Aletho News


‘Coup d’Etat’: As RussiaGate Probe Staggers On, Legal Fees Drown Trump Advisers

Sputnik – November 10, 2017

Many key figures in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign have incurred sizeable legal fees as a result of ongoing investigations into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Adviser Roger Stone has gone so far as to email supporters asking for financial assistance.

Roger Stone, longtime adviser to US President Donald Trump, is allegedly facing almost US$460,000 in legal fees incurred, since landing in the cross hairs of federal and congressional investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

In a 1,600 word statement emailed to press and supporters, Stone called special counsel Robert Mueller a “deep state vigilante” and “executioner” who was “busy casting about for anything he can latch onto.”

He is “certain” Mueller intends to “remove” the president from office, in collusion with Democrats, “many of whom are openly plotting a literal coup d’etat against the President of the United States.”

​”I am not a wealthy man, by any means. Such crushing expense, with nothing to show for it except my vindication against a juggernaut of political dirty tricks and lies, threatens to destroy me and my family financially — all because I fought to elect Donald Trump. All because the deep state partisans know I will continue fighting for his agenda,” Stone wrote.

Stone, whose contact with hacker Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before the election has come under scrutiny in the investigations, said it cost him U$400,000 in legal fees to prepare for his September testimony before the House Intelligence Committee — a probe he called at the time a “political exercise.”

Stone admitted to speaking to both, but argued his communications were entirely proper and legal, and not part of any effort to collude with a foreign power. While he refused to name the person who connected him with Assange, he said it was a journalist, who he couldn’t name a their conversation was “off record.”

Stone is also a “person of interest” to Senate Intelligence Committee investigators, but they are yet to formally invite Stone to testify.

“I’ve yet to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee and anticipate the legal representation I require for that exchange will easily put my legal bills even closer to the million dollar mark. I hope you will consider contributing anything you can. If you can do so, your contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more would be a Godsend,” Stone added.

Wide Net

Stone is not the only individual in the president’s circle of trustees facing sky-high legal fees as a result of the investigation.

JD Gordon, national security official on the Trump campaign, told Business Insider while Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee were “taking care” of the president and his son Donald Trump Jr., “the rest of us who aren’t billionaires must fend for ourselves.” Federal Election Commission filings showed the Trump campaign spent over US$1.1 million on legal fees July — October.

“In my case, representing the campaign to speak to a group of over 50 foreign ambassadors during the RNC in Cleveland, combined with ensuring our campaign’s national security policies were reflected in the GOP platform the week prior, have led to nearly five-figure personal legal bills,” he said.

Gordon in particular has been quizzed about the watering down of an amendment to Republican policy on Ukraine in July 2016 — originally, it proposed the GOP commit to sending “lethal weapons” to the Ukrainian army, but the wording was altered to “appropriate assistance” in the party’s official platform.

​Another Trump campaign adviser, Michael Caputo, has been forced to take US$30,000 out of his children’s college fund to pay for lawyers — he is a person of interest apparently due to his Ukrainian wife, and previous work as a media consultant in Russia during the 1990s.

The family of former national security adviser Michael Flynn has also set up a defense fund in September, to pay legal fees that may exceed US$1 million.

Coup D’etat

Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida has introduced legislation pressuring Mueller to resign — and in a speech on the House floor November 8, he suggested the US was “at risk of a coup d’etat.”

“We are at risk of a coup d’etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person [Mueller] with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected president of the United States. That is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mueller and others at the Department of Justice,” he said

​Gaetz has also called for a special prosecutor to investigate the Uranium One scandal, the Clinton Foundation, and research firm Fusion GPS, which produced the “dodgy dossier” alleging Trump-Russia collusion, which was paid for by Obama for America’s law firm, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

The Changing Face of the Middle East – Sharmine Narwani on The Corbett Report

Corbett Report Extras | November 10, 2017

Today James talks to political analyst and commentator Sharmine Narwani on the explosive events in the Gulf this week and what they tell us about the changing power relations in the Middle East. From the wind down of the Syrian terrorist insurgency to the shock resignation of the Lebanese PM and the Game of Thrones in the House of Saud, a new regional picture is emerging, one in which two power blocs are competing for the upper hand in the new Middle East. Narwani breaks down this new dynamic and paints the picture of where things are heading in this dynamic region.


November 10, 2017 Posted by | Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the future… NATO self-fulfilling war plans for Russia

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 10, 2017

Defense ministers of the US-led NATO alliance this week endorsed proposals to set up two new military commands – and it is clear Russia is the target of what are, in effect, war plans.

The setting up of an Atlantic command and a logistical hub in Europe to facilitate the transfer of troops and weapons was openly discussed by NATO officials as being aimed at Russia during their two-day summit in Brussels this week.

The two new commands being proposed are the first expansion of NATO’s command structure since the end of the Cold War more than 25 years ago. It’s a retrograde move that is not only an unnecessary, dangerous provocation to Russia, risking self-fulfilling war threats. Moreover, NATO’s renewed organizational cranking is openly calling for the integration of European societies and economies into its madcap military escalation.

European citizens, whether they like it or not, are effectively being dragooned into a state of war, with attendant social burdens to pay for that state of war, let alone being made to live with the risk of ultimate catastrophe, from all-out hostilities erupting.

Alexander Grushko, Russia’s official on NATO matters, said: “It is evident now that, by making such decisions, NATO members are apparently inspired by Cold War-era strategies.” He added: “It is evident that the task of confrontation with Russia lies at the core of those efforts.”

Grushko also put the new NATO organizational expansion in the context of an ongoing aggressive buildup over several years carried out by the US-led military alliance along Russia’s borders.

In typical fashion, however, Western news media readily turned reality on its head by echoing NATO officials in their justification for the planned military expansion as being (allegedly) necessitated by “Russian aggression.”

Reuters called the new command posts a “deterrent factor against Russia.” While US government-run Radio Free Europe said, the expansion was “to counter the growing threat from Russia.”

Western media gave NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg free rein to accuse Russia of “attacking” Ukraine, “annexing” Crimea, and recently holding threatening war maneuvers on “NATO’s eastern flank.” The latter was a reference to the Zapad military defense exercises carried out by Russia every four years – held on its own territory or that of an ally. Idiotic “NATO’s eastern flank” made apparently intelligible by Western media.

As befitting a propaganda service, rather than news services, the Western media uniformly omit any mention of how NATO states were instrumental in staging a coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014, overthrowing an elected government back then with neo-Nazis who had designs on viciously suppressing ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

RFE reported: “Russia occupied and seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and backs separatists whose war against Kiev’s forces has killed more than 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April of that year.”

Note how Russia and separatists are subtly blamed for killing 10,000 people.

RFE added: “A series of potentially dangerous close encounters between Russian and NATO warplanes and navy ships in recent months has added to the tension, with the alliance accusing Moscow of aggressive maneuvers in the air and at sea.

Well, perhaps “close encounters” would not happen if the NATO alliance could refrain from its escalation of warplanes and navy patrols in the Baltic and Black Seas.

Stoltenberg “explained” the purpose of NATO’s two new command structures. “It is about how to move [American] forces across the Atlantic and how to move forces across Europe,” he said.

He added: “We have been very focused on out-of-area expeditionary military operations, now we have to… increase the focus on collective defense in Europe, and that’s the reason why we are adapting the command structure.”

You have to admire the former Norwegian prime minister’s verbal skills for euphemism. By “out-of-area expeditionary military operations,” he was referring to US-led NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, among other overseas operations, which have resulted in the destruction of nation-states, over a million civilian deaths, the spread of terrorism and the chaos of mass human displacement and refugees.

Now by “increasing focus on the defense of Europe,” the 29-member NATO club – officially charged with maintaining security – will be further ratcheting up tensions with Russia to the point where an outbreak of war is a grave risk.

Earlier, Stoltenberg claimed that the world was more dangerous than ever since the end of the Cold War. Provocatively, and recklessly, he cited “Russian aggression” alongside North Korea’s nuclear program and international terrorism as the three reasons for his morbid outlook.

“We have proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, we have terrorists, instability, and we have a more assertive Russia. It is a more dangerous world,” said Stoltenberg in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which, of course, did not challenge any of his assertions.

Perhaps if US President Donald Trump were to hold a full summit with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the de facto leader of NATO might get Russia’s perspective and assurance that it has no such malicious plans for “invading Europe.”

But such is the relentless Russophobia and media hysteria over “Russian aggression” that Trump and Putin – the leaders of the two most powerful nuclear states – are confined to only having a glancing conversation on the sidelines of international summits, such as the APEC conference in Vietnam this week.

Last month, German publication Der Spiegel reported on a secret NATO document which showed the alliance “is preparing for a possible war with Russia.” Such is the irremediable propaganda spouted by NATO officials and regurgitated by Western media that these war plans are becoming self-fulfilling.

What is even more sinister is that NATO is militarizing the entire European society and civilian infrastructure to accommodate its ludicrous war mania. At the summit this week in Brussels, NATO officials said European governments and the private sector must coordinate policies, infrastructure, and laws to be able to facilitate the new transmission belt of military operations from the Atlantic to Russia’s borders.

Jens Stoltenberg said “any new command must ensure that legislation easing the transportation of troops and equipment across various national borders is fully implemented.”

He added: “And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways, and ports. So NATO is now updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure.”

So, let’s get this straight: in an era of economic austerity when the European public is being clobbered with cutbacks and hardships, the NATO military machine wants governments to orient society and infrastructure to serve its war objectives against Russia.

The irrational, insatiable NATO wants to turn Europe into an entire garrison for war with Russia – a war which the majority of European citizens do not want or believe is in any way based on credible reasons.

NATO is not just going back to the future by revamping old Cold War strategies and Russophobia. It is destroying the future for European democratic and social development. Even more dastardly, it could obliterate the future by driving recklessly toward a wholly unnecessary war with Russia.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

BBC journalist deletes tweet about UK’s ‘corrupt’ relationship with Israel

MEMO | November 10, 2107

A prominent BBC journalist has deleted a tweet in which a senior Conservative MP can be seen complaining about the British media turning a blind eye to the corrupt relationship that has allowed Israel to “buy access” in Westminster.

The tweet was posted by the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg on Wednesday while the Scottish journalist was covering the build up to the resignation of Priti Patel. The Secretary of State for International Development had taken part in undisclosed meetings in Israel organised by the powerful Conservative Friends of Israel lobby (CFI) last summer.

Kuenssberg’s Twitter posts on the day was full of posts on the Patel story including comments about Number 10 denying the allegation made by the Jewish Chronicle that Prime Minster Theresa May had been made aware of the 12 meetings Patel had had during her “family holiday” in Israel.

In her deleted tweet, which MEMO has been able to grab as a screenshot, Kuenssberg reported a comment made by a “senior” Tory MP who, enraged by the debacle, called for Lord Polak, honorary president of CFI and the person thought to be behind Patel’s Israel trip, to be sacked.

“Strong words,” tweeted Kuenssberg, “Senior Tory says Lord Polak should be chucked out of the party, claiming ‘the entire apparatus has turned a blind eye to a corrupt relationship that allows a country to buy access’.”

MEMO contacted Kuenssberg to ask why she had deleted the tweet but has not received a reply from the journalist.

The BBC has often been accused of pro-Israel bias and it would appear that this was yet another example of the broadcaster censoring criticism of Israel or senior BBC journalists enforcing self-censorship when it comes to Israel.

While it’s not absolutely clear what the senior Tory meant by the “entire apparatus”, it would appear that the concerns raised by the Conservative politician echo similar complaints made by Israel’s critics over the influence of CFI and other pro-Israeli lobby groups on the entire British establishment including the media.

Kuenssberg’s decision to delete the tweet it seems is further proof that the “entire apparatus” is reluctant to shed light on the “corrupt relationship” between the UK and Israel, which critics say is the reason why the BBC and other media corporations have turned a blind eye, and allowed Israel through the CFI and organisations like the Labour Friends of Israel to “buy access”.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

Israel Plans To Double The Number Of Colonists In The Jordan Valley

IMEMC News – November 10, 2017

The Israeli government is preparing a plan to double the number of Israeli colonists in the Jordan Valley of the occupied West bank.

The new plan was presented by Israeli “Housing Minister” Yoav Galant, who previously served as the Commander of the Southern Command in the Israel army, and aims at doubling the number of colonists in the Jordan Valley, to reach approximately 12000.

As part of his plan, the Israeli government would be providing serious incentives to entice Israeli families to live, build and work in the Jordan Valley, through direct cooperation with various government ministries, to control the entire area.

The Israeli Minister said that “Israel’s leaders all agree that the Jordan Valley, will always be part of the state under any possible future peace agreement.”

Mahdi Daraghma, a member of a Local Council in the Jordan Valley, said the army has already ordered the eviction of Palestinians from Ein al-Hilwa and Khirbet Um al-Jamal, and the al-Maleh area in the Northern Plains, within the coming eight days.

Daraghma added that the families received sixty orders to evacuate their dwellings, barns and agricultural sheds, an issue which would displace 200 Palestinians.

He also said that the new orders were issued on November 1st, and the families only received them on the evening of November 9th.

This means that the Israeli army could invade these communities and displace the families at any given moment.

Israel’s colonies in the occupied territories, including in and around East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, are illegal under International Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 3 Comments

Netanyahu is redefining ethnic cleansing not pursuing genuine peace

Professor Kamel Hawwash | MEMO | November 10, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for missing an opportunity to push peace further into the distant future. The dust had not even settled on the Balfour Centenary, which the Palestinians marked with anger and Israel and its supporters celebrated, before Netanyahu took to the air to absolve Israel of any fault for the lack of progress towards peace. Israel is in a difficult neighbourhood and therefore its security needs are such that meeting these is almost incompatible with a Palestinian state.

In an interview with the well-known BBC broadcaster Andrew Marr, he trotted out the usual talking points. Israel, he said, “stands out as a beacon of democracy, a beacon of self-restraint in a sea of trouble”. As for the Israeli army, “there is no more moral army in the world,” he said. The settlements “are an issue but I don’t think they are the issue”. Instead he believes the issue “is the 100-year-old refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognise a Jewish state in any boundary”.  Netanyahu took issue with Marr regarding the settlements, saying “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea [the West Bank] is crazy”. When challenged that it is Palestinian territory, which the UN says is a flagrant violation of international law, he said that it is “disputed territory”. He even claimed that the settlements are “a side issue for Palestinians too,” arguing that he is continuing to work for the liberation of the whole of historic Palestine.

On the prospects for a Palestinian state he said that the Palestinians “should have all the powers to govern themselves and none of the powers to threaten us”. Marr pushed him on whether this means the end of the two-state solution and the move to a different solution – one state. “No,” he replied, “I don’t want a one-state solution. I’ll be clear about that”. He argued that it was about the kind of state that emerges. To him it would have to be demilitarised and recognise the state of Israel. In fact, the Palestinian Authority has already met both these conditions. In signing the Oslo Accords, the PLO recognised the state of Israel while Israel did not recognise a Palestinian state, but rather the PLO as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people”.

In the wider context, the real threat to Israel is the Iranian threat. In a Chatham House interview earlier in the same week, Netanyahu argued that Iran was a “cause”; an expansionist country that wanted to gobble up small and medium-sized states as it moved towards the “larger states”. To him, Israel shares this fear with Sunni-majority countries. He presented Israel as the only example in the Middle East of what he called “modernity” vs. the “Medievalists,” which were both Shia and Sunni Islamists.

Netanyahu again reiterated his belief that the conflict would be finished if the Palestinians recognised a Jewish state. When challenged that in fact the Palestinians will not get a state but an “entity,” Netanyahu came clean. He argued that it was time to “to reassess whether the model we have of sovereignty and unfettered sovereignty is applicable everywhere on the earth”. He pointed to the British not wanting “outside control” on their economy, hence Brexit, and pointed to the lack of “economic sovereignty” that Greece has, referring to his “friend” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He argued that in the complex world we live in, there are constraints on what are considered sovereign powers.

His argument was that in the case of historic Palestine, the land was too small to divide. He said that he had presented to US President Donald Trump a map which showed the distance from the West Bank to the Mediterranean as 50 kilometres which he said was the same distance form “Trump Tower to the George Washington Bridge”. If Israel leaves the West Bank, then “militant Islam” would move in as happened in Gaza and Lebanon. It is either a “green flag” or a “black flag’. While not wanting to “govern the Arabs,” he wants overall security from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean: “For us the critical thing is to have the overriding security responsibility.” The demilitarisation of the West Bank would be done by Israel.

In other words, no Palestinian state will emerge but an entity which would have governing sovereignty but no security sovereignty.

At the same Chatham House event, Netanyahu described the demand for the removal of West Bank settlers as “ethnic cleansing,” comparing the settlers to Palestinian citizens of Israel. “From the Palestinian point of view, why do I have to take out Jews for peace? Do I have to take Arab citizens out of Israel for peace?” The comparison between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the illegal settlers is absurd. The Palestinians were there before Israel was created while the settlers were moved into the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights in breach of international law. Their removal would correct a wrong.

This is not the first time Netanyahu has used this analogy. In 2016 he was rebuked for using it by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Obama administration. The Obama administration described it as inappropriate: “We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said. Perhaps Netanyahu feels that with Donald Trump in the White House, this approach will find favour.

Another term that needs adjusting according to Israel is refugee. The claim now is that Jews that migrated to Israel from Arab countries at its inception are refugees in the same way as Palestinian refugees deliberately driven out of Palestine in 1948 are regarded as refugees, despite the fact that they are not formally recognised as refugees by the UN.

In Netanyahu’s eyes, rather than Israel work towards meeting its obligations under international law for peace, he is attempting to create confusion and change the discourse to make ending the occupation and creating a sovereign Palestinian state a threat to Israel’s very survival. The two terms he is out to remould are now sovereignty and ethnic cleansing.

I wish he was using the brain power around him to pursue genuine peace with the Palestinians instead of thinking that the status quo and redefining a couple of terms will bring Israel peace or security.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

‘Creeping Annexation’: Why Israel Shelved the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | November 8, 2017

The postponing of an Israeli Knesset bill that would have annexed major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality is the result of behind-the-scenes US and, possibly, European pressure. But the story of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem law” does not end there.

Israel wants to maintain an absolute demographic Jewish majority in Jerusalem, including in occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. There is enough support in the Knesset and among the public to ensure that coveted Jewish dominance. But the political balances, and possible drawbacks, are just too delicate and great for Israel to get exactly what it wants, even if there is a clear consensus among Israeli Jewish politicians and the public to permanently change the status of the city.

One of the factors that the Israeli government is considering is the support of the Donald Trump administration. How far will Trump go to support Israeli transgressions, while continuing to advocate an “ultimate deal” – his own version of finding a political resolution to the conflict resulting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine?

True, the Trump administration has done its utmost to reassure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of its undying loyalty. Trump’s last visit to Israel was a major step in that direction, where US commitment to Israel’s security and future were made abundantly and repeatedly clear. Moreover, the joint US-Israel push against the United Nations and its smaller institutions – like UNESCO and UNHRC – led by US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, aims to torpedo future international initiatives that are critical of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.

Yet, on the other hand, using back channels and without much fanfare, Trump has been promoting his own plan for “regional peace”, marks of which are still unclear.

While Israel is routinely allowed to slowly alter the landscape of occupied Palestinian areas, construct walls and expand its illegal settlements, an explicit, major plan to annex large regions of the West Bank would have ignited the kind of backlash that could likely bring an end to Trump’s Middle East politicking and complicate his relations with various Arab governments.

The “Greater Jerusalem law” would have done just that.

According to Israeli commentator Shlomo Elder the idea of expanding Jerusalem’s municipal borders “to increase the city’s population and to ensure its Jewish majority” was proposed by hardline Likud party member Yisrael Katz in 2007. It was deferred then, due to the fear of a strong international reaction.

The idea did not die. It morphed into a movement and politicians from all ideological backgrounds joined in, fearing that, in the future, Israel will lose the “demographic war” in Jerusalem, as well as in the rest of historic Palestine.

Save Jewish Jerusalem” was launched in 2016 and quickly enlisted the support of politicians, academics and other well-regarded Israelis, all united by their fear that they “would wake up with a Palestinian mayor in Jerusalem.”

So, when the “Greater Jerusalem law” was introduced earlier this year, it seemed like the logical evolution of a current that has been on the rise for years.

The bill proposed to expand the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including Ma’aleh Adumim and the Gush Etzion settlement cluster. Moreover, it endeavored to bring 150,000 Jewish settlers into Jerusalem as eligible voters, who would have naturally tipped the political scene more to the right. Concurrently, the law would have further demoted the status of 100,000 Palestinians, who would find themselves in a political grey area.

The authors of the bill were hardly discrete about its intentions. One of the two authors is Katz himself, who is now a minister in Netanyahu’s right-wing government. Explaining the motives behind the bill, Katz blatantly said: The bill aims to “ensure a Jewish majority in the united city.”

Israelis agree. According to a national poll published on 3 November, 72 per cent of Israeli Jews want Israel to maintain control over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem; 68 per cent want Jews to be able to pray in these holy sites; and 58 per cent support Katz’s initiative to expand the Jerusalem municipal boundaries and merge major illegal Jewish settlements under one municipality.

While members of the Israeli government (the majority in the Knesset) work towards the same goal of expanding illegal settlements, ensuring Israel’s uncontested control over Jerusalem and thwarting Palestinian aspirations for an independent state, their political approaches are not always the same.

While paying lip service to peace, Netanyahu has no intentions of allowing a Palestinian state to ever take shape, and is tactically working to ensure a complete physical partition between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, while, simultaneously linking major settlement blocs to Jerusalem.

One of such efforts includes the recent decision to completely destroy two Palestinian villages of Khan Al-Ahmar (located in the E-1 corridor which connects Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim) and Susya. The ethnic cleansing plan was described by Israeli rights group B’Tselem as “virtually unprecedented”.

But Netanyahu had to temporarily flout his own method of “creeping annexation” of Palestinian land to join the burgeoning movement championed by Katz and others, who call for wholesale annexation and dramatic steps to ensure Jewish dominance.

By doing so, he was prepared to deal with another popular Palestinian revolt, similar to the one that culminated last July in protest of Israel’s closure of Al-Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa compound.

However, pressure emanating in Washington, which reportedly took place just as the Knesset’s ministerial committee on legislation was preparing to approve the bill on 29 October, ended the Israeli maneuver for now.

It was Netanyahu’s office that postponed the bill again, fearing to upset the special relationship he has managed to espouse under the Trump presidency.

So, at least for now, Israel will resume its ‘”creeping annexation” tactics, paying no heed to international protests, and oblivious to the injustice inflicted on Palestinians. But, of course, the battle in the Israeli Knesset is not over, and more aggressive efforts at driving Palestinians out, while slowly annexing their land, are likely to follow.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

NATO Defense Chiefs and US Lawmakers Take New Steps to Fuel Arms Race

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.11.2017

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, NATO is expanding its command structure. A plan to establish two new military headquarters designed to improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic and within Europe to counter Russia was endorsed at the November 8-9 meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. One of the planned new NATO command centers will be tasked with ensuring the security of “sea lines of communication” between North America and Europe. The other command will “improve the movement of military forces across Europe” and strengthen logistical functions across NATO. Military commanders would “flesh out the details” and present them to defense ministers in February 2018.

“This is not only about commands,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. According to him, it is vital that European roads, bridges and rail networks are able to carry tanks and heavy military equipment. “We are now much more focused on moving heavy equipment across Europe,” he explained.

The locations are due to be chosen next year. Germany has expressed interest in hosting the logistics base. Portugal, Spain, France, and the United States could be potential hosts for the new Atlantic command. The ministers also agreed on the creation of a new Cyberoperations Center to strengthen cyberdefenses and help integrate cybercapabilities into NATO planning and operations at all levels.

NATO nations deployed about 4,000 troops this year across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and Poland – the alliance members which share borders with Russia.

The NATO event coincided in time with the United States House and Senate Armed Services Committees’ approval (Nov.8) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. The NDAA supports a topline of $692 billion for national defense—a $26 billion increase above the President’s combined initial and amended budget requests. The NDAA also authorizes $4.6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) to boost military capability to counter Russia, including accelerating procurement of Army prepositioned equipment and munitions stocks in Europe. The bill limits military-to-military cooperation with Moscow.

The legislation authorizes $350 million to provide security assistance to Ukraine, including defensive lethal weapons. $100 million will be spent on military aid to the Baltic States.

The bill includes the allocation of $58 million to counter Russia’s alleged non-compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, including a research and development program on a ground-launched intermediate-range missile, “which would not place the United States in violation of the treaty.” Section 1635 of NDAA allows the Pentagon to establish “a research and development program for a dual-capable road-mobile ground-launched missile system with a maximum range of 5,500 kilometers.” This is the first step to jettison the treaty. True, the development of a ground-based mid-range missile is not yet a violation but rather a demonstration of intent to do so. But once allocated, money cannot be wasted.

The deployment of NATO ground-based nuclear-tipped intermediate forces in the Old Continent is a European problem as NATO allies will become targets for Russia’s retaliatory strikes. Then why should the US tackle it if Europeans don’t ask it to do so? After all, the pretext for development of the missile is the need to defend European allies but no European NATO member has asked the US for protection. Why should the US take the initiative into its hands without European nuclear powers, such as the UK and France, participating in the program? Perhaps, the situation when Europeans fully depend on the US to protect them from “Russia’s nuclear threat” serves the American interests boosting Washington’s influence over European affairs.

With the INF Treaty effective no more, Moscow will be free to deploy intermediate-range missiles without restriction. No European NATO member has given consent to have the weapons on its territory. The decision to develop a ground-based mid-range missile may spark a backlash from European allies. The deployment of US intermediate-range weapons on the Old Continent will hit them in the same way the extension of American sanctions on European energy companies runs counter to their economic interests.

The fact that the NDAA authorizes the development of the weapon banned by the treaty will inevitably impact Russia’s military planning.

True, Russia and the US have problems with the INF Treaty. Each side accuses the other of non-compliance at the time the general state of the bilateral relations hinders the attempts to find common language on any issue. Expanding the European Deterrence Initiative is also not the best way to ease tensions with Russia.

Despite that, opportunities offered by the Special Verification Commission (SVC) envisioned by the INF Treaty are far from being exhausted. The parties could use the SVC venue to consider additional confidence-building measures and information exchanges. Contemporary technical means of verification make violations impossible to conceal. Evidence can be presented and differences can be ironed out. But, if signed by President as it is, the NDAA will include first practical steps to tear up the INF Treaty.

The violation of the treaty will negatively affect the prospects for strategic offensive forces (SOF) control. The INF and New START are the only two remaining nuclear arms control treaties in force. The capability of the US to knock out elements of command and control structure as well as at least some ground-based Russian strategic nuclear assets from Europe without using its intercontinental capability will influence the balance of SOF. One thing will lead to another eroding the entire nuclear arms control regime. Looks like the views of Heritage Foundation calling for withdrawal from the treaty prevail in the US Congress.

The NATO defense chiefs and US lawmakers have just taken new steps on the way to making the probability of war an uncomfortably real prospect.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Metis Civilization or Canada Syndrome?

Part I of a 3 Part Series: The Canada Syndrome

By Eric Walberg | Dissident Voice | November 10, 2017

There seems to be little common ground between Canadian natives and mainstream Canadian society. Canada’s uniqueness in world culture is thanks to its natives, who are regularly trotted out in ceremonies related to international events such as the Olympics, and now featured in the composition of the new Canadian ten dollar bill. But they remain at the bottom of the mainstream pecking order economically. Justice Thomas Berger wrote in 1966: “They began by taking the Indians’ land without any surrender and without their consent. Then they herded the Indian people onto reserves. This was nothing more nor less than Apartheid, and that is what it still is today.” First Nations children in western countries live in Third World conditions, with an estimated 80% of urban Aboriginal children under the age of 6 living in poverty.

In a famous anecdote, Justin Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, cynically told Marlon Brando when the American actor wanted to discuss native rights: “There are differences in the way we treated our natives,” he said. “You hunted them down and murdered them. We starved them to death.” Trudeau meant actual physical starvation, not just cultural starvation, echoing what the Canadian historian James Daschuk has called “the politics of starvation.” The policy in North America towards natives can be put simply: confiscation of 90% of lands, assimilation and/or death.

John Ralston Saul argues for the “originality of the Canadian project”, that contained elements of a rejection of the Enlightenment project of Europe/the US, which was based on secular rationality and liberal revolution. Canada was never a monolithic nation state, but rather based on consensus, supposedly incorporating the native philosophy of man as part of nature. In A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada (2008), he argues that Canada is a “Metis civilization”, not a European one. “We are a blend of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, but the driving ideas underneath are the Aboriginal ones.”

Saul argues that Canada was ‘founded’ as a modern nation not in 1867 but in 1701 with the Great Peace of Montreal between New France and 40 First Nations of North America. This treaty, achieved through negotiations according to Native American diplomatic custom, was meant to end ethnic conflicts. From then on, negotiation would trump direct conflict, it was thought, and the French would agree to act as arbiters during conflicts between signatory tribes. The paradigm is a confederation of tribes, consensus, the Aboriginal circle, “eating from a common bowl”. The treaty is still valid and recognized as such by the Native American tribes involved.

Saul’s claim sounds good, but the fact is most Canadians know nothing about their fellow Canadian natives. Typically, natives are most visible as a large segment of the homeless, especially in Toronto. According to Homeless Hub, a third of homeless, and in some areas up to 90%. Just as Canada and other rich nations face a flood of refugees from third world countries, as a formerly colony, Canada still has to come to terms with its own colonial train wreck.

Canada Syndrome: Stockholm syndrome on steroids

Canada is, in fact, a colonial settler civilization, much like Britain’s other white offspring: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Palestine-Israel, built on ‘ethnic cleansing’; i.e., murder, terror, forced resettlement, outright theft of land, and apartheid. The settlers identified not with the natives, but with their British motherland, blind to the reality they were now part of. A cultural version of the Stockholm syndrome, where the victim identifies with the kidnapper.

There is little ‘Metis’ about Canada, except for the precious treaties, which have been honoured more in the breech. After the dust settled (circa WWII), the results in all the colonies were much the same, with the settlers refusing to acknowledge their criminal behaviour, and grades varying from ‘C’ for New Zealand, to ‘D’ for Canada and Australia, and ‘F’s for South Africa and Palestine-Israel.

South Africa holds a special place in Canadian colonial history. Major General Sir William Otter is revered as the ‘father’ of Canada’s army. He gained his stripes leading a battalion of British troops to oppose the Cree Metis North West Rebellion of 1885 led by Poundmaker and Big Bear. His role in crushing that revolt inspired the Montreal Daily Star to coin the term Otterism as a “synonym for merciless repression.” His next step to fame was to lead a thousand troops of the Royal Canadian Infantry Regiment in the Boer War (1899-1902), when British and colonial troops forced hundreds of thousands of blacks into concentration camps. This prompted King Edward VII to knight him and Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden to appoint him kapo of Canada’s internment camps during WWI. His grandson, Desmond Morton, a leading military historian, wrote a glowing tribute to him in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Desmond is a lifelong NDPer, showing how deep the Canada Syndrome infects even the supposed anti-imperialist socialist in Canada. Only the communists were outspoken anti-imperialists and anti-racists throughout the 20th century, and they suffered the same ‘Otterism’ that the natives did.

Richard Sanders outlines the “settler syndrome” in Press for Conversion! (March 2016) as a much better characterization of them all. It is a “Culture-bound psychosis so deeply rooted in Canada’s mainstream identity, that it remains difficult to remedy.” It is “marked by a loss of contact with reality”, irrational, refusing to acknowledge the devastation wrought in the name of imperialist ideology, in Canada’s case “Canadian exceptionalism”. It is inherently racist, devaluing other cultures, treating them with suspicion, akin to the antisocial personality disorder, as described in Health Canada’s Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada. Mainstream psychiatrists dismiss such bigotry as a cultural problem rather than an indication of psychopathology, but it is clearly both an individual and mass psychological sickness.

It allowed devout Christians to create and enforce the criminal residential school system to wipe out the last traces of native culture. True, natives were starving by the 1920s, and were ‘ripe for the picking’, and the Christian missionaries were given the role of welfare provider before the days of government financed welfare, so the natives had no choice. The churches were really just handmaidens of the imperialist policy and not to be specially condemned.

Recent expressions of repentance for the sins committed on behalf of the colonial regime are welcome but only scratch the surface of meaningful change. The underlying psychosis remains. “Captives of culture-bound psychoses like the Canada Syndrome are ardent nationalists who remain blind to the official myths that have abducted them, … the Stockholm syndrome on steriods”.

‘Real whites’ vs British

By the early 20th century, First Nations and Metis reached their low point: from roughly 2 million, they had been reduced over 90% to 150,000, the same shocking statistic as in the US. Since WWII and especially after 1960, when improved sanitation in reserves and medicare lowered the infant mortality rate, populations have rebounded ten times, to 1,400,685 in 2011, representing 4.3% of the total Canadian population. While physical starvation has abated as a policy, poverty abounds and cultural starvation destroys native languages and traditions. The dominance of western commercial culture continues this slow death.

In 1910, the Chiefs of the Shuswap, Okanagan and Couteau tribes presented (French Canadian) Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier with a letter which looked to the French colonial legacy of the 1701 Great Peace of Montreal.

We speak to you the more freely because you are a member of the white race with whom we first became acquainted, and which we call in our tongue ‘real whites’. The ‘real whites’ we found were good people. They did not interfere with us nor attempt to break up our tribal organizations, laws, customs. Nor did they stop us from catching fish and hunting. They acknowledged our ownership of the country, and treated our chiefs as men.

Little did the chiefs realize what would soon be in store for all natives, with the nice French and maudit anglais Liberals/Conservatives putting their common policy of forcible assimilation into high gear. The Gradual Civilization Act in 1857, and the Indian Act, first passed in 1876, spruced up with amendments in 1920, making compulsory ‘education’ at residential schools, and in 1927, prohibiting natives from hiring lawyers to pursue land claims (repealed in 1951). This paralleled the US policy, but more aggressively, given the larger population of natives proportional to the settler population.

Though population rebounded after WWII, the 60s “Sweep”, the last gasp of this forced assimilation, continued to forcibly take Aboriginal children and placed them in white foster homes within the child welfare system, leading to unstable families and destroying children’s lives.

Oka, Ipperwash, Gustafsen, Caledonia

Laurier bitterly disappointed native leaders, as the “real white” influence in Canadian politics had given way to British colonialism after 1763. There were never massacres on the scale of Wounded Knee, but after 300 years, there is little evidence of the claim that Canada was any better than the US in its relations with the natives. There is little to differentiate the provinces in their relations to natives. The most visible conflict in Quebec in recent times was at Oka in 1990, in Ontario at Ipperwash in 1995, and in BC at Lake Gustafsen, also 1995. There are road blockades across Canada continually going up to protest encroachment on lands claimed by natives as part of broken treaties, or in the case of BC, promises to land that were never formalized.


There are heroes who fought for rights — Tecumseh, Joseph Brant, Louis Riel — all tragic. Brant holds a special place for Canadians in southwestern Ontario, for the agreement he inspired and signed in 1784, made famous by its promise of ‘six miles deep’, meaning the land on both sides of the Grand River. These Six Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga,Seneca, Onondaga,Tuscarora) unified under the Great Tree of Peace. During the American Revolution, (native) Captain Joseph Brant led many from the Iroquois Confederacy to ally with the British.

For their loyalty to the Crown, the Six Nations were deeded a tract of land along the Grand River. But, as happened to all the other Nations (there are 50 distinct nations and 614 First Nations bands), most of the land would be stripped from them, reduced to present 46,000 acres of what the federal government calls the “Six Nations Reserve No. 40”, including the village of Ohsweken, between the cities of Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville.

Eric Walberg is a journalist who worked in Uzbekistan and is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. He is the author of From Postmodernism to Postsecularism and Postmodern Imperialism. His most recent book is Islamic Resistance to Imperialism.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.11.2017

Whatever their plans, the stakeholders in the Middle East must remember that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces.

Tension is increasing all across the Middle East and the United States is again falling into a trap set up by its so-called allies to act against its own interests by getting deeply involved in what might turn out to be an escalating conflict. The recent victories by the Syrian Army and its Russian allies, which suggest that the active phase of the Syrian civil war will soon be drawing to a close, means that the perennial unrest in the region will be shifting gears and possibly leading to new conflict in areas that have until now been quiet. The lack of any real American policy for the region will enable the Saudis and Israelis, who have hegemonistic dreams of their own, to manipulate a casus belli, quite likely starting in Lebanon, where Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recently resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was fearing for his life due to his resistance to Iran’s influence over his country.

Hariri headed a coalition pulled together in 2016 that included nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who has an understanding with Hezbollah, president. The inclusion of Hezbollah and the presence of a friendly Aoun was seen as a victory for Iran.

The Hariri resignation was certainly carried out in collusion with Riyadh, to include the damning of Iranian influence as his reason for leaving. It suggests that the Saudis and Israelis, who have been hyperbolically claiming that Tehran is about to take control of much of the Middle East, are feeling confident enough to move towards some kind of showdown with the Mullahs. As a first step, expected deteriorating sectarian interaction between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon will eliminate any possibility of a bipartisan and functioning government, providing a pretext for foreign intervention to stabilize the situation.

The United States is clearly privately approving the Israeli and Saudi moves, as Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv have all adamantly opposed the existence of the Lebanese coalition dominated by Aoun and Hezbollah’s Nasrullah because of the Hezbollah presence. The next step will be for Israel fighter aircraft to increase their incursions into Lebanese airspace in light of the alleged instability north of the border derived from the claims by Hariri that he was about to be assassinated. The activity would be intended to provoke a Lebanese response that would escalate into an incident that will lead to a major strike to bring the Beirut government down. The ultimate objective is to create a Saudi and Israeli-led grand Sunni alliance, which might be a fantasy, to pushback Iranian influence in the entire region. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, opposed by the Saudis because it is Shi’a and by Israel because of its missile arsenal, would be targeted as the first marker to fall.

A supportive Washington role in the conflict will of course be indispensable and there is every sign that it would be forthcoming, with grand strategists like Generals Mattis and McMaster no doubt envisioning a roll-up of Shi’as starting in Lebanon and working eastward while the Saudis continue their aggression against Yemen to counter alleged Iranian interference in that area. Israel will also undoubtedly step up its attacks on Syrian Army positions, claiming that it is striking Hezbollah, to further complicate any countermoves by the Iranians. Israel has made it very clear that it will attack any Iranian military positions that are established in Syria.

It is important to recall that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces. Bashar al-Assad has survived an onslaught directed by the very same alignment now out to reverse a perceived Iranian-led Shi’a ascendancy and Hezbollah proved so successful against Israel that Israeli war plans now rule out any action on the ground due to the high casualty levels experienced in 1990-2000. The US would be playing a supporting role in any conflict, but might well suffer collateral damage if Iran is drawn in directly, a development that could easily lead to armed conflict between Washington and Tehran.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Saudi Purge Signals War Footing

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.11.2017

Mass arrests of senior royals, amid fear of assassinations, indicate that what is going on in Saudi Arabia is a far-reaching purge. The facade of a “corruption probe” – promoted in part by Western news media and US President Donald Trump – is a barely credible cover.

The cover is not just for a ruthless power grab within the desert kingdom by Saudi rulers, but a realignment that also puts the entire Middle East region on notice for more conflict and possibly even an all-out war with Iran. A war that the Israeli state and the Trump administration are enthusiastically egging on.

This move towards war with Iran could explain why the Saudi royals made a landmark trip to Moscow last month. Was it an attempt to buy off Russia with oil and weapons deals in order to free the Saudi hand with regard to Iran?

In typical fragmented fashion, Western media have tended to report the mass arrest last weekend of royal princes, ministers and business leaders, carried out under the orders of King Salman and his heir Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as a crackdown on corruption and business sleaze.

Omitted in media coverage is the significant wider context of the Saudi rulers moving at the same time to exert political control over regional politicians, as well as making sensational claims that Iran and Lebanon have “declared war” on Saudi Arabia by allegedly supporting a missile strike from Yemen.

The apparent forced resignation of Lebanese premier Saad Hariri last weekend after having been summoned to Saudi capital Riyadh provided convenient substance to Saudi claims that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah were destabilizing Lebanon and indeed plotting to assassinate Hariri.

However, Hariri was just one of several regional political figures whom the Saudis were reportedly putting pressure on. Reports emerged that the ex-Yemeni president Mansour Hadi has been held under house arrest in his exile home in Riyadh. There were reports too of Syrian opposition figures being detained in Riyadh. And the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was ordered to the Saudi capital. This suggests the Saudis are orchestrating a regional chorus line.

Furthermore, there were credible Israeli media reports that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv is coordinating with Saudi Arabia to support the latter’s accusations against Iran and Hezbollah of committing acts of war from Yemen by supplying missiles to the Houthi rebels.

Washington has also weighed in to support the Saudi claims that Iran is arming the Houthis in violation of a UN Security Council resolution. Referring to the missile strike on Riyadh international airport last Sunday President Trump said that “Iran took a shot at Saudi Arabia”. Then the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley later in the week called for sanctions against Tehran, citing Saudi “evidence”. Iran has dismissed the claims as baseless, pointing to the Saudi air, sea and land blockade on Yemen as preventing any such weapons supply.

The power behind the Saudi throne, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the 32-year-old son of aging King Salman (82), has emerged as an ambitious autocrat who also harbors an intense hostility towards Iran. In several media interviews, the Crown Prince has disclosed an obsession with crushing Iran. This goes way beyond the usual sectarian Wahhabi antipathy of Saudi leaders towards Shia Iran.

Crown Prince MbS is playing a smart game to a degree. He has made a big media play on “reforming” Saudi Arabia from its fundamentalist social conservatism to become a seemingly more cosmopolitan society. The Crown Prince has pushed reforms giving Saudi women the right to drive cars, travel without male guardians, and enter sports stadiums. Hardly radical advances in gender equality. Nevertheless, MbS has ably projected himself with Western media assistance as something of a progressive reformer.

Those changes are but the veneer for ruthless ambitions and a hyper power-grab within the despotic House of Saud. The supposed “corruption probe” is another layer of varnish to conceal much more sinister developments.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper this week waxed lyrical over the mass round-up of senior Saudi royals and ministers describing it as a “revolution” carried out by the would-be reformer Crown Prince, placing the development in the context of minor liberalization of women’s rights.

Meanwhile, the New York Times offered an apologia for the “Saudi Corruption Crackdown” by saying: “Graft is so pervasive that any measures short of revolutionary change may appear to be selective prosecution.”

Such reporting serves as a distraction from the real power play at work and the grave regional implications.

For a start, the number of detained princes, as well as current and former government ministers, are in the dozens. The profiles of those arrested suggest a pattern that has more to do with eliminating potential rivals than with alleged corruption.

Potentially most sinister is that on the day of the mass arrests, a contender for inheriting the Saudi throne was killed in a helicopter crash. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin (42) was among eight officials who died when their chopper went down in southern Asir Province near the border with Yemen. Saudi media have not given any details about the cause of the crash. One might have expected the Saudis to lay the blame on Houthi rebels and, by extension, Iran. But no. The House of Saud and its media outlets have said little about the death of this senior royal. Significantly, too, the Houthi rebels and their media have said little about the incident. If there was a chance of the rebels being involved, one might expect them to prompt a propaganda coup claiming a spectacular blow against the Saudis whom they have been fighting a war against since March 2015.

The chopper victim Prince Mansour was the son of 72-year-old Prince Muqrin, who is one of the last surviving sons of the Saudi kingdom’s founder Ibn Saud. (He is a half-brother to the sitting King Salman.)

Prince Muqrin was also former head of Saudi state intelligence (2005-2012) before he was made Crown Prince in January 2015 upon the death of his brother, the late King Abdullah. In the arcane world of Saudi power inheritance, the throne has always passed between Ibn Saud’s sons, or from brother to brother. When Abdullah died in January 2015, the next in line was their brother Salman (the present king). After Salman, according to traditional succession rules, the next heir to the throne should have been Muqrin, who indeed was made Crown Prince in January 2015. However, three months later, King Salman demoted Muqrin as heir apparent. He was sidelined to make way for the emergence of Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the king, as Crown Prince. That marked an unprecedented rupture in Saudi royal tradition, and no doubt has left a seething resentment among the clans comprising the House of Saud.

Prince Muqrin and his lineage of six sons therefore can be seen as a dangerous rival to the ambitions of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As his own father King Salman’s health declines, the next-in-line appears to be clearing the royal court of potential competition for the throne.

It is not yet known what actually happened to the helicopter ferrying Prince Mansour last weekend. But it seems more than a coincidence that the crash occurred on the same day as the arrest and round-up of several other senior royals. Two of those arrested were Prince Mataib bin Abdullah and Prince Turki bin Abdullah. They are the sons of the late King Abdullah, and like Prince Mansour, they are cousins of Crown Prince MbS, and therefore could potentially mount a challenge to his succession to the throne.

The arrests also targeted the heads of national security, the National Guard and Navy, as well as Western-connected Saudi media magnates Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Waleed Al-Ibrahim, who are major shareholders in 20th Century Fox, News Corporation, Apple, Twitter, and TV satellite companies. Those arrests suggest that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to close down any backlash from within the Saudi security establishment, as well as shut off potentially negative media coverage.

Donald Trump immediately hailed the events in Saudi Arabia as a welcome clean-up against corruption. He said people had been “milking the country for years”.

There is little doubt that Saudi elites are generally up to their eyes in graft. The House of Saud and the country’s fabulously wealth oil industry are a byword for endemic corruption, bribery and racketeering. (Recall the British Al-Yamamah $60 billion arms and bribery scandal during the 1980s under the Thatcher government for example.)

So, for Trump and sections of the Western media to indulge the notion of a reforming Crown Prince overhauling endemic national sleaze is impossibly naive.

It also completely misses the point of how the Saudi rulers are gearing up for a regional war with Iran and via Lebanon by consolidating all power behind Crown Prince MbS and his anti-Iran obsession.

Trump and his business mogul son-in-law Jared Kushner have from an early stage gravitated to Crown Prince MbS for massive US arms sales and Saudi investment in the American economy. Only days before the Saudi purge, Kushner was on a low-key visit to Riyadh to meet with Saudi rulers. Trump also appealed last week to the Saudis to choose US stock markets for the much-anticipated share sell-off for Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, which is expected to fetch $2 trillion.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect behind the Saudi slaughter in Yemen, is positioning himself with total power in order to pursue his obsession of confronting Iran. That’s like pushing an open door when it comes to forming an anti-Iran front with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the Trump administration. And for Trump there is also the added incentive of lavishing Wall Street by pandering to the Saudi despots.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Missile targeting main Saudi airport was Iranian – US Air Force

RT | November 10, 2017

The ballistic missile, intercepted near Saudi Arabia’s capital last Saturday, was from Iran and bore “Iranian markings,” a top US Air Force commander has said.

The commander for southwest Asia at US Air Forces Central Command, Jeffrey Harrigian, claimed on Friday that the missile, which targeted the country’s main airport near the capital last Saturday, was Iranian. The projectile, which was downed near the airport of the Saudi capital bore “Iranian markings,” according to Harrigian, who added that an investigation was underway into how it was smuggled to Yemen despite the Saudi naval and air blockade.

The missile incident proves that Iran has made it possible for ballistic missile attacks to be launched from Yemen, the official claimed. Harrigian declined to give any specifics on the exact type of missile the US believed it to be.

While both US and Saudi officials, as well as other politicians, expressed confidence that the projectile originated from Iran, no evidence supporting that claim has been presented so far.

The uncovered wreckage of the missile indicated “the role of the Iranian regime in manufacturing,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier this week, without providing further details.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his turn, simply put it that the missile was “obviously” Iranian – also without giving any proof.

While the blame for the missile launch was promptly pinned on Iran, Tehran has firmly denied its involvement. The Iranian Foreign Ministry branded the allegations “destructive, irresponsible, provocative and baseless,” adding that the missile launch was an “independent” response by Yemenis to Saudi aggression.

The ministry’s statement was echoed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said that Riyadh itself was actually to blame, as the Yemeni fighters were only protecting their country from Saudi bombings.

“How should the Yemeni people react to the bombardment of their country? So they are not allowed to use their own weapons? You stop the bombardment first and see if the Yemenis would not do the same,” Rouhani said on Wednesday.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments