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Venezuela Rejects Trump’s Renewal of Obama “Extraordinary Threat” Designation

Venezuelanalysis | March 5, 2018

Venezuela issued a statement Saturday slamming the Trump administration for its renewal of an executive order branding the South American country an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security.

“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces the continued aggression of the U.S. regime by extending the executive order that qualifies Venezuela as an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ to U.S. security,” reads the text of a communique issued by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry.

On Friday, the White House opted to renew for a third time Executive Order 13692, which was originally signed by President Barack Obama on March 8, 2015. The decree declares a “national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela” and authorizes the application of U.S. sanctions.

Caracas hit back at Washington, describing the latest executive order as intended to “promote and justify the overthrow of the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.”

“By extending the executive order, the U.S. regime intends to present itself as a victim, when the entire world recognizes it as the great victimizer. Washington assumes aggression and has transformed the world into an increasingly insecure place, which represents a real threat to international peace and security.”

Renewing the executive order, the statement continues, is a “crime of aggression punishable by international law” that seeks to encourage foreign intervention in Venezuela’s affairs and sway the outcome of May 20 elections.

At the same time, Bolivian President Evo Morales posted a message on Twitter deriding the U.S. government’s latest gesture against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“The United States qualifies our sister Venezuela as a ‘threat,’ but with the United States’ background of financing coups, manipulating elections in 81 countries and killing hundreds of thousands with atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States is the real threat to the world,” Morales wrote.

The renewal of the executive order comes as the Trump administration says it is “considering a lot of different economic and diplomatic options in dealing with Venezuela.”

“We have said we are considering all options to restore democracy to Venezuela, including individual and potentially financial sanctions,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press conference on Thursday.

Edited and with additional reporting by
Source: teleSUR English

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Mark Galeotti’s response to Putin’s plea for reason: lies & penis jokes

By Catte | OffGuaurdian | March 4, 2018

The Guardian produced two responses to Putin’s speech of March 1, in which he both unveiled far-reaching new Russia weapons systems and used this as a platform to (once again) plead for an end to Western warmongering. Both of them display both the intellectual/educational/ethical impoverishment of the authors (an impoverishment that is now systematic in corporate media), but also the completely delusional world they inhabit. Today we take a look at Mark Galeotti’s Putin’s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.

Mark Galeotti, who is apparently (believe it or not) “senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and head of its Centre for European Security” went full idiot in the Guardian yesterday with a short piece entitled Putin’s new arms race is all about his need to be taken seriously.

The mere fact the title carries with it the implication that we don’t need to take the elected president of the largest country in the world with enough nuclear weapons to eradicate all life in earth “seriously” is enough to tell us all about the level of Mark’s contact with veridical reality. He clearly lives in that well-populated Washington/Langley logic-free dream zone where Russia is both a dangerous rogue state with enough reach to “hack” the US election and “attack” America, and a silly little rusty nowhere country to be mocked and patronised into oblivion.

In this piece Mark’s taking the ‘Nowheresville’ tack with added and cringe worthy willy jokes.

He tells us the weapons Putin talked about might sound “terrifying” but that’s ok because they probably won’t work (you know, much like the F-35), and anyhow, the animations in the presentation were “clunky”, and gee gosh, it’s all so frickin funny. Except (abrupt change of take in para 4) it is actually quite a “serious” shopping list that (no discernible irony) “go[es] against the letter or spirit of arms control treaties”. But then, just as abruptly, (para 5) it’s funny again, because…

It is easy to wonder, with a snigger, quite for what Putin is (over)compensating.

In case his sledgehammer wit is too subtle for you, Mark means Putin has a small penis. Yes, apparently he really thinks this comment says more about Putin’s manhood than about Mark Galeotti and his imbecilic reductionism.

But Mark doesn’t just use denial and penis jokes to make his case – he also lies. He describes the president whose government managed to reduce poverty by 75% in 14 years, raise the birth rate, rebuild industries and increase national incomes as a “failure” as a “nation-builder.” He calls the man with a 60-80% approval rating a “failure” as a statesman, and the man who has averted world war at least once during is years in office, a “failure” as a “peacemaker.” Because, of course, in Mark’s dream zone reality consists of whatever you choose to say is true.

But the lie that really tells us what we are up against is this one:

Perhaps the most telling line, after all was when [Putin] directly connected this armament programme with his efforts to make the world, which really means Washington, acknowledge Russia’s status as a great power: “Nobody wanted to listen to us. Well, listen to us now.”

Hmmm. Let’s just put that cherry-picked quote back into its real context, shall we? Re-insert a few words Mark left out. This is what Putin actually said:

No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now.

“The core of the problem” he’s referring to is the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty and its deployment of the Aegis system. It’s clear to anyone who reads Putin’s speech and has listened to anything he has said on the topic for the last sixteen years, that he is very very worried the effective cancellation of the MAD doctrine might result in a nuclear war. It’s clear he sees the restitution of balance to be as much about reducing that risk as about defending his homeland.

The fact Mark either doesn’t understand these basic facts or thinks it’s safe to ignore them is in truth a personification of that massive “problem”. And until Washington and its babbling idiot mouthpieces can wake up to this, realise they don’t actually “make a new reality” simply by talking about it, the future of the human race continues to hang by a thread.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

NYPD Exposed: Hundreds of Officers Who Lied, Assaulted People Kept Jobs

Sputnik – 05.03.2018

Secret files leaked from the New York Police Department (NYPD) have revealed that more than 300 NYPD officers who lied, cheated, stole from or assaulted civilians from 2011 through 2015 were allowed to stay on the force.

BuzzFeed News published an expose Monday based on information garnered from filtering through hundreds of pages of secret international NYPD files that were leaked to the news organization by an anonymous source. The file content was fact-checked by making more than 100 phone calls, interviewing prosecutors, reviewing court records and even visiting officers’ homes.

At least 50 staffers allegedly lied on official reports or under oath and 38 were found guilty of using excessive force by an internal police tribunal. In addition, 57 staffers were found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and 71 were charged with ticket-fixing, a practice in which public officials dismiss or destroy traffic tickets to help family members or friends. One officer even threatened to kill someone, while another sexually harassed a fellow officer. At least 24 of the staffers were allegedly involved in harassing students or selling drugs in schools.

According to BuzzFeed, one officer in the Bronx was accused of atrociously beating a man with his police baton after the victim verbally insulted him in 2009. The man ended up with a deep wound that required 12 staples to close. The same officer was also accused of wrongly arresting another individual, assaulting a third and falsifying evidence against a fourth. In response to his actions, the officer was forced to forgo 45 vacation days. However, he remains on patrol, earning close to $120,000 a year.

In fact, all of the cops who faced disciplinary hearings for their actions were allowed to keep their jobs at their regular salaries, only being assigned “dismissal probations” by police commissioners, making them ineligible for promotion. However, that probation period usually lasted for only a year, according to the documents. Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly were named as the NYPD commissioners between 2011 and 2015.

According to BuzzFeed, the documents were kept out of the public record through the use of a state law to protect “personal records.”

New York is one of only three states, along with Delaware and California, that has such a law allowing police misconduct records to remain hidden from the public.

“The department is not interested in terminating officers that don’t need to be terminated. We’re interested in keeping employees and making our employees obey the rules and do the right thing,” Kevin Richardson, deputy commissioner of the department advocate’s office, told BuzzFeed News in a recent statement.

“But where there are failing that we realize this person should be separated from the department, this police commissioner and the prior police commissioner have shown a willingness to do that,” he added.

Richardson also added that since he joined the department in 2014, he has tried to improve the process by reassessing the penalties given to officers guilty of misconduct.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Corruption | , | 5 Comments

The Lies and Self-deceptions at Work Within Israel’s “Moral” Army

By Jonathan Cook | The National | March 5, 2018

It is has been a very bad week for those claiming Israel has the most moral army in the world. Here’s a small sample of abuses of Palestinians in recent days in which the Israeli army was caught lying.

A child horrifically injured by soldiers was arrested and terrified into signing a false confession that he was hurt in a bicycle accident. A man who, it was claimed, had died of tear-gas inhalation was actually shot at point-blank range, then savagely beaten by a mob of soldiers and left to die. And soldiers threw a tear gas canister at a Palestinian couple, baby in arms, as they fled for safety during a military invasion of their village.

In the early 2000s, at the dawn of the social media revolution, Israelis used to dismiss filmed evidence of brutality by their soldiers as fakery. It was what they called “Pallywood” – a conflation of Palestinian and Hollywood.

In truth, however, it was the Israeli military, not the Palestinians, that needed to manufacture a more convenient version of reality.

Last week, it emerged, Israeli officials had conceded to a military court that the army had beaten and locked up a group of Palestinian reporters as part of an explicit policy of stopping journalists from covering abuses by its soldiers.

Israel’s deceptions have a long history. Back in the 1970s, a young Juliano Meir-Khamis, later to become one of Israel’s most celebrated actors, was assigned the job of carrying a weapons bag on operations in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. When Palestinian women or children were killed, he placed a weapon next to the body.

In one incident, when soldiers playing around with a shoulder-launcher fired a missile at a donkey, and the 12-year-old girl riding it, Meir-Khamis was ordered to put explosives on their remains.

That occurred before the Palestinians’ first mass uprising against the occupation erupted in the late 1980s. Then, the defence minister Yitzhak Rabin – later given a Hollywood-style makeover himself as a peacemaker – urged troops to “break the bones” of Palestinians to stop their liberation struggle.

The desperate, and sometimes self-sabotaging, lengths Israel takes to try to salvage its image were underscored last week when 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi was grabbed from his bed in a night raid.

Back in December he was shot in the face by soldiers during an invasion of his village of Nabi Saleh. Doctors saved his life, but he was left with a misshapen head and a section of skull missing.

Mohammed’s suffering made headlines because he was a bit-player in a larger drama. Shortly after he was shot, a video recorded his cousin, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, slapping a soldier nearby after he entered her home.

Ahed, who is in jail awaiting trial, was already a Palestinian resistance icon. Now she has become a symbol too of Israel’s victimisation of children.

So, Israel began work on recrafting the narrative: of Ahed as a terrorist and provocateur.

It emerged that a government minister, Michael Oren, had even set up a secret committee to try to prove that Ahed and her family were really paid actors, not Palestinians, there to “make Israel look bad”. The Pallywood delusion had gone into overdrive.

Last week events took a new turn as Mohammed and other relatives were seized, even though he is still gravely ill. Dragged off to an interrogation cell, he was denied access to a lawyer or parent.

Shortly afterwards, Israel produced a signed confession stating that Mohammed’s horrific injuries were not Israel’s responsibility but wounds inflicted in a bicycle crash.

Yoav Mordechai, the occupation’s top official, trumpeted proof of a Palestinian “culture of lies and incitement”. Mohammed’s injuries were “fake news”, the Israeli media dutifully reported.

Deprived of a justification for slapping an occupation soldier, Ahed can now be locked away by military judges. Except that witnesses, phone records and hospital documentation, including brain scans, all prove that Mohammed was shot.

This was simply another of Israellywood’s endless productions to automatically confer guilt on Palestinians. The hundreds of children on Israel’s incarceration production line each year have to sign confessions – or plea bargains – to win jail-sentence reductions from courts with near-100% conviction rates.

It is more Franz Kafka than Hollywood.

A second army narrative unravelled last week. CCTV showed Yasin Saradih, 35, being shot at point-blank range during an invasion of Jericho, then savagely beaten by soldiers as he lay wounded, and left to bleed to death.

It was an unexceptional incident. A report by Amnesty International last month noted that many of the dozens of Palestinians killed in 2017 appeared to be victims of extra-judicial executions.

Before footage of Saradih’s killing surfaced, the army issued a series of false statements, including that he died from tear-gas inhalation, received first-aid treatment and was armed with a knife. The video disproves all of that.

Over the past two years, dozens of Palestinians, including women and children, have been shot in similarly suspicious circumstances. Invariably the army concludes that they were killed while attacking soldiers with a knife – Israel even named this period of unrest a “knife intifada”.

Are soldiers today carrying a “knife bag”, just as Meir-Khamis once carried a weapons bag?

A half-century of occupation has not only corrupted generations of teenage Israeli soldiers who have been allowed to lord it over Palestinians. It has also needed an industry of lies and self-deceptions to make sure the consciences of Israelis are never clouded by a moment of doubt – that maybe their army is not so moral after all.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 9 Comments

The spin machine behind Saudi Arabia’s ‘humanitarian aid plan’ for Yemen

By Dan Glazebrook | Middle East Eye | March 2, 2018

On 22 January, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen unveiled a new plan to deliver “unprecedented relief to the people of Yemen”.

The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) is a new “aid” programme with the ostensible aim of “addressing immediate aid shortfalls while simultaneously building capacity for long-term improvement of humanitarian aid and commercial goods imports to Yemen”.

This will primarily be done through increasing the “capacities of Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian as well as commercial imports” – and all sealed with a whopping $1.5bn in aid contributions. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Starvation politics

The problem here is not only that the funding required to meet the needs created by the Saudi-led coalition is estimated by the UN to be twice that amount. The real problem is that the plan will not, in fact, increase the imports on which Yemen is utterly dependent, but reduce them still further.

This is because the much-vaunted “improvements in port capacity” will apply solely to “coalition-controlled ports”, excluding the ports outside their control – Hodeidah and Saleef – which, between them, handle about 80 percent of Yemen’s imports.

For these, absolutely critical, ports, the plan explicitly states that it wants a reduction in the flow of cargo they handle: by around 200 metric tons per month, compared to mid-2017 levels. Yes, you heard correctly: cargo levels in mid-2017 – when 130 children were dying each day from malnutrition and other preventable diseases largely caused by the limits on imports already in place – are now deemed in need of further, major, reductions.

This plan is nothing less than a systematisation of the starvation politics of which the Saudis were accused by the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen in relation to their closure of Hodeidah and Saleef in November.

Back then, noted the panel’s final report, all Yemen’s ports had been closed following a Houthi missile attack on Riyadh airport. But while coalition-controlled ports were quickly reopened, Hodeidah and Saleef remained closed for weeks.

“This had the effect,” said the panel, “of using the threat of starvation as an instrument of war.” Today, the “Comprehensive Operations” plan envisages making permanent the juxtaposition of wilful starvation of Houthi-controlled territory (in which the vast majority of Yemenis live) and “generous” aid deliveries into coalition-controlled territories.

Spin masters

These are the same “methods of barbarism” as were employed by the British in the Boer war – when Boer-controlled territories were subjected to scorched earth policies of torching farms and destroying livestock – and then revived for Britain’s colonial wars in Malaya, Kenya and, indeed, Yemen in the 1950s-60s. Small wonder Britain is so deeply involved today.

But such a strategy will surely be hard to sell in this day and age. Certainly, the Saudis seem to think so, which is presumably why they have employed a plethora of PR agencies to help them do so.

An exceptional investigation by the IRIN news agency reported that “the press release journalists received announcing the [YCHO] plan came neither from the coalition itself nor from Saudi aid officials”.

It came, along with an invitation to visit Yemen, straight from a British PR agency. The investigation also revealed that the PowerPoint presentation used to introduce the YCHO to high-level UN officials was authored by Nicholas Nahas, of Booz Allen Hamilton, a US management consultancy with long-established links to the US government (including involvement in the illegal SWIFT and PRISM mass surveillance programmes). The consultancy currently has, says IRIN, “35 job listings in Riyadh on its website, including ‘military planner'”.

This role requires the applicant to: “Provide military and planning advice and expertise to support the coordination of joint counter threat operations executed by coalition member nations and facilitate resourcing to enable operations.”

Another PR company involved in “selling” the YCHO, long on the Saudi payroll, is Washington DC-based Qorvis MSLGroup. According to IRIN’s report, the company “booked US revenue of more than $6m from the Saudi Arabian embassy [in the US] over a 12-month period up to September 2017”.

These masters of spin have certainly been busy: their work on the plan has been delivered to “the offices of major INGOs in the UK as well as to members of the UK parliament”, and YCHO accounts have been set up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Gmail.

The YCHO Twitter account has around 10,000 followers; but, says the IRIN investigation, “almost half of YCHO’s followers have less than 10 followers themselves, while some 1,000 followers were accounts created on the same day in 2016 – signs that a significant number of bots or fakes are inflating YCHO’s popularity”.

“All of this,” concludes IRIN, “has fed suspicions that rather than a genuine attempt to help the people of Yemen, the plan is really intended more to gloss over the Hodeidah issue and improve Saudi Arabia’s battered image, or at least a bit of both.”

You would think a strategy aimed at starving the world’s most starved population still further would be a hard sell. But, then, money not only talks, it silences. And $1.5bn is a lot of money.

The UN response

The UN’s own Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, issued just two days before the YCHO, on 20 January, had noted that: “Al Hudaydah port, which accounts for 70-80 per cent of commercial imports in Yemen, remains a critical lifeline, despite operating at reduced capacity after being hit by an air strike in August 2015.”

The UN statement added that “the extended blockade imposed on Al Hudaydah and Salif ports on 6 November 2017 significantly threatened this lifeline of Yemenis” and that “only a sustained flow of imports of essential basic goods can avert further catastrophe”.

Yet the cash-strapped UN, facing dramatic budget cuts from the Trump administration, and presumably nervous of saying anything that might jeopardise Saudi-Emirati money as well, officially welcomed the announcement, despite its clear commitment to essentially tightening the very blockade of Hodeidah and Saleef ports which the UN had denounced just days earlier.

Politicising humanitarian aid

Thankfully, the aid agencies do not seem to have been fooled. A joint statement on the YCHO by a number of international NGOs, including Oxfam and Save the Children, stated that:

“We remain concerned that the blockade on Red Sea ports has still not been fully lifted and about the insufficient volume of fuel reaching these, which has led to an increase in the price of basic goods across the country.

“As a result, we are seeing families pushed into preventable disease and starvation because they cannot afford to buy food and clean water. Hodeidah port handles the majority of the country’s imports and cannot be substituted. It is vital that the warring parties commit to keep Hodeidah port fully open and functioning, including unfettered access for both humanitarian and commercial supplies.”

Save the Children’s Caroline Anning explained that the plan “is a misconception – in the publicity around this new plan they say the blockade around Hodeida port has been fully lifted but actually what we’re seeing is that fuel is still being blocked coming into that port which is having a really horrendous knock-on effect around the country.”

And the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s scathing response – issued with the title “Yemen: Saudi ‘aid’ plan is war tactic” – is worth quoting at length:

“The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO), announced on January 22, 2018, is neither comprehensive, nor reflective of clear, shared humanitarian priorities… The YCHO politicizes aid by attempting to consolidate control over access and transit points. Rather than endorsing a parallel plan, which was created without broad input from humanitarian actors, the Saudi Led Coalition (SLC) and its supporters, notably the US and UK, should work to ensure the full implementation of the existing UN humanitarian response plan.

“A meaningful response to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis requires more access – not less. At best, this plan would shrink access and introduce new inefficiencies that would slow the response and keep aid from the neediest Yemenis, including the over eight million on the brink of starvation,” said Catanzano.

“At worst, it would dangerously politicize humanitarian aid by placing far too much control over the response in the hands of an active party to the conflict.”

Essentially, this is a plan to tighten the blockade while monopolising access to aid in the hands of the aggressors, presented as a great humanitarian effort, and unveiled just as the coalition begins an attack on the country’s “vital lifeline” which will lead to “a complete horror show” and “near-certain famine”.

Tighten the blockade

On 9 February, the UN announced that 85,000 people had been displaced in 10 weeks due to “surging violence”, particularly on the Red Sea coast, where the coalition have mounted a new campaign to capture the country’s strategically important Hodeidah port.

With the Hodeidah campaign now entering a new phase, this war on the Yemeni population is set to escalate still further. Since it launched in early December, the coalition and its Yemeni assets have taken several towns and villages in Hodeidah province, and are now poised to take the battle to the city itself.

On 20 February, Emirati newspaper The National reported that, in the coming days, “more forces will be committed to Hodeidah as a new front is to be opened in the next few days by Maj Gen Tariq Mohammed Abdullah,” nephew of the deceased former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

This attack would put the almost completely import dependent country’s most essential port out of action for months, leaving millions unable to survive. “If this attack goes ahead,” Oxfam chief executive, Mark Goldring, told the press when a similar attack was proposed earlier last year, “this will be a deliberate act that will disrupt vital supplies – the Saudi-led coalition will not only breach International Humanitarian Law, they will be complicit in near certain famine.”

His colleague Suze Vanmeegan added that “any attack on Hodeidah has the potential to blast an already alarming crisis into a complete horror show – and I’m not using hyperbole.”

The Yemen Quartet

There is no doubt the war’s British and American overseers have given their blessing to this escalation. In late 2016, the “Yemen Quartet” was formed by the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to co-ordinate strategy between the the war’s four main aggressors.

Throughout 2017, they met sporadically, but since the end of the year their meetings have become more frequent and higher-level.

At the end of November, just before the launch of operations in Hodeidah province, British Foreign minister Boris Johnson hosted a meeting of the Quartet in London as British Prime Minister Theresa May simultaneously met with King Salman in Riyadh, presumably to give the go-ahead to this new round of devastation for Yemen’s beleaguered population.

They met again two weeks later, and then too on 23 January, also at Johnson’s instigation, where the meeting was attended, for the first time, by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The “economic quartet” – also attended by officials from the IMF and World Bank – convened on 2 February in Saudi Arabia, while Johnson and Tillerson once again met with their Saudi and Emirati counterparts to discuss Yemen in Bonn on 15 February.

Of course, these meetings do not carry out the nitty-gritty of strategic war planning – civil servants in the military and intelligence services do that. The purpose of such high level forums is rather for each side to demonstrate to the other that any strategic developments carry the blessing of each respective government at the highest level.

That the “quartet” met just days before an announcement that the long-planned attack on Hodeidah port was imminent, then, speaks volumes about US-UK complicity in this coming new premeditated war crime.

In the twisted minds of men like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Rex Tillerson and Boris Johnson – for whom even the liquidation of an entire people is apparently a noble cause in the pursuit of containing Iran – this is what passes for humanitarianism today.

– Dan Glazebrook is a political writer and editor of He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis and blogs at

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.


The starvation plan for Yemen

Culture of concealment: The UK government’s brazen duplicity in Yemen

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Listen to the Iraqi Parliament

By Ron Paul | March 5, 2018

This month marks the 15th anniversary of the US war on Iraq. The “shock and awe” attack was launched based on “stove-piped” intelligence fed from the CIA and Pentagon through an uncritical and compliant US mainstream media. The US media was a willing accomplice to this crime of aggression committed by the George W. Bush Administration.

Despite the lies we were constantly bombarded with, Iraq never presented a threat to the United States. Iraq never had the weapons of mass destruction that the neocons used to frighten Americans into supporting the war. How many of them knew all along that there were no WMDs? We’ll never know. Attacking Iraq and overthrowing its leader was long a plan in the neocon playbook and they used the 9/11 attack on the US as an excuse to pull the plan off the shelf and put it into action.

The US “regime change” war on Iraq has directly resulted in the death of at least a quarter of a million civilians, and indirectly perhaps a million Iraqis have been killed. The Iraqi infrastructure was destroyed and the country was set back many decades in development. Far from the democratization we were promised, Iraq has been turned into a hell on earth. Due to the US use of depleted uranium and other chemical weapons like white phosphorus, Iraqis will continue to suffer from birth defects and other related illnesses for generations.

How did we get there? War propaganda was essential in paving the way for the Iraq war. Americans are generally skeptical about launching new wars, so it takes a steady media bombardment about the alleged depravities of any targeted regime before public opinion begins to shift in favor of war.

Because the neocons who helped launch the war have never had to face the consequences of their actions, they continue to promote war with impunity. Just this past week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was pushing for a US attack on North Korea in which millions may be killed. He said this weekend, “All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” That’s just what they said before the US attacked Iraq, and how did that turn out? I find it disgusting that the media continues to give airtime almost exclusively to those who promote more US disasters like Iraq.

The Iraqi parliament did something extraordinary last week. A majority of elected Iraqi representatives voted to demand that their prime minister draw up a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from the country. President Obama had withdrawn US troops from Iraq in 2011, after a status of forces agreement could not be reached with the Iraqi government, but he returned the US military to Iraq under the auspices of fighting ISIS.

We had no business going into Iraq in the first place and we have no business remaining in Iraq. Al-Qaeda and ISIS emerged in Iraq because our attack and occupation of the country 15 years ago created fertile fields for extremism. Nothing will be achieved if we remain. Let’s listen to the Iraqis and just come home!

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

UK, US De Facto Confirmed Support of Syria Terrorists – Russian Diplomat

Sputnik – 05.03.2018

The United Kingdom and the United States de facto confirmed their support of terrorists in Syria by rejecting Russian amendments for the UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation in Eastern Ghouta, Russian permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva Gennady Gatilov told Sputnik.

“The amendments which we introduced should have been supported by all states which do not want the conflict to escalate, and those who sincerely want to achieve the resolution of the Syrian crisis and elimination of the terrorist threat. But the conclusion may be drawn that those who initiated this resolution are not interested in the resolution of the Eastern Ghouta crisis, and de facto continue supporting militants turning a blind eye to their crimes,” he said.

In a separate comment, Aleksei Goltiaev, a Senior Counselor at the Russian mission to the UN Office Geneva, said Monday that Moscow considers the UN HRC statement on the situation in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta “disconnected from the situation on the ground.”

The council voted in favor of adopting the UK-proposed draft resolution, rejecting amendments proposed by Russia. As many as 29 members of the council voted in favor of adopting the document, four officials voted against and 14 abstained.

Moscow proposed adding clauses to the resolution that states condemn all terrorist acts in Syria, including those in East Ghouta, and refuse to provide any support for terrorists on the territory of the country. Therefore, the refusal of the HRC members to accept Russia’s amendments shall be regarded by Moscow as an outright demonstration of support for terrorists.

In addition, Moscow had appealed to the states participating in the vote to add to the text of the resolution a paragraph on the crimes of militants against civilians in East Ghouta and to include a clause on humanitarian corridors to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians.

The draft resolution set forth by the UK condemns the massive violation of human rights in Syria. In particular, London proposed condemning attacks on medical facilities and civilian infrastructure, “airstrikes against civilians,” and the “alleged use of chemical weapons in East Ghouta.”

The vote in the HRC on the UK-proposed draft comes after, on February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2401 introducing a 30-day truce on the entire territory of Syria to ensure the safety of humanitarian aid and the medical evacuation of those injured. However, the ceasefire regime does not cover military operations against the Daesh, al-Qaeda, and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorist groups.

The humanitarian situation in the suburb east of the Syrian capital has drastically deteriorated since February 18, when Syrian government forces launched an operation codenamed “Damascus Steel,” in a bid to clear the region of militants. According to the Russian military, the terrorist groups in the region are purposely struggling to escalate the situation in East Ghouta, preventing civilians from leaving the area and provoking retaliatory fights against the Syrian government.


What Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About Eastern Ghouta

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘US accusations against Russia over E. Ghouta are escalation of information war’

RT | March 5, 2018

The West is trying to prolong the war in Syria and prevent the Syrian government from regaining control of Eastern Ghouta, investigative journalist Rick Sterling told RT.

On Sunday, the White House released a statement condemning the operation against militants in Ghouta and also blaming Russia and Iran for supporting the Syrian government.

“The United States condemns the ongoing military offensive that the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, is perpetrating against the people of Eastern Ghouta,” the White House said.

Meanwhile, the Russian military says only two children have managed to escape the besieged Syrian district of Eastern Ghouta, after Russia established a humanitarian corridor to help civilians find safe passage out of the region on Tuesday.

RT discussed the latest developments with Rick Sterling, investigative journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement.

RT: The White House statement blames Russia and the Syrian government for violating the ceasefire agreement. How reasonable is that charge?

Rick Sterling: The ceasefire agreement explicitly excludes the terror groups that basically dominate the region. In the areas where there are just civilians – that is where the ceasefire applies, in the areas where the terrorists are launching mortars into Damascus and are grouped that was explicitly excluded in point number 2 of the resolution.

RT: The statement also says Russia is killing civilians “under the false auspices of counterterrorism operations.” Do you think the White House seriously believes Russia wants to deliberately kill civilians? Even from a purely military point of view, what would there be to gain from that?

RS: The statement coming out on Sunday, it is a little bit unusual, a press release on Sunday. But it is an escalation of the information war, they make a reference to chemical weapons in there. Interestingly enough, the statement also includes a reference to Aleppo which is actually a very good comparison because the very same claims were being made 14 months ago in December of 2016. And when the armed opposition groups were finally expelled from Aleppo, it was learned that the civilians were really joyful at finally being liberated. And Aleppo today, the civilians are returning, they are rebuilding East Aleppo, the people walk about East and West Aleppo without fear. It is a good comparison because the same claims… are now being made about East Ghouta and it is basically a lot of false information, accusations without evidence and just let’s call it what it is – propaganda.

Aleppo central park, March 1, 2018 –

RT: Earlier, Syrian President Assad pointed out that the West shows concern for innocent life only when the Syrian Army is advancing. Why do you think that is?

RS: The whole point of view is very one-sided, of course. The major funder of the group Jaysh al-Islam and the Al-Nusra faction in East Ghouta is Saudi Arabia, which is, of course, a very sectarian reactionary country and so they are funding the war. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is very closely allied with the US, they are very biased on this, they’ve made no bones about it. They’ve been calling for regime change since the summer 2011. Basically, what we have going on here is a violation of international law. It is illegal internationally to fund a proxy army to try to overthrow a government you don’t like. That is coupled with an information war they’ve made a lot of accusations which are untrue.

RT: Damascus remains under periodic shelling by militants in Eastern Ghouta. Can this be brought under control?

RS: Definitely, in fact the Syrians, the elite ground forces of the Syrian Army, the Tiger Forces, are working there. So, the bombing of East Ghouta is really minimal in comparison, for example, to what the US air coalition did to Raqqa in East Syria. What the Syrian and the Russian air forces are doing in East Ghouta is a small fraction of the bombs that were dropped in Raqqa. What the Syrian Army is doing is that it is advancing more on the ground… And we are probably looking at weeks or months before the liberation of East Ghouta. Sadly, what is going on now is that the West is trying to prolong the war and prevent the Syrian government from regaining control of that region…

Read more:

White House accuses Russia of ‘killing civilians’ in E. Ghouta, Syria in ’20 daily’ bombing runs

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

‘Russian doping’-themed documentary wins Oscar in politicized ceremony

RT | March 5, 2018

“Icarus,” a documentary that credits claims of Russian state-sponsored athletics doping won an Oscar at the highly politicized awards ceremony. It beat another film praising the controversial White Helmets in Syria’s Aleppo.

‘Icarus’ director Bryan Fogel and producer Dan Cogan picked up their statuette at Sunday night’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The film sees Fogel solicit the help of fugitive former Russian anti-doping chief Grigory Rodchenkov to win an amateur cycling race using performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodchenkov’s appearance in the film is notable given that he is in hiding under a US witness protection program after making his claims about a “state-sponsored doping program” allegedly active in Russia. According to Rodchenkov, FSB agents used arcane sample-swapping tactics to help Russian athletes cheat at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Upon these claims, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, working for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) constructed a damning report, which led to Olympic officials banning the entire Russian track and field team from the 2016 summer games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and placing severe limitations on the country’s participation in this year’s winter games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.

Rodchenko is “a fearless whistleblower who now lives in grave danger,” Fogel claimed, “We hope Icarus is a wake up call, yes about Russia, but in the importance of telling the truth, now more than ever.”

Also nominated for the award was ‘Last Men in Aleppo,’ a film glorifying the activities of the US and British-backed group, the White Helmets, a supposedly virtuous volunteer organization that was plagued by allegations of terrorist connections while the Syrian Army liberated the city from terrorists in 2016.

Producer Kareem Abeed said he was almost prevented from joining Director Feras Fayyad at the awards due to President Donald Trump’s visa ban on several Middle Eastern and African countries, as well as North Korea and Venezuela. “On the last day of February, we got a visa and it really surprised us,” he told the entertainment website Deadline. “Save Ghouta” placards held by filmmakers further politicized the red carpet event.

This isn’t the first time the White Helmets grabbed the Academy spotlight. Last year, Britain’s Orlando von Einsiedel won the best short documentary award with ‘The White Helmets.’

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the ceremony with a partisan speech attacking the Republican party, Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.

“The stunning Lupita Nyong’o, she was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya,” Kimmel said of the Black Panther star. “Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!”

“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money,” he said of the gay romance nominated for best picture. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 5 Comments