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Trump administration ends 2017 on a sour note

“Outlaws trying to dictate the law” used gutter tactics to threaten UN member states that dared “disrespect” America’s crazed foreign policy

By Stuart Littlewood | Veterans Today | December 22, 2017

As if Trump’s crass announcement moving the US embassy to Jerusalem wasn’t enough, his minions on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution calling on the President to withdraw US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Even his hand-in-hand friend Theresa May, another pimp for Israel, is against him in this. “On Jerusalem, I made it clear that we disagree with the United States’ decision to move its embassy and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement,” she declared. “Like our EU partners, we will not be following suit, but it is vital that we continue to work with the United States to encourage it to bring forward proposals that will re-energise the peace process. That must be based around support for a two-state solution and an acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

What exactly would final status and a two-state solution look like? Nobody is saying. Possibly because they all know that the idea has been filed in the too-difficult tray a for at least 20 years. There was nothing wrong with the original UN plan to make Jerusalem an international city under separate control. Why not revive that? And if the international community really wanted two states why did they spend decades giving Israel endless opportunities to establish irreversible ‘facts on the ground’ designed to make the occupation permanent? Nothing will now change without the use of force or extreme sanctions. And there’s no sign of that happening.

So please do everyone a favour, US, UK and EU. Spare us that tired old mantra.

Trump’s interference in Jerusalem’s status “null and void”

The draft resolution vetoed by the US was supported by all 14 other members of the Security Council. It called on the US President to withdraw recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void, and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” It required all countries not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

America’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stretched credibility far beyond breaking point by saying that the veto was “in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process…. The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy.

“Today” she said, “for the simple act of deciding where to put its embassy, the United States was forced to defend its sovereignty… Today, for acknowledging the basic truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, we are accused of harming peace. The record will reflect that we reject that outrageous claim.”

When did Israel’s claim to Jerusalem become a “basic truth”?

Haley boasted that the US had done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people, providing them with more than $5 billion in assistance since 1994 and funding 30% of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) budget. In reality these mighty sums subsidise Israel’s ongoing illegal military occupation. Had Palestinians been left in peace they would be making their own way in the world at no cost to others.

Haley also seized the chance to slam UN Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted a year earlier. Obama, who was President then, opted to abstain rather than veto the measure, allowing it to pass.

2334 reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

It reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of its legal obligations in this regard;

It underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

And it sresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-sate solution.

What is there not to like or understand about that? Nevertheless, “Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2334,” Haley said, “I can say with complete confidence that the US would vote ‘no’; we would exercise our veto power.”

Netanyahu’s reaction to UNSC Resolution 2334 had been entirely predictable: “Peace will come not through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties.” He would say that, wouldn’t he, with his military jackboot on the neck of the Palestinian people. His style of negotiation, as always, is holding a gun to the head of the other party. As everyone, especially America, knows, peace doesn’t suit Israel’s purpose although the pretense of seeking peace does.

What sensible peace proposals have there been?

Haley insisted that while Resolution 2334 described Israeli settlements as impediments to peace, it was the resolution itself that was an impediment. “Misplacing the blame for the failure of the peace efforts squarely on Israeli settlements, the resolution gave a pass to Palestinian leaders who for many years rejected one peace proposal after another,” she said.

Have there been any credible peace proposals? By now, surely, everyone realises that the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. They’ve said so loud and clear. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck.

And as far as I’m aware, no-one has actually told us what the two-state solution they keep banging on about would look like. No-one, that is, since Ehud Barak and his “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000. Zio-freaks like Haley, to this day, heap blame on the Palestinians for turning down Barak’s bizarre plan and others like it.

So what did this amazing deal amount to? The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within the internationally recognised ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs was an extraordinary gesture on the Palestinians’ part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s oh-so-generous peace offer demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within that 22% Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control indefinitely. The offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? Of course it was rejected. But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s two-state solution was cleverly hidden from the rest of the world by elaborate propaganda spin.

Later, at the Taba talks, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Israel’s own Gush Shalom, yet Israel lobby stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a deal they couldn’t refuse. Is Barak’s crazed vision of two states the one the US, UK and EU still have in mind when they prattle on about a peace process?

Crude blackmail

In response to America’s veto an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly (where vetoes are not permitted) was called on Thursday to consider a resolution, co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen, calling Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “null and void” and reaffirming 10 security council resolutions on Jerusalem, dating back to 1967, including the requirement that the city’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

It also demanded that “all states comply with security council resolutions regarding the holy city of Jerusalem, and not recognise any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions”.

Trump had threatened to withhold $billions of US aid from countries that voted in favour. Ambassador Haley wrote to about 180 of 193 member states warning she would be “taking names” of countries that voted for the resolution.

The Guardian reports Trump as saying: “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”

His remarks appeared to be directed at UN member states in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are vulnerable to US pressure, including Egypt which drafted the UNSC resolution vetoed by the US and which received $1.2bn in US aid last year. Trump’s threat could also affect the UK which hopes to negotiate a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.

But his gutter tactics backfired spectacularly. 128 member countries including, I’m glad to say, the UK voted in favour of the resolution supporting the longstanding international consensus. Only nine states – including the United States and Israel – voted against; the rest either abstained or stayed away. A stinging rebuke, then, for Trump and his delinquent diplomacy.

Iran vilified as usual

Earlier, we saw a Saban Forum interview with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser on Middle East peace. Questioned about why his ‘team’ had no experts, Kushner replied: “It’s not a conventional team, but it’s a perfectly qualified team. When we were thinking how to put a team together, the President and I focused on who are the most qualified people, who had the right qualification and whom we both trusted.”

So they opted for a real estate lawyer and a bankruptcy lawyer. They have nobody truly qualified in Middle East affairs.

Talking about the Palestinians and Israelis Kushner insisted that “both sides really trust the President, and that’s very important”. He observed: “Many countries in the region see Israel as a much more likely ally than it was 20 years ago because of Iran, because of ISIS.” He spoke of issues of great concern: “You have Iran and their nuclear ambitions and their expansive regional mischief…”

No mention of course of Israel’s nuclear domination and expansive regional mischief.

And he simply couldn’t stop himself demonising Iran. “A lot of countries felt Iran was being emboldened and there was no check on their aggression,” he added. “The president has been very clear about his intentions on this issue, and going to Saudi Arabia and laying out a priority of fighting Iran’s aggression was significant.” Kushner said that unifying everyone against Iran’s aggression is a “world problem”.

He should read the history of US (and UK) aggression against Iran before opening his mouth again of this subject.

There was no mention of international law in the interview, just getting deals done. Peace and strengthening US-Israel relationship is central, according to Kushner. Which of course disqualifies the US as a broker.

The Saban Forum interview is touted by some as a humiliation for Kushner. I don’t agree. Jared Kushner came across as an intelligent and even likable specimen of Zionism, thoughtful and with none of the usual arrogance. But he was shown up as naive, out of his depth and unfit to serve in that position. His performance also emphasised the lunacy of allowing the commander-in-chief of a so-called democracy to bring in his family members and business cronies to meddle in the affairs of state. There’s an unfortunate word for that: nepotism.

It is surely time for Trump, as a world leader, to decide whether to live up to his responsibility to respect and uphold international law and the norms of human conduct. Otherwise he should find other employment before he does any more damage.

The last word goes to the Palestinian ambassador in London, Prof Manuel Hassassian, who hits the nail smack on the head: “The US has dug itself into a position where it is set to find itself, alongside Israel, in a face-off with the majority of world nations – outlaws trying to dictate the law. We hope and trust the global community will not waiver in the face of such bullying tactics and do the right thing under international law and the right thing for Palestine and the Palestinians.”

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump, Israel and the America First Scam

Trump’s Jerusalem decisions with the idea of putting America first is nothing but a scam being played on American people

By Bob Johnson | Veterans Today | December 23, 2017

On Wednesday the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders equated Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and his decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem with putting America first.

To equate Trump’s Jerusalem decisions with the idea of putting America first is nothing but a scam being played on American people who genuinely care about other Americans and about America.

Today, when Trump signed the tax bill into law, he made a comment about rebuilding America’s infrastructure. He pointed out how the US spent over $7 trillion in the Middle East and said that money could have been used to improve the infrastructure across America. This statement of Trump’s, coming on the heels of his Jerusalem decision, shows he just doesn’t get it. Either that, or he is playing the fool.

Surely Trump knows that Israel and its powerful lobby decide key US decisions in US foreign policy for the Middle East. I’d be shocked if when candidate Trump met with his biggest campaign contributor, billionaire American Jewish casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, that Adelson did not make it very clear to Trump that Israel and the Israel lobby call the shots in regards to US Middle East foreign policy.

Pleasing Adelson is probably Trump’s motivation for claiming that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, for the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and for Trump torpedoing the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Trump’s overwhelming desire to please Adelson, Israel and the Israel lobby does NOT at all put America first. This ungodly trinity that Trump works to please wants US politicians to start a new war for Israel’s benefit, this time against Iran. In 2013 at Yeshiva University in New York Adelson said regarding the US and Iran:

“You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say ‘OK, let it go,’ and so there’s an atomic weapon goes over, ballistic missiles in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul, maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever. And then you say, ‘See? The next one is in the middle of Tehran.’”

Trump must know that using the people in the American military to fight wars for the Jewish state of Israel is in no way, shape or form putting America first. US politicians from both parties voted to use American troops and American tax dollars for Israel’s benefit when they launched the war against Iraq in 2003.

Now the same forces of Israel, its lobby and Israel first individuals like Adelson are moving us down that same road to a new war for Israel’s benefit. These Israel first forces are moving Americans in the US military “as a lamb to the slaughter” to quote a phrase from the Hebrew/Jewish authors of the Bible.

Since our thoughts and beliefs determine our actions, if we really want to break free from this deadly cycle of religious inspired violence, we need to work to change the thinking of people who are currently under the spell of the “revealed” religions.

The American founder and Deist Thomas Paine made this clear when he wrote in his outstanding book on God, Deism and religion, The Age of Reason that we need a revolution in religion based on our innate God-given reason and Deism.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook is giving the US government more and more data

By Hanna Kozlowska | Quartz | December 19, 2017

Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide, including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. According to a new report released by the company on Dec. 18, these requests are increasing.

In the US, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising—it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.

Facebook has also been more forthcoming. In the first six months of 2013, it granted the government—which includes the police—79% of requests (“some data was produced” in these cases, the company says); in the first six months of 2017, that share rose to 85%.

“We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data — whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere — to make sure it is legally sufficient,” Chris Sonderby, the company’s general counsel, wrote in a post. “If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary.”

Facebook also says that 57% of the requests they got from US law enforcement included a non-disclosure order that bans the company from telling the user that their data was requested. This type of secret request was up by a whopping 50% from the last six months of 2016, but it’s unclear why. Quartz reached out to Facebook for comment.

More than 1,800 requests were so-called “emergency disclosures,” which are granted to law enforcement on a case-by-case basis, and are a subject of some controversy. They include, for instance, requests to suspend someone’s account, as was the case with Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother who was shot and killed by police in 2016, after she reportedly threatened officers with a weapon. She was broadcasting her confrontation on Facebook, and police asked the company to shut down her account, saying that other users were egging her on.

As Quartz reported, law enforcement says it is the best judge of such situations and would like to have greater control over access to digital evidence than they do now. Privacy activists would rather leave some discretion to the companies—but would also like to see more transparency in Facebook’s policies.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

IHR Director Mark Weber Banned From Britain

Institute for Historical Review | November 2017

Mark Weber, an American historian and director of the Institute for Historical Review, has been banned from Britain. British authorities decline to provide any explanation for or details about the ban. Weber, who has violated no British (or American) law, apparently is forbidden to enter the UK solely because authorities do not approve of views he has expressed.

On September 23 Weber was at the international airport of Madrid, Spain, waiting in line to get a boarding pass to take a flight to London’s Heathrow airport for a lay-over of a few hours before getting a connecting flight to return to the US. That’s when an Iberia airlines official told him that he would not be allowed to board the London-bound flight because he is not permitted to enter the UK. This was the first Weber had heard of this ban.

He was obliged to pay hundreds of dollars to arrange belated alternative flights back to the US. After his return home, Weber wrote letters to relevant British agencies, including the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration, to learn more about this matter. He received no answers to his repeated inquiries.

The UK government routinely bans visitors “if their presence would not be conducive to the public good.” Although British authorities will not say just who is on its list of “excluded” persons, it is known that Edward Snowden, Martha Stewart, Louis Farrakhan, Pamela Geller, Michael Savage and Geert Wilders are among those who have been banned.

According to well-informed British citizens who monitor such matters, UK officials almost certainly banned Weber to comply with the wishes of Jewish-Zionist groups, which openly expressed their unhappiness with him after he gave a talk on April 11, 2015, to a meeting in London titled “The Danger and Challenge of Jewish-Zionist Power.” (The text of Weber’s address is posted on the IHR website, along with an audio recording. A video of the talk is posted on YouTube.)

This “London Forum” gathering, which drew an audience of more than a hundred, received extensive but hostile coverage in major British newspapers, including the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express, as well as Jewish news services.

London’s Metropolitan Police Force looked into the talks by Weber and the other speakers, and decided that what they said “does not reach the threshold for a criminal investigation,” the London Daily Express reported. The news that Weber and the other speakers “would go unpunished provoked outrage in the Jewish community,” the Express also noted. A spokesman for the “Campaign Against Anti-Semitism” organization, the paper reported, said that the “speakers should have been barred from the UK.” (That’s apparently just what British authorities have since done, at least with regard to Weber. The current British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is widely regarded as one of the most ardently pro-Zionist in history.)

Although British media called the event a gathering of “Holocaust deniers,” in fact not a single one of the speakers at the meeting spoke about the Holocaust, or said anything that could be considered “Holocaust denial.”

“It’s no wonder that British authorities are unwilling to explain just why they decided to ban me from the UK,” says Weber. “This shameful ‘McCarthyite’ blacklisting targets me, and perhaps others, not for any unlawful speech or behavior, but merely for my views, real or perceived. This ban strikingly confirms the validity of what I said in my ‘London Forum’ talk about the scope and reach of Jewish-Zionist power.”

“British politicians would understandably protest if UK citizens were banned from Hungary, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Russia or other countries merely because they had expressed views that authorities there do not like,” Weber adds.

Mark Weber is director of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), an independent educational and publishing center that works to promote peace, understanding and justice through greater public awareness of the past, and especially socially-politically relevant aspects of modern history. It is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) public interest, educational, not-for-profit enterprise. Founded in 1978, the IHR is non-partisan, non-ideological, and non-sectarian. Its offices are in Orange County, southern California.

Mark Weber holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in history. In 1988 Weber testified for five days in Toronto District Court as a recognized expert on Germany’s World War II Jewish policy.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Trump says $7 trillion ‘foolishly spent’ in Middle East

RT | December 23, 2017

Donald Trump tweeted that the US “foolishly spent” $7 trillion in the Middle East, urging for money to be invested in rebuilding his own country.

Trump’s Twitter statement published on Friday initially focused on economic issues, but eventually took aim at the US policy in the Middle East. “At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a Bipartisan fashion.”

“Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start,” the tycoon-turned-president tweeted, adding: “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!”

The tweet came a day after 128 UN members supported a General Assembly resolution which condemned the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital. The vote took place during a rare UN General Assembly emergency session, convened at the request of Arab and Muslim states.

Trump warned before the session that the US could punish nations which vote against Washington’s decision at the General Assembly, saying on Wednesday that there are countries that “take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us.”

“Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

US military ventures in the Middle East over just the last decade and a half have indeed cost Washington a pretty sum. Even though the Pentagon said in June that it had spent only $1.5 trillion on war-related costs since September 11, 2001, the real figures could be much higher.

According to a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service back in 2014, the costs of the US war on terror already amounted to at least $1.6 trillion at that time. Later, a 2016 Brown University study put the costs of US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria at about $3.6 trillion over the period between 2001 and 2016, adding that they would likely reach $4.79 trillion by the end of 2017.

A 2013 Harvard University working paper said that the cost of just two US wars – in Iraq and Afghanistan – could eventually amount to between $4 and 6 trillion, including long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment, and social and economic expenses.

Bonnie Kristian, a fellow at the Washington-based Defense Priorities think tank put the total costs of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the “relevant legacy costs,” at $5 trillion. In her article published by Forbes magazine, she also predicted that this already hefty bill would grow to $12 trillion by 2053 even if the US is “done in Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of 2017,” as it includes healthcare commitments to US veterans and “interest on the debt incurred by these wars.”

And that does not include the costs of other US military endeavors, such as the 2011 intervention in Libya or overseas operations in countries such as Pakistan, Somalia, or Yemen. Apart from that, since 2001, the US has also spent $164.3 billion worth of aid to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to USAID.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | 3 Comments

War & No Peace: US Cuts Kiev Off From Preferential Trade, Gives Go-ahead on Arms

Sputnik – December 23, 2107

In a move that hardly seems coincidental, Washington made two announcements Friday which seem to outline its foreign policy priorities in Ukraine. Approving the supply of lethal weapons to the country, Washington threatened to partially suspend Kiev’s trade preferences with the US. Sputnik considers what may be behind the seemingly incoherent move.

Following months of internal debate, the State Department announced Friday that the US has “decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities” aimed at building up Kiev’s “defense capacity.” The move follows reports from earlier this week that the State Department had approved export licenses for the commercial sale of small parties of weapons to the instability-wracked country by US arms makers.

Also Friday, the US Trade Representative’s Office announced that President Trump would partially suspend Ukraine’s benefits under a US preferential trade program in 120 days unless the country makes major steps to better protect intellectual property rights. Kiev, according to the US trade office, has “failed” to adequately protect intellectual property, “despite years of encouragement and assistance from the US government.”

Trade officials did not clarify which part of the US Generalized System of Preferences agreement Ukraine would be nixed from, but the tendency seems clear: Washington is cutting out its economic support for Kiev, all the while upping its military assistance to the country, as tensions in the frozen Donbass conflict continue to smolder.

Economic Nationalism vs. Neoconservative Foreign Policy

President Trump’s economic nationalist approach to foreign policy hit Kiev particularly hard. Earlier this year, administration plans on US foreign aid for fiscal year 2018 leaked to US media outlined a whopping 68.8% cut in assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine’s Embassy in Washington quibbled over the scale of the cut, saying the proposal is really “around 30%.” At the same time, the Trump administration enthusiastically approved Kiev’s decision to buy US thermal coal, despite its price being almost double that which Ukraine would pay for the heating source from nearby Donbass or Russia.

At the same time, the US president has had considerably more difficulty challenging the neoconservative agenda on US Ukraine policy. Trump’s campaign promises of curbing US involvement overseas and trying to work together with Moscow on global issues, including the Ukraine conflict, haven’t panned out. Possibly under pressure from Congress and the US bureaucratic apparatus, Trump appointed John McCain ally Kurt Volker as the US’s special envoy to Ukraine. Making several trips to the country, Volker immediately began accusing Russia of engaging in ‘hybrid warfare’ in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region, and has pushed aggressively for a more active US policy vis-à-vis Kiev, including through the supply of lethal weapons to the country.

This past week, Volker warned that the situation in eastern Ukraine has significantly deteriorated, and even suggested that 2017 has become the “deadliest year” since the civil war began in 2014. Volker accused ‘Russian-backed forces’ of escalating the conflict.

Volker’s comments were echoed by the State Department on Tuesday, with spokesperson Heather Nauert openly accusing “Russia and its proxies” of being “the source of violence in eastern Ukraine,” and alleging that Moscow “continues to perpetuate an active conflict and humanitarian crisis” in the region. Nauert denied any possibility that the Donbass militia were “organic” entities which sprang up to resist Kiev in the months following the Maidan coup d’état in the Ukrainian capital in February 2014.Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met to discuss global hot spots, including Ukraine. Lavrov stuck firmly to the position Moscow has held since the signing of the Minsk accords in February 2015, stressing that the accords must be implemented, and arguing that Kiev has played the key role in stalling this process.

Cause for Dangerous Escalation

As far as US arms deliveries to Ukraine are concerned, Russia has vocally objected to the idea, and cautioned that the move would only threaten escalate the conflict. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin stressed that although the delivery of lethal weapons was a “sovereign decision of the United States” which Moscow could not stop, “the supply of weapons to the conflict zone is not beneficial to the peacekeeping process, and only exacerbates the situation. If this occurs, this action will not change the [strategic] situation… But the number of victims may certainly increase.”

With these issues in mind, the reaction from Moscow over Washington’s Friday announcement has been highly critical. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti that the arms deliveries threaten to disrupt the peace process and hamper the implementation of the Minsk accords. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov echoed his colleague, saying that in the present situation the US in Ukraine looks “less like an intermediary and more like an accomplice in fueling the war.” Finally, Senator Franz Klintsevich, a senior member of the Senate’s security committee, warned that US weapons will encourage Kiev to use force. “The Americans, in essence, are directly pushing Ukraine’s military toward war,” he said.

With Ukraine recently approving a whopping 14.8% increase in its defense spending for the 2018 fiscal year, Washington’s decision to provide the country with lethal weapons is a worrying development. However, facing growing political instability at home, including a slew of street protests in the capital and more and more calls for the country’s government to resign, it’s unclear whether Kiev will dare to try to fulfill its dream of pacifying the Donbass by force.

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

Ex-Argentine FM put under house arrest, says AMIA probe lacks evidence

Press TV – December 23, 2017

Argentina’s former foreign minister Hector Timerman says the protracted investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing incident lacks any convincing evidence against alleged suspects.

In July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, also known as the AMIA, in the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring 300 others.

Israel accused Iran of masterminding the attack, a claim strongly denied by the Islamic Republic.

On December 6, Judge Claudio Bonadio indicted ex-Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Timerman, and 10 others for “treason” as part of a probe launched in January 2015, when prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused several officials of allegedly conspiring with Iran to cover up responsibility for the 1994 bombing. Days later, he was found dead in his home. Courts have yet to determine whether Nisman’s death was suicide or murder.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the “far-fetched” indictment offered no evidence that would seem to substantiate the charges brought against the Argentinean officials.

In an article for The New York Times, titled “I’m a political prisoner in Argentina” and published earlier this week, Timerman said he had been put under house arrest and stressed that he was “a victim of political persecution.”

“Twenty-three years after the attack, nobody has been convicted and few facts have been established other than that it occurred,” he wrote of the bombing incident.

Timerman also questioned the “treason” charges, saying it had no relevant modern precedent in Argentina.

“For an Argentine citizen to commit treason, the country must be in a state of war. Argentina and Iran are not, and never have been, at war,” he said.

He highlighted the fact that while Iran denied any involvement in the AMIA incident, the Islamic Republic had “agreed to cooperate in the case after a multiyear diplomatic campaign led by the successive Kirchner governments.”

The former Argentinean foreign minister further voiced concern about his health condition aggravated by cancer, saying, “Preventing me from getting timely medical attention is like condemning me to death.”

“For now, the AMIA case languishes, as it has for decades. And we who in good faith sought justice are the targets of the anger of the Jewish community and many families of the victims,” he pointed out.

Israel is believed to be involved in strong lobbying in Argentina. Israeli media reported in October that pro-Israel groups in the United States were activating a campaign regarding the AMIA incident.

December 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment