its reliance on “reports” from outside Syria based on hearsay from such biased sources as anti-government fighters and their media. The analyses of others confirmed and reinforced my own impression, e.g., RayMcGovern, The Syrian-Sarin “False Flag” Lesson, (December 13, 2016), ; Daniel Lazare, Luring Trump into Mideast War (Consortium News, April 8, 2017), ; Mike Whitney, The Impending Clash Between the U.S. and Russia (CounterPunch, April 7, 2017), (citing interview with former CIA officer Philip Giraldi); Robert Parry, Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria (Consortium News, April 5, 2017), ; Patrick Henningsen,Reviving the ‘Chemical Weapons’ Lie: New US-UK Calls for Regime Change, Military Attack Against Syria (21st Century Wire, April 4, 2017), ; The Saker, A Multi-level Analysis of the US attack on Syria (April 11, 2017), ; Theodore A. Postol, A Critique of ‘False and Misleading’ White House Claims About Syria’s Use of Lethal Gas (April 14, 2017), (The third of MIT Prof. Postol’s reports; the first is at and the second, an addendum to the first, is at ); andTim Hayward, Chemical attacks in Syria: Is Assad responsible? (April 15, 2017), . (Prof. Hayward recommends Prof. Postol’s reports; says, “The premise of my post comes from the [UK] government’s position. I aim to show that even if one suspends disbelief and grants it, their claimed conclusion still needs to be properly demonstrated”; and says further that “a fuller and more formal statement of the question that I am introducing here is to be found at: .”).

[4] See, for example, William Blum, Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List, Published February 2013, at .

[5] U.S. Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims (December 12, 2016), .

[6] Trumped-up claims against Trump (May 17, 2017), . For a detailed discussion, see Kenneth W. Starr, “Rosenstein’s Compelling Case Against Comey,” The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2017, p. A21.

[7] A Monster Eating the Nation, (May 19, 2017). And see Ted Van Dyk, “Anti-Trump Democrats Invite Chaos,” The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2017, p. A21.

[8] McGovern and Binney, op cit. McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85. Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

[9] Valdimir Putin’s televised interview on NBC (June 4, 2017), Interview with Vladimr Putin by NBC News propagandist Megyn Kelly, text published on the website of the President of Russia, June 5, 2017 .

[10] McGovern and Binney, op cit.

[11] Tipping over, By Patrick Lawrence, published by the American Committee for East-West Accord, May 17, 2017 .

[12] Mike Whitney outlines the facts behind the entire Russiagate insanity and presents a detailed analysis connecting a great many dots with specificity in Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State (May 19, 2017), ; and see Norman Solomon and Paul Jay (Interview), Warfare State at War with Trump as He Plans Warfare Against Iran (May 22, 2017), .

Andrew C. McCarthy, Fighting the Politicized, Evidence-Free ‘Collusion with Russia’ Narrative, The National Review (May 24, 2017), , suggests steps to resolve the matter.

[13] James Howard Kunstler adds that “Trump, whatever you think of him – and I’ve never been a fan, to put it mildly – was elected for a reason: the ongoing economic collapse of the nation, and the suffering of a public without incomes or purposeful employment.” And though I’ve never been a fan, either, a discussion I found helpful to understanding the reasons for Trump’s election was posted by John Michael Greer, “When the Shouting Stops,” November 16, 2016, at ).

[14] Prof. Cohen discusses these issues with great clarity in an interview posted as Dems crippling Trump’s plans to cooperate with Russia out of own ambitions (May 19, 2017) at .

[15] Cited from Return to Moscow. An interview with Mr. Kevin by Associate Professor Judith Armstrong, former head of European Languages Department at MelbourneUniversity, appears at .

[16] You Only Hate Assad Because Your TV Told You To (May 27, 2017), (first published by 21wire at ). I found it enormously helpful to read this piece in conjunction with Vanessa Beeley’s Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism (May 26, 2016), .

[17] Return to Moscow, page 255, citing The Slide Toward War with Russia, editorial in the Nation, 19 October 2016, , and Richard Sakwa, West could sleepwalk into a Doomsday war with Russia – it’s time to wake up, The Conversation (UK), .

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Corbyn and the Jews

By Gilad Atzmon | June 11, 2017

British Jews have made no secret of their united political opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under his direction. Since Corbyn’s selection as its leader, the Labour party has been subjected to a relentless defamation campaign by the MSM and Jewish bodies. The Jewish anti Corbyn campaign rapidly devolved into a ruthless purge conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. And then it didn’t take long before we saw some clear evidence that the assault against Corbyn was directed by Tel Aviv.

The reaction of many prominent Jewish voices and Jewish media outlets to Corbyn’s recent electoral success leaves no room for doubt – we are witnessing an emerging clash between the Brits and Judea.

On June 9th just a few hours after Corbyn’s popularity amongst Brits was formally established, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the staunch Zionist Jewish Chronicle, wrote in The Daily Telegraph (AKA The Daily Tel Aviv ) an extended tirade about the Brits, the gist of which is captured in the headline:  “to the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn: you scare me.”

Pollard is tormented by the democratic choice of almost half of the British voters. “In fact forgive me, please, if I say this to each of the 12.8 million people who voted Labour on Thursday: you scare me.”

Pollard is distressed by Ken Livingstone’s truth telling about Zionism’s early collaboration with Hitler. He is dismayed that so many young Brits are excited by Corbyn’s platform of truthfulness and universal cooperation.

To support his argument Pollard asks us to engage in a “thought experiment.” Imagine that instead of having a problem with Jews, “many Corbyn supporters were misogynists. Instead of tweeting about ‘Zios’ they tweeted about ‘bitches’ who had got above themselves.”

I will help Pollard out. It wasn’t women’s lobbies that pushed us into immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran. It was Lord Cashpoint Levy and the LFI that dominated Blair’s government’s fundraising when Britain launched its criminal war in Iraq. It was David Aaronivitch and Nick Cohen, two of Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle writers, who advocated these wars in the media.

Being kind natured, I’ll use this opportunity to advise Pollard that pretty much half of British adults go to bed every night with a woman. They form families with them and bring up kids together. We see women as our partners; something we cannot say about Stephen Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Michael Foster, Lord Janner or Sir Philip Green. Pollard should spend some time and produce a better analogy in support of his ludicrous tribal politics.

Pollard is not alone. James Rubin, a former American diplomat and the ‘husband of’ is also scared of Corbyn.

“Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn? Me that’s who,” was the title of Rubin’s  Politico article. Unlike Pollard who is scared as a Jew, Rubin claims to be scared on behalf of all Americans. According to Rubin “all Americans who fear for the future of the West” should be fearful of Corbyn. Rubin attempts to spread a duplicitous message that Corbyn puts the West at risk.

Rubin is kind enough to enumerate Corbyn’s ‘crimes: he has been “a public opponent of British and American foreign policy for some 25 years, and so his record and his views are impossible to hide.” He has “made a career of attacking U.S. foreign policies time and again.”

Rubin misses the point. Corbyn was supported last Thursday by more than 12 million Brits, in large part because he has a clear record of opposition to Anglo-American Zio-con immoral interventionist wars.

Rubin goes on, Corbyn has always found a way “to be supportive of America’s enemies and critical of American policies.” Correct and this is exactly why close to half of the British voters trusted him last Thursday. I would take it further, would Corbyn be brave enough to call a spade a spade and name our foreign wars for what they are: Israeli wars, his share of the vote would increase from 40% to 70%. Corbyn would be the British Prime Minster by Friday and the Tories would be reduced to a marginal political entity.

Rubin complains that Corbyn finds that “America is almost always in the wrong for the wrong reasons.” If so, Corbyn is absolutely right. America is too often on the wrong side, capitulating to AIPAC’s demands or desperately attempting to appease the Goldman Sachs and Soroses of this world.

Those who still fail to see that British Jews are at war with Corbyn and the Labour party should read The Jewish Algemeiner. According to Ben Cohen, it was the Jewish vote in London that saved Theresa May. Despite the popular swing towards Labour in most of London, it was the “voters in four London districts with significant Jewish populations have likely made it much easier for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to form a coalition government.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis released a statement that the election demonstrated the dramatic polarization of British society: “The General Election results make it quite clear that it is not only our political representatives who are sharply divided on what is in the best long term interests of our country, but also that the electorate is similarly divided.”

I am not convinced at all that Britain is ‘divided’ as the chief Rabbi claims. If anything, the election reveals a growing unity amongst young Brits who are disgusted by the politics of Theresa Je Suis Juif May and her Zio-friendly government.

“As Theresa May seeks to form a new Government, my prayer is that she be blessed with the insight and the wisdom to lead the country with a spirit of understanding and a commitment to the common good,” the Rabbi added. I can advise the British Jewish leader that his prayers may fall short of delivering the good. What Theresa May needs at this stage is divine intervention and the Jewish institutions rallying for her and her dirty politics is a curse rather than a blessing.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments

The Weaponization of Information in the War of Terror

corbettreport | June 11, 2017

If terrorist incidents are always tied back to shadowy groups linked to Al Qaeda or ISIS, an online, independent media might connect those dots to show how Al Qaeda and ISIS were literally created, fostered, funded, trained and equipped by the UK government, the US government and their allies across the world as a tool in their quest of dominance of the Middle East and control of their domestic population. But such a story can only be told on a free and open internet, where independent voices continue to reach the masses and inform them of the truth about these terror groups.


June 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Two Years of “Wrong” Votes: The Media Take Aim at Democracy

By Kit | OffGuardian | June 11, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has won two leadership contests, and gained the largest vote share for Labour in decades. Hillary Clinton had to cheat to get past Bernie Sanders, and was then humiliated by Donald Trump. The UK voted to leave the EU. After two years of getting the “wrong” results thanks to voters refusing to do as their told, some areas of the media and intelligentsia are finally asking the tough question: Is voting bad for democracy?

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to see a pattern emerge.

In the wake of the Brexit vote (and, to a lesser extent, the Dutch rejection of Ukraine-EU links) no word was dirtier to the MSM than “referendum”. The conclusion seeming to be that resorting to plebiscitary democracy was bad for the country, and bad for democracy itself.

David Mitchell wrote that parliament was meant to make hard decisions for us. Natalie Nougayrède argued that “the mob” undermined our “elite institutions”. The New York Times featured an article headlined:

Why Referendums (sic) Aren’t as Democratic as They Seem

The article argues that voters will vote to undermine their own best interests, and so they shouldn’t be allowed to. Also it disempowers voters because:

Voters must make their decisions with relatively little information, forcing them to rely on political messaging — which puts power in the hands of political elites rather than those of voters.

This fallacy was repeated over and over and over and over and over again.

The general message was – Referenda are bad. They cheapen our democracy. Voting can go wrong. People aren’t informed enough. When you take a plebiscite, all you get is the opinion of plebs. Ban them completely.

Bloomberg even had a Justin Fox article headlined:

Voters Are Making a Mess of Democracy

That was a year ago, and things have only got worse since then. Now not only direct democracy, but all kinds of democracy, are being attacked.

The New York Times deserves special mention here. Neo-con Pulitzer prize winner Bret Stephens bemoans the “Year of Voting Recklessly”. His article demonstrates total ignorance of the world at large, history, British politics and morality. The article is a cesspool of ill-informed bigotry and bias, declaring anybody to the left of Ronald Reagan a “Marxist”, and gently undermining the idea of democracy because “voters are idiots”.

His childish ad hom assaults on Corbyn demonstrate everything wrong with the political establishment on the far side of the pond (and increasingly in Britain too), concerned only with labels and point scoring. There is not one word about policy in the article, just an all-out adolescent tirade against everybody on either side who disagrees with him. That this kind of author can win a Pulitzer prize shames American society.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times has an Op-ed titled:

The British election is a reminder of the perils of too much democracy

In which James Kirchick dismisses, with a perfectly straight face and absolutely no sense of the absurd, the idea of “The People”:

“The people” — that expression beloved of Third World tyrants and increasingly adopted by leaders in advanced industrial democracies — got their say.

It seems the author either never new, or has forgotten, that “We, the people” are the first words of his country’s constitution. Perhaps he thinks it’s in sarcastic quotes there, too.

I’m not sure which of Washington, Jefferson or Adams, Mr Kirchick considers a “third world tyrant”. I’m not even completely sure he knows who they are.

Meanwhile, on June 1st Vox published a story headlined:

The problem with democracy: it relies on voters

And then followed that up with this, on June 9th:

What if “more public participation” can’t save American democracy?

These articles are based on this paper from the Brookings institute, titled:

More professionalism, less populism: How voting makes us stupid, and what to do about it

An argument against democracy based on the assumption that…

Populism cannot solve our problems… because its core premises and reforms are self-defeating. Research has shown that voters are “irrationally biased and rationally ignorant,” and do not possess the specialized knowledge necessary to make complex policy judgments.

Brookings have form in this area, having previously published articles and papers with titles such as: Democracy does not cause growth and Is too much democracy responsible for the rise of Trump?.

The agenda is clear – they are trying to encourage those that fancy themselves “informed” to take up an academic position that disdains the idea of the great unwashed having a say on important matters. Persuading real “useful idiots” how smart it would be to disempower themselves in service to the state.

Maybe you’re not familiar with the Brookings Institute. Here’s their about page blurb:

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.

Which is delightfully vague. A glimpse at their sources of funding clarifies things rather:

As of 2016 the Brookings Institution had assets of $473.8 million. Its largest contributors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Hutchins Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, the LEGO Foundation, David Rubenstein, State of Qatar, and John L. Thornton.

In 2014, it received $250,000 from the United States Central Command of the United States Department of Defense.

I don’t know how much money you can accept from the USDoD and still claim to be “non-partisan”, but apparently it’s more than $250,000.

Interestingly, if we re-visit the above Vox articles, we can focus on this little green box just under the title:

It seems these articles were published under Polyarchy, a new section devoted entirely to publishing releases from the New America think-tank, an NGO whose about page contains an incredibly predictable, and very familiar list of financial supporters. Including JP Morgan Chase, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the US State Department.

Exactly the same people supporting the Brookings Institute.

Voices are popping up all over the media, telling us democracy doesn’t work, that the system is failing and that voting gives too much power to idiots. We’re being slowly introduced to the idea that the educated and sophisticated opinion is that democracy just doesn’t work, and if we ever really want to sort out the world’s problems, we might have to let go of this antiquated institution.

Strangely, all these media voices seem to be getting paid by the same handful of billionaires, banks and businesses.

Apparently Bill Gates and George Soros really don’t like us being able to vote.

This was first brought to my attention by Adam Johnson on twitter:


June 11, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Drug Overdose Deaths, 2016: Casualties of War

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | June 6, 2017

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, the New York Times‘s Josh Katz reports. In 2016, overdoses claimed somewhere between 59,000 and 65,000 lives.

That’s more American lives than were lost in the Vietnam war. It’s 20 times the casualty count of 9/11. It’s half again as many deaths as attributed to the “gun violence” we hear so much about in its peak year, 1994.

Katz pins the blame for these deaths on use, abuse, and sometimes accidental overdose of heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid painkillers. He goes along with the current fad of calling the phenomenon an “opioid epidemic.” That’s soothingly simple. The word “epidemic” implies an infectious agent to which we need attribute neither consciousness nor responsibility.

But those 60,000 or so dead Americans aren’t victims of a faceless “epidemic.” They’re casualties of a decades-long war waged on the American public by the federal and state governments. It’s called the war on drugs, and the Times piece, curiously, doesn’t refer to it even in passing.

Here’s what life would look like in an America at peace: If you wanted an opium product for either medical or recreational purposes, you’d walk into your nearest pharmacy and buy it.

You’d get a product of known quality, quantity and purity. As long as you followed the instructions on the box correctly, your chance of overdosing would be infinitesimal.

You’d probably stop on your way home from work for your daily fix, perhaps with the milk you forgot to get while grocery shopping. It would be cheap enough that you could support your habit with a regular job like the millions of smokers, alcoholics and Starbucks customers who don’t have to burglarize homes and steal car stereos to support their habits.

Yes, that simple. Really. In fact, that’s exactly how it was before the war.

Here’s what America at war looks like:

Tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of POWs in local, state and federal prisons, and tens of billions of your tax dollars to keep up the pace of killings and cagings, year after year, decade after decade.

Rule by people simultaneously more lethal to Americans than, and morally inferior to, Osama bin Laden (he never tried to tell us he was murdering us for our own good, did he?).

Oh, and the people who want the drugs are going to get them anyway.

Which America sounds better to you?

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn and his half-finished political revolution

By Neil Clark | RT | June 11, 2017

Labour’s stunning performance in last week’s UK general election, which saw the party deny the Tories a majority and gain its largest increase in vote share since 1945, has left the country’s Elite Punditocracy in a state of deep shock.

The neocon/neoliberal Establishment thought their non-stop smearing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “terrorist sympathizing/IRA-supporting/anti-Semitism condoning/crimes-of-Milosevic denying/North Korea-admiring/Putin-appeasing/Hamas-befriending/beardie-weirdie sandal-wearing/Stalinist/Trotskyist/hard-left Marxist/enemy of Britain” (take your pick), would ensure that voters would vote the ‘right’ way on June 8, i.e. not for the party led by beyond-the-pale Corbyn. There was great confidence that Labour, having been attacked so relentlessly in the media, would lose heavily.

Jason Cowley, the Blairite political editor of the once radical but now very Establishment-friendly organ the New Statesman, claimed Labour could lose 100 seats. Another pundit predicted Labour’s vote could slip below 20 percent.

But as soon as the results of the BBC’s exit poll were revealed at 10pm on election night, blind panic took over. It was reported that when Rupert Murdoch saw the exit poll showing that the Tories would lose their majority and that Labour would actually gain seats, he stormed out of the room.

It was a joy to see the bewildered, and then indignant ‘they haven’t listened to us!’ reactions of the gatekeepers on social media – people who just a few minutes earlier were assuring us that the “unelectable” Corbyn was leading his party towards an electoral disaster.

It’s not that these smug, self-satisfied stenographers to power were wrong: they never wanted Corbyn to do well in the first place. But they were supremely confident that their relentless attacks on the “extremist” Labour leader would achieve the result their paymasters desired.

The great ‘crime’ Corbyn committed in the eyes of the Establishment was not to have once met Martin McGuinness, but to have broken away from the “phoney center” ground of endless war and privatization and offer voters a genuine alternative to neocon/neoliberal policies. He criticized the UK’s ‘interventionist’ foreign policy, so beloved by those who never go near a war zone, and dared to suggest that Britain’s involvement in regime-change wars has increased the terrorist threat, which of course it has. He vowed to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He pledged to re-nationalize the rip-off railways and public utilities. He promised to scrap student tuition fees, zero-hour contracts, and to end austerity. His program wasn’t ‘hard-left’ or ‘extreme,’ but actually very moderate, fully in tune with mainstream public opinion.

But of course, any deviation from the “Extreme Center” is regarded as heresy which must be punished by those who see themselves as the modern-day successors of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General.

If last Thursday’s UK general election can be compared to a football match, then it’s now half-time and against all the odds, the team the ‘experts’ told us would get thrashed by their wealthier rivals is leading by two goals to nil. Yes, the Conservatives won the most seats, but it’s Labour who has the wind in their sails, and all the momentum, in more ways than one. Which begs the question – what’s going to happen in the second half?

The Establishment had a big setback on Thursday – one that they most certainly did not expect – but don’t worry, they’ll regroup. The first priority will be to make sure that one way or another the Conservatives remain in government and the “hard-left extremists” Corbyn and John McDonnell and the “sinister Stalinist” Seumas Milne (who’s actually one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet), don‘t get their hands on the levers of power.

We were told it was terribly, terribly wrong for a prospective Corbyn-led minority government to be propped up “by the Scots” (boo, hiss), but it seems it’s not so wrong or ‘outrageous’ for a minority Conservative government to be propped up by a party from Northern Ireland. If Corbyn needs the support of others, we’re talking about a “Coalition of Chaos,” if May needs it – it is all about putting the country first.

The double standards of the “Keep Corbyn Out” campaign are there for all to see: the hypocrisy is of Olympic Gold Medal standard. And it’s not just Tories that Corbyn needs to worry about. Blairite grandee Lord Peter Mandelson, writing in the Mail on Sunday, has urged “mainstream Labour MPs,” worried about the “continuing Corbyn revolution” to “stand by” Theresa May in Parliament in “the national interest.”

The second part of the Establishment’s plan will be to try and pressurize/cajole/bribe/threaten Labour, from without and within, to ditch policies which threaten elite interests and move back towards what the “Extreme Centre.”

If only Labour could ‘moderate’ its policies, (i.e. make them acceptable to the “people who really matter”), they’d be set fair to win the next election – a line we can expect to see repeated in the next few weeks and months in ‘mainstream’ publications. Everything will be done to make Labour “conform.”

It’s important to understand that ‘democracy’ for the neocon/neoliberal Establishment means the two main parties offering essentially the same fare to voters a pro-war pro-neoliberal Conservative party led by David Cameron and a pro-war pro-neoliberal Labour party led by David Miliband was their ideal scenario. With a choice of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the elite simply can’t lose. And that’s how they like it.

But it all started to go wrong for them when Ed, and not the Establishment-favored David Miliband, became Labour leader in 2010 and changed the rules about the election of party leaders. This put power (horror of horrors!) into the hands of ordinary members and made possible the victory of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, and again in 2016, when he was challenged by technocrat Owen Smith.

Inevitably, as Labour has democratized, so its program has begun to reflect the views of ordinary citizens. By offering popular ‘For the Many and not the Few’ policies that had, for many years, been deemed “off limits” by gatekeepers, such as re-nationalization and a change in foreign policy, Corbyn managed to motivate millions of Britons, myself included, to head off to our local polling stations last Thursday. In doing so, he helped increase Labour’s share of the vote from 30 percent in 2015 to 40 percent, a quite remarkable achievement, especially considering the hostile media coverage and the attacks from within his own party that he has faced since first becoming leader.

It would be absolutely fatal now for Corbyn to change a strategy that has brought him to the brink of victory. That means there can be no way back for Blairism or Blairites. Former Channel 4 journalist Paul Mason has done great work for Labour in 2017, but I was alarmed to hear him say on television on election night that Corbyn should now bring into his Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet “big hitters” from the Blair and Brown era. It’s because Corbyn has made a break with the political orthodoxy of that time that he has done so well and managed in particular to get so many young voters and previous abstainers to rally to the Labour cause. Dragging back discredited figures from the past, whose policies were roundly rejected by voters, would be a backwards step. Instead, Corbyn should be bringing into his team new faces who are fully in tune with the anti-Establishment mood of 2017.

If there is to be another election this year, which seems likely, then the Labour leader must also be prepared for a battle with a more accomplished performer than the far from “Strong and Stable” Theresa May. Whether May stays days, weeks, or months in Downing Street, the people hiding behind the curtain won’t let her fight another election as Tory leader, as her limitations have been fully exposed. But even if the Tory leader is more personable than the current prime minister, which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be hard, the trump card Corbyn has is his manifesto. Because they are the party of the financial elite and receive around half their money from hedge funds, the Tories would never be able to offer voters populist policies like re-nationalization and higher taxes on the rich to help save the NHS, which Labour can.

What Corbyn has done is to get to the half-way point in a peaceful political revolution. Far from being a “threat” or a “danger” to democracy, he is actually trying to return Britain to being a proper functioning democracy, a place where people do have a genuine choice at general elections. We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of his task, but equally we shouldn’t underestimate what this indefatigable 68-year-old has already achieved. He’s halfway there and the next 45 minutes will be absolutely crucial.

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66


June 11, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Israel’s Yinon Plan, Saudi Wahhabism & US Wars: Arab Christians Pushed Into Mass Exodus

“The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians… the last ancient souls of the earth.” Such is the dire prediction by one writer regarding the ongoing exodus of Arab Christians from the Middle East – an exodus triggered by Western neo-colonialism and Zionist expansion that suits the military-industrial complex.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press | June 2, 2017

In the United States, religion is a major part of public life – so much so that it often finds its way into politics. At the national level of politics, it has historically been difficult to win an election, particularly at the national or state level, if one follows a faith not shared by the vast majority of religious Americans: Christianity.

This phenomenon became even more pronounced following the rise of the “moral majority” in the 1980s. But despite the importance of Christianity in the public and private lives of American citizens and politicians, American Christians have raised little concern regarding the fate of Christianity in the religion’s birthplace – the Middle East.

The religious landscape of the Middle East has shifted significantly in recent years, as key religious groups, including Christians, have been making mass exoduses elsewhere. According to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Christians are expected to compose 3.6 percent of the region’s population by 2025. A century prior, however, Christians represented 13.6 percent of the Middle East’s population.

Most reports on the subject have cited emigration as the leading cause of Christianity’s sharp decline in the Middle East, while few reports cite other factors that have pushed many Middle Eastern Christians to seek new lives abroad. Many mainstream investigations of the phenomenon have blamed both Sunni-Shiite conflicts and terrorism for pushing Christians and other religious minorities to leave.

But they have also neglected to mention the role of foreign intervention and U.S.-led regime change efforts in creating these very crises. While most of the “Christian” politicians in the U.S. are careful to avoid pointing this out, Middle Eastern Christians are all too aware that foreign intervention by Western governments has made it nearly impossible for them to continue living in the Middle East.

Marwa Osman, a lecturer at Lebanon International University and political commentator, argued as much in an interview with MintPress News :

“The ‘moral’ fights of Christians in the West are mainly over abortion, birth control, transgender and same-sex marriage, where your beliefs rarely subject you to political and physical persecution. When ethnic or religious groups are subjected to organized violence and persecution because of who they are, their plight should be addressed urgently, because this is how genocide starts and this what the West is not doing. Rather, the West keeps investing in more wars that would directly result in a Christian exodus from the Middle East.”

Christianity’s beginnings in the Middle East

The Middle East is much more than just the birthplace of Christianity. It was also the region where the religion first took hold and where the foundation was laid that transformed the teachings of Jesus Christ into one of the world’s dominant faiths. The entire region is dotted with thousand-year-old Christian communities, some of which were founded by early church fathers and, in some cases, disciples of Jesus himself.

For instance, tradition holds that Christianity was first brought to Iraq by St. Thomas and his cousin Addai in the first century, later becoming a stronghold for a patchwork of Christian groups, including the Gnostics. It is also believed that St. Peter and St. Paul brought Christianity to Syria, where – in Antioch – the term “Christians” to denote followers of Jesus was used for the first time.

In the earliest centuries of the last millennium, it was the Middle East that dominated Christian leadership and fellowship. When the Catholic church was officially formed at the Council of Nicea, there were more bishops in the Middle East than in Western Europe.

While the ascension of Islam would soon drastically alter the region’s religious landscape, Christianity has retained an important role in the region in the centuries since – especially in countries where it has maintained prominence, such as Egypt and Lebanon. Even in nations with Muslim majorities, Christians proved to be an economically important minority, gaining political prominence as a result.

But the Arab Christians of the Middle East have by no means had it easy. For much of the last 2,000 years, the region’s Christians have been persecuted by multiple parties, including the Ottoman Empire of the 19th and 20th centuries, whose brutal campaign against Arab Christians claimed the lives of over two million people.

Having suffered so much, the resilience and endurance of the Mideast’s Christians is legendary. But it was Muslims in Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine who provided refuge to the Christians being persecuted by the Ottomans as they established and expanded their empire.

Owing to this troubled history, the presence of Arab Christians throughout the region has been a factor in the proliferation of Arab secularism in select countries, namely Syria, pre-invasion Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. After so many centuries of being targeted and persecuted, Christians in the Middle East have still been some of the most ardent supporters of secularism in the region.

Abdo Haddad, a Syrian Christian writer now living in Europe, made this plain in an interview with MintPress News, stating “[as] the Christians of the East developed a political sense of survival over the years, their first choice was to secure and support a strong state run by laws and, preferably, with a secular administration.”

But if Christians continue to leave the region in large numbers, secularism itself could become a relic of the region’s rich history. As Todd Johnson told the Wall Street Journal, “The disappearance of such minorities sets the stage for more radical groups to dominate in society. Religious minorities, at the very least, have a moderating effect.”

Haddad added that the greatest threat is even more grave. “The real danger lies in whether the Christian world loses the last early Christians, the last guards, the last ancient souls of the earth. If killing such a unique and profound community and civilization passes as easily as it looks, imagine what would become in your own nations once you dare to announce your faith or origin…,” he said.

Christianity and regime change in Iraq, Syria and Iran

Interestingly enough, the very countries that have protected religious minorities in the name of Arab secularism are those that have found themselves the targets of U.S.-led regime change efforts over the years.

Syria is a prime example, having been targeted by the U.S. since the 1980s. The most recent aggression has manifested in a massive war in which foreign-funded extremist “rebels” have sought to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011. Syria’s Christians, protected by the Syrian government’s commitment to secularism, have overwhelmingly supported Assad throughout the affair.

As Haddad observed, those familiar with the Syrian crisis are well-aware that Syrian Christians overwhelmingly support the Syrian government in its fight against extremist militias. “The Syrian People including Christians, like their President and see in him hopes for the future. This doesn’t mean Christians don’t want reforms and change, but they want them in a civilized, gradual and progressive manner (unlike what happened in Libya).”

Osman asserted that Syrian Christians support the government in part because government-controlled regions of Syria are the only regions in which its 2.5 million Christians are safe and treated as equals alongside the nation’s Muslims. “The regime’s downfall would have been followed by massive carnage, by new waves of refugees heading west, and by the imposition of an Islamist dictatorship. Whether it would had been controlled by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front or by the vanishing ISIS would be irrelevant to the Christians who would have been murdered, exiled, or enslaved.”

The alternative to Assad offers little to Syria’s Christians, as armed opposition forces are overwhelmingly allied with Wahhabism and extremism, having frequently called for the establishment of an Islamic state that would adhere to a colonialist ideology funded by Western nations like the UK and the United States.

This would ultimately end the nation’s longstanding commitment to secularism and endanger the many religious minority groups that have long inhabited Syria. For instance, the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group with ties to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly targeted Christians in Syria. Al-Nusra was recently taken off of terror watchlists in both the U.S. and Canada after simply changing its name.

Even “rebels” directly armed by the U.S., such as the Free Syrian Army, have massacred villages of Christians throughout the course of the war. In 2013, the Free Syrian Army raided the Christian-majority al-Duvair village near the Lebanese border, massacring all of its civilian residents, including women and children.

As Osman told MintPress : “In Syria the U.S. government remains committed to supporting the ‘rebels,’ although there are no “moderates” among them: all meaningful forces on the ground are Wahhabi fundamentalists who persecute Christians.”

Iraq is another example of how U.S.- and UK-led regime change has influenced the exodus of Christians from the Middle East. The invasion displaced millions of Iraqis, many of whom have yet to return, and also removed many Iraqis’ ability to feed themselves by essentially annihilating the nation’s once-sizable agricultural industry. During and after the invasion, Christians were considered close to Saddam Hussein’s regime, given that his former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, is a Chaldean Christian. The Chaldean Christian community, which stood at around 1.4 million before the 2003 invasion, was said to have been treated preferentially under Hussein. Following his ouster and in the chaos since, the Iraqi Christian population has dwindled to less than 300,000.

Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American activist, told MintPress News that the Iraqi regime supported by the U.S. after the invasion has also played a major role in triggering the Christian exodus. Wasfi asserted that “the greatest threat to specifically Christian (as well as Sunni) families was the conservative Shia government brought to power in Iraq by U.S. administrators in 2005 (elections were run by the occupiers). In the years that followed, government-backed death squads terrorized the population, driving many Christian and Sunni families out.”

“Recent assaults on the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and the ongoing so-called ‘liberation’ of Mosul,” Wasfi argued, “are a continuation of the conservative Shia government’s efforts to change the demographics on the ground and consolidate its rule.”

Interestingly, many of the death squads Wasfi referenced were directly trained by the U.S., suggesting that the U.S. military had a key role in the targeting of Christians within Iraq.

Aside from the clear examples of Syria and Iraq, Iran – whose Christian communities are thriving – is the latest country to be targeted by Western neo-conservatives, as evidenced by rhetoric delivered by President Donald Trump during his first foreign trip.

While Iran has long been characterized as being discriminatory towards Christians in U.S. media, its Chaldean and Armenian Christian communities are protected by its constitution and guaranteed political representation in parliament. Jews and Zoroastrians are also similarly protected. However, evangelical Christians in Iran have been persecuted, particularly for allegedly proselytizing Muslims and members of other non-Christian religions. The total Christian population in Iran is difficult to accurately estimate, with some groups claiming there are 450,000 while others claim that there are as many as 1 million.

While secularism is hardly the driving factor behind U.S.-led regime change in the Middle East, the West’s targeting of Middle Eastern secular nations that protect Christians is an undeniable factor in prompting the exodus of the region’s Christians.

Persecution of Christians rampant in Saudi Arabia, Israel

However, other Middle Eastern nations – especially those supported by the West – are well-known for their persecution of religious minorities. Nowhere is this truer than in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the apartheid state of Israel.

In Saudi Arabia, the government openly condemns any person who fails to conform to the Wahhabi sect of Islam embraced by the House of Saud and a product of British colonialism to topple of the Ottoman Empire. It is a puritanical religious and political policy that targets not only those of different faiths but other Muslims. As Human Rights Watch noted in its World Report for 2013: “Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam and systematically discriminates against its Muslim religious minorities, in particular, Shia and Ismailis. The chief mufti in March called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”

In 2014, the Saudi government detained 28 Christians for worshiping in a private home in the city of Khafji. Their whereabouts still remain unknown. At the time, Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told Fox News: “Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy.”

But worse than the Saudis’ treatment of religious minorities within their own borders is their exportation of their intolerant Wahhabi ideology abroad. Many extremist terror groups – including Daesh (ISIS) and al-Qaeda – are followers of Wahhabism, and both are major beneficiaries of Saudi funding, which neither the Saudi government nor those of its allies in the West have sought to end. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter and fundraiser of radical Wahhabi terrorism. These groups, as has been made clear by their actions in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, tend to target religious minorities, particularly Christians.

Another chief ally of the West in the Middle East is also known for targeting Christians. Israel, best known for its persecution of the Palestinians,– whom are both Muslim and Christian– targets non-Jews due to its status as an apartheid ethno-religious state. As Wasfi explained to MintPress, “the military occupation by the colonial settler state of Israel, supported by Western governments” has been a major factor in the exodus of Christians from the Middle East.

Israel’s government has a long history of desecrating churches and persecuting the historic Palestinian Christians. For example, following the capture of Jaffa by European Zionist-Jewish forces in May 1948, Catholic Palestinian priest Father Deleque reported: “Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.” He added that, while Jewish leaders had reassured that religious buildings would be respected, “their deeds do not correspond to their words.”

That same year, the Christian Union of Palestine publicly complained that British backed European Zionist-Jewish forces had used several Christian churches and humanitarian institutions in Jerusalem as military bases and had desecrated them. They added that three priests and more than 100 women and children had been killed by the indiscriminate shelling of their places of worship by European Zionist-Jewish forces.

Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian Christians has continued ever since. For instance, in 1982, the Baptist Church in Jerusalem burned down, a target of arson. No one was ever charged. When the Baptists sought to rebuild the church, groups of Jews demonstrated against the project and the district planning commission refused to grant a building permit. Three years later, the Israeli Supreme Court advised the Baptists to leave the “all-Jewish” area.

Such acts continue today. Pastor Steven Khoury, an Arab-Israeli Christian, said that “There’s no persecution in the Holy Land … unless you share your faith,” in an interview with the Voice of the Martyrs, a Christian non-profit that highlights the persecution of Christians worldwide. Khoury said he had witnessed church members being attacked because of their faith on many occasions.

Watch 60 Minutes’ Investigation into Israel’s Persecution of Christians in Palestine:

Palestinian Christians, due to their ethnicity, have been even more heavily targeted by the Israeli state, fleeing their homeland as a result along with thousands of their non-Christian countrymen. When European Zionist militias invaded Palestine to create the state of Israel in 1948, Palestinian Christians numbered 200,000. By 1995, Christian Palestinians living in the region numbered only 50,0000. Now, of an estimated 400,000 Christian Palestinians, most live abroad, mainly in the Americas.

Zionist plan for Israeli superiority excludes Christians

So why has the West targeted mostly secular nations while simultaneously supporting countries and extremist groups that persecute religious minorities, particularly Christians? While the attack on secularism in the Arab world could be a consequence of Western neo-colonialism in the region, long-held plans for Israel’s regional dominance – a goal strongly supported by the West, particularly the U.S. – shed light on potential reasons for the West’s reluctance to respect religious diversity in the Middle East.

The Yinon Plan, as it is known, is a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states.

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya noted in a 2011 article for Global Research :

“Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims.”

This plan has been widely supported by numerous U.S. politicians – most notably by former Vice President Joe Biden, who pushed a non-binding resolution through the Senate that called for carving Iraq into the same states laid out in the Yinon Plan.

However, the plan to partition Iraq included no territory for Iraq’s Christians or its other religious minorities.

The Yinon Plan seeks to divide more than just Iraq. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would all be partitioned, according to the plan, with parts of these countries being subsequently absorbed into “Greater Israel.” This can already be seen playing out in the Syrian conflict, where Israel’s involvement in the war largely revolves around its desire to claim the occupied Golan Heights as its own.

Thus, it could very well be the West’s commitment to the Yinon Plan that has helped to shape its policy of feigned ignorance regarding the plight of the region’s Christians. Middle Eastern Christians’ commitment to and strong preference for secularism has no place in a neo-colonial Middle East that built into sectarian states intended to be kept in constant war with one another. Israel’s desire to dominate the region – a goal abetted by their Western allies – may hold much of the blame for the continued exodus of Mideast Christians.

But ultimately, the continuing exodus of Christians is endemic of a larger crisis facing the region as years of conflict and modern warfare have taken into toll on the people as well as the environment.

Wasfi pointed to U.S military aggression as the main culprit for this burgeoning crisis. “In the bigger picture, the overall loss of life and devastation of what is historically known as the ‘Fertile Crescent’ by Western invasion, occupation, and continuous war is the great tragedy. […] The sooner U.S. military aggression in the region ends, the sooner the healing can begin.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Netanyahu calls for UN Palestinian refugee agency to be shut down

RT | June 11, 2017

The UN Palestinian relief agency “perpetuates” the refugee issue instead of solving it and should be “dismantled,” the Israeli PM stated, adding that he had conveyed the idea to the US envoy to the UN. The agency dismissed his proposal as “fantasy.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the comments on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) during a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Reuters quoted Netanyahu as saying.

According to the Israeli PM, as cited by the Jerusalem Post, “in various UNRWA institutions there is a lot of incitement against Israel, and therefore the existence of UNRWA – and unfortunately its work from time to time – perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solve it.”

Netanyahu added that he had already conveyed the idea of shutting the agency down to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit earlier this week.

“I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence,” Netanyahu said.

The UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were evicted from their homes during the 1948 war which followed the emergence of the state of Israel. The agency currently helps over five million registered Palestinian refugees across the region, according to the UNRWA’s own statistics.

The UNRWA’s chief spokesman, Chris Gunness, dismissed Netanyahu’s ideas, stating that dismantling the agency lays outside both of his and Haley’s powers and that only the General Assembly, by a majority vote, could change the agency’s mandate.

“In December 2016, UNRWA’s mandate was extended for three years by the General Assembly by a large majority,” Gunness told Reuters in an emailed statement.

A Gaza-based spokesman for the UNRWA, Adnan Abu Hasna, said that Netanyahu was pursuing a “fantasy.”

Netanyahu’s remarks came two days after the UNRWA said it had uncovered an alleged Hamas-built tunnel running under two agency-managed schools in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The UNRWA condemned the construction of the tunnels as a violation of its neutrality and protested it to Hamas. The Islamist organization, however, denied involvement.

“UNRWA condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way,” the agency said in a statement. “The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon submitted a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, urging them to label Hamas a terrorist organization and “safeguard” the UNRWA, as well as other agencies “from abuse by terrorist organizations.”


Israel is ‘key driver’ of Palestinian hardships in occupied territories – UN report

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Qatar crisis sets in motion realignments

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 11, 2017

Four days have passed since the terrorist strikes in Tehran but Iran has not retaliated with any “surgical strike” against Saudi Arabia – and, typically, there isn’t going to be any. The political leadership pointed the accusing finger at Saudi Arabia, US and Israel. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that the terror strikes “will only increase hatred for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like the Saudis.” However, Iran will not react in a hurry, given the crisis over the Saudi-Qatar standoff that is fraught with profound consequences for regional politics.

Interestingly, Iran signed another agreement on Saturday with Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, to buy 30 passenger planes in a $3 billion deal, with an option to buy another 30 aircraft at a later stage. This is on top of the $16.6 billion deal with Boeing negotiated in December. Tehran is piling pressure on the Trump administration because Boeing needed the approval of the US Treasury for the deal with Iran. Put simply, Tehran hopes to draw the US into an engagement process that incrementally deepens and broadens, which derails the Saudi-Israeli agenda to incite a US-Iran confrontation.

Iran is generating export business for American companies, which holds the potential to create jobs in their thousands in the US economy. This becomes a template, ironically enough, of President Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine. It is a ‘win-win’ formula, because Iran’s economy also badly needs western investments and capital, especially the oil industry. Over and above, if American companies begin operating in the Iranian market, it will give impetus to European business and industry too.

Having said that, Iran’s regional policies remain on track, no matter the Trump administration’s pressure tactic and rhetoric. Iran scored a signal victory in the weekend with Syrian government forces supported by Iran-backed militia reaching the strategic border crossing with Iraq at Al-Tanf. (See my blog The scramble for control of Syrian-Iraqi border.) In immediate terms, the route for the US-backed fighters in the south to move into the strategically important Deir Ezzur province (which is also rich in oil deposits) now comes under the control of the Syrian government forces.

Meanwhile, Tehran is re-establishing high-level contacts with the leadership of Hamas. On Saturday, Hamas announced that a delegation led by its newly-elected leader Ismail Haniyeh (who recently replaced Khaled Meshaal) will be visiting Tehran. Iran’s ties with Hamas came under strain after Meshaal left Damascus (where he was living in exile for several years) to relocate himself in Doha, by way of displaying his solidarity with Qatar and Turkey in the Syrian conflict.

Hamas’ reunion with Tehran’s ‘axis of resistance’ is significant, since Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar has come under pressure from Saudi Arabia to snap its links with the Brothers. It meshes with Iran’s support for Qatar in its rift with Saudi Arabia as well as promotes Iran’s desire for partnership with Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdogan continues to patronise Hamas, despite that being the principal discord in Turkish-Israeli relations.

On the other hand, Iran’s warming of ties with Hamas puts pressure on Saudi Arabia and Israel at a time when the mutual comfort level between Riyadh and Tel Aviv has been rising lately, with the Trump administration actively promoting the idea of an Arab-Israeli normalization.

Jared Kushner’s (Trump’s Orthodox Jew son-in-law and top advisor on foreign policy) thesis, which is the current US policy in the Middle East, is that a “from the outside-in” approach to Middle East peace – namely, signing of peace treaties between the Arab states and Israel to generate goodwill and new diplomatic relations, which in turn will help advance Palestine-Israel settlement – as against the traditional “inside-out” approach that gives primacy to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis as the necessary first step that will facilitate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Trump’s mission to Riyadh last month was at the behest of Israel, which has been pushing the narrative that the existential fear of Iran is bringing the Gulf Arab monarchies and Israel closer together. Of course, Israeli calculation is that peace treaties between the Gulf Arab regimes and Israel (on the pattern of Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan) will ultimately render the Palestinian cause obsolete and completely ease the pressure on Israel to accommodate Palestinian aspirations and demand for a fully independent state.

Significantly, while reporting on Hamas leader Haniyeh’s forthcoming visit to Iran, the influential Tehran Times newspaper made the following observation:

  • While the Syrian crisis has driven a wedge between Tehran and Turkey since 2011, the rift between Arab caliphates have led them into an ad-hoc alliance that some believe represents the best chance to mend fences.  
  • Turkey and Iran back Qatar and have links with the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Suffice to say, Iran’s move to bring Hamas into the ‘axis of resistance’ threatens to undermine the game plan that Israel has been working on (via Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, fellow Orthodox Jew, associated with Trump’s organization.) All three countries – Qatar, Turkey and Iran – sense that the current US-Israeli-Saudi offensive against “terrorism” is actually the metaphor for an all-out assault on the Muslim Brotherhood, branding it as a “terrorist” organization, which in turn is ultimately aimed at driving Hamas into the political wilderness and thereby scattering the Palestinian resistance movement once for all.

To be sure, both Turkey and Iran have taken note that at the end of the day, the Muslim Middle East has shown reluctance to join Saudi Arabia’s ant-Qatar front — including Jordan, which is sitting on the fence, merely resorting to the cosmetic move of downgrading the diplomatic ties with Qatar, despite its need for Saudi goodwill. Of course, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia have ostentatiously dissociated themselves from the Saudi strategy to isolate Qatar. Indeed, Turkey has forcefully rejected the Saudi embargo against Qatar — “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” said Erdogan at an Iftar meal in Istanbul on Friday, while addressing his party colleagues.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment