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Military standoff in space would be as disastrous as the nuclear arms race – Moscow

RT | July 27, 2018

US plans to use space for military purposes may be as harmful to international security as the nuclear arms race was, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned, calling on the White House to “show common sense.”

US plans to develop persistent, space-based sensor architecture by the end of 2022 are yet another step towards what Washington calls “the US domination in space,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in statement on Friday.

The comments came in response to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, which was passed by the US House of Representatives on Thursday. Among other things, it envisions the deployment of special sensors as part of a space-based US missile defense system.

Moscow has slammed the American military space program as “adventurism” that may have “the most negative impact on the state of international security.”

“Russia prioritizes the use and exploration of space only for peaceful purposes” and “straight-thinking forces in all the countries support us in this,” the ministry said.

In recent years, Moscow was behind a series of initiatives aimed at preventing an arms race in space, including a draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT), proposed together with China in 2014.

Moscow called upon the Trump administration “to show common sense and don’t repeat the mistakes of the past” by giving up the steps that could damage the international security.

The NDAA is expected to be passed by the Senate next week. In addition to the space sensors, the document requires the Pentagon to develop a “space warfighting policy” by the end of March next year and come up with a report on the state of US space capabilities.

Boost-phase missile defense capability, using drones and “kinetic interceptors,” will also be part of research to be completed by the country’s military by December 2021.

In June, President Donald Trump ordered the creation of the US Space Force, saying that it’s going to be “something so important.”

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

UN Urges Full-Fledged Probe Into Allegations of Secret CIA Prison in Lithuania

Sputnik – 27.07.2018

In 2016, Lithuania told the European Court of Human Rights that the country wasn’t harboring a secret US Central Intelligence Agency prison where terrorist suspects were allegedly detained.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has urged Lithuanian authorities to fully investigate allegations that a secret CIA prison operated in the Baltic state.

“The UNHRC is concerned about the fact that the pre-trial investigation was not completed, no suspects were identified, and all information about the progress and results of this inquiry is classified,” the committee was cited by the Latvian news network Delfi as saying.

The UNHRC also called on Vilnius to investigate the possible complicity of government officials in human rights violations related to detainees’ treatment in the alleged secret CIA prison in Lithuania.

“The state must ensure that the perpetrators are convicted and if found guilty, punished with the appropriate sanctions; victims should be guaranteed access to effective legal protection,” the UNHRC pointed out.

In late June 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg held a public hearing in the lawsuit brought by Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah against Vilnius. Abu Zubaydah, who is accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, claimed that he was subjected to inhuman conditions and torture in a secret CIA prison in Lithuania.

The ECHR ruled that Lithuania should pay 130,000 euros to Abu Zubaydah, a decision that has yet to be appealed by Vilnius.

In November 2009, the Lithuanian parliamentary committee on National Security and Defense opened a probe into ABC News claims that Lithuania provided the US Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) with a building near the capital Vilnius to detain and possibly interrogate eight al-Qaeda members between 2004 and 2006.

The committee finally concluded that there were conditions for the existence of a secret CIA prison in Lithuania, adding that in 2005 and 2006 the CIA planes that landed in the country were not inspected by customs services.

The United States did not cooperate with the committee on the issue, which is why the question of whether al-Qaeda militants were ever transferred to Lithuania has yet to be clarified.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Israeli Army Self-Investigates: No Violations During Gaza Border Protests

If Americans Knew | July 27, 2018

Surprise! Self-scrutiny by Israel’s “world’s most moral army” reveals: Gazan demonstrators were shot as a result of ‘operational mishaps’ and not intentionally targeted.

Israel continues to be blissfully unaware of its own violent misdeeds, as Ha’aretz reports:

An internal Israeli army investigation into the deaths of 153 Palestinians during protests along the Gaza-Israel border is expected to find that none of the incidents involved violations of open-fire orders and therefore there are no grounds for referring any of the cases to the Military Police for further investigation. Demonstrators killed by army fire were not intentionally targeted, but died as a result of “operational mishaps,” according to the team of investigators, headed by Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Moti Baruch.

This is reminiscent of Operation Cast Lead, in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

The Goldstone Report, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council and headed by the well-known Jewish, Zionist judge from South Africa Richard Goldstone, found evidence of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. These included the blockade of Gaza, targeting of civilians, use of white phosphorus, and more. Israel insisted that the report was anti-Semitic and denounced it.

Israel conducted its own internal investigation, which showed that “the world’s most moral army” had indeed lived up to its name: 1 soldier was convicted of stealing a credit card, 2 were charged with using a child as a human shield, and 1 was convicted of illegal use of a weapon.

Ha’aretz continues:

The team found that in each incident weapons fire was carried out in accordance with open-fire orders and none of the Israeli army sharpshooters had deliberately targeted uninvolved Palestinian bystanders. The panel noted several reasons for what they termed “operational mishaps” that resulted in the deaths of innocent people, including cases in which bullets had hit border fence installations or the ground, cases in which demonstrators intruded into the line of fire after troops had opened fire and incidents in which bullets ricocheted, subsequently hitting Palestinians. In the course of the investigation, the Israeli army raised the height of some of its sniper positions to minimize the risk of hitting Palestinians unintentionally.

This explanation does not square with many of the videos and eyewitness descriptions of shootings, including direct hits of people running away from the border or praying, people helping the injured, medics in clearly marked vests and with their hands up, and people standing near the protest, as well as at least one video shot by a sniper.

The bigger picture, however, is the fact that Israel is defending against unarmed demonstrators, using snipers, to stop a protest against a blockade that is illegal and immoral.

Supporters of human rights need to speak up against, not only Israeli violence at the border and the blockade, but also Israel’s ludicrous pronouncement of its own innocence.

 

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Pentagon’s $200m Aid To Ukraine Is Slap To Trump

Strategic Culture Foundation | July 27, 2018

Only days after President Donald Trump’s successful summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the Pentagon this week announced that it was sending $200 million in military aid to the Kiev regime.

The new package of military aid is said to be for boosting the “command and control” readiness of the Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF). It follows the supply earlier this year, in March, of $47 million-worth of “lethal” armaments in the form of US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.

The UAF on the orders of President Poroshenko and the regime in Kiev have been waging a war against pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine for nearly four years, since the Kiev regime came to power in a CIA-backed coup d’état.

Russia deplored the latest US military subvention to Ukraine, saying it clearly shows that Washington is an “accomplice” to the conflict, not a mediator for a peaceful resolution. The latest $200m aid disbursement brings the total American military support to the Kiev regime to $1 billion since the bloody coup in 2014.

Senator Rob Portman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hailed the Pentagon aid with stridently bellicose rhetoric. Portman said, with typically appalling American ignorance, it sends a “clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russian aggression”. As if the people of Eastern Ukraine aren’t Ukrainian.

On the face of it, the Pentagon is pointedly undermining President Trump and what he appeared to agree with President Putin in their landmark summit in Helsinki on July 16. The two leaders stated then that they agreed to cooperate on finding a political solution to the Ukraine conflict: meaning a renewed endorsement of the Minsk Peace Accord, which Russia had overseen with the European powers of Germany and France under the so-called Normandy format back in 2015.

By ratcheting up its military support to the Kiev regime, the Pentagon is evidently egging on Poroshenko and his UAF to ignore the Minsk accord and to seek a military solution, not a political solution.

That inevitably means more emboldened aggression towards the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The war in Ukraine is set to become even hotter than it already is. The Pentagon is effectively giving a green light to more deadly conflict on Russia’s Western border.

This has to be placed in the wider context of the relentless buildup of US-led NATO forces along the entire Russian Western flank. This week, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated serious concerns that NATO was escalating more offensive capability, and that Russia must make appropriate defensive preparations.

What we are seeing since the Trump-Putin summit is a determined rearguard move by forces within the US political-military establishment to sabotage the American president’s attempted rapprochement with Moscow. Immediately following the summit, the US establishment and its dutiful corporate news media embarked on a full-scale campaign to undercut Trump, labelling him a “traitor” and denouncing him for capitulating to an “enemy state”.

The US media rhetoric, post-Helsinki, has been nothing short of hysterical Russophobia.

The move by the Pentagon to boost the Kiev regime’s military is part of that countervailing effort by deep US political-military forces to prevent any normalization with Russia. President Putin indeed warned of these malign US forces last week during an address to his diplomatic corps in Moscow only days after Helsinki.

Another corollary of this sinister countervailing influence was seen in Syria this week. US military commanders said they had no intention of cooperating with Russian counterparts in enabling the resettlement of refugees to Syria from neighboring countries. Again, the proposal for military-to-military cooperation on the return of Syrian refugees was something that Trump had agreed to with Putin in Helsinki.

The summit in Helsinki was a welcome sign of long-overdue dialogue and commitment to partnership between the American president and his Russian counterpart.

Unfortunately, subsequent signals from Washington do not augur well for substantial follow-up to what was agreed in Helsinki.

President Trump is evidently not the master of his American house. It is impossible to discern a reliable American policy. The president seems to say one thing, while other factions within the American ruling class have other, nefarious agendas.

The problem for Russia is that President Trump, in spite of his personal cordial inclinations, is not the arbiter of American policy nor, ultimately, US power for that matter. The American deep state and its strategic planners seem to have a hellbent antagonism towards Russia. That thesis is corroborated with several strategic policy documents that have been published under the Trump administration, which provocatively define Russia, as well as China, as a global enemy standing in the way of dubious American hegemonic ambitions.

In short, American imperialism is not a negotiating philosophy. It does not know nor wants to know the meaning of multilateralism. American power is predicated on domination, with zero tolerance of any independence shown by others. Russia in particular.

Aiding and abetting a deranged, anti-Russian regime in Kiev which exalts Nazi partisans from the Second World War is a sobering indication of Washington’s real and sinister agenda towards Moscow.

Donald J Trump may have been an agreeable summit attendee in Helsinki. But the property-tycoon-turned-president is not the real deal.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Mattis Rejects Viral Australian Report On Impending US Iran Strikes

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 07/27/2018

A day after an Australian ABC report went viral with the claim that the White House has drawn up plans to strike Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities as early as next month, Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Friday morning it’s a “complete fiction”.

The Australian Broadcast Corporation report cited high level defense and intelligence figures: “Senior figures in the Australia’s Turnbull government have told the ABC they believe the US is prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability,” and perhaps most alarmingly added, “The bombing could be as early as next month.”

Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin questioned Mattis about the report on Friday:

I asked Mattis about report US preparing strikes against Iran.

MATTIS: “I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information. I am confident it is not something that is being considered right now. I think it is a complete, frankly, it’s fiction.”

The ABC report, based on statements from senior Australian officials privy to the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing program that also includes the US, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand, included the following:

  • Senior Government figures have told the ABC they believe the Trump administration is prepared to bomb Iran
  • They say Australian defence facilities would likely play a role in identifying possible targets
  • But another senior source, in security, emphasizes there is a difference between providing intelligence and “active targeting”

ABC further noted that secretive Australian defense and intelligence facilities would likely cooperate with the United States and Britain in identifying targets in a strike on Iran, based on unnamed sources.

However, officials were also quoted as distinguishing “a big difference between providing accurate intelligence and analysis on Iran’s facilities and being part of a ‘kinetic’ mission.” The intelligence source said further“Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike.”

The report came the same day that Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite IRGC Quds force, personally threatened President Donald Trump, saying “Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,” and as a White House policy meeting on Iran was convened by national security adviser John Bolton.

Previously, on Wednesday Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement through official sources, saying the US should forget about any and all negotiations so long as Iran remains under threat, which is a refrain of Iran’s consistent position since the US began pressuring European allies to not deal with the regime since the US pulled out of the 2015 JCPOA. Foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said that “one-way negotiations” in the current political climate are impossible.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

Kurdish delegation in Damascus for peace talks

Press TV – July 27, 2018

An alliance of Kurdish and Arab militants in Syria has sent a delegation to the Syrian capital for talks with Syrian government officials.

The so-called Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which is linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants holding a grip on northeastern Syria — sent the delegation to Damascus on Wednesday, according to SDC co-chair Riad Darar.

The delegation, led by executive head of SDC Ilham Ahmed, was expected to discuss matters of service provision in the areas controlled by the Kurdish group, but “the talks might widen to political and security matters,” Darar told Reuters on Friday.

“This is certainly the first visit that happened,” he added.

The militants are allied with the United States and French troops deployed to Syria under the pretext of fighting Daesh.

Chief among their demands is having an autonomous region within the Syrian borders. Darar, however, said that the outcome of the meetings is not yet clear, and that he did not know which Syrian officials will be meeting with the Kurdish delegation.

He also did not clarify how long the delegation will stay in Damascus.

Their Kurdish militant group, once called by President Bashar al-Assad as “traitors” to the nation, announced last month that it was ready for “unconditional” peace talks with the government amid the Syrian army’s major gains against the foreign-backed terrorist groups.

Assad said back in May that he was “opening doors” for negotiations with the SDF, who have apparently become wary of their unpredictable “ally”, the United States.

In an interview with Russia’s RT television network, Assad said, “we started now opening doors for negotiations, because the majority of them are Syrians, supposedly they like their country, they don’t like to be puppets to any foreigners. If not, we’re going to resort… to liberating those areas by force.”

According to Syrian media, the Kurds had expressed readiness to hand over control of the Eastern Euphrates to the government after Washington withheld its support for the Kurdish militants in the northern Syrian cities of Manbij and Afrin.

The presence of the Kurdish militants in the area have been a source of tension between the US and Turkey. Last month, the two sides reached a deal about the withdrawal of the Kurds from Manbij.

The Kurds have stressed that that they do not seek independence, but say they want a political deal to safeguard an autonomous administration which is now under their control in the north.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA Are in Charge

By Jacob G. Hornberger – FFF – July 27, 2018

The U.S. mainstream press can easily recognize the dominant and influential role that the military plays in society, so long as they are referring to countries like Pakistan and Egypt. Unfortunately, the same reporters and commentators turn a blind eye to the similar phenomenon here in the United States.

For example, the Washington Post writes: “When not in power, [Pakistan’s generals] have exerted outsize control over foreign policy, the economy, and local politics.” The New York Times writes: “Even during civilian rule, the country’s generals have wielded enormous power, setting the agenda for the country’s foreign and security policies…. As prime minister, Mr. Sharif ran afoul of the military early on by trying to assert control over foreign and defense policy, which is seen as the army’s domain.”

It’s the same in Egypt. Newsweek points out that after the military coup that ousted democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi from office, “The army stepped in…. Five years on from the coup, the military government — led by general-turned-president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — has established a firm grip on the nation….”

Meanwhile, not surprisingly, the U.S. government is flooding the Egyptian military with hundreds of millions of dollars that the IRS has forcibly taken from the American people.

What the mainstream media and, unfortunately, all too many Americans, fail to recognize is that the Egyptian, Pakistani, and American governments all have a fundamental governmental principle in common: All three are national-security states and, consequently, in all three regimes the military and intelligence sections of the government play the dominant role within the government and within society.

What is a national-security state? It is a type of government that has a vast and permanent military-intelligence establishment. Secrecy is a core element, with threats of severe punishment on anyone who discloses secrets of the regime.

The most important principle of a national-security state is, not surprisingly, a concept called “national security.” Everything revolves around recognizing and eradicating threats to “national security.” There is no established definition of “national security.” The military and the intelligence forces wield the omnipotent and non-reviewable power to determine who and what constitutes a threat to ”national security” and the omnipotent and non-reviewable power to eradicate it.

In Pakistan and Egypt, the entire national-security establishment is subsumed in what is simply referred to as “the military.” In the United States, the national-security establishment is divided principally into three parts: the vast military establishment, led by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. I say “principally” because to a certain extent the FBI, over time, has been absorbed into the national-security establishment.

What many Americans fail to realize is that the United States wasn’t always a national-security state. When the Constitution called the federal government into existence, the federal government was a limited-government republic. The size of the army was extremely small and there was no CIA, NSA, or FBI. There was no concept of “national security.” Transparency, not secrecy, characterized the republic.

That all changed after World War II. Americans were told that in order to successfully confront America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, in a “cold war,” it would be necessary to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic into a national-security state, which is what the Soviet Union was.

That’s how America ended up with essentially the same type of governmental system that exists in Pakistan and Egypt. It’s also how the country ended up with such programs as assassination, torture, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and denial of due process, none of which existed when the federal government was a limited-government republic.

What many Americans also fail to recognize is that it’s the national-security establishment that is really the part of the federal government that is in charge, especially when it comes to foreign policy. That’s why President Trump was unable to pull U.S. troops out of Syria after expressing a desire to do so — the Pentagon wouldn’t permit it. It’s also why he was unable to release the CIA’s long-secret JFK records last fall, as he announced he was going to do and as the law required — the CIA wouldn’t permit it. It’s why Americans continue to be saddled under a regime that engages in mass secret surveillance, no different in principle from that which exists in Pakistan and Egypt — the NSA will not permit the federal courts to interfere with its surveillance operations. It’s why no congressional candidate would ever dare to call for a dismantling of military installations or projects in his district — the Pentagon as well as the local press would skewer him.

When it comes to enforcing the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judiciary are permitted to maintain an appearance of being ultimately in charge but only up to a certain point. That’s why there are people in Guantanamo Bay who have now been incarcerated by the Pentagon and the CIA for 14 years without a trial.

A book that every American should read is National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, professor of law at Tufts University. Glennon explains perfectly how the U.S. national-security state works compared to nations like Pakistan and Egypt.

In those countries, the control of the national-security establishment is direct, while in the United States it is indirect. Here, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA permit the president, the Congress, and the judiciary to appear to be in control of the federal government. But as Glennon shows, it’s just a veneer. The real control lies with the part of the government that wields the largest amount of force, and that part consists of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

Recall what George Washington is reputed to have said, “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force.” But not all parts of the government are equal. Some wield more force than others. It is undeniable that the national-security part of the government wields the most force of all.

If anyone in Washington, D.C., had doubts about the overwhelming power of the U.S. national-security establishment, such doubts came to an end on November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated after taking on the military and the CIA. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne and my new video-podcast series “The National-Security State’s Assassination of John F. Kennedy.) Kennedy had reputedly vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces, to end the racket of the Cold War, to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam, and to normalize relations with Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world, all of which, needless to say, was considered heresy to the national-security establishment. Suddenly, after Dallas, it dawned on everyone in Washington that there was a new sheriff in town, one that would not countenance any threat to the power of the national-security establishment and, of course, to its existence, just like in Pakistan and Egypt. That’s undoubtedly a lesson that President Trump himself is now learning.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment