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Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, at Imperialism on Trial

Eva K Bartlett | February 6, 2018

Video from RT UK’s live coverage of recent panel in Ireland.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Macron vows to bring back ‘compulsory’ national service for French youth

RT | February 14, 2018

Two decades after France scrapped compulsory military service, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to introduce “obligatory” national service for all young people. It could also be a “civic engagement,” Macron said.

“I want a mandatory service, open to women and men,” the French leader said on Tuesday, adding that its duration could be “around three months” but could be “longer if we integrate a civic service.” The president said the service will include “a mandatory part [set to last] between three and six months, which is not yet established.”

The whole thing is “not about recreating massive barracks,” Macron noted, however.

The planned service “will be universal, will involve the entire age group, and will be mandatory,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux confirmed in an interview with Radio Classique earlier on Tuesday.

A taskforce has been created to come up with suggestions on how to implement the French leader’s plan by the end of April.

Eyebrows were raised when Macron promised during his campaign, in March 2017, to restore a “mandatory national universal service,” designed to last one month and to involve between 600,000 to 800,000 youngsters per year. This “universal military service” would have to be taken by people aged between 18 and 21 years old, he specified at the time.

Macron promised that, if elected, he would make all young people spend a month receiving “a direct experience of military life with its know-how and demands.”

“The universal national service will be a school of fraternity. It’s about giving our youth an opportunity to come together for a common goal, breaking down all social barriers,” Macron tweeted last month.

While opposition parties warned of the costs involved in training up hundreds of thousands of youngsters a year, Macron’s proposal also raised concerns in the army, stretched thin by anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East and enhanced patrols against threats at home.

Last week, Defense Minister Florence Parly cast doubt on the scope of Macron’s plan, saying it would “probably not be obligatory.”

“It will be a service that will seek to make it attractive for young to take part in…for what they learn and for what they can give to others,” she said.

France’s defense budget will increase by €1.7 billion (US$2.1 billion) a year between 2019 and 2022, the Armed Forces Ministry said earlier this month, confirming spending commitments outlined by Macron last year, Reuters reported.

From 2023, the increase is set to rise to €3 billion annually so that France can hit its NATO-agreed target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2025.

Read more:

France to pour $45bn into nukes as part of defense spending hike

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Canadian judge dismisses all charges in lawsuit brought against Dr. Tim Ball by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver

Dr. Ball note to Climate Depot – February 13, 2018:

There are no media reports and my guess is there won’t be any.

At 0930 on the day the trial started we were told there was no judge or courtroom assigned. Amazingly and incorrectly, that information was reported almost immediately on media claiming the trial was postponed. It wasn’t, because by 1100 a judge and courtroom were assigned and the trail began at 1130. The postponement story likely explained why no media attended a single day of the three week trial. The nature of the case that involves a so-called climate change denier will likely also be ignored.

The trial was the only one adjudicated so far of the three lawsuits I received from the same lawyer, Roger McConchie, on behalf of three individuals all members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The first was filed on behalf of Gordon McBean, a former Assistant Deputy Minister at Environment Canada. He chaired the founding meeting of the IPCC in 1985.

The second was from Professor Andrew Weaver computer modeller and author on four of the IPCC Reports (1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013).

The third, filed nine days after the Weaver trial, was on behalf of Michael Mann, whose “hockey stick” graph dominated the 2001 IPCC Report and became what Professor Ross McKitrick called the “poster child of global warming.

McConchie also filed lawsuits against the publication in each case, which created confusion and conflict as they wanted to settle.

In the McBean case my wife and I decided not to fight because of the legal cost involved. We simply withdrew the article.

When we received the Weaver lawsuit we decided we would not be bullied into silence by what we considered to be SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and spent all our savings on legal fees before John O’Sullivan helped us set up a web site and a Paypal donation tab.

We later learned that the publication, Canada Free Press (CFP), had accepted and published an apology written by McConchie. I was not consulted or even informed that this was happening. Meanwhile we had hired Michael Scherr, a defamation lawyer with Pearlman Lindholm in Victoria BC.

The Mann trial was scheduled for February 20, 2017. About a month before the trial, Mann requested an adjournment. Apparently Canadian courts always grant an adjournment before a trial begins in the hope of an out-of-court settlement. I was opposed but had little choice.

The Mann case is interesting because it was filed in the supreme Court of British Columbia (BC) by an American citizen from Pennsylvania about something I said after a public presentation about the deception of manmade global warming in Winnipeg, Manitoba. BC had anti-SLAPP legislation but for some reason cancelled it. Now only two of ten Canadian Provinces, the other is Ontario, do not have anti-SLAPP legislation.

By the summer of 2017 a date for the Weaver trial was set and it was held in November over three weeks in Vancouver, Canada. Between filing the lawsuit and commencement of the trial, Weaver was elected as a Green Party member for the BC Legislature. At the trial he was the Green Party leader in his second term. The theme of the article he sued me for defamation involved the claim that the political hijacking of climatology by the IPCC set back climate research and understanding by 30 years. In the article I made comments about an interview and experience I had with Weaver that I did not fully substantiate. I wrote a letter of apology for those unsubstantiated comments but not for the overall claims of the article. Weaver posted my letter of apology on what he labelled a “wall of hate” in his University office. It appears just under his left arm in the photo at the link below.

Here is a newspaper article that shows Weaver in front of his wall of hate, apparently designed to show who and how nasty the attacks he sustained because of his views on global warming and attempts to save the planet.

The judge ruled that Weaver was not defamed by me and dismissed the claim completely. This was after almost seven years and thousands of dollars in legal costs.
Now we prepare to bring the Mann case back to the court.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Big Pharma spent $10mn promoting opioid drug use to patients

RT | February 13, 2018

Drug companies spent nearly $10 million promoting opioid drug use to patient advocacy groups and other nonprofit organisations between 2012 and 2017. More than 42,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2016.

Physicians affiliated with patient advocacy groups accepted more than $1.6 million in payments from five manufacturers between 2013 and 2018, according to a new report released Monday by a Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The report exposes financial connections between opioid manufacturers and advocacy groups, and points to close alignment between “medical culture and industry goals,” regarding narcotic painkiller distribution.

“The fact that these same manufacturers provided millions of dollars to the groups described below suggests, at the very least, a direct link between corporate donations and the advancement of opioids-friendly messaging”, the report states.

The report centres on the expenditure of five drug companies: Purdue Pharma L.P., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mylan N.V., Depomed, Inc. and Insys Therapeutics, Inc., as well as 14 patient advocacy groups “working on chronic pain and other opioid-related issues.”

Purdue Pharma, a manufacturer of the leading drug OxyContin, made the largest donations, with $4.15 million given to 12 groups.

“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and our sales representatives will no longer promote opioids to prescribers,” said Purdue Pharma L.P in a statement issued on Tuesday, a day after the release of the report.

McCaskill said she will draft legislation requiring greater disclosure of the financial links between drug companies and medical groups. “The public has a right to know. Doctors have a right to know what is behind these organizations, who is paying the bills,” she said in an interview.

The report also highlights the role played by lobbyists seeking to prevent the tightening of laws on opioids on behalf of advocacy groups. “Advocacy groups have engaged in extensive lobbying efforts to either defeat legislation restricting opioid prescribing or promote laws encouraging opioid treatment for pain”, the report states.

The majority of the groups referred to in the report also were hostile to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines issued in 2016. These federal guidelines aimed to limit  prescriptions of opioids for chronic pain. Because the groups expressed opposition to the guidelines while still pocketing donations from drug companies, this raises the question “of a direct link between corporate donations and the advancement of opioids-friendly messaging”, states the report.

In January, it was announced that New York City is suing eight companies that make or distribute prescription opioids for their role in the opioid epidemic. The suits aim to recover $500 million for current and future costs combating the crisis.

Read more:

‘Same big pharma that hooked people on opioids now profits again from addicts’ switch to heroin’

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | 1 Comment

Journalist, activist Bushra al-Tawil ordered to another four months in prison without charge or trial

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – February 14, 2108

An Israeli occupation military court issued a renewed four-month administrative detention order against Palestinian journalist and prisoners’ rights advocate Bushra al-Tawil on 12 February 2017. Al-Tawil, 26, from el-Bireh, has been jailed by the Israeli occupation without charge or trial since 1 November 2017. Originally ordered to six months in administrative detention, her detention was reduced on appeal to four months; now, an additonal four-month order has been imposed upon her.

Al-Tawil has been detained on several occasions in the past; she is an active defender of Palestinian rights and works with Aneen al-Qaid, an organization that defends Palestinian prisoners. The new order was issued as a “final” order, which ostensibly means it will not be renewed. Administrative detention orders are usually indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians can spend years at a time in jail with no charge or trial under repeatedly renewed orders.

Al-Tawil’s mother said on Tuesday, 13 February, that local and international silence on the prisoners must end, urging unity in action to free the prisoners. Al-Tawil is one of approximately 450 Palestinians currently jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, among a total of approximately 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners. Administrative detainees have announced that they will boycott Israeli military courts and administrative detention hearings beginning on 15 February.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Patheticism of U.S. Sanctions on North Korea

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | February 12, 2018

Officials of the Sheraton Hotel might be experiencing some sleepless nights as a result of what they recently did at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. A five-star Sheraton Hotel permitted Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, to stay there during her official visit to the Olympic Games. If they did that without the permission of U.S. officials, they might just find themselves the targets of severe punishment at the hands of U.S. bureaucrats.

Why might that incur the ire of U.S. officials? Because U.S. officials have Kim Yo Jong on their list of North Koreans specifically targeted for U.S. sanctions. If the Sheraton permitted her to stay there without securing the permission of U.S. officials, they might soon find that U.S. officials can be as vicious as their North Korean counterparts.

Just ask Bert Sacks, the American citizen from Washington State who dared to violate U.S. sanctions against the Iraqi people. Horrified by the high death toll among Iraqi children from the sanctions, Sachs decided to take medicines into Iraq knowing full well that he was violating the sanctions. U.S. officials went after him with a vengeance that bordered on the pathological. Fining him $10,000 for daring to violate their sacred sanctions, a fine that Sachs refused to pay, U.S. officials pursued him for more than a decade in their attempt to collect not just the fine but also extremely high penalties and interest. (For more on the remarkable story of Sack’s heroic resistance to the U.S. sanctions on the Iraqi people, see here.)

It’s what they do to anyone who dares to violate their sacred sanctions. That’s why even big and powerful international businessmen quiver and quake whenever they are faced with the possibility that they are violating U.S. sanctions. They know what U.S. officials will do them if they violate them.

Consider Samsung, for example. It has a policy of giving out smartphones to the Olympic athletes, not only as a means of communication but also so that they will be able to take photos of their Olympic experience.

Not so for the North Korean athletes, who won’t be taking any selfies home with them. No, not because they might be punished by North Korean officials for having something by which they could access the Internet but because Samsung was scared to death that they would be violating U.S. sanctions if they gave free phones to the North Korean athletes. Samsung officials were scared of what the U.S. government, not the Korean government, might do to them.

Is that pathetic or what?

That’s not all.

A North Korean 229-member cheerleading squad, consisting of an “army of beauties,” has mesmerized the crowds and the press at the Olympics. They came down from North Korea in a huge ferry, where North Korean officials required them to stay to prevent their learning too much about life in South Korea and to prevent defections.

But a big problem arose with the ferry. After it arrived, it was low on fuel and asked the South Koreans to refuel it. South Korean officials were scared to death. They just didn’t know how the U.S. government would react to what would amount to a clear violation of sanctions. According to an article in the New York Times, “As of Wednesday evening, the South had not decided whether to supply the fuel.”

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

According to the Times’ article, the sanctions problem extends to hockey sticks and uniforms. When North Korea’s hockey team showed up at a tournament in New Zealand last year, they brought their battered wooden sticks with them. The organizers lent them high-tech carbon fiber sticks but required they return them before going home for fear of what U.S. officials would do to them for violating the sanctions.

Nike is another company afraid of antagonizing the U.S. government. Despite being an official Olympics sponsor, it decided to let a Finnish company furnish the uniforms for the Korean hockey team for fear of violating the sanctions.

U.S. officials decided to be nice to Asiana Airlines. It granted the airlines permission an “exception” to the sanctions by permitting it to enter U.S. airspace after flying South Korean hockey players to train in North Korea. The sanctions require that when a plane flies into North Korea, it has to wait six months before entering U.S. airspace. Maybe U.S. officials are concerned with the spread of communist germs, which, theoretically, could lead to an expansion of such socialist programs as Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, and farm subsidies.

Vice President Pence was in attendance at the Olympics and, not surprisingly, spent all his time growling, scowling, and calling for increased enforcement of U.S. sanctions against the North Koreans. Agitated and angry over North Korea’s Olympics outreach to South Koreans, Pence was not amused by either the cheerleaders or Kim Yo Jong, who he pointedly refused to acknowledge when she was seated directly behind him during the opening ceremonies.

The last thing Pence or other U.S. officials want is for Americans to begin personalizing the North Koreans. Better that Americans continue thinking of everyone in North Korea as nothing more than a bunch of commies or commie sympathizers. It that way, Americans, including American Christians, will consider it to be no big deal to kill all of them, either with sanctions or, if war breaks out, with carpet-bombing of towns and villages, as the U.S. military did during the Korean War.

After all, don’t forget the purpose of the sanctions: To kill the North Korean populace, including those North Korean cheerleaders, through starvation and illness. The idea is that if enough of them are dying, either Kim Jong-un will abdicate in favor of a pro-U.S. dictator or the North Korean people will initiate a violent revolution and install a pro-U.S. dictator into power.

Neither one is going to happen. Kim Jong-un is not going to capitulate to U.S. extortion. And the North Korean people are never going to revolt, especially since they are all disarmed as a result of North Korea’s strict gun-control policy. Thus, the only thing that is going to happen is that the sanctions will continue to kill more and more North Koreans, especially in combination with North Korea’s socialist system.

Unfortunately, business people are not the only ones afraid of acting without getting the permission of U.S. officials. When Kim Yo Jong extended an invitation to South Korean president Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea, he deflected the invitation, no doubt scared to accept the invitation without first checking with U.S. officials to see if it was okay to accept.

Throughout the Olympics, the American right-wing has never ceased reminding us of the brutality of the North Korean regime. Well, duh. It is a communist regime. But I can’t help but wonder whether the North Korean people are more afraid of their government than Samsung, Nike, and other big businesses are scared of the U.S. government. I also can’t help but wonder whether it matters to a North Korean whether he dies from North Korean socialist policies or U.S. sanctions policies.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Iran or US? Who is behind instability in Syria?

Press TV – February 14, 2018

As Syria is effectively emerging from more than seven years of conflict by successfully purging its territory of militants, the United States and allies are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticism of the governments who helped Syria clear the mess.

In comments dealing with a recent escalation of events in Syria’s border with the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has blamed Iran for the continued bloodshed in Syria, saying Tehran should end its “destabilizing” presence in Syria and allow peace to be restored to the Arab country.

However, many wonder who is really destabilizing Syria. Is it Iran, a country that has gone to any length to protect the legitimate government of Syria, or was it the US, which from the onset of war in March 2011 began to designate the heavily-armed militants and military defectors as the so-called moderate opposition of Syria and continued to generously support them through providing weapons, funding and training.

Washington cannot hide its anger at Iran and Russia becoming the saviors of Syria after an all-out war, which in the beginning was to change the political and security equations in the Middle East. For a long time, Syria was a major front in regional confrontation with Israel. It openly supported governments and fighters that countered Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its violation of the sovereignty of countries such as Lebanon.

The fall of Syria, as it was envisaged in the West, could mean an end to Damascus’ anti-Israeli policies and could create a sense of relief for the regime in Tel Aviv. That dream actually failed to materialize and after more than seven years, Israel and the US, as its main ally, feel more insecure than ever as Syria is regaining control over many parts of its territories. Moreover, Syria has established stronger military and political ties with Iran and Russia, the two countries that backed it in the war on terror, and it has become more engaged with the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, an arch enemy of Israel.

Now, US officials are becoming more fearful about Israel’s grim future and what could happen to it in adjacency of a revitalized Syria. To offset those concerns, they now try to highlight Iran’s continued presence in Syria as a threat, pretending that Tehran is fueling the violence.

Tillerson said on Wednesday that Iran should withdraw from Syria, saying Tehran was responsible for a recent escalation on Syria’s borders with the occupied territories. He even accused Iran of hampering the United Nations’ efforts to restore peace in Syria.

“We are quite concerned about the recent incident involving Israel and Iranian assets inside of Syria. And I think this again illustrates why Iran’s presence in Syria is only destabilizing to the region,” Tillerson said, adding “Iran needs to withdraw its military, its militia from Syria, and allow a hope for the peace process to take hold in Geneva.”

Tillerson made the comments in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a kingdom which borders Syria’s province of Dayr al-Zawr, where government forces have managed to liberate key cities and towns relying on Iranian and Russian support. Russia, which unlike Iran, has a direct military presence in Syria, has repeatedly accused the United States of trying to hamper Syria’s full victory against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. Moscow has released evidence showing that US forces stationed in Dayr al-Zawr’s border regions and in Jordan have been collaborating with Daesh and other militants through providing intelligence about Syrian and Russian forces.

Tillerson’s comments came just days after the US military admitted it had carried out heavy bombardments on Syrian pro-government forces in Dayr al-Zawr, an attack that reportedly killed more than 200 people, including private Russian military contractors.

Russia is in Syria based on an official request by the government. Iran also helps Syria through its military advisors based on similar demands by Damascus. Lacking such a mandate and authorization, the US has operated around and inside Syria’s borders over the past years and reports show that it is increasing its deployment in the Jordanian border, a clear sign it is wary of the turn of events in the region.

So, the question is who is really behind the protracted violence in Syria and who is really destabilizing the country now that it is back on its feet?’

Syria has on several occasions called on the UN to force Washington to stop its aggression against on the Arab country’s sovereignty. It has designated as a violation of Syria’s territorial integrity the US airstrikes that are as part of a so-called campaign against Daesh, which began four years ago in neighboring Iraq and then expanded into Syria. US warplanes have targeted civilians in hospitals and schools as part of their alleged fight against Daesh. They are now becoming increasingly involved in attacks against government forces and allies in Dayr al-Zawr, where Iran played a huge role in bringing Daesh to its last legs.

Iran has officially called on the US to end its military adventures in Syria and allow the country to re-establish authority on its territories. Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister and a senior foreign policy adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday that it was Washington, in fact, that was an unwelcome guest and a destabilizing force in Syria.

“Those should leave Syria who are there without the permission of the legal Syrian government,” said Velayati while reacting to Tillerson’s latest comments.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

New US Sanctions Against Russia Are Coming, ‘Expect Them’ Soon – US Treasury Sec

Sputnik – February 14, 2018

The United States Secretary of the Treasury revealed that sanctions against the people mentioned in the so-called ‘Kremlin list’ would be soon introduced.

“We are actively working on those sanctions. And you should expect them in… [the] near future,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the US Senate Finance Committee.

Previously responding to the “Kremlin report” release, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the sanctions as a deadlock solution, which is likely to lead to losses for those who introduced them.Putin expressed hope the West would soon “get bored with the sanctions policy” and Russia-US relations would normalize.

“The policy of artificially imposed restrictions in international business relations is a dead-end road that leads everyone, including the initiators of such a policy, to missed profits and direct losses,” Russian President stated.

In January, the US published the so-called “Kremlin report,” which listed names of 114 Russian politicians, including the Russian presidential administration and members of the government, as well as 96 businessmen.

Inclusion on the list implies that restrictive measures against named officials can be introduced in the future.

Commenting on the release of the report, Vladimir Putin called it an “unfriendly step” by the US administration, which harms Moscow-Washington relations.

In the wake of the publication, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) warned that the US Treasury’s “Kremlin Report” can affect the interests of European investors and European companies doing business in Russia.

The “Kremlin Report” was drafted in accordance with the law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanction Act and signed by the US President Donald Trump in August 2017.

On July 28 the Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow amid the new US anti-Russia sanctions bill and follows a series of restrictive measures which have been imposed by Washington since 2014. It is similar to Washington’s decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and suspend the use of diplomatic assets by Moscow in late 2016.

The relationship between Russia and the US worsened amid the internal conflict in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Although Moscow denied all the allegations of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs, a number of Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia, with the Kremlin then introducing response measures and launching the policy to replace foreign imports with domestic products.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Who are the “Butchers of Dresden”

By Vladislav B. SOTIROVIĆ – Oriental Review – 12/02/2018

In the history of world, there are many actors who deserved a title of “Butcher” but there are only two persons whom the Western historians, journalists or political analysts pasted this label as the official mark of their participation in world history – General Ratko Mladić (the “Butcher of Bosnia”) and Slobodan Milošević (the “Balkan Butcher”). In the following paragraphs more candidates for the title of “Butcher” will be presented as a small contribution to the proper interpretation and understanding of global history.

The Three Men of Slashing

This year is the 73rd anniversary of the end of the WWII – the bloodiest and most horrible war ever fought in human history. The war that caused creation of the UNO in 1945 in order to protect the world from similar events in the future – a pan-global political-security organization whose first issued legal act was a Charter of the UN which inspired the 1948 Geneva Conventions’ definition of genocide.

The Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials were organized as “The Last Battles” for justice as the first ever global trials for the war criminals and mass murderers including and the top-hierarchy statesmen and politicians. However, 73 years after WWII the crucial moral question still needs a satisfactory answer: Have all the WWII war criminals faced justice at the Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials? Or at least those who did not withdraw from public life after the war. Here we will present only one of those cases from WWII which has to be characterized as genocide followed by the personalities directly responsible for it: The 1945 Dresden Massacre.

At the Old Market in the east German city of Dresden, following allied bombings 13 February 1945 (Photo credit should read WALTER HAHN/AFP/Getty Images)

The 1945 Dresden Raid was surely one of the most destructive air-raids during WWII but in the world history of massive military destruction and war crimes against humanity too.[1] The main and most destructive air-raid was during the night of February 13th−14th, by the British Bomber Command when 805 bomber military crafts attacked the city of Dresden which up to that time was protected from similar attacks primarily for two reasons:

  1. The city was of an extreme pan-European cultural and historical importance as one of the most beautiful “open-air museum” places in Europe and probably the city with the most beautiful Baroque architectural inheritance in the world.[2]
  2. The lack of the city’s geostrategic, economic and military importance.

The main air raid was followed by three more similar raids in daylight but now by the U.S. 8th Air Force. The Allied (in fact, the U.K.−U.S.) Supreme Commander-In-Chief the U.S. a five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890−1969) was anxious to link the Allied forces with the very advancing Soviet Red Army in the South Germany. For that reason, Dresden suddenly came to be taken into consideration as a point of high strategic importance as a communication center, at least at the eyes of Eisenhower. However, at that time Dresden was known as a city that was overcrowded with up to 500,000 German refugees from the east. For the U.K.−U.S. Supreme Command Headquarters it was clear that any massive air-bombing of the city would cost many human lives and cause a human catastrophe. That was not primarily only on Eisenhower’s conscience to decide to launch massive airstrikes on Dresden or not as we have not to forget that Eisenhower was only a military commander (a strategy in Greek) but not a politician. Undoubtedly, the Dresden question in January−February 1945 was of a political and human nature not only of military one. Therefore, together with the Supreme Commander-In-Chief of the Allied Forces a direct moral and human responsibility for the 1945 Dresden Massacre was on the British PM Winston Churchill (1874−1965) and the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882−1945) also.

These three men, however, finally agreed that inevitably very high casualties in Dresden might in the end, nevertheless, help to shorten the war, that from a technical point of view was true. During one night and one day of the raids there were over 30,000 buildings destroyed and the numbers of those who were killed in the bombing and the ensuing firestorm are still in dispute among historians as the estimates go up to 140,000. Here it has to be noticed that if this highest estimate is going to be true it means that during the 1945 Dresden Massacre more people were killed than in the Hiroshima case from August 1945 (around 100,000 that was one third out of total Hiroshima’s pre-bombing population).

The “Bomber Harris” and the “Atomic Harry”

One person with direct responsibility for transforming Dresden into an open-air crematorium, as the city was bombed by forbidden flammable bombs for massive destruction (Saddam Hussein was attacked in 2003 by the NATO’s alliance under the alleged and finally false accusation to possess exactly such weapons – WMD) is “Bomber Harris” – a commander of the British Royal Air-Forces during the Dresden Raid. “Bomber Harris” was in fact Arthur Travers Harris (1892−1984), a Head of the British Bomber Command in 1942−1945. He was born in Cheltenham, joined the British Royal Flying Corps in 1915, before fighting as a soldier in the South-West Africa. He became a Commander of the Fifth Group from 1939 till 1942 when he became the Head of this Group (Bomber Command). The point is that it was exactly Arthur Travers Harris who stubbornly required and defended the massive aerial bombing of Germany under the idea that such practice will bring the total destruction of Germany (including and civil settlements) that would finally force Germany to surrender without involving of the Allied forces in a full-scale overland military invasion. The crucial point is that this “Bomber Harris” strategy received full support from British PM Winston Churchill who, therefore, became a politician who blessed and legitimized massive aerial massacres in the legal form of genocide as it was described in the post-WWII Charter of the UNO and other international documents on protection of human rights (for instance, the 1949 Geneva Conventions). Nevertheless, there were the “Bomber Harry”, Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill who transformed the bombing of selected targets as transport systems, industrial areas or oil refineries into the massive aerial destruction of the whole urban settlements, transforming them into the open-air crematoriums as was done for the first time in history with Dresden – a city with a rare historical heritage (today the pre-war Dresden would be on the UNESCO list of protected places of the world’s heritage) but flattened during one night and one day.[3]

Arthur Harris

This successful practice was very soon followed by the Allied forces in the cases of other German cities,[4] like Würtzburg – a tightly packed medieval housing city that exploded in a firestorm in March 1945 in one night with 90% of city-space which had no strategic importance destroyed.[5] However, a strategic bombing of the urban settlements in WWII reached its peak with the destruction of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the order of the U.S. President (Democrat) Harry Truman – “Atomic Harry” (1884−1972) who authorized the dropping of the atomic bombs over these two Japanese cities in order to end the war against Japan without further loss of U.S. military troops, insisting on unconditional surrender of Japan.[6]

“The Last Battle for Justice” and the “Butchers of Dresden”

Surely, one of the most obvious results of the WWII was “its unparalleled destructiveness. It was most visible in the devastated cities of Germany and Japan, where mass air bombing, one of the major innovations of the Second World War, proved much more costly to life and buildings than had been the bombing of Spanish cities in the Spanish civil war”.[7] For that and other reasons, we believe that many Allied military and civil top decision-making personalities from the WWII should have faced justice at the Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials together with Hitler, Eichmann, Pavelić and many others. However, it is an old truth that the winners are writing history and re-writing historiography. Therefore, instead of seeing Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), Harry Truman or Arthur Travers Harris at the Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials’ courtrooms as indicted on such charges as crimes against humanity and genocide as were the German Nazi defendants, who included the NSDAP’s officials and high-ranking military officers along with the German industrialists, lawmen and doctors, we are even 73 years after WWII reading and learning politically whitewashed and embellished biographies of those war criminals who destroyed Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki as national heroes, freedom fighters and democracy protectors.[8] For instance, in any official biography of Winston Churchill it is not written that he is responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the German civilians in 1945 but we know that the British PM clearly promised to the Poles to get after the war ethnically cleansed territory from the Germans.[9]

If the Nüremberg Trial, 1945−1949 was “The Last Battle” for justice,[10] then it was incomplete. Moreover, two the most ardent killers of Dresden – Churchill and Eisenhower were granted after the war by the second premiership and double-term presidency, respectively, in their countries.

There were many (Western) butchers in world history but only small fish (from the Balkans) are officially marked by such label.

Notes:

[1] On this issue, see more in [L. B. Kennett, A History of Strategic Bombing: From the First Hot-AirBaloons to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Scribner, 1982].

[2] On Dresden’s history and architecture, see [W. Hädecke, Dresden: Eine Geschichte von Glanz, Katastrophe und Aufbruch, Carl Hanser Verlag, München−Vien, 2006; J. Vetter (ed.), Beautiful Dresden, Ljubljana: MKT Print, 2007].

[3] On the case of firebombing of Dresden, see more in [P. Addison, J. A. Crang (eds.), Firestorm. The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Ivan R. Dee, 2006; M. D. Bruhl, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, 2006; D. Irving, Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden, Focal Point Publications, 2007; F. Taylor, Dresden. Tuesday, February 13, 1945, HarpenCollins e-books, 2009; Charler River Editors, The Firebombing of Dresden: The History and Legacy of the Allies’ Most Controversial Attack on Germany, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014].

[4] On this issue, see more in [J. Friedrich, The Bombing of Germany 1940−1945, New York: Columbia University Press, 2006; R. S. Hansen, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942−1945, New York: Penguin Group/New American Library, 2009].

[5] On Würtzburg’s case, see [H. Knell, To Destroy a City: Strategic Bombing and its Human Consequences in World War II, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press/Pireus Books Group, 2003].

[6] On this issue, see more in [C. C. Crane, Bombs, Cities, & Civilians: American Airpower Strategy in World War II, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1993; A. C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan, New York: Walker & Company, 2007].

[7] J. M. Roberts, The New Penguin History of the World, Fourth Edition, London: Allien Lane an imprint of the Penguin Press, 2002, p. 965.

[8] See, for instance [R. Dallek, Harry S. Truman, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2008; J. E. Smith, FDR, New York: Random House, 2008; S. E. Ambrose, The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhover, New York: Anchor Books A Division of Random House, Inc., 2012; A. D. Donald, Citizen Soldier: A Life of Harry S. Truman, New York: Basic Books, 2012; W. Manchester, P. Reid, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940−1965, New York: Penguin Random House Company, 2013; B. Johnson, The Churchil Factor: How One Man Made History, London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2014; B. Harper, Roosevelt, New York City, Inc., 2014; P. Johnson, Eisenhower: A Life, New York: Viking/Penguin Group, 2014].

[9] T. Snyder, Kruvinos Žemės. Europa tarp Hitlerio ir Stalino, Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2011, p. 348 (original title: T. Snyder, Bloodlands. Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, New York: Basic Books, 2010).

[10] D. Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle, World War II Books, 1996.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Saudi cluster bombs continue to endanger Yemeni kids’ lives

Press TV – February 13, 2018

Thousands of innocent children continue to fall victim to Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster bombs in aerial attacks on residential areas across the Yemen, corroborating assertions of violation of international law in the impoverished Arab country.

Derhim al-Tuheiti was playing in a farming field in an area in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah, located 150 kilometers southwest of the capital Sana’a, less than a week ago when he found an unexploded cluster bomb.

He took it home, believing it was a toy or a piece of scrap metal. All at once, like deafening firecrackers, explosions ripped through the building, seriously injuring Derhim, his mother and siblings.

“I was working outside my house to earn money and feed my family. I was in shock when I returned home. People told me all my family members, including my wife, had been transferred to hospital. Now my wife has a back injury, and has gone insane due to the shock,” Ahmed, father of the family, told Press TV.

Derhim was taken to the intensive care unit at al-Thawra Hospital, and had to undergo numerous surgeries. He had both lower legs amputated after the horrific incident.

“Doctors amputated his legs as they had grave shrapnel wounds. The cluster bomb had also seriously injured his head, and paralyzed the right side of his body,” Doctor Khlowd M Doublah stated.

Cluster munitions, which are banned by more than 100 countries, present an enormous danger to civilians.

Dropped from the air or fired from the ground, they are designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the sub-munitions over a wide area in a way that cannot discriminate between civilians and military targets.

Many of the sub-munitions fail to explode on impact and effectively become anti-personnel mines. Unexploded sub-munitions have the potential to remain lethal for years, posing a high risk to the civilian population, both during and after the conflict.

Cluster bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.

At least 13,600 people have been killed since the onset of Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen in 2015. Much of the country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

The Saudi-led war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.
A picture taken on February 5, 2018, shows a man standing next to the Yemeni criminal investigations unit in the capital Sana’a, a day after it was hit in a Saudi air raid. (Photo by AFP)

According to the World Health Organization’s latest tally, the cholera outbreak has killed 2,167 people since the end of April 2017 and is suspected to have infected 841,906.

In November 2017, the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, said more than 11 million children in Yemen were in acute need of aid, stressing that it was estimated that every 10 minutes a child died of a preventable disease there.

Additionally, the UN has described the current level of hunger in Yemen as “unprecedented,” emphasizing that 17 million people were food insecure in the country.

The world body says that 6.8 million, meaning almost one in four people, do not have enough food and rely entirely on external assistance.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

NDP marches with USA on Venezuela

By Yves Engler · February 13, 2018

Has it become NDP policy to support US-backed coups in Latin America?

The Canadian social democratic party’s foreign critic Hélène Laverdière has certainly remained silent regarding US leaders musing about a military coup or invasion of Venezuela and has openly supported asphyxiating the left-wing government through other means.

At the start of the month US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the military to oust President Nicolás Maduro. “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” Tillerson said in a speech, which included a quip about Maduro being sent to Cuba.

I found no criticism of Tillerson’s speech by Laverdière. The 15-year Foreign Affairs diplomat also stayed mum when Donald Trump threatened to invade Venezuela in the summer. “We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary,” the US President said.

Laverdière has also failed to challenge Canadian sanctions on Venezuela, which followed a similar move by the US. In a move that probably violated the UN and OAS charters, in September the elected president, vice president and 38 other Venezuelan officials had their assets in Canada frozen and Canadians were barred from having financial relations with these individuals. Two months later 19 Venezuelan officials were sanctioned under the just adopted Magnitsky Act, which Laverdière and the NDP backed.

Nor did I find any criticism of Canada’s role in the so-called Lima Group of anti-Venezuelan foreign ministers. Laverdière remained silent when foreign minister Chrystia Freeland organized a meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto four months ago.

She also ignored Canada’s role in directly financing an often-unsavoury Venezuelan opposition. A specialist in social media and political transition, outgoing Canadian ambassador Ben Rowswell told the Ottawa Citizen in August: “We established quite a significant internet presence inside Venezuela, so that we could then engage tens of thousands of Venezuelan citizens in a conversation on human rights. We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out.”

The NDP foreign critic also stayed mum when the federal government expelled Venezuelan diplomats’ from Canada in December.

Instead, Laverdière has repeatedly found cause to criticize Venezuela and call on Ottawa to do more to undermine Maduro’s government. She publicized and spoke to the weirdly themed “Demonstration for human and democratic rights in Venezuela in solidarity with Ukraine and Syria” and called Venezuela’s vice-president “a drug lord” from whom “the American government has seized billions of dollars of his assets for drug trafficking.”

Amidst opposition protests in the summer, Laverdière told CBC, “we would like to see the [Canadian] government be more active in … calling for the release of political prisoners, the holding of elections and respecting the National Assembly.”

Laverdière’s statement ignored the death and destruction caused by opposition protesters and the opposition’s effort to hamstring the government after it won control of the National Assembly in 2015.

At a foreign affairs committee meeting in June Laverdière responded to an anti-Venezuela screed by saying “I share many of his concerns.” Amongst a series of outrageous claims against the leftist government, Peter Kent told the committee: “As so many dictators have done over the centuries, Chávez blamed Venezuela’s small but dynamic Jewish community for stealing the wealth of the country. His henchmen endorsed the Holocaust.”

In June 2016 Laverdière put out a press release bemoaning “the erosion of democracy” and the need for Ottawa to “defend democracy in Venezuela”. In it Laverdière said, “the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding Venezuela, and Canada, as a member of the OAS, should support his efforts.” But, the former Uruguayan Foreign Minister’s actions as head of the OAS were highly controversial. They even prompted Almagro’s past boss, former Uruguayan president José Mujica, to condemn his bias against the Venezuelan government.

Amidst three months of violent right wing protests at the start of 2014, then NDP Americas critic Laverdière presented a position to the House of Commons titled “Human Rights in Venezuela” and sponsored a House of Commons resolution (slightly re-worded and reintroduced two days later by then foreign critic Paul Dewar) asking, ” the Government of Canada to urge Venezuelan authorities to proactively de-escalate the conflict, protect the human rights and democratic freedoms of Venezuelan citizens, release all those detained during the protests, immediately cease all government interference with peaceful protesters, and ensure that those people who perpetrated the violence be brought to justice and bear the full weight of the law.”

After the opposition once again cried foul when they lost the 2013 presidential election, Laverdière accused the Stephen Harper government of being soft on Venezuela (only elections the right wing wins are fair, in the eyes of large swaths of the opposition and Laverdière). “Canada’s silence is striking,” she told Ipolitics. “They had views on President Chávez, but now they don’t seem to actually care what’s happening in the country.”

In what may be the first ever resolution to an NDP convention calling for the removal of a party critic, the NDP Socialist Caucus has submitted a motion to next weekend’s convention titled “Hands Off Venezuela, Remove Hélène Laverdière as NDP Foreign Affairs Critic.” It notes: “Be It Resolved that the NDP actively oppose foreign interference in Venezuela, defend Venezuela’s right to self-determination, reject alignment with U.S. policy in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and beyond, and request the immediate removal of MP Hélène Laverdière as NDP Foreign Affairs Critic.”

NDP members who oppose imperialism need to challenge Laverdière’s support for Washington and Ottawa’s efforts to topple Venezuela’s elected government.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments