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The Mystery of Robert Knudsen

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 6, 2018

On January 29, 1989, the Washington Post published an obituary of Robert Knudsen, which stated in part:

Robert LeRoy Knudsen, 61, a retired photographer with the White House staff, where he served for 28 years, died Jan. 27 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Annandale. Mr. Knudsen had provided photographic coverage of every president from Harry Truman to Richard M. Nixon, and his photographs chronicled most of the major events at the White House for nearly three decades. He photographed President Truman’s election in 1948 and the election of President Eisenhower in 1952. His pictures included Eisenhower’s meeting with Nikita Krushchev in 1959, the first steps of John F. Kennedy Jr., and President Kennedy’s autopsy. Mr. Knudsen photographed the weddings of Linda and Luci Johnson and Tricia Nixon’s White House wedding. He accompanied President Nixon on his historic trips to China and the Soviet Union in 1972, and photographed Nixon’s farewell in 1974.

Two days later, the New York Times published an obituary of Knudsen, which stated in part:

Mr. Knudsen worked on the White House photography staff in five administrations: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Among his most celebrated photographs were the first pictures of John F. Kennedy’s son, John Jr., walking in the Oval Office at the age of 18 months in May 1962. He photographed the 1948 and 1952 elections of Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the historic 1959 meeting between Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev, the autopsy of the slain President Kennedy in 1963, President Nixon’s 1972 trips to China and the Soviet Union, Mr. Nixon’s 1974 farewell in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the White House weddings of three daughters of Presidents, Lynda and Luci Johnson and Tricia Nixon.

The pertinent parts of those two obituaries, insofar as this article is concerned, are the following:

Washington Post: “He photographed … President Kennedy’s autopsy.”

New York Times: “He photographed … the autopsy of the slain President Kennedy in 1963.”

According to information provided to the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the 1990s by Knudsen’s wife and children, on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Knudsen received a telephone call summoning him to Andrews Air Force Base, where the president’s body was being delivered from Dallas on Air Force One.

His family said that Knudsen was gone for three days. When he returned home, he told his family that he had photographed the autopsy of President Kennedy. He also told them that he could not provide any further information because he had been sworn to secrecy. Mrs. Knudsen told the ARRB that her husband treated classified information just like the military does — that he would take it to the grave with him without ever revealing it to anyone.

In 1977, a national photography magazine, Popular Photography, published an interview with Knudsen in which he stated that he had photographed the president’s autopsy and that it was “the hardest assignment of my life.”

No one has ever questioned the integrity, veracity, or competence of Robert Knudsen. He was highly respected, both personally and professionally. It would be difficult to find a more credible witness than Robert Knudsen.

There is one big problem, however: Knudsen did not photograph the president’s autopsy. The official autopsy photographer was John T. Stringer, a highly respected autopsy photographer for the U.S. Navy who taught photography at the Bethesda Naval Medical School. It is undisputed that Stringer photographed the president’s autopsy and that Knudsen wasn’t even at the autopsy.

What then are we to make of this? Why would Knudsen make up a story that could easily be exposed as false? Why would he take the chance of sullying the reputation for integrity that he had built up over the decades? Why would he risk a highly prestigious job as a White House photographer by lying about having been the official photographer for the Kennedy autopsy? Why would he give a false story to a national photography magazine knowing that it would be easy to expose the falsity of it? Why didn’t anyone in the U.S. military, which conducted the president’s autopsy, come forward and expose Knudsen’s story as false?

In the 1970s, Knudsen was summoned to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which was reinvestigating the Kennedy assassination. During his testimony, Knudsen was shown autopsy photographs that are in the official autopsy record.

According to his wife and children, Knudsen returned home and indicated to his family that autopsy photographs he had been shown during his testimony were fraudulent. He said that there were clearly some shenanigans going on and that if anything were ever to blow up, he wanted his family to know that he had had nothing to do with it. Protecting his integrity within his family was obviously extremely important to Robert Knudsen.

If Knudsen was telling the truth, and there is no reason to doubt that he was, then it is clear that on the weekend of the assassination, he photographed a procedure that he believed was the president’s autopsy and that he was made to believe was the president’s autopsy but actually wasn’t the president’s autopsy. It is also clear that whoever convinced Knudsen to believe that he was photographing the official autopsy also swore Knudsen to secrecy by telling him that the entire procedure he was photographing was classified.

The mystery of Robert Knudsen is compounded by the testimony before the ARRB of Saundra Spencer. She was a U.S. Navy petty officer who worked in the U.S. Navy’s photography lab in Washington, D.C., in 1963. She had a top-secret security clearance and worked closely with the White House on top-secret, classified photographs. No one has ever questioned the integrity, professionalism, and competence of Saundra Spencer. As with Knudsen, it would be difficult to find a more credible witness than Saundra Spencer.

The reason that Spencer was summoned to testify before the ARRB in the 1990s is that the ARRB had learned that on the weekend of the assassination, she had been asked, on a top-secret basis, to develop autopsy photographs of President Kennedy’s body. Pursuant to the culture of secrecy and classified information in the military, Spencer kept her role in developing those autopsy photographs secret for some 30 years, until she was summoned to testify before the ARRB.

During her testimony, Spencer was shown the official autopsy photographs of the President’s body. After carefully examining them, she testified directly and unequivocally that the autopsy photographs in the official record were not the ones that she developed on the weekend of the assassination. She stated that the autopsy photographs she developed showed a large exit-sized wound in the back of President Kennedy’s head, which matched what treating physicians at Parkland Hospital had stated. The photographs in the official record show the back of Kennedy’s head to be fully intact. A large exit-sized wound in the back of the president’s head would, of course, imply a shot fired from the president’s front.

After Spencer’s testimony before the ARRB, no one came forward to challenge, question, or dispute the truthfulness and accuracy of her testimony.

What are we to make of Knudsen and Spencer?

There are two conclusions that can be reasonably drawn: First, the official autopsy of President Kennedy, which was carried out by the U.S. military, was fraudulent and, second, there is no conceivable innocent explanation for having carried out a fraudulent autopsy.

For more information, see my book The Kennedy Autopsy.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

German officials join UK and US establishment worried how Trump-Putin summit will affect NATO

RT | July 7, 2018

German politicians are nervous over the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, fearing the US president could take actions that are not in line with NATO, echoing concerns across the channel and the Atlantic.

Ahead of the meeting on July 16 in Helsinki, several German officials expressed their worry in interviews with newspapers throughout the country. The transatlantic coordinator for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, Peter Beyer, told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers that “there are great concerns in the alliance about what agreements Trump and Putin could reach” during the summit, and he lamented that NATO member states had not been included in the planning.

He said that Trump would let Putin “put one over on him” during the meeting in Helsinki, using the US president’s recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as justification for his rather frank comment.

“Kim has only made promises thus far. We don’t know if he has stopped enriching uranium. Only Trump has billed the summit as such as a success,” said Beyer, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats Union (CDU).

Beyer isn’t alone when it comes to concerns surrounding the meeting and the apparent belief that the two leaders can’t simply meet in the same way that other world leaders meet every day – and the same way German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with both Trump and Putin on numerous occasions.

Christian Lindner, the head of Germany’s Free Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk in an interview that he did not trust Trump, and that his actions in the areas of trade and security were not in Washington’s long-term interest.

“He is too volatile…within 24 hours, Mr. Trump can change his position by 180 degrees,” Christian Lindner, the head of the Free Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk. He called for Europe, as the world’s largest single economic zone, to take a united stance and act as a counterweight to Trump and Putin. The EU is currently in loggerheads with the US over tariffs on aluminum, steel and other goods.

And then there’s Wolfgang Ischinger, the head of the Munich Security Conference and a former German envoy to Washington, who expressed concern that Trump might refuse to sign a communique at next week’s NATO summit in Brussels. “It cannot be ruled out,” he told Die Welt in a clear reference to Trump refusing to sign the document from G7 meeting in June.

Amid all this scaremongering, Merkel herself said in a Saturday video address that Germany “would like to have reasonable relations with Russia. That is why we will always have discussions in the NATO-Russia Council.” She expressed her support for NATO in the next breath, saying it is needed in the 21st century “as a guarantor of our transatlantic alliance,” and stating that it “must show determination to defend itself.”

The comments come as Trump continues to pressure NATO states to pay their fair share towards the alliance, as Washington currently accounts for more than two-thirds of all defense spending by NATO members. It is one of only six countries to meet the two percent GDP quota.

A page out of Britain’s book

The comments by German officials come less than two weeks after The Times reported that the UK also fears that Trump will undermine NATO by striking a “peace deal” with Putin during the meeting. It cited cabinet ministers who are worried that the Russian president could persuade Trump to downgrade US military commitments in Europe, thus compromising NATO countries’ defense against so-called “Russian aggression.”

Alexander Bartosh, a military expert and former Russian diplomat, told RT that such concerns would come as no surprise, as the UK “has been one of the most active supporters of a hard line towards Russia.” He added that the UK feels “a certain loss of its weight in Europe and tries to turn Russia into a kind of boogeyman, seeing the ‘Russian threat’ as a unifying factor for nations, looking for closer ties with London.”

Bartosh also noted that the meeting between the two leaders will merely include trying to find a “unifying agenda for the US and Russia because the relations of the two countries affect not only their own well-being, but international security as a whole… none of the sides will be aiming to undermine the integrity of NATO.”

Trouble on the homefront

It’s not just Europe that fears what could happen in the meeting between Trump and Putin. Even former CIA director John Brennan told MSNBC last week that Trump “is not sophisticated enough” to deal with Moscow.

“I must tell you the Russians will feign sincerity better than anyone I’ve ever dealt with in my life. So I would be very careful about being swept in and I think Mr. Trump is not sophisticated enough, unfortunately, to deal with these foreign leaders in a manner that is going to protect US national security interests. I think he’s naive in these issues,” he said.

In fact, many within the US establishment dread the possibility of the summit succeeding, political analyst and media and government affairs specialist Jim Jatras wrote in an op-ed for RT.

Jatras noted that Trump’s desire to actually get along with Russia sounded alarms long before he won the 2016 election. “US reconciliation with Russia would yank the rug out from under the phony justifications for spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually to counter a ‘threat’ that ceased to exist over a quarter century ago,” he wrote.

Journalist Neil Clark voiced a similar point in his own op-ed for RT, stating that a successful summit simply won’t do, because Russia “must always be regarded as the enemy – unless of course it does absolutely everything the West demands of it.” And while he noted that positive moves between Moscow and Washington would be celebrated by ordinary folks, he stated that defense industry lobbyists wouldn’t be nearly as enthused.

Read more:

Who’s afraid of a Trump-Putin summit? – by Stephen Cohen

US establishment in hysterics that Trump-Putin summit might succeed

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas rejects any plan to separate Gaza from West Bank

Palestine Information Center – July 7, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has reiterated its rejection of any plan to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.

In Twitter remarks on Saturday, member of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk said that his Movement rejects the US-backed deal of the century that seeks to separate Gaza from the rest of Palestine.

Abu Marzouk added that his Movement wants a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital, and wants a durable Palestinian reconciliation based on political partnership and unity in the face of the occupation.

He also said that Hamas wants to see Israel’s blockade and the Palestinian Authority’s sanctions on Gaza lifted and all the problems which the population suffer from solved.

For about 12 years, the Israeli occupation state have been imposing a tight siege on Gaza, while Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has slapped, for politically motivated reasons, economic sanctions on Gaza for over a year.

Abbas and his government in Ramallah refuse to respond to all Palestinian factions’ calls for lifting their inhumane sanctions on Gaza.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 3 Comments

French shipping firm pulls out of Iran due to US sanctions threat

MEMO | July 7, 2018

French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to renew sanctions on companies operating in the country, its chief executive said on Saturday.

Some other big shipping companies like A.P. Moller-Maersk have already said they would halt business ahead of a reimposition of sanctions following the United States’ decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

“Due to the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service for Iran,” CMA CGM chief Rodolphe Saade said during an economic conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.

“Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a little, so maybe they have a different relationship with Trump, but we apply the rules,” Saade said.

He added that his company’s cooperation agreement with local Iranian partner IRISL had been suspended and that the company did not want to fall foul of the rules given their large presence in the United States.

He also said that the company had so far not seen an impact of trade tensions between China and the United States on shipping volumes, but was making preparations with a close eye on China and southeast Asia in case the situation deteriorated.

In May, the European Union announced measures that would enable it to avoid US sanctions on Iran or possibly block them. The measures are designed to avoid tens of billions of dollars in losses for European companies, which invested in Iran in the wake of the agreement, signed in 2015. However, this hasn’t stopped many large European companies and insitutions from bowing to US pressure, including the EU’s own bank.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

9/11 and the War on Terror: Israel’s History of False Flag Operations against the U.S.A.

By Christopher Bollyn | American Herald Tribune | July 7, 2018

“We have spent $7 trillion – trillion with a T – $7 trillion in the Middle East. You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing.” – President Donald Trump, April 28, 2018

Dear Mr. President,

As you said very clearly, the United States is bogged down in a costly quagmire in the Middle East, engaged in covert military operations in countries where there is no real U.S. interest. We have gained nothing from 17 years of war in which untold thousands have been killed or maimed and entire nations have been devastated. Our Middle East policy is disastrous and must be changed. If we don’t change our policy we can only expect more of the same – millions more refugees, thousands more dead, trillions more wasted.

In order to correct our policy we need to understand who got us into this mess in the first place. The 9/11 event as a false flag operation and the War on Terror campaign were both conceived by Israeli military intelligence in the 1970s under the leadership of Menachem Begin, the self-proclaimed “Father of Terrorism” and founder of the Likud party who became prime minister in 1977. War on Terror doctrine was rolled out in July 1979 at a Netanyahu Institute conference in Jerusalem. The Israeli trick was to get the U.S. military to neutralize and fragment its enemies, most notably Iraq and Syria, under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Since 1979, this devious plan has been openly promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu. On 9/11, War on Terror proponent Netanyahu told the New York Times that the terror atrocity was “very good” for U.S.-Israeli relations.

The Israelis have a long history of using false-flag terrorism against the United States:

  • 1954 JUL – The Lavon Affair: Israeli agents place bombs in U.S. and British libraries and institutions in Egypt in a false-flag operation meant to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • 1967 JUN – Israeli aircraft and ships attack the defenseless USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding 171, with the intention of sinking the ship – with no survivors – so that the blame could be assigned to Egypt.
  • 1983 OCT – A truck bomb kills 241 Marines in their barracks in Beirut. Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky says Mossad knew the details of the truck, the time, and location of the bombing, but only gave a general warning to the Americans. A nebulous “Islamic Jihad” group is blamed; Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger says U.S. has no knowledge who really did the bombing. This occurred one month after a single Marine stopped an Israeli tank column – some former Marines believe Israel organized the attack.
  • 1986 FEB – Mossad plants a radio relay device in an apartment in Tripoli, Libya, to send fake messages that appear to be from the Libyan government; U.S. intelligence is successfully tricked and President Reagan orders bombing of Libya.

1978 – Israeli agent Arnon Milchan‘s first film features a Boeing 747 crashing into the PanAm building. Months before 9/11 produces a film episode in which remote controlled airplanes hit buildings.

1979 JUL – Netanyahu Institute hosts conference on terrorism calling for U.S. military intervention in Middle East.

1979Isser Harel, founding chief of Israeli intelligence, predicts 9/11 attacks in New York City.

1982 FEB – Israeli Likud strategist Oded Yinon plan calls for the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq” and Balkanization of all Arab states.

1983 – Israel creates foe for War on Terror: Under Ehud Barak, Israeli military intelligence (AMAN) begins arming and training anti-Western Hezb-i-Islami terrorists in Pakistan, including Osama bin Laden.

1987 – Two of Isser Harel’s senior Mossad agents, Avraham Shalom Bendor and Zvi Malkin, get the security contract for World Trade Center; Port Authority cancels the contract when their criminal history is discovered.

1990 – Rejected by Port Authority due to criminal conviction in Israel, Shalom Bendor goes to work for Jules Kroll.

1993 FEB – Zionists manage prosecution of WTC bombing: Israeli-American Michael Chertoff, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, plays key role in prosecution. Zionist Judge Michael Mukasey presides over case against “Blind Sheikh.” FBI informant Emad Salem is paid one million dollars for his testimony. Media leads public to believe that Muslims want to destroy the Twin Towers.

1993 – After first WTC bombing Kroll Associates gets security contract for the Port Authority and the WTC.

1994 – After losing Saudi and Pakistani support, the Israeli-trained “remainder of Hezb-i-Islami merges into al-Qaeda and the Taliban.”

1998 DECPhilip Zelikow’s Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group publishes report “Imagining Transforming Event” in Foreign Affairs (CFR). Co-authors Ashton Carter and John Deutch work for Global Technology Partners, an exclusive affiliate of Rothschild N.A.

1999Hugo Neu creates a global trading division headed by two veteran ferrous metal traders from Marc Rich and Glencore AG in Switzerland. A lot of expense and effort is spent to prepare a network to export scrap iron to Asia while its price is at the lowest level in 50 years. Hugo Neu and the state share the costs of dredging the Claremont channel to allow large ocean-going ships to Asia.

2000 SEP – A Neo-Con group, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) suggests that “a catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor” may be necessary to facilitate “the process of transformation” they call for in U.S. military policy. Ten signers of the PNAC document, including Dick Cheney, were in senior positions of the Bush administration in 2001.

2001 – Israeli Mossad company ICTS controls security screening at U.S. Airports on 9/11. Directors include Yair Shamir, son of notorious Israeli terrorist Yitzhak Shamir.

2001 – Israeli intelligence creates false histories for alleged hijackers. Israeli spies posing as “art students” live near hijacker patsies. Duplicate documents are used to create false histories, standard procedure for Mossad false-flag operations.

2001Ronald Lauder manages Governor George Pataki’s privatization scheme which includes WTC property. Lauder funds Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at Mossad center (IDC) where Israeli Major General Daniel Rothschild heads Institute for Policy and Strategy.

2001 JUL 24Larry Silverstein gets lease for World Trade Center. Silverstein obtains lease thru fellow Zionist agent Lew Eisenberg, chairman of the Port Authority. Silverstein and Eisenberg are both members of UJA board, major Zionist fundraising organization.  Since 1996, Silverstein has close contact with Netanyahu; every Sunday afternoon Netanyahu calls Silverstein. Silverstein immediately raises rents by 40% for the few tenants he has.

2001 SEP 11Ehud Olmert, Israel’s deputy prime minister, is on an unreported visit in New York City. Why is it secret? While all civilian planes are grounded, at 4:11 p.m. an El Al Boeing 747 takes off from JFK bound for Tel Aviv. The flight is authorized by the direct intervention of the U.S. Department of Defense.

9/11Alex Brown, a firm with ties to Israeli military intelligence and Yair Shamir’s company Scitex has many of the suspicious “put” options. “Buzzy” Krongard, executive director of the CIA, headed AB until 1998. His wife works for Rothschild Asset Management.

9/11 – Israeli government receives the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to be in the area of the WTC or Pentagon on 9/11. Odigo, an Israeli messaging company, is used to send warning several hours before attacks.  Four Israelis die at WTC.

9/11 – Five Israelis working for Urban Moving Systems are arrested on 9/11 after being seen photographing and celebrating the attack on the WTC. The fake moving company is later found to be a front for the Mossad. Two of the Israelis are known Mossad.

9/11 – Israeli military chief Ehud Barak interprets 9/11 on BBC and Sky News in London, blaming Osama bin Laden and calling for U.S. to “launch an operational, concrete, war against terror.” Barak is Netanyahu’s commander in the Sayeret Matkal, a covert commando force of Israeli military intelligence.  Other Israeli commandos (e.g. Daniel Lewin) are involved in 9/11.  Bin Laden denies responsibility for 9/11.

9/11Netanyahu praises 9/11 atrocity to NYT: “It’s very good… it will generate immediate sympathy.” In 2008, he says in Israel: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

9/11 – An Israeli controls 9-11 investigation. John Ashcroft puts Israeli dual-national Michael Chertoff in charge of 9/11 investigation. “For day-to-day decisions, Chertoff has the last word.” Destruction of crucial evidence begins immediately.

9/11 – Two Zionist-owned junkyards manage hasty destruction and exportation of evidence using large ships bound for Asia able to load at Hugo Neu because the Claremont Channel has been dredged since 1999.

Post 9/11 – Zionist with conflict of interest presides over 9/11 lawsuit: Judge Alvin Hellerstein manages 9-11 tort litigation, while his son is lawyer in Israel with firm that represents ICTS, key defendant in 9/11 litigation. Hellerstein dismisses ICTS and every 9/11 case is settled out of court.

Post 9/11 – Zionists manage compensation funds: Kenneth Feinberg and Sheila Birnbaum oversee compensation settlements for 9/11 families. Not a single case goes to trial. No 9/11 discovery occurs in court.

2003 MAR – Zionists control 9/11 myth: Appointed director of 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow frames the agenda and decides what evidence the commission sees. A specialist in “public myths,” Zelikow comes to commission with complete outline of report – before staff even begins working.

Until 2011 – Israelis construct 9/11 memorial and legacy: WTC memorial is designed by Israeli Michael Arad, son of Moshe Arad, former Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Until today – Controlled media ignores crucial 9/11 questions and evidence. Media pushes false narrative about 9/11 and the War on Terror while ignoring evidence that disproves the official myth.

Very respectfully,

Christopher Bollyn

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

US begins construction of largest consulate abroad in Erbil

Press TV – July 7, 2018

US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani have broken ground on the largest American consulate building in the city of Erbil.

Barzani said Friday the project shows that “America wants to stay in Iraq, that America wants to remain in Kurdistan, that America wants to develop its ties,” the Kurdish Rudaw Media Network reported.

Silliman, for his part, emphasized that the construction of the biggest US consulate complex, which is one of the most modern facilities, is a “strong symbol of the continued strong relationship” between Washington and Erbil.

The US initially opened a diplomatic office in Erbil in February 2007 and four years later upgraded it to a consulate general.

The new US consulate, which will be built on a 200,000 square meter piece of land, will cost $600 million. The construction project is expected to take four years.

Back in 2009, the US inaugurated the largest and most expensive embassy in the world in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, suggesting that Washington was set for a long haul in the Arab country.

The 104-acre compound is bigger than the Vatican and about the size of 80 football fields. It cost the US $750 million.

Iraq has been wracked by a vicious cycle of violence since the US invasion of the country in 2003, which has destroyed the nation’s infrastructures.

In recent months, Washington has also stepped up its alliance with Kurdish forces active in Syria despite opposition by Turkey that is worried about the formation of an autonomous Kurdish state on its borders.

About 2,000 US troops are deployed to northeast Syria in territories under the control of Kurdish militants amid fears of the war-torn state’s partition.

Last December, US President Donald Trump approved providing weapons worth $393 million to what Washington calls partners in Syria, including the so-called Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The US measures infuriated Ankara and prompted the country to launch a military campaign against Kurdish forces in Syria.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 2 Comments

Ceasefire agreement reached with leaders of armed groups in Syria’s Deraa province – Russian MoD

RT | July 7, 2018

A ceasefire agreement has been reached with leaders of armed groups in Syria’s Deraa province, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said. The leaders also agreed to surrender weaponry, according to the ministerial statement.

“Following negotiations mediated by the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria in the province of Deraa, agreements on [the] following issues have been reached: ceasefire, the start of heavy and medium weapons’ handover in all the settlements controlled by the armed groups,” the statement read.

The parties have also agreed on a number of other issues, including the settlement of the militants’ status. In cases where militants do not wish to settle their status, procedures have been agreed for their evacuation to Idlib province along with their families.

It has also been agreed to resume the work of Syrian government bodies on the territories controlled by armed groups, and on the return of Syrian refugees to their homes from the Jordanian border.

The talks in the southwestern province of Deraa, bordering with Jordan, started several days ago following a successful two-week offensive by the Syrian army, which was backed by Russia.

The Reconciliation Center for Syria was established by Russia in 2016. Its purpose is to facilitate talks between warring parties.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

NATO Reportedly Alarmed Over Future ‘Uncoordinated’ Trump-Putin Agreements

Sputnik – 07.07.2018

Ahead of the upcoming Trump-Putin summit, some NATO officials reportedly voiced concerns that the bloc’s member states were not included in the planning of the Helsinki meeting.

“There are great concerns in the alliance about what agreements Trump and Putin could reach,” Peter Beyer, transatlantic coordinator for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, told Funke Mediengruppe.

US President Donald Trump earlier said that he expected to have a productive meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, suggesting that they might “even end up having a good relationship.”

According to The Washington Post, citing anonymous US and European officials, Trump’s closest aides and “alarmed allies” fear that the US president might agree on concessions on a number of issues during his meeting with Putin, such as recognizing Crimea as part of Russia or the situation in Ukraine.

“The president thinks he can be friends with Putin. I don’t know why, or why he would want to be,” the outlet cited former national security adviser Herbert McMaster.

The newspaper then highlighted that the Trump administration had sent mixed signals in the days leading up to a NATO summit that will take place before the upcoming Trump-Putin meeting.

According to The Washington Post, Trump’s relations with his allies have been “corrosive” compared to his more “conciliatory approach” with Putin, even though the current US administration had imposed sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with its European partners on the Skripal case.

The outlet then reported that President Trump invited his Russian counterpart to the White House twice – in November and in March – which was at odds with his aides’ advice, who allegedly told him that “the chances of progress on substantive issues was slim.”

The Washington Post also speculated that some White House officials were concerned that President Putin, who has had several phone conversations with Trump, would take advantage of his American counterpart’s “inexperience and lack of detailed knowledge about issues while stoking Trump’s grievances.”

In last month’s interview with Fox News, Trump said that the two heads of state could, in theory, work out the Syria and Ukraine issues over dinner. He also reiterated that he wanted Russia to be reinstated to G7: “whether you like it or not and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman revealed that Trump viewed the forthcoming summit in Helsinki as a step that would help ease tensions between the two countries.

Moscow and Washington are now preparing for the first full-fledged summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in the capital of Finland, Helsinki.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO

By Craig Murray | July 7, 2018

Marina Hyde’s vicious and spiteful attack on Susan Sarandon and the Green Party points to the real danger of anti-Trump protest next week being hijacked by the neo-con warmonger franchise. The idea that those of us who do not want arch warmonger Clinton in power are therefore supporters of Trump is intellectually risible and politically dishonest.

Yesterday the OPCW reported that, contrary to US and UK assertions in the UN security council, there was no nerve agent attack on jihadist-held Douma by the Syrian government, precisely as Robert Fisk was execrated by the entire media establishment for pointing out. The OPCW did find some traces of chlorine compounds, but chlorine is a very commonly used element and you have traces of it all over your house. The US wants your chicken chlorinated. The OPCW said it was “Not clear” if the chlorine was weaponised, and it is plain to me from a career in diplomacy that the almost incidental mention is a diplomatic sop to the UK, US and France, which are important members of the OPCW.

Trump’s reaction to yet more lying claims by the UK government funded White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, a reaction of missile strikes on alleged Syrian facilities producing the non-existent nerve agent, was foolish. May’s leap for British participation was unwise, and the usual queue of Blairites who stood up as always in Parliament to support any bombing action, stand yet again exposed as evil tools of the military industrial complex.

Hillary Clinton, true to form, wanted more aggressive military action than was undertaken by Trump. Hillary has been itching to destroy Syria as she destroyed Libya. Libya was very much Hillary’s war and – almost unreported by the mainstream media – NATO bombers carried out almost 14,000 bombing sorties on Libya and devastated entire cities.

Sirte, Libya, after NATO bombing

The destruction of Libya’s government and infrastructure directly caused the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, which has poisoned the politics of much of the European Union.

Donald Trump has not started any major war. He has been more restrained in military action than any US President since Jimmy Carter. My own view is (and of course it is impossible to know for sure) that, had Hillary been in power, Syria would already have been totally destroyed, the Cold War with Russia would be at mankind threatening levels, and nuclear tension with North Korea would be escalating.

“He hasn’t destroyed mankind yet” is faint praise for anyone. Being less of an existential danger to mankind than Hillary Clinton is a level achieved by virtually the entire population of the planet. I am not supporting Trump. I am condemning Clinton. I too, like Susan Sarandon, would have voted for Jill Stein were I an American.

So do protest against Trump. But do so under the banner No Trump! No Clinton! No NATO! And if any Clintonite or Blairite gets up to address you, tell them very loudly where to get off. I remember the hijacking of the Make Poverty History campaign by Brown, Darling and Campbell on behalf of their banker friends. Don’t let that happen again.

Or here is an even better idea.

Escape the Trump visit completely. Rather than stand penned in and shouting slogans at a police van parked right in front of you, turn your back on all of that and come join me at the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival from 13 to 15 July. As our regulars know, this blog has been intimately connected with running the Festival from the start. This year is much bigger, with the Levellers, Akala, Atari Teenage Riot, Peatbog Faeries, and literally scores of other bands, and a great array of other festival activities too, including for kids, who come free and get free drinks.

DTRH has no sponsorship, no advertising, no government money and no rip-offs – beer and cider from £3.50 a pint at the bars. It is very much an alternative lifestyle gathering, and I find spiritual renewal there in the glorious Stirlingshire countryside. (I know that sounds corny, but I do). Tickets are £90 for full weekend including camping, which I think makes it the cheapest festival on this level around. Or you can buy a cheaper day ticket and drop in just for the day. If tickets are too expensive or you fancy a different kind of fun, you can volunteer, including to come and work with me in the bar, though there are a whole range of other tasks to be done if you don’t fancy that. Volunteers get in free and get fed in return for one six hour shift a day.

I really do hope I will see some of you there – it looks set to be a glorious weekend. Forget stress, forget Trump and hang out with nice people!

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giraldi: US Sanctions on China Over Trade With Iran May Trigger Chaos

Sputnik – 07.07.2018

WASHINGTON – Any move by US President Donald Trump to threaten economic sanctions on China for its trade with Iran could set off global chaos as support for such moves among US allies in Europe evaporates, former CIA officer Phil Giraldi told Sputnik.

“It will be interesting to see what happens when Washington tries to sanction the Central Bank of China over business dealings with Iran — utter chaos on top of the already existing trade war!” Giraldi said on Friday.

The participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, confirmed on Friday at the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna the need to continue the full and effective implementation of the agreement.

The JCPOA participants including the United Kingdom, France and Germany affirmed their support for continued export of Iran’s oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals and for further trade with and investment in Iran, their joint statement said.

However, Giraldi cautioned that British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron could face major pressure from Washington to scrap their ties to Iran, and that they might surrender to it.

“I think this is admirable, but it will come up against the hard reality of US sanctions if Trump pushes the issue, which I think he will do based on recent statements by [presidential adviser Rudy] Giuliani and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo that nothing short of regime change for Iran is envisioned by the White House,” he said.

Faced with such pressure, May, Merkel and Macron might yield to Washington’s demands, Giraldi advised.

“The Western Europeans will likely crumble because the threat of blocking them out of the US financial system would be too hard a pill to swallow if Trump really wants to make them squirm,” he said.

Giraldi pointed out he was concerned that the current major European leaders slacked the determination to stand up to trump for their nations’ best interests.

“Of course, the US economy will also suffer greatly, which will be a card they can play, but I do not see leaders of the caliber of Merkel, May and Macron fighting very hard on behalf of what they know to be right and correct relating to Iran,” he said.

Trump was listening to extremists on the Iran issue and was unlikely to change direction, Giraldi assessed.

“It comes down to Trump and his God-awful advisers wanting something much more than the Europeans do so they will give in. Russia and China will, of course, do the right thing,” he said.

Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment