Aletho News


Facebook removes pro-Palestinian Occupy London page

RT | August 17, 2018

A Facebook page containing pro-Palestinian posts has been taken down by the social media giant. The latest in a string of pages removed by Facebook, it has renewed claims of “censorship” against the company.

The closure of the Occupy London page, which has garnered more than 150k followers since its opening in 2011, follows the “continual removal of posts related to Palestine”, an Occupy London spokesperson told The Canary.

They added that it is not the first time the social network attempted to “censor” its content.

“It feels like censorship. For months, we faced removal of posts related to Palestine. Perhaps once every few weeks or so, a post would be taken down and admins for the page were frozen out of their personal accounts. Then, today, Facebook unpublished the entire page.

“We want to see our page back up with immediate effect,” he added.

It follows renowned journalist Glenn Greenwald claiming Facebook had bowed to pressure from the Israeli government to silence Palestinian activists. According to an Intercept report, of some 158 requests made by Tel Aviv to Facebook (over just four months) for the removal of Palestinian content, 95 percent were granted.

Facebook has apparently intensified its crackdown on alternative outlets since it joined Apple and video platform YouTube in banning the conspiracy-oriented outlet Infowars.

An event page for a counter-protest against the Unite the Right 2.0 rally in Washington last weekend was also removed because one of the six administrators allegedly showed disingenuous activity.

Venezuelan news outlet, teleSur, which tends to report on affairs which go against the US government position and mainstream media perspective, was removed from Facebook in May. Facebook also removed pages belonging to leftist independent grassroots Venezuela Analysis and Haiti Analysis. They too are highly critical of US foreign policy in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

The UK’s Prime Minister-in-Waiting Must Zap the Circling Sharks

Nice-guy Jeremy Corbyn needs to get mean

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 17, 2018

“Don’t argue, do as we say!” Confronted with that attitude many of us would simply slam the door. Like me, you’re probably sick to death with the unedifying spectacle of Britain’s Labour Party being bullied by the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a handful of Labour MPs to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in full, with not one jot or tittle left out no matter how silly, and to make it a cornerstone of the party’s code of conduct.

And you’ll know by now that the IHRA definition is deeply flawed. It lacks the two important caveats recommended by the Home Office Select Committee and has been slammed by legal experts because it collides head-on with everyone’s right to freedom of expression. Corbyn resists it presumably because of the nightmare consequences of adopting it without sensible modification.

Yes, the Conservative Government accepted the definition without the caveats. It is claimed that 80% of Conservative MPs and MEPs are signed up Friends of Apartheid Israel so they happily do as they are told. The fun will come when they try to use it to punish people.

The acrimony between Labour’s wise heads and its dumb-asses is eagerly stoked by our venomous mainstream media. Take this gem, an editorial from The Independent

“Mr. Corbyn needs to accept the IHRA definition in full, with all its examples, if he is to start to regain the trust of not just Jews but of all those genuinely opposed, as he so often claims to be, to all forms of racism.

“Three weeks ago, The Independent said that the row over the IHRA definition had gone on too long. That it is still going on is testament to the Labour leader’s stubbornness, which some of his supporters’ mistake for strength.

“Unless Mr. Corbyn does the right thing, and quickly, they will find out what kind of weakness it really is.”

Mr. Corbyn doesn’t “need to accept” anything of the sort. In the same editorial, The Independent says that the Labour Party’s failure to define anti-Semitism in a way that commands the confidence of most British Jews “is extraordinary”. But what about the non-Jew majority? Shouldn’t it be acceptable to them? The row is still going on because the Jewish lobby frantically insists their opinion is the only one that matters and they’re ramming it down Labour’s throat. They should know by now that people in this country don’t take kindly to being bossed around like that. Besides, Corbyn has the confidence and support of many Jewish groups. Too bad for the Jewish Establishment if they are the ‘wrong’ sort of Jews.

This IHRA example of anti-Semitism – ‘Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’ – illustrates how stupid the argument has become. Leaving it out of the party’s code of conduct, says The Independent, is “a critical omission”. Really? It has been obvious for more than 100 years that the Israel Project is a racist endeavour. Why deny it when Israel has just passed new racist laws to legitimise Jewish supremacy?

The claptrap from The Independent is typical of the torrent of idiotic stuff mainstream outlets are now vomiting all over the public. No use moaning, though; we’re saddled with mainstream and Corbyn’s media strategists must get a grip on it. But they don’t even provide news feeds or briefings to sympathetic ‘alternative’ media sites. The editor of a very successful one tells me he receives nothing from Labour and knows no-one who does.

Assault on humanitarian mission “of insufficient editorial merit” says BBC

While the mainstream, including the BBC, have been sticking the knife into Corbyn, none of them (as far as I’m aware) reported a much more serious outrage – the hijacking by Israeli Occupation Forces of two vessels heading for Gaza and the violent assault, abduction and imprisonment of the 34 people from 12 countries who were on board – one of them a British consultant from the famous ‘Barts’ Hospital in London.

The two boats, ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’, were in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza when raided by Israeli warships and forced into an Isreali port, say the organizers. During their unlawful detention the crew, participants, and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence. “The captain of Al-Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

“They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.”

There’s a mainstream media blackout on this story in the UK. The BBC, replying to a complaint, implied that piracy on the high seas against a mercy ship bound for stricken Gaza with a British surgeon (Dr. Swee Ang) onboard had insufficient editorial merit; but never mind, we can all “be assured there is no ulterior motive” in the state broadcaster’s decision not to run it.

Dr. Swee emailed me: “I managed to get a CT of my chest confirming that I have two rib fractures. They are still painful but I am coping. Wonder if you got my interview on Russian TV?”

So it is left to the likes of RT to report the sickening truth. And if it doesn’t make our Israel-loving MPs and ministers squirm I don’t know what will.

Meanwhile, Dr. Swee’s written account of what happened appeared in several ‘alternative’ news outlets. One of these, Redress Information & Analysis, attracted 28,000 views overnight. Within a few days, the score had rocketed to an editorially insufficient 100,000.

Did Britain collude with Israel to thwart the mercy mission?

Why isn’t Corbyn taking the heat off himself by blasting Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary for not reacting to Israel’s piracy against unarmed humanitarian boats on the high seas? What has the Government done to retrieve their possessions and obtain compensation after failing to protect an important British citizen from appalling treatment by May’s Israeli ‘friends’? Has ambassador Regev been summoned and given a severe dressing-down? Have the 114 boxes of medical supplies destined for Gaza been released to Gaza?

And what gives the Israelis the right to confiscate the boats at least one of which was intended as a gift to the Gazans?

The other day in Parliament Lord Ahmed submitted this Written Question (HL9824): “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the safety of British humanitarian workers travelling to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla; and what responses they have received to any such representations.”

Lord Ahmad (different guy) answered: “On 30 July, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv sought consular access from the Israeli authorities to a British national who was detained aboard the flotilla that was travelling to Gaza. This access was granted. Embassy officials also discussed the travelling flotilla with the Israeli authorities on 6 June. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza).”

“Including the waters off Gaza”? Isn’t he referring to international waters where neutral civilian vessels are entitled to free passage under the UN Conventional on the Law of the Seas? Shouldn’t unarmed aid boats, which pose no threat to anyone, be able sail international waters unmolested and claim ‘innocent passage’ in accordance with that same Law when they enter territorial waters? Is the Law of the Seas now dead? Is Britain no longer committed to keeping the sea lanes open to innocent shipping? Why is the UN not upholdings its own Convention?

And if, as Lord Ahmad says, our embassy was discussing the aid flotilla with Israel nearly 2 months before the hijacking, what were they talking about? Were they, by any chance, colluding to thwart this mercy mission? I think we are entitled to know. And Corbyn and his shadow ministers ought to be on the rampage.

Anti-Semitic remarks pale into insignificance alongside Israel’s violent acts against this and earlier humanitarian missions, on one occasion resulting in the murder of 10 people. Yet Corbyn’s media people are fast asleep. He was struggling yesterday when an over-persistent TV reporter nagged him mercilessly about his presence at a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia before he became Labour leader. He had already answered the question to the point of boredom several times but was too polite to tell her to change the subject or piss off.

On top of that, he’s had to put up with terror chief and mass murderer Netanyahu using our mainstream media to intrude into UK politics by tweeting: “The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.” Actually, Corbyn didn’t compare Israel to Nazis and was attending a Tunisian government-organised conference which included a memorial for those killed in a horrific Israeli air strike (on Tunisian territory) back in 1985. The funny side is that this uncalled-for meddling by a universally despised slimeball like Netanyahu has probably done Corbyn no harm at all, popularity-wise.

Let’s debate the S-word (Semitism)

But Corbyn clearly has a problem with his spin doctors and media team who should by now have deflected the orchestrated slurs and turned the tables on his detractors. He’d do well to bring on board sharper PR skills and public affairs know-how before it’s too late.

And as the S-word has been weaponised and tossed around so indiscriminately, it’s time Semitism was publicly debated, turned inside out and examined more closely. The point is that hardly any of the Jews who claim Palestine is theirs and theirs only, such as Netanyahu and most of his gang, have ancestral links to Biblical Israel. Research has established, ironically, that the real Semites are the indigenous people of the Holy Land including – and especially – the Palestinians.

Perhaps Corbyn, when next accused of anti-Semitism, should simply say: “It’s hostility towards Palestinians that is anti-Semitic. As you know, the Labour Party doesn’t tolerate anti-Semitism. Good day.”

And slam the door.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

False Western Narratives have Deepened Russia-West Estrangement

Literally No Evidence is Behind the Skripal Poisoning.
By Tony Kevin | 21st Century Wire | August 17, 2018

We have a situation now in which two major world governments, UK and Russia, both nuclear powers and permanent members of the UNSC, are upholding entirely opposed and contradictory narratives on two issues – the alleged Salisbury/Amesbury Novichuk poisonings, and the alleged nerve gas attacks by Assad Government forces on 7 April in Douma, Syria (on basis of false White Helmets-staged evidence). The latter allegation led to a US/UK bombing attack on Syrian Air Force bases.

On both issues, the US and French governments – also UNSC members and nuclear powers – have in solidarity supported UK government- sourced narratives , though in the former case there has been no UK judicial process, and in the latter case OPCW inspectors have found no physical evidence of use of nerve agents in Douma, and nor do local people’s accounts support the allegations.

In the Salisbury case, OPCW technical reports made public in Moscow on 14 April by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, detailing results of the Skripal samples analysis by the OPCW Spiez Laboratory in Switzerland, support a finding that the Skripals were probably poisoned temporarily with non- lethal BZ toxin , found in the Skripal samples, and that quantities of Novichok ( A- 234) lethal toxin had twice been added to the samples before they passed from British Govt to OPCW custody, in two clumsy attempts some weeks apart to create a false Novichok chemical trail. Lavrov commented, in strong language for him, that the fact Spiez Lab found these two doses of A-234 in the samples “appears to be utterly suspicious.”

Nevertheless, two days later on 16 April, the OPCW Executive Council , under Western pressure, decided unprecedentedly not to release the full reports of the samples testing by the four OPCW laboratories in Switzerland, thereby casting serious doubt on the professional reputation of OPCW. See here and here.

The second document contained a manifestly untrue statement by Mr Marc-Michael Blum, the Head of the OPCW Laboratory and leader of the technical assistance team that was deployed to the United Kingdom, that:

“The Labs were able to confirm the identity of the chemical (Novichok, or A -234) by applying existing, well-established procedures. *** There was no other chemical that was identified by the Labs ***. The precursor of BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the control sample prepared by the OPCW Lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW Team in Salisbury. This chemical was reported back to the OPCW by the two designated labs and the findings are duly reflected in the report.”

This is simply laughable. The OPCW defence was that Britain had requested a very restricted test looking only for Novichok, and that it was therefore correct procedure for OPCW to withhold publication of the full laboratory results. So there is no official confirmation or denial of Lavrov’s statement that the Spiez Lab had found that A-234 had twice been improperly added to the Skripal samples. And a blatant lie was told on BZ.

Lavrov on 14 April had stood just short of accusing the UK government of concealing evidence and tampering with samples. But his imputation was very clear. Clearly he was appealing to Britain and the OPCW to do the right thing on 16 April. They did not do so. His words, recorded on the Russian MFA website, went unreported in the West. They are the essential basis of the Russian counter-narrative.

On the alleged use of CW in Douma, an alleged child victim Hassan Diab testified in The Hague three weeks later on 27 April that he had never been gassed, but he had been cruelly used in a White Helmets staged propaganda film.

Then, much later, the OPCW reported on 6 July their inspectors’ findings that they had not found any organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products in Douma.

These are facts. But it appears that facts no longer matter. In the UNSC, the weight of numbers is with the three Western permanent members and their allies. China has been circumspect on the issue, saying almost nothing except calling for proper procedures to be followed in OPCW.

Russia and China continue to have rights of veto on any future UNSC resolution that might try to condemn Russia for allegedly behaving as an international outlaw in these two contested matters.

Is there any legal way Russia could be expelled from the UNSC over either or both of these sets of allegations? America and Britain seem hell-bent now on portraying Russia as an international criminal, but surely this should carry no credibility now with the majority of the UNGA membership outside the compliant NATO/EU/Australia grouping.

There seems no way in which the facts of Salisbury/Amesbury can be publicly established, as long as the UK Government continues to suppress and tamper with evidence, and as long as its Western allies and the OPCW Executive continue to give to the UK Government cover and support. Only the election of a Corbyn Labour Government might offer prospect of change, because Corbyn is a decent man who would refuse to sustain a UK government lie.

Russia will continue to press for consular access to their citizens the Skripals. They cannot let the issue be forgotten. So it will go on being a cause of major Russia-UK tension and bad blood, as the histories of the two series of events recede into mythology and contested narratives, and as distracting myths and legends accumulate around Salisbury-Amesbury.

Now, the US government is resorting with increasing recklessness to unilateral sanctions outside the UN system, announcing two tranches of increasingly severe sanctions against Russia, in August and November, unless Russia admits its crimes and promises not to repeat them. Russia has of course rejected these demands out of hand, as internationally illegal and without any justification.

If the US pursues this course it will lead to further distancing between the US and Russian economies. As Lavrov points out, many other countries will draw their own conclusions about the US’s reliability as an economic partner and reserve currency.

The most likely medium-term scenario is continued simmering anger and resentment on both sides, encouraging further polarisation of a ‘3 versus 2’ situation in UNSC. But I don’t see how Russia could be expelled or suspended from the UNSC.

The current situation suits Western Russia-hating elites. It is in their interest to delay and impede any moves to Russia-West detente, keeping tensions high but at a level just short of war, and keeping Trump on a tight leash for as long as he remains US President. So far, sadly, it is all working out according to this plan.


Feature image taken from John Laurit’s blog.

Tony Kevin, former Australian diplomat and author of ‘Return to Moscow’ (2017, UWA Publishing)

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do The Winners In Syria Want?

ORIENTAL REVIEW – 17/08/2018

After the liberation of the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra, the Syrian civil war entered a new phase. The available land that was up for grabs by any new liberator — without the need for negotiations with outside actors — was shrinking (one section of the desert under ISIL control does not count – it will soon be cleared out). Only Idlib is left, which is controlled (albeit only in spots and to a limited extent) by Turkey, as well as the environs of al-Tanf and the Kurdish regions located within the American protectorate.  And their liberation must be preceded by diplomatic agreements with the protector states.

Decentralization without the Kurds

Negotiations with Turkey took place in Sochi at the very end of July. Those were conducted by Russia and Iran, because Damascus and Ankara have officially severed their diplomatic ties. The Syrian authorities emphasize that the territory of Idlib will eventually be returned to Damascus’s jurisdiction.

No one’s arguing with that. Turkey is not planning on an eternal occupation of Syrian territory, because any benefits from that would be completely outweighed by the financial, PR, and potential military costs Ankara would incur. At some point, the Turkish troops will be forced to quit Syria. But Erdogan has no desire to pull out for free and is demanding a number of conditions be met in return.

These conditions are obvious yet at the same time contradictory. On one hand, Ankara wants to maintain its leverage over post-war Syria, so it is pressing for the local communities (some of which in northwestern and western Syria hold pro-Turkish sentiments) to be granted more rights and powers.  On the other hand, the Turks do not want those rights and powers to be extended to the Syrian Kurds, whom Erdogan currently views as one of te biggest threats to Turkey’s national security.

At present it is not possible to meet Turkey’s demands – the constitutional committee is just now getting down to work, and no one understands how to exclude the Kurds from the decentralization process anyway. And ultimately the Iranians are not particularly eager to yield any zones of influence to the Turks — it is clear to everyone that for the foreseeable future, Tehran and Ankara will very likely be competing for the upper hand in the Middle East. In turn, the Turkish authorities are threatening that if Moscow and Tehran give Damascus the green light to conduct a military operation in Idlib without taking Ankara’s interests into account, then Turkey will abandon its attempts to find a resolution under the auspices of the Astana negotiations and could potentially resume military and political assistance to the militants, which might even include sending aid in the form of the Turkish army.

The weak link

As a result, a compromise was apparently reached in Sochi.  Damascus, Tehran, and Moscow agreed to temporarily postpone the offensive in Idlib and give Turkey some latitude to handle the threats posed by certain terrorist groups in the region (for example, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which is the latest reincarnation of the al-Nusra Front).  In order to do battle against them, the Turks have already established a coalition of militants under Ankara’s control.

However, this compromise is not likely to last long. First of all, because Turkey has thus far been conspicuously unable to cope with the situation (as can be seen, for example, in the regular drone attacks on the Hmeimim air base that originate in Idlib), and there is no guarantee that the situation will change. Second, Damascus is already engaged in a dialog with the Kurds (who have finally become firmly convinced that the Americans will continue to sell them out to the Turks) over the idea of reconciling in exchange for the promise of decentralization.  In this, the interests of Damascus and Ankara are partially aligned – the Kurds will not be granted any broad autonomy – but the Syrian authorities are prepared to concede some extremely limited autonomy. And if the Turks object, then – faced with the choice between compromising with the Kurds vs. satisfying the Turks, the Syrians are likely to choose the Kurds.

The Kurds will be chosen because — and this is the third reason — Turkey is the weakest link in the Syrian “triumvirate.” The end of the civil war is not far off, and if Iran and Russia are seeing their own positions strengthening as that day draws nearer, Turkey, on the other hand, is growing weaker.  This is being expedited by the rapidly unraveling relationship between Erdogan and the West, as a result of which the Turkish president has been left in a state of semi-isolation, and he cannot afford to damage his relations with Moscow and Tehran as well. Therefore, it is possible that once the desert enclave and the concentration of troops near Idlib have been cleared out in the autumn, the Syrian army will find some pretext for an offensive in the rebel province, and Turkey will remain on the sidelines. The best Ankara can hope for is to have some minor concessions granted.

Syria without Iran?

As for the US — it played no role in the talks in Sochi. “We are sorry that our American colleagues chose to absent themselves from the work aimed at achieving a long-term political settlement in Syria,” noted Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia’s special envoy to Syria. “We remain confident that mutually acceptable solutions can only be worked out through an open dialog.”

However those can also be worked out through a “closed” dialog, which is something that is held regularly (including during the meeting between Putin and Trump).  Washington’s position is easy to understand.  Donald Trump is ready to pull American troops out of the environs of al-Tanf (in southern Syria), because now that Syrian troops have liberated Deir ez-Zor and the province of Daraa, that base of operations is no longer needed. Trump is also prepared to entertain the possibility of abandoning support for the Syrian Kurds, because they are ill-suited for their role as a force to hold Iran in check and are also creating a host of problems with the Turks.

The only question is — what does Washington want in return? Some media outlets have been circulating the idea that the US and its partner Israel are demanding Iran’s complete withdrawal from Syria. But everyone is well aware that this is unrealistic — the losers cannot order the winner to admit defeat. So it will most likely be an issue of the Iranians having to accept responsibility for pulling their troops and military bases out of the area near the Golan Heights, and Russia having to be responsible for ensuring that Tehran abides by this condition.

So far the negotiations seem to be in their early stages, and one of the key obstacles is the uncertainty of the US and Israel that the Russians will be able to shoulder the responsibility for Iran’s compliance with its obligations once the US troops have been gone from Syria for one, two, or three years. The West believes that Russia’s continued presence in Syria will be on shaky ground, since Iran regards the country as its own domain and will push for outside forces to leave, even friendly ones.

Moscow partially shares this concern (despite being on friendly terms with Tehran), and that is precisely why it is trying to do all it can to use diplomacy to resolve the issue with the Turks themselves, while also pulling Europe into the process of returning the Syrian refugees and restoring the country’s infrastructure. After all, the more outside actors there are in Syria, the less chance that the Iranian leaders in that country will become an undesirable dominating force (which would inevitably happen otherwise). And it makes it even more likely that the process of national reconciliation — which will take more than just a year or two — will culminate in not just an end to the civil confrontation, but also in the long-term peaceful coexistence of the varied peoples and religious sects within Syria.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Totally Irrusianal

By Paul Edwards | CounterPunch | August 17, 2018

Enough with accusations. Let’s assume the worst. Or maybe you think of it as the best. Let’s stipulate that Trump, never mind how, is the helpless tool of evil Putin. Putin posted social media attack rants to sow confusion and doubt in American minds about their country, and ordered the DNC hacking to expose and discredit Hillary on Wikileaks and get his puppet elected. What follows? What was his grand purpose, the endgame?

So, as President, Trump was Putin’s abject slave.  What did Putin want? Diplomatic relations. Trump expelled a hundred Russian diplomats. He demanded sanctions against Russia be dropped. Trump added more.  He ordered Trump to stay in the Iran deal. Trump dumped it. He directed Trump to de-fund Kiev’s neo-Nazi regime and drop demands to give up Crimea. Trump said no. He told Trump to cut the military budget.  Trump increased it. He insisted Trump get out of Syria. Trump refused and had to be forced out. At Helsinki, he may even have asked Trump for–gasp!–a nuclear arms control deal. Trump demurred. No go, Vlad, said the slave.

One would have to say that, to date, Putin’s having Trump by the plums has produced no great triumphs. How can that be? What slavery is this? Either you have leverage or you don’t; you can exert pressure or you can’t.

Ah, but one bonehead military braintruster has revealed that it’s all about undermining America’s “moral authority” in the world. That, you see, is Putin’s truly diabolical desire. Never mind all the oppositional policies and antagonistic acts by Trump; they are but clever cover for a far more sinister plot by the fiend Putin to diminish our cherished respect in the world mind.

One might have thought our grotesquely vicious blood-and-horror shows in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria would have sufficed to render our “moral authority” moot for Putin since we no longer have any, but not so.

There is evidently no limit to his malevolent passion to see America become the most hated nation on earth, and he wants it done–the gods know how!–faster than we’re doing it ourselves. That being so, one might suspect his evil meddling reaches far back to Clinton, the Bushes, and Obama, but that’ s not how the story goes. What Putin wants Trump to do is to eliminate non-existent admiration and respect, a tough order indeed.

For the sake of rigorous inquiry, let’s set aside the poor performance Putin is getting despite his deathgrip on his victim, and speculate about what

Vlad Teufelsdreck might ideally hope for with a slave who honored his obligations better. If you’ve followed me so far, his goal seems clear.

He wants to recreate a Russian Empire and rule the world. This may not be obvious from his actual behavior but we need not be fooled by mere evidence. After subverting, disarming and occupying the U.S.–having asked Xi and China to hang tight while he conquers his moral authority-impaired foes–he will then turn on China, just as Hitler did on…

Can you go on with this line of bullshit? Can anyone? Taking an honest look at the wild goat’s nest of irrationality and deceit behind the claim that Putin has any hold of any kind whatever on Trump, and then parsing the implications of that idea, the infantile fatuity, the mind-numbing idiocy of the whole sham has to slam one like a hi-balling train.

An assertion of fact is, in logic, a premise, which is a proposition supporting a conclusion. The assertion that Trump is Putin’s puppet supports the conclusion that Trump must obey his will, which, QED, is howlingly absurd.

Clintonista Corporate Democrats, obdurate in hara-kiri mode, have gone all in to attack Trump with this baseless fantasy rather than blister him for the  glaring evils he has actually perpetrated. That would be damned awkward for them as many of their big donors are just fine with the looney fiats of the Imperial Pagliacco.  And, their ploy has failed. Trump’s riding them out.

They’ve embraced the Goldwater mantra, “Better Dead Than Red”, and are stoking the fires of the gullible for a face-off with Russia. Gearing up for that Big One would be a jackpot for the War Machine. It could gouge out a far fatter hunk of budget than they’ve gotten beating up defenseless little nations and it’d be fat city right up to the point where Russia, generations ahead of Aunt Sam in weaponry, tore The Empire a great big new one.

If this desperate madness persists, we may yet have both Trump and war. It may be as Kafka reflected: “There is infinite hope… but not for us.”

Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at:

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Assessing US Marines Deployment to Norway: No Big Deal or Serious Threat to Russia?

By Arkady SAVITSKY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.08.2018

Norway has abandoned its traditional policy of “no foreign forces on our national soil.” On Aug. 15, the Norwegian defense ministry reported that the US will more than double (from 330 to more than 700) the number of Marines stationed in that country, in line with plans first outlined in June. The deployments to Norway are expected to last at least five years, compared with the former posting that ran for six months after the initial contingent arrived in 2017 and was then extended last June. A new military base at Setermoen will accommodate the US personnel this fall. The United States has expressed interest in building infrastructure to host up to four US fighter jets at a base 65 kilometers south of Oslo, as part of the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

The reinforcement comes ahead of a large-scale exercise dubbed Trident Juncture 18 — the biggest NATO maneuver in decades, involving 40,000 soldiers, 130 aircraft, and 70 vessels from more than 30 nations. That training event will be held from October to November in central and eastern Norway, the North Atlantic, and the Baltic Sea. Iceland, Sweden, and Finland will also take part.

According to the Norwegian government, the sole purpose of the American military presence is for training, there is no escalation involved in this whatsoever, and Russia has nothing to worry about. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide previously told reporters that this decision did not constitute the establishment of a permanent US base in Norway and was not targeted at Russia.

Moscow issued a warning about the consequences such a move will entail. Are Russia’s concerns justified? After all, 700 soldiers are not a big deal for such a large country. They’ll finish their training, pick up some skiing skills, and leave. Is there really anything to worry about? Perhaps a more in-depth examination can provide an answer to this question.

The US Marines Corps is a service designed mainly for offensive operations. They are training to fight Russia under certain weather conditions. Once it has begun, such training becomes a routine part of the operational cycle. Whether you call it rotational or permanent, they’ll be there for years, ready to attack. It’s not just a few hundred servicemen, it’s an expeditionary force. They are in Norway to make sure that everything is in place to ensure a rapid reinforcement in order to launch offensive operations that include air support right upon arrival.

The cooperation between the US and Norway includes the exchange of intelligence, the purchase of weapons — including 52 F-35 aircraft and five Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) — the use of Norwegian air bases, and the storage of military equipment in line with the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway (MCPP-N), which has been in effect since 2005. Actually, that project is a revival of a Cold War program that was launched in 1981 to preposition military equipment. Norway pays half of the program costs. Since 2014, it has been adjusted to meet the needs of the US Marine Corps. Their stockpiles have enough gear, vehicles, and ammunition to equip a force of more than 4,600 troops. According to the plans, there should be enough equipment and ammunition stored up to sustain a Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) during combat. A MAB can consist of 8,000 to 16,000 Marines, or even more.

And it’s not just Norway. In May, US Marines from the 4th Tank Battalion withdrew tanks and weapons from storage caves in Norway to bring them to Finland during the Arrow 18 training exercise. That equipment was used in their maneuvers alongside the Finnish army. The US Marines in Norway could also be transported to Sweden. Such a scenario played out during the Swedish Aurora 17 exercise. As one can see, the Marines’ deployment in Norway is essential for providing US forces access from northern Scandinavia to the Baltic theater of operations.

Norway is part of an intelligence and missile-defense effort. The high-powered radar Globus 3 in Vardo is an example. The radar in Svalbard (above the Arctic Circle) is installed in violation of a 1925 treaty, which states that Svalbard has a demilitarized status. It can be used for missile-defense purposes. The US Poseidon MPA from Andøya monitor Russian submarine movements. In June, the US, UK, and Norway agreed to create a trilateral coalition on the basis of those planes that will conduct joint operations in the North Atlantic near Russia’s Northern Fleet naval bases.

The F-35 Lightnings purchased from the US are to be based in Ørland in southern Norway. They are nuclear-capable planes. The training provided by the American military to the Norwegian pilots is a violation of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) , which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons from nuclear-weapon states to other states. According to the treaty, non-nuclear-weapon states are not to receive nuclear weapons. Russia will never be sure the Norwegian F-35s aren’t carrying nuclear weapons.

The setting is important. The transformation of Norway into the tip of the knife for an attack on Russia is taking place amidst the speedy militarization of other Scandinavian countries, the Baltic states, and Poland. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, NATO has tripled its military presence on Russia’s western borders over the past five years, forcing Moscow to take retaliatory steps. The Norwegian government’s decision to extend and expand the Marines’ presence is part of NATO’s vigorous war preparations, making Norway a state on the front lines and the prime target for the Russian military.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

US violated international law over Russian diplomatic missions, Moscow tells Washington

RT | August 17, 2018

Washington has violated international law with respect to Russian diplomatic missions in the US, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a protest note filed to DC.

The ministry expressed “protest at the continued violation of international law by the US with regard to” Russian diplomatic missions and consulates in the US, according to a statement on its website.

The complaint concerns Russian diplomatic properties in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as in the states of Maryland and New York.Moscow said that the “negative consequences” undermine not only US-Russian relations, but also “the principles of the sovereignty of states and international cooperation.”

Moscow said that it has a right to take “additional countermeasures” against US diplomatic property on Russian soil if the US “continues violations” against its facilities.

In a separate statement, also released on Friday, the Foreign Ministry urged the UN Secretary-General to look into the matter. The relevant letter to Antonio Guterres was sent on May 18, the ministry said.

The diplomatic spat between Moscow and Washington dates back to December 2016, when on New Year’s Eve, the outgoing Obama administration expelled Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland.

Russia did not immediately retaliate as the new Trump administration was taking office. However, the downward trend in US-Russia ties persisted and, in the summer of 2017, Washington slapped a new round of sanctions on Moscow, which retaliated by ordering the US diplomatic mission to downsize.

In response, the US took new hostile action, shutting the Russian Consulate-General in San Francisco, as well as the country’s trade missions in Washington and New York.

In May this year, US authorities removed the Russian flag from the diplomatic compound in Seattle. The Russian embassy condemned this “unacceptable treatment” of the national symbol.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Baghdad grapples with ‘curse’ of US sanctions on Iran

By Omar al-Jaffal | Asia Times | August 17, 2018

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has raised the level of uncertainty over how Iraq will handle long-expected US sanctions on Iran.

In the span of less than a week, Abadi went from pledging to abide by the sanctions the day after they were imposed, to backtracking on his statement.

“I said yes, we will abide … but abide when it comes to dollar transactions,” Abadi told reporters Monday. The confusion for Iraqi citizens and political parties is even greater for the Central Bank of Iraq.

“Dealing in dollars with Iran has been banned for a very long time,” the bank’s director general of financial operations, Mahmoud Dagher, told the media. “Neither the bank nor the banking system deals with Iran in dollars when it comes to foreign trade.”

Iran is not only a neighbor to Iraq, with a land border of more than 1,000 kilometers. It dominates the Iraqi market and political scene.

Prime Minister Abadi’s vocal opposition to the US sanctions stems from this hegemony, especially as he is seeking a second term in office. His coalition placed third in the May parliamentary elections and he will need Tehran’s support moving forward.

Politically, Iran has influence on a large number of Shiite parties in the government and parliament. Some of these parties have announced they will mount a “break the siege” campaign to counter the US sanctions on Iran.

Militarily, Tehran supports and trains dozens of militias in Iraq, and these groups sharply criticized Abadi over his initial acquiescence to the sanctions. The United States also holds major influence in the military and economic spheres.

As in the past, Abadi is walking a tightrope between Tehran and Washington, both of which have their share of clout in green lighting the next prime minister.

Iranian dairy, Iranian cars

Where there is political and military influence in Iraq, there is economic reverberation.

Hamid Hosseini, the secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said in December that “Iraq, for Iran, equals the markets of three continents: Europe, America and Africa.”

Iranian goods account for about 17% of the Iraqi market, making it the second largest destination for exports after Turkey in this respect. Iranian exports to Iraq have risen exponentially over the past decade.

Before US sanctions were reimposed, Iran said it was seeking to control a quarter of the Iraqi market and increase the volume of trade from $13 billion in 2017 to $20 billion in the coming years.

In the markets of central and southern Iraq, one can clearly observe how Iranian goods dominate shop shelves and how dairy products occupy a large place in the refrigerators.

On the streets, the Iranian-made SAIPA and Samand cars are too many to count. The cheap, poor-quality vehicles have not only entered Iraq by highway — they are assembled at factories in the heart of the country.

Iraq’s power plants are heavily reliant on diesel and gas to operate, and in this regard, Tehran has an agreement to export diesel and about 25 million cubic meters of gas per day to Iraqi power plants.

Even so, Iraq continues to suffer from major power shortages, which this summer prompted major waves of protests as temperature hovered around 50 degrees Celsius. The Iraqi government since 2005 has been compelled to conclude successive deals with Iran to ease the shortfall, importing 1,500 to 2,500 megawatts of electricity per year.

For Iraq, Iranian religious tourism is a major source of income.

Each year, about three million Iranian pilgrims flock to the shrines of the descendants of the the Prophet Mohammad in the provinces of central and southern Iraq.

Baghdad charges a $40 visa fee per tourist, but Abadi’s government quickly announced it would reduce that amount for pilgrims as sanctions on Tehran came into effect.

Iranian goods are often the source of ridicule in Iraq for their lack of quality. But they are hugely popular in the central and southern provinces of the country, as a much more affordable option than goods made in Turkey. Not to mention the foodstuffs Iraqis depend on for their daily diet.

For much of the population, those low prices make a major difference in the household budget, especially with the rise of unemployment and poverty following the price of oil – the key export on which Baghdad relies to conduct about 97% of its economic activities.

Iran’s trade surplus with the Iraqi private sector is more than $7 billion.

Against this backdrop, the Iraqi government appears at a loss, with scant plans in place to deal with the first package of US sanctions against Iran, which is light compared to the second round coming in November.

Dr. Mohammed Saleh, an economic adviser to the prime minister, says Iraq faces a dilemma in the coming period.

“Given the closed border with Syria and the dangerous situation [on the border] with Jordan, for Iraq only Turkey remains” to compensate for the shortage in Iranian goods when the second tranche of US sanctions comes into force. “But also [Turkey] is in a vague position as a result of the US sanctions,” he added, with a note of desperation.

“Iraq will have to comply with the US sanctions on Iran and it will have to compensate for the loss of Iranian goods by producing some of them,” Saleh told Asia Times, adding that this goes especially for the gas sector.

“We will also have to revive the manufacturing of oil products by reactivating refineries suspended from work. The same goes for agriculture, if Iraq can persuade the Turkish side to up Iraq’s water quotas.”

Asked whether Iraq had immediate plans to implement what he had referred to, he said: “Unfortunately, so far there are no actual plans on the ground,” stressing that Iraq was still reeling from the war against ISIS and the failure to form a government after the latest elections.

Made in Iraq?

Falah al-Rubaie, professor of economics at the Faculty of Management and Economics at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, said the sanctions should be seen as an opportunity for Iraq. An opportunity to reconsider its economic policy in the fields of industry and agriculture, and to start competing with Iranian goods through local production.

“Iraq has the space to activate such a policy,” Rubaie told Asia Times. “But such a decision requires political will and belief in achieving development.”

He said Iraq’s economic predicament was not for a lack of strategies. “There have been more than 16 strategies developed by successive governments related to industry, agriculture, trade and others sectors, in addition to the existence of four development plans since 2003.

“All these plans sit on the shelf because of the confusion of political decision-makers and many of them are linked to Iran politically, which facilitates the import of their products at the expense of Iraqi development plans.

“The absence of development and the return to oil revenue is what Iraqi politicians have been doing since 2003 in order to secure their personal benefits at the expense of the country’s interest,” Rubaie added.

Up till now, Iraq has not faced major issues with Tehran or Washington over the latest US sanctions.

“Trade between the two countries (Iraq and Iran) is proceeding normally,” said Nasir Behrouz, Iran’s trade adviser in Baghdad. “The import and export process with Iraq continues at all ports.

“Iran is determined to expand its presence in the Iraqi market to suit the interests of the two countries,” Behrouz was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The US, for its part, has not flagged any sanctions violations by Iraq to date, despite alarmist reports in the local press.

The US embassy in Baghdad issued a statement of clarification after State Department spokesperson Heather Nauret warned Tuesday that Washington would “continue to hold countries accountable for any violations.”

The embassy said Nauret’s statement had been misinterpreted and stated categorically that there was “no breach of sanctions” by Iraq in dealing with Iran.

The economic adviser to PM Abadi described the sanctions against Iran as “the curse” and said that the second round was an impending disaster that Iran must redress.

He did not say whether Iraq would be able to tackle this curse and find a substitute for Iranian imports.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

CNN Español uses photo of pro-government rally in report about protest against Nicaraguan president

Supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega “expressing their rejection of Daniel Ortega’s government,” according to CNN © Inti Ocon / AFP
RT | August 17, 2018

CNN’s Spanish-language site used an easily-identifiable photograph of a pro-government rally in a report detailing a protest against Nicaragua’s president, sparking accusations of propaganda peddling and sloppy journalism.

CNN Español tweeted out a video report on August 15 about Nicaraguans “returning to the streets to express their rejection of [President] Daniel Ortega’s government,” accompanied by a photograph of a large pro-government rally that took place several days prior.

The odd choice of photograph is particularly curious because it’s difficult to imagine how the marchers could be mistaken as anti-government. A red-and-black Sandinista flag is clearly visible in the background, and some demonstrators are even seen wearing red-and-black bandanas over their mouths. The Sandinista National Liberation Front – or FSLN – is the democratic socialist political party headed by Ortega.

“There is a flag of the FSLN in the picture. This is a PRO-government demonstration, absurd propaganda,” US journalist Ben Norton tweeted at the news site in Spanish.

Although the photograph appears to have been updated to more accurately reflect the story’s content, it’s still being used for an audio version of the video posted to the news channel’s Soundcloud account.

CNN Español’s audio report about an anti-government protest in Nicaragua continues to feature a photograph of a large pro-government rally

The erroneous tweet – which CNN has yet to delete – has been bombarded by hundreds of angry comments.

The CNN report comes amid months of civil unrest in Nicaragua, with more than 100 people having been killed in what has been characterized as a US-backed effort to overthrow the government.

“We have always wanted to have normal relations with the US but we see only aggression in return,” Ortega said in an exclusive interview with RT Spanish earlier this month.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment