Aletho News


Professor Mohammad Marandi on BBC HARDtalk

August 14, 2018

HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to Iranian political analyst and erstwhile nuclear talks adviser Mohamed Marandi.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Imprisoned Palestinian journalist reiterates call for solidarity

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | August 19, 2018

Imprisoned Palestinian journalist and director of Al-Quds TV Alaa Rimawi said on Sunday, 19 August that the arrests carried out by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian media and journalists are part of a comprehensive attack on Palestinian media, preventing it from doing its work and minimizing its role in publicizing Palestinian realities.

In a statement released by his family and lawyer, Rimawi said that this agenda was clear during the interrogation sessions he was subjected to personally in the past two days. He also noted the cases of journalist Ali Dar Ali, arrested by occupation forces, and the administrative detention of journalist Mohammed Muna, saying that these attacks reflected the same purpose.

Rimawi said in his statement that the occupation considers terms like “martyr,” “occupation,” “steadfastness,” “confrontation” and “resistance” to be “inciting” content. He also noted that the arrests of journalists is meant to keep the situation in Palestine from being covered in the media. “The occupation is carrying out a policy of intimidation with its police and intelligence services. This is clear and obvious, bringing forward the names of journalists to continue these detentions, a threat against every free Palestinian journalists.”

He called for a unified position in support of Palestinian journalists from the International Federation of Journalists, Arab Press Union and other concerned bodies around the world to come together with a unified goal of protecting Palestinian journalists under occupation.

Occupation arrests of Palestinian journalists like Dar Ali, Muna, Lama Khater and others, and the forcible closure of media institutions by military bodies have escalated recently, under various pretexts and charges.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Israel planning for something world is unaware of?

PressTV – August 18, 2018

It’s one thing for a military budget to increase for the coming year, but for every year through the next two decades? Such is the case with Israel’s military budget. One obvious question: why does Israel want to increase its military budget so dramatically?

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Video | , , , | 4 Comments

Syria’s Disappeared: The Story of Adra

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | August 19, 2018

The question of “Syria’s Disappeared” just won’t go away! Faced with the dreadful prospect of President Assad “remaining in power” following the begrudging admission of defeat by Syria’s enemies, supporters of the failed “revolution” are digging in with their accusations of war crimes and torture by the Syrian government.

The resurrected story is the same, with a few embellishments – the demon Assad and his minions have abducted thousands of innocent people that they didn’t like, and tortured and starved them to death – but then oddly and rather morbidly cataloged and photographed every corpse. Showing the depth of their psychopathology, they have then left these detailed records in a place where they might be found, by Caesar of all people, and exposed to the world to see.

This story has been around so long that it starts to look suspicious; it was Hillary Clinton who foresaw the opportunity to demonize the Syrian government at the same time she was masterminding the shipping of weapons and fighters to Syria from Benghazi. Clinton set up the “Syria Justice and Accountability Centre” in mid-2012, which later became the quango known as the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, operated by Canadian lawyer and war-tribunal veteran Bill Wiley.

When funding for this “private non-profit organization” was cut by Obama in 2014, it was described like this:

For the past two years, the U.S. State Department has channeled a total of $1 million in funds to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), a group of international war crimes prosecutors that sends local researchers, lawyers, and law students into Syrian battle zones to collect and extract files and other evidence that can help map the Syrian command structure and identify the military orders authorizing illegal activities, including barrel bomb campaigns, the starvation of besieged towns, and a spate of mass murders that have pushed the conflict’s death toll past 190,000 since March 2011.

Perhaps the funding was suspended because these researchers failed to find anything that constituted real evidence of crimes committed by the Syrian military, amongst the everyday atrocities of the violent extremists they were fighting. The “Caesar photographs” and alleged evidence of torture and abuse of government prisoners seem in fact to be all that CIJA has to focus on, which isn’t saying much. Apart from being comprehensively debunked by impartial analysts, even the producers of Channel 4’s serial “Syria’s Disappeared” who have been pushing the story for years, are remarkably unconvincing. All they manage to highlight in this report is the surprisingly caring attitude of Syrian authorities towards prisoners:

A memo of one meeting of Military Intelligence officers in 2013 reiterates how detainees should be treated: “It is imperative to attend to the cleanliness of the prison and all its facilities, and the hygiene and health of detainees… to preserve lives and reduce deaths which have considerably risen lately.”

Nowhere in the reports, of course, can any discussion be found that might actually explain why the Syrian government would want to starve and torture prisoners, leave alone “innocent women and children”. If the reports are true – which seems unlikely – this would only invite comparison with the global experts in such treatment, like the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In reality, there is a true story of “Syria’s disappeared” that dates from almost the same time as the Caesar photos – the story of Adra. There are no images showing the victims of Jaish al Islam and Al Nusra’s bloodletting in December 2013, other than those permanently etched on survivors’ memories, and in the imaginations of millions of Syrians who learnt of the massacres at the time.

Recently these painful memories were unearthed again, but not in some sort of catharsis; what happened in Douma in April turned the knife in that terrible wound.

Middle East Eye reported –

The rebel group which held the last pocket near Damascus before its surrender this week exaggerated hostage numbers in order to gain leverage in negotiations with the Syrian government and Russia, a spokesman for the group has told Middle East Eye.

For almost five years, Jaish al-Islam had controlled the besieged Eastern Ghouta town of Douma and was holding hostages who had been captured during the group’s assault, along with the Al-Nusra Front, in December 2013 on the nearby town of Adra.

Syrian government officials have put the figure of those held by Jaish al-Islam at around 5,000, although some Syrians, according to various reports, believe the figure is over 7,000. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is frequently quoted in Western media, put the figure at 3,500.

Hours after suspected chemical weapons attacks on the town last Saturday – the same attacks which have spurred the US, France, and the UK to consider military action – the group reached a final agreement with Russia and the Syrian government for the evacuation of Douma.

But when only 200 hostages were released in exchange for the safe passage of 8,000 fighters and 40,000 of their family members, many questioned what Jaish al-Islam had done with thousands of Syrians.

Middle East Eye is a partial observer. In fact, a special event was organized to welcome the desperately hoped for thousands of “disappeared” hostages, whose fate at the hands of their merciless and brutal kidnappers was completely unknown. It was widely believed that these hostages were being held as slaves, kept in the tunnels they were forced to dig for the terrorist groups, as well as being periodically slaughtered and displayed as wrapped corpses to the Western world, as victims of Syrian government “massacres”.

So when the much heralded “convoy” arrived, of only TWO buses, the hundreds of relatives of the missing thousands became hysterical. They could hardly imagine what terrible fate had taken their loved ones, what torture or humiliation or deprivation. And those who had perpetrated these horrors, and now had committed one last act of treachery and trickery to secure their freedom, had been allowed to escape to safety – along with their foreign assistants.

For weeks there had been negotiations with Jaish al Islam to try to secure the release of the hostages, whose assumed presence in Douma prevented Syrian and Russian forces from using artillery and bombs against the terrorists. In retrospect, this appears to have been a calculated tactic in which the staging of the “chemical weapons attack” immediately before concluding the evacuation agreement was the defining act.

Jaish al Islam and their White Helmet partners knew there were only a handful of captives, but knew that the Syrian government didn’t know how many could be hidden, and couldn’t risk killing any. The Syrian Army also knew what sort of enemy they were dealing with, ever since the battle was lost to protect the residents of Adra.

I was reminded of the “Adra massacre” by our Syrian guide in May as we drove past the city on the newly re-opened road to Homs. Like most Syrians, he has not forgotten what was done there, and could not forget. RT reported at the time:

New details of atrocities carried out by Islamist rebel fighters in the town of Adra, 20 kilometers north of Damascus, continue to pour in from survivors of the massacre there, in which reportedly at least 80 people lost their lives.

“The decapitators” is how the Adra residents, who managed to flee the violence there, now call the people who currently have the town under their control. Adra, a town with a population of 20,000, was captured by Islamist rebels from the Al-Nusra front and the Army of Islam last week, following fierce fighting with the government forces. The town’s seizure was accompanied by mass executions of civilians.

“An Adra resident said he escaped from the town “under a storm of bullets.” He later contacted his colleagues, who described how the executions of civilians were carried out by the militants.

“They had lists of government employees on them,” the man told RT. “This means they had planned for it beforehand and knew who works in the governmental agencies. They went to the addresses they had on their list, forced the people out and subjected them to the so-called “Sharia trials.” I think that’s what they call it. They sentenced them to death by beheading.”

A woman, hiding her face from the camera, told RT of the beheadings she had seen.

“There was slaughter everywhere,” she said. “The eldest was only 20 years old; he was slaughtered. They were all children. I saw them with my own eyes. They killed fourteen people with a machete. I don’t know if these people were Alawites. I don’t know why they were slaughtered. They grabbed them by their heads and slaughtered them like sheep.”

Kinda Shimat, Syria’s Social Affairs Minister, told RT:

“Civilians told us that the workers of an Adra bakery were all executed and burned during the first hours of the attack. Whole families were massacred. We do not have an exact estimation of the number because we are unable to get into the town, but the number is high.”

I had heard these reports at the time, and how people were terrorized; allegations that women had thrown themselves from windows rather than suffer some horrific torture at the hands of these men. Our guide – a straightforward and honest man – told me in private what he had heard – that these terrorist zealots had cut off the breasts of the “Alawite women” as trophies of their conquest. Like the horrible things done to women during the attack on Alawite villages near Lattakia only months earlier, discussing such obscenity seems beneath the dignity of normal people, even suggesting some morbid fascination with mutilation and torture.

That could put us on a par with those amongst Syria’s enemies who have contrived to use violent extremists and terrorists, not only to achieve their objectives in the Middle East but also to elicit support for “intervention” in the guise of self-defense for their own populations.

But of course, it does not. Those men, and even women, who directly enabled the monsters of the “Army of Islam” to hold and torture the residents of Adra and Douma for five years, restocking their arsenal and their warehouses while parading them as victims of Syrian brutality – well they are beyond contempt, even beneath the dignity and honour of thieves.

Perhaps we could now talk about them and start to catalog their crimes.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

The 10 Main Holes in the Official Narrative on the Salisbury Poisonings: #1 – The Motive

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | August 18, 2018

When I began writing about the Skripal case, I was moved to do so by three main considerations.

Firstly, I really am passionate for the truth, and whatever the truth happens to be in this case, I strongly desire it to be made manifest. It was clear to me fairly early on that this was not happening.

Secondly, I am also very passionate about concepts such as the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, and the apparently quaint notion that investigations should precede verdicts, rather than the other way around. And so when I saw accusations being made before the investigation had hardly begun, verdicts being reached before the facts were established, I was appalled — appalled that this was happening in what we British pride ourselves is the Mother of Parliaments, and equally appalled that this meant the investigation was inevitably prejudiced and – pardon the expression – poisoned from the off.

Thirdly, the incident happened to have taken place pretty much on my doorstep, which made it of even more interest to me.

Nothing I have seen in the intervening time has persuaded me that my initial impressions were wrong. In fact, the whiff of rodent I first detected has only become stronger as time has gone on and the case has become — frankly — farcical. Not only that, but the reaction to the case has been simply incredible. For instance, the United States expelled 60 diplomats back in March, and more recently they have effectively declared economic war on the Russian Federation – all in response to unproven and inconsistent assertions of a botched assassination attempt against an old spy in a quiet Wiltshire City. Such a response ought to raise the suspicions of any sentient being that all is not what it appears.

I still do not have any clear idea of what happened on that day, but what I am certain of is that the official narrative is not only untrue, but it is manifestly inconceivable that it could be true. There are simply too many inconsistencies, too many holes and far too many unexplained events for it to be true. And whilst part of me would dearly love to leave this wretched case behind for a while, whilst it is still ongoing, and especially as it is now being used to push us even closer to the brink of war (economic warfare is often a prelude to military warfare), I find that hard to do.

What I would therefore like to do in a series of 10 short pieces over the next couple of weeks or so, is attempt to expose some of the very many holes in the official narrative. At the end of it, I may well put it all together into one PDF, so that it can be sent somewhere, where it can be completely ignored by those that matter. Enjoy!

Number 1: The Motive

In her speech to the House of Commons on 26th March, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said this:

“In conclusion, as I have set out, no other country has a combination of the capability, the intent and the motive to carry out such an act.”

For the purposes of this piece, I am not interested in her comments on capability or intent, but simply what she describes as “the motive”.

The first question to be asked is this: What exactly does she mean by “the motive”? By including that definite article before the word “motive”, she implies that there is only one “motive” – the motive – and that only one party – the Russian Federation – possessed this. Which is of course manifest nonsense. She might at that stage have said that they possessed “a motive”, but without looking into what Mr Skripal was up to, and the contacts he had, she was in no position to state that they had “the motive”.

Imagine the following scenario: A farmer called Boggis is found shot dead in his barn. It is known that a week earlier, he had a very public quarrel with another landowner, Bunce, about the boundaries between their lands, and that the two of them had to be separated before they came to blows. Could it be said of Bunce that he had “the motive”? Well, it would be reasonable to suggest that he had “a motive”, but without looking into other circumstances and other characters connected with Boggis, it would be disingenuous to claim that he had “the motive” as if only he might have had one.

As it happens, Boggis had been committing adultery with the wife of another neighbouring farmer called Bean, and Bean had found out about this two days before Boggis was found dead. What now? Does Bean have a motive? Very possibly. So too might Boggis’ wife. Perhaps even Bunce’s wife. Who knows without examining the facts more closely?

And so herein lies the first whiff of rodent. Mrs May asserted that the Russian Federation possessed “the motive”, implying that there was only one possibility, which is something that could only be ascertained by proper investigation of Mr Skripal, his circumstances and what he was up to. She therefore committed what is a most basic fallacy in the investigative process.

The second question to ask is this: she says she set out “the motive” in her speech, but what actually was that? Here is what she presented as the motive in her speech:

“We know that Russia has a record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations – and that it views some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations.”

This won’t do. Firstly, many countries have records of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and not always against their own nationals. But secondly, the claim that the Russian Federation “views some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations” is not a motive. At best it is a claim, but it is not a motive. A motive for an attempted murder, such as this, would need to give a reason for carrying it out on that particular person at that particular time. Simply saying that they view some former intelligence officers as legitimate targets for these assassinations does not explain why they are supposed to have decided to assassinate this particular man, at this particular time, especially since they released and pardoned him in 2010. It also does not explain why they apparently decided to wreck all possible future spy swaps, since Mr Skripal had been part of such a deal, and assassinating him would put an end to such deals.

But the most important question to ask is this: are there any other parties with a possible motive for this crime? Even without a particularly careful investigation of the details of Mr Skripal’s life, contacts and circumstances, I can say assuredly that there were. For instance, it is known — although woefully unreported because of a media ban — that Mr Skripal was connected to the man behind the so-called Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele. Personally, I am reasonably convinced that Mr Skripal had a hand in putting this dossier together, given his connections to Steele, and since it was almost certainly authored by a Russian “trained in the KGB tradition”. Might this give a motive to some very powerful groups who are nervous about the origins and details of this dossier coming to light? Yes, of course. Then why is it not a line of possible enquiry? Answers on a postcard to the Department of the Blindingly Obvious.

In summary:

  1. Mrs May had no right to state that the Russian Federation had “the motive”. The best she could have said at that stage, without taking other possibilities into account, was that they had “a motive”.
  1. The motive she does present is particularly feeble and does not explain why the Russian Federation would have wanted Mr Skripal in particular dead, and at that particular time.
  1. Mr Skripal’s recent activities indicate that there were others with possible motives to assassinate or incapacitate him.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Trump Regime Continues Supporting ISIS

By Stephen LENDMAN | August 18, 2018

US support for ISIS is an open dirty secret – undiscussed by media scoundrels, pretending it’s not so.

Washington actively arms, funds, trains, and directs ISIS and other terrorists – backing the scourge they pretend to oppose.

Obama and Trump’s vow to degrade and destroy ISIS was and remains a bald-faced lie, using these and other cutthroat killers as proxy fighters in Syria and other countries where they’re deployed – their presence unjustifiably justifying illegal US occupation of northeast and southwest Syrian territory.

Last November, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the following:

“The Abu Kamal liberation operation conducted by the Syrian government army with air cover by the Russian Aerospace Force at the end of the last week revealed facts of direct cooperation and support for ISIS terrorists by the US-led ‘international coalition.”

“Americans peremptorily rejected to conduct airstrikes over the ISIS terrorists on the pretext of the fact that, according to their information, militants are yielding themselves prisoners to them and now are subject to the provisions of the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.”

US-led “coalition’s aviation tried to create obstacles for the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in this area to safely shield militants of the Islamic State.”

“There is indisputable evidence that the United States pretends it is waging irreconcilable struggle against international terrorism in front of the international community, while in reality it provides cover for the combat-ready Islamic State groups to let them regain strength, regroup themselves and advance US interests in the Middle East.”

Washington directly aids ISIS and other terrorist fighters, deploying them where Pentagon commanders want them used, relocating them to new conflict zones in Syria and other countries.

Iran has credible documents showing US support for ISIS. Its armed forces deputy chief of staff Major General Mostafa Izadi earlier said “(w)e are facing a proxy warfare in the region as a new trick by the arrogant (US-led) powers against the Islamic Republic,” adding:

“We possess information showing direct support by US imperialism for (ISIS) in the region which has destroyed Islamic countries and created a wave of massacres and clashes.”

Separately, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned Washington for “align(ing) itself with ISIS in the region.”

So-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are infested with ISIS and other terrorists. Washington’s objective in Syria remains regime change – why the Obama regime launched naked aggression in the country, continued by Trump regime dark forces in charge of Washington’s geopolitical agenda.

A new Security Council report showed renewed ISIS strength in parts of Syria controlled by US forces and allies, saying:

ISIS terrorists have “breathing space to prepare for the next phase of its evolution into a global covert network.”

Aided by the Trump regime and allied forces, they control “small pockets of territory in the Syrian Arab Republic on the Iraqi border.”

Russia’s General Staff earlier accused the Pentagon of training ISIS and other terrorists at its illegally established At Tanf base in southwest Syria – calling it a staging ground for US armed struggle against the Syrian government.

ISIS and other terrorists infest the Rukban refugee camp controlled by US Forces, holding tens of thousands of defenseless Syrians hostage, using the camp to recruit anti-government terrorists.

On August 15, AMN News said US-led forces “transported over 250 trucks filled with weapons (and other military hardware) to the Euphrates River Valley this morning” – intended for Syrian Democratic Forces terrorists in Deir Ezzor province, adding:

Washington is “expand(ing) (its) bases and airports in northern and eastern Syria” – indicating US forces will remain in the country, not leave, as Trump earlier said.

Separately on August 18, AMN News said Washington and its allies “sent reinforcements to their military bases in the towns of Tal Tamer, Al-Houl, and Al-Shaddadi.”

Syria’s liberating struggle continues, no end of it in sight as long as US regime change intentions remain unchanged.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments