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Iranian Bots and the Facebook Stasi: Manufacturing Consent for the Endless War

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of desTroy | September 3, 2018

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The American Empire doesn’t handle failure well, and their repeated failures to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have driven them into a frenzy where good judgment and logic are a thing of the past. Russian military intelligence predicts a false-flag chemical attack in Idlib which will be pinned on the Assad regime and used to justify “retaliation” orders of magnitude greater than April’s Tomahawk tantrum. This time, if the words of the Wicked Witch of the UN are any indication, Iran and Russia will also be blamed. While the US has mostly abandoned hope for regime change in Syria, it will not look a gift horse in the mouth, and is gathering aircraft carriers and bombers to the region while pumping out tear-jerking propaganda about Idlib residents fearing for their lives. If the false flag fails, they can always send those bombers to Iran…

Such an attack is very much on the table, with the groundwork being laid in the pro-war press. John Bolton promised the MEK, a “corrupt, criminal cult” of Iranian exiles which bribed its way off the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in 2012, regime change by 2019, and the clock is ticking. Attempts to foment a color revolution have failed repeatedly, because Iranians aren’t stupid and remember what happened the last time the US overthrew their government. But Benjamin Netanyahu has been baying for Iranian blood for almost three decades, and Bolton cares little for more clear-headed military personnel’s warnings that invading Iran would be a costly, unwinnable nightmare – Real Men Go To Tehran, as they used to say in the halcyon days of the Axis of Evil.

Prelude to War: Iranian Bots

The ruling class understands Americans are wary of another Middle Eastern war and must be convinced they’re under attack. Hence the new bogeyman, just in time for Election 2018: Iranian Meddling. Twitter, Facebook, and Google took time out from deplatforming anti-establishment commentators to delete over a thousand accounts between them after cyber-security firm FireEye released a report detailing a far-reaching “Suspected Iranian Influence Operation.” With only “moderate confidence,” FireEye pointed to “coordinated inauthentic behavior” geared toward “shaping a message favorable to Iran’s national interests” as the smoking gun. Washed-up former intelligence operatives Ron Hosko and Larry Pfeiffer (ex-FBI and ex-CIA, respectively) smugly added that if we hadn’t let Russia get away with their (still unproven) interference in the 2016 election, Iran would never have been so emboldened as to pour $12,000 of cold, hard cash into this social media offensive in order to portray itself favorably to western audiences. 

Facebook, eager to behave, took down 652 offending accounts before the government could even react to the news. FireEye’s report points accusingly to the accounts’ promotion of “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes, as well as support for specific US policies favorable to Iran,” implying Facebook users should be suspicious of anyone else espousing these views (and warning Iranian and Palestinian sympathizers and other pro-peace activists to shut up, or they’re next). An important step in laying the groundwork for an unpopular war is to “other” and ultimately demonize the enemy, and FireEye’s suggestion that those with pro-Iranian views aren’t even real humans is classic wartime propaganda for the digital age. In addition to three groups of Iranian accounts, FireEye claims it caught some Russians “attempt[ing] to influence politics in Syria and the Ukraine.” This group “was linked to sources that Facebook said the US had linked to Russian military intelligence.” How many hops of truth distortion are too many for even the terminally credulous establishment media?

Perhaps anticipating users’ bewilderment – the offending accounts had broken no laws, were promoting no political candidates, and in many cases had not even bought ads – Zuckerberg explained around a mouth full of jackboot that “These were accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing. We ban this kind of behavior because authenticity matters. People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.” Lest users make the mistake of trusting Facebook, however, he added that the company would be “working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies,” turning over more user data than ever in its quest to make privacy obsolete. When law enforcement calls on Facebook to create a backdoor in its Messenger program – thus defeating the purpose of “encrypted chat” – does anyone really expect Zuckerberg to stand fast for privacy rights? 

Not to be outdone, Twitter deleted 770 accounts based on the FireEye report, noting that only 100 of these ostensibly Iranian accounts had misrepresented their location and not even all of these had shared “divisive social commentary,” while a single account had purchased $30 in ads. This means over 600 Twitter accounts were deleted for the crime of geography alone (collateral damage?). But Twitter has always gone above and beyond the call of duty, announcing in May that to promote “healthy” conversations it would begin de-ranking users for engaging in “suspicious behavior.” Users who tweeted at many accounts, had multiple complaints against them, or retweeted material tweeted by banned accounts were shadowbanned indefinitely as persona non grata. Since November, Twitter and Facebook have both been turning over information on users who post “divisive” content of the sort promoted by “Russia-linked accounts” to congressional investigators even though a creator of “Russian bot tracker” Hamilton68 admits the accounts his tool tracks are not necessarily bots, or even Russian – “some are legitimately passionate people,” as if passion is an un-American trait. 

Last year, the FBI launched a Foreign Intelligence Task Force to work with US tech firms to combat “foreign influence actors.” With bots and their ilk operating all over the world, the decision to single out Russia and Iran has obvious foreign policy motivation (Bolton also claims that China and North Korea are up to no good on social media). All of this avoids naming the elephant in the room. Even though Israel meddles loudly and proudly in US elections, Facebook openly collaborates with Netanyahu’s government. Beyond removing posts and banning accounts, Facebook even turns over user information to Israeli authorities to facilitate prosecution of Palestinian activists for “incitement,” sometimes over nothing more than a “like” or a “share.” Adding insult to injury, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs has weaponized the diaspora’s ennui – often caused in no small part by young Jews’ discomfort with the crimes their government commits in their name – with the social media equivalent of a Predator drone. Act.IL is an app that allows the user to participate in the “brigading” (mass-reporting for spurious violations) of hapless strangers for “incitement” – supporting the BDS movement, say, or implying that Palestinians are human rather than a “lawn” to be “mowed.” In a rare case of instant karma, the app was found to be leaking users’ email addresses. A nation where the government and citizen “enforcers” are working together to silence dissent sounds like an authoritarian nightmare, but this is our “democratic” Middle Eastern ally.

Origins of Totalitarianism

Israel is the missing link that explains how “sowing discord” – an offense few Americans had ever heard of until 2016 – entered our national vocabulary. The modern “fake news” panic has its roots in the totalitarian tradition. Words like “inciting,” “fomenting,” and “sowing” “discord” and “subversion” are very versatile weapons in the hands of authoritarian regimes. This language was previously uncommon in the US, but its emergence became inevitable when the “new Pearl Harbor” of 9/11 opened the door to the creation of the modern American police state. Social media are now just extra bars on the cage – the tools we once believed could liberate us, during the promising early months of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, are now used to silence us. The US, following a blueprint for legal censorship set by post-WW2 Europe, is taking on the totalitarian trappings of China, of Burma, of the central Asian “stans” and of Saudi Arabia. Kazakhstan calls it “inciting national discord,” with the variations “ethnic discord” and “religious discord” applicable as needed to whatever activist, journalist, or trade unionist the regime needs to put on ice for a few years. It’s called “inciting religious hatred” or “ethnic hatred” in Azerbaijan, which also permanently bans 5 major media outlets for reasons of “national security.” Uzbekistan arrests journalists for “extremism.” China targets activists of all stripes for “inciting subversion.” Burma, which is cracking down hard on the press as it seeks to keep its Rohingya ethnic cleansing quiet, criminalizes “speech that is likely to cause fear or harm and incites classes or groups to commit offenses against each other.” Egypt detains lawyers, journalists and activists under charges of “propagating false news.” Saudi Arabia recently put a Shi’a religious leader to death for “sowing discord” and “undermining national unity.” American dissenters, this is your future.

I have already explained how the Great Deplatforming represents the triumph of the repressive concept of Hate Speech over Free Speech, and how this – not Trump blustering about that wall he’ll get around to building someday – is what fascism looks like. The US government uses friendly corporations as workarounds for the constitutional limits on its power. This technique was deployed against the Second Amendment in Citibank and Bank of America’s post-Parkland refusal to process financial transactions from firearm manufacturers, and is being deployed against the First Amendment here. Such corporate-state fascism is very effective, and the ruling class has seen fit to share it with the other “Five Eyes” intelligence partners, all of whom share information gathered by their Panopticon surveillance agencies. This week, ministers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand met in Australia to condemn hostile nations who “sow discord, manipulate public discourse, bias the development of policy, or disrupt markets” through their manipulation of social media platforms; they also implored Big Tech to allow law enforcement “targeted” access to users’ encrypted data. Flexing the thuggish muscles of the world’s greatest carceral state, the group acknowledged “individual rights must be protected” (and presumably snickered before adding) “privacy is not absolute” and warning that encryption was being exploited by criminals. 

The Iranian Meddling affair is a perfect distraction from the real malfeasance at Facebook, where Zuckerberg is bringing back Stasi-style crowdsourced secret policing. The company is assigning “trust ratings” to users based in part on their willingness to report their friends for posting “fake news,” fostering a climate of distrust and fear meant to instill reflexive self-censorship. As in East Germany, the central authorities can’t possibly police everyone all of the time, and it is much more advantageous for them to outsource surveillance to the people, since one who cannot trust his neighbor will not unite with him to overthrow the state. Accordingly, Facebook admits that “some users” abuse Facebook’s reporting system, dubbing stories or users they don’t like “fake news” – but don’t worry about those miscreants, because Facebook compensates for their actions with thousands (!) of other measures that go into calculating the trust rating. No user can see his or her own report – that would be telling – so we’re encouraged to tread carefully to avoid running afoul of the ever-shifting Rules. Jordan Peterson, conservatism’s favorite intellectual, delivers his marching orders in a video he posted last week – “nothing is ever simple,” he pleads as he tells his fans that he’s reached an understanding with Zuckerberg, a “very straightforward person” who really just wants to keep his users safe from bad guys like ISIS recruiters. And Iran. Because they’re terrorists, you know?

The police state is no longer necessary when you have internalized the police. “Media censorship is a shift in the flow of information, while self-censorship is a shift in consciousness.” When the government has convinced citizens to do its job – reporting friends and neighbors for “hate speech,” “sowing discord,” and “incitement” on social media, for example – a free society is impossible. 

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi-led airstrikes kill 15 civilians in Yemen’s Hudaydah

Yemeni truck targeted by a Saudi fighter jet on the outskirts of the port city of Hudaydah on September 12, 2018. (Photo by al-Masirah)
Press TV – September 12, 2018

At least 15 civilians, including one child, have been killed as the Saudi-led coalition resumed its airstrikes on the outskirts of Yemen’s port city of Hudaydah despite widespread international criticism over the war’s impact on civilians.

According to reports by Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television, about 20 civilians were also injured during Wednesday’s bombings that were launched after a brief truce since July.

The Saudi-backed forces also captured a number of towns as well as two main supply routes linking Hudaydah to the capital Sana’a and Ta’izz province, the report added.

The bombings resumed after UN-brokered peace efforts failed in Geneva last week. The talks were aborted after the UN failed to meet conditions set by Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, including transfer of wounded people to hospital for proper treatment and guarantees on the safety of the Yemeni delegation. Ansarullah also accused Saudi Arabia of planning to strand the delegation in Djibouti, where their plane was to make a stop en route to Geneva.

Delegates from Yemen’s former government and representatives of the Houthi movement held their last UN-sponsored negotiations in Kuwait in 2016 in a bid to hammer out a “power-sharing” deal, but they fell apart after the Saudi-backed side left the venue.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression.

More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

The US: The Century of Lost Wars

By James Petras | Global Research | September 12, 2018

Introduction

Despite having the biggest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases – over 180 – in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.

In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures.

The Lost Wars

The US has been engaged in multiple wars and coups since the beginning of the 21st century. These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Venezuela and the Ukraine. Besides Washington’s secret intelligence agencies have financed five surrogate terrorist groups in Pakistan, China, Russia, Serbia and Nicaragua.

The US has invaded countries, declared victories and subsequently faced resistance and prolonged warfare which required a large US military presence to merely protect garrison outposts.

The US has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties – dead, maimed and deranged soldiers. The more the Pentagon spends, the greater the losses and subsequent retreats.

The more numerous the vassal regimes, the greater the corruption and incompetence flourishes.

Every regime subject to US tutelage has failed to accomplish the objectives designed by its US military advisers.

The more spent on recruiting mercenary armies the greater the rate of defection and the transfer of arms to US adversaries.

Success in Starting Wars and Failures in Finishing Them

The US invaded Afghanistan, captured the capital (Kabul) defeated the standing army … and then spent the next two decades engaged in losing irregular warfare.

The initial victories laid the groundwork for future defeats. Bombings drove millions of peasants and farmers, shopkeepers and artisans into the local militia. The invaders were defeated by the forces of nationalism and religion linked to families and communities. The indigenous insurgents overcame arms and dollars in many of the villages, towns and provinces.

Similar outcomes were repeated in Iraq and Libya. The US invaded, defeated the standing armies, occupied the capital and imposed its clients—- which set the terrain for long-term, large-scale warfare by local insurgent armies.

The more frequent the western bombings, the greater the opposition forcing the retreat of the proxy army.

Somalia has been bombed frequently. Special Forces have recruited, trained, and armed the local puppet soldiers, sustained by mercenary African armies but they have remained holed up in the capital city, Mogadishu, surrounded and attacked by poorly armed but highly motivated and disciplined Islamic insurgents.

Syria is targeted by a US financed and armed mercenary army. In the beginning they advanced, uprooted millions, destroyed cities and homes and seized territory. All of which impressed their US – EU warlords. Once the Syrian army united the populace, with their Russian, Lebanese (Hezbollah) and Iranian allies, Damascus routed the mercenaries.

After the better part of a decade the separatist Kurds, alongside the Islamic terrorists and other western surrogates retreated, and made a last stand along the northern borders–the remaining bastions of Western surrogates.

The Ukraine coup of 2014 was financed and directed by the US and EU. They seized the capital (Kiev) but failed to conquer the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Corruption among the US ruling kleptocrats devastated the country – over three million fled abroad to Poland, Russia and elsewhere in search of a livelihood. The war continues, the corrupt US clients are discredited and will suffer electoral defeat unless they rig the vote.

Surrogate uprisings in Venezuela and Nicaragua were bankrolled by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). They ruined economies but lost the street wars.

Conclusion

Wars are not won by arms alone. In fact, heavy bombing and extended military occupations ensure prolonged popular resistance, ultimate retreats and defeats.

The US major and minor wars of the 21st century have failed to incorporate targeted countries into the empire.

Imperial occupations are not military victories. They merely change the nature of the war, the protagonists of resistance, the scope and depth of the national struggle.

The US has been successful in defeating standing armies as was the case in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Ukraine. However, the conquest was limited in time and space. New armed resistance movements led by former officers, religious activists and grass roots activists took charge…

The imperial wars slaughtered millions, savaged traditional family, workplace and neighborhood relations and set in motion a new constellation of anti-imperialist leaders and militia fighters.

The imperial forces beheaded established leaders and decimated their followers. They raided and pillaged ancient treasures. The resistance followed by recruiting thousands of uprooted volunteers who served as human bombs, challenging missiles and drones.

The US imperial forces lack the ties to the occupied land and people. They are ‘aliens’ serving time; they seek to survive, secure promotions and exit with a bonus and an honorable discharge.

In contrast, the resistance fighters are there for the duration. As they advance, they target and demolish the imperial surrogates and mercenaries. They expose the corrupt client rulers who deny the subject people the elementary conditions of existence – employment, potable water, electricity etc.

The imperial vassals are not present at weddings, sacred holidays or funerals, unlike the resistance fighters. The presence of the latter signals a pledge of loyalty unto death. The resistance circulates freely in cities, towns and villages with the protection of the local people; and by night they rule enemy terrain, under cover of their own people, who share intelligence and logistics.

Inspiration, solidarity and light arms are more than a match for the drones, missiles and helicopter gunships.

Even the mercenary soldiers, trained by the Special Forces, defect from and betray their imperial masters. Temporary imperial advances serve only to allow the resistance forces to regroup and counter-attack. They view surrender as a betrayal of their traditional way of life, submission to the boot of western occupation forces and their corrupt officials.

Afghanistan is a prime example of an imperial ‘lost war’. After two decades of warfare and one trillion dollars in military spending, tens of thousands of casualties, the Taliban controls most of the countryside and towns; enters and takes over provincial capitals and bombs Kabul. They will take full control the day after the US departs.

The US military defeats are products of a fatal flaw: imperial planners cannot successfully replace indigenous people with colonial rulers and their local look-alikes.

Wars are not won by high tech weapons directed by absentee officials divorced from the people: they do not share their sense of peace and justice.

Exploited people informed by a spirit of communal resistance and self-sacrifice have demonstrated greater cohesion than rotating soldiers eager to return home and mercenary soldiers with dollar signs in their eyes.

The lessons of lost wars have not been learned by those who preach the power of the military–industrial complex, which makes, sells and profits from weapons but lack the mass of humanity with lesser arms but with great conviction who have demonstrated their capacity to defeat imperial armies.

The Stars and Stripes fly in Washington but remain folded in Embassy offices in Kabul, Tripoli, Damascus and in other lost battlegrounds.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

French Online Payment Service Provider HelloAsso Refuses to Close Accounts Belonging to BDS Activists

Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee / France (BNC) 09-12-18

HelloAsso, a French company that provides online payment services, has rejected pressure by Israel lobby groups to shut down the accounts of two French groups which support the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights. HelloAsso will continue to provide services to both Association France Palestine Solidarity (AFPS) and BDS-France.

HelloAsso publicized its decision in a tweet explaining that it supports the right of citizens to call for BDS as part of freedom of expression.

In 2016, the European Union stated:

“The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States’ territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory.”

Translation of HelloAsso tweet from French original:

[…] “HelloAsso is an apolitical platform that does not take any position regarding the claims of the BDS movement. HelloAsso nevertheless considers this movement as within the realm of free expression and not as discriminatory or antisemitic.

HelloAsso’s position is supported  by the European Union, which has clearly stated it favours protecting freedom of expression and association, including the right to advocate for BDS .

Therefore, the HelloAsso account of AFPS (Association France Palestine Solidarity) will not be removed.

To all those who criticize  us for hosting these organizations, we respond that the conflation that allows attacks on these organizations is dangerous because it conflates antisemitism, which we condemn without ambiguity, and criticism of the state of Israel, which is a political opinion. This freedom of expression is a fundamental right.

Since its creation, HelloAsso has striven to support freedom of association and to protect the right to freedom of speech because we are a platform that is committed to the model of [non-profit] association and at the same time apolitical, open and enriched by differences of opinion, a reflection of our society.”

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | September 12, 2018

Yossi Beilin is back. This unrepentant Israeli ‘peacemaker’ is like the mythical phoenix, continually resurrecting from its ashes. In a recent article in Al-Monitor, Beilin wrote in support of the idea of a confederation between Israel and Palestine.

A confederation “could prevent the need to evacuate settlers and allow those interested to live in Palestine as Israeli citizens, just as a similar number of Palestinian citizens could live in Israel,” he wrote.

Bizarrely, Beilin is promoting a version of an idea that was pushed by Israel’s extremist Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

The difference between Beilin and Lieberman is in how we choose to perceive them: the former was the godfather of the Oslo Accords 25 years ago, a well-known political ‘dove’ and the former Chairman of the ‘left-leaning’ Meretz party. Lieberman, on the other hand, is purportedly the exact opposite.

When Lieberman suggested population transfer and territorial swaps, all hell broke loose. When Beilin did it, his efforts were perceived as an honest attempt at reviving the dormant ‘peace process.’

That is the brilliance of Beilin, his followers and the whole ‘peace process’ that culminated in the Oslo Accords and the famous White House handshake between the late PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat, and the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in September 1993. They successfully branded this hideous infringement on international law as a sincere effort at achieving peace between two conflicting parties.

The Donald Trump Administration has long surpassed Oslo and its tired clichés of ‘peace process’, ‘painful compromises’ and ‘trust building’ exercises, etc., as it is promoting something else entirely, the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.

But Oslo will not go away. It remains a problem because the intellectual foundation that led to its conception is still firmly in place – where only Israel matters and the aspirations of the Palestinian people are still inconsequential.

While Beilin is no longer an influential politician, there are many Yossi Beilins who are still lurking, playing the role of ‘peacemakers‘, meeting behind closed doors, on the sideline of conferences, offering their services as interlocutors, wheelers and dealers, and saviors.

The late Palestinian Professor, Edward Said, was not prophesying when he warned of the disastrous future consequences of Oslo as it was being signed. He was dismissed by mainstream media and pundits as radical, lumped with the other ‘enemies of peace’ on ‘both sides’. But, he, like many other Palestinians, was right.

“Labor and Likud leaders alike made no secret of the fact that Oslo was designed to segregate the Palestinians in noncontiguous, economically unviable enclaves, surrounded by Israeli-controlled borders, with settlements and settlement roads punctuating and essentially violating the territories’ integrity,” he wrote in the Nation.

The colonization of Palestine, for the first time, was accelerating with the consent of the Palestinian leadership. The PLO was turned into a local body with the inception of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. The rights of millions of Palestinian refugees in the diaspora were relegated. The West Bank was divided into areas A, B, and C, each governed by different rules, mostly under the control of the Israeli military.

The ‘Palestinian revolution’ turned into an agonizing process of ‘state-building’, but without state or even contiguous territories. Palestinians who rejected the horrific outcomes of Oslo – protracted expansion of Jewish colonies, continued violent Occupation, normalized through ‘security coordination’ between Israel and the PA – were often abused and deemed extremists.

Meanwhile, successive US administrations continued to fund and defend Israel, unconcerned about its self-tailored job title as the ‘honest peace broker.’

The PA played along because the perks were far too lucrative to be abandoned on principle. A new class of Palestinians had risen, dependent on Oslo for its wealth and affluence.

Even when the Trump Administration cut off the Palestinian Refugees Agency, UNRWA, of all funds, and scrapped the $200 million in humanitarian aid to the PA, the US still released 61 million dollars to the PA to maintain its ‘security cooperation’ with Israel. ‘Israel’s security’ is just too sacred a bond to be broken.

This is why Oslo remains dangerous. It is not the agreement itself that matters, but the mindset behind it – the political and diplomatic discourse that is wholly manufactured to serve Israel exclusively.

In January 2017, Daniel Pipes of the pro-Israel Middle East Forum came up with what seemed like a puerile idea: a ‘way to peace’ between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the simple declaration that Israel has won.

The new strategy requires little by way of negotiations. It merely entails that Israel declares ‘victory’, which Pipes defined as “imposing one’s will on the enemy, compelling him through loss to give up his war ambitions.’

As unconscionable as Pipes’ logic was, a few months later, Congressional Republicans in the US launched the “Israel Victory Caucus.” The co-Chair of the Caucus, Rep. Bill Johnson, ‘predicted’ in April 2017 that Trump would soon be heading to Israel to announce the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since then, the US is following a blueprint of a strategy in which the US advances Israel’s ‘victory’ while imposing conditions of surrender on defeated Palestinians. Despite its more diplomatic and legal language, that was also the essence of Oslo.

Trump, to the satisfaction of Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may think that he has single-handedly destroyed the Oslo Accords or whatever remained of it. However, judging by his words and actions, Trump has indicated that the spirit of Oslo remains alive: the bribes, the bullying and the fighting for that coveted and final Israeli ‘victory.’

Oslo is not a specific legal document that can be implemented or rejected. It is a spectrum in which the likes of Beilin, Lieberman, and Pipes have more in common than they may think, and in which the fate of the Palestinian people is left to inept leaders, incapable of thinking outside the permissible space allocated to them by the Israelis and the Americans.

Unfortunately, Abbas and his Authority are still reveling at the expense of the space that is Oslo, not the ‘accords’ – provisions, stipulations and heaps of paper – but the corrupt culture – money, perks and unmitigated defeat.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

On the Brink with Russia in Syria Again, 5 Years Later

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | September 12, 2018

The New York Times, on September 11, 2013, accommodated Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s desire “to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders” about “recent events surrounding Syria.”

Putin’s op-ed in the Times appeared under the title: “A Plea for Caution From Russia.” In it, he warned that a military “strike by the United States against Syria will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders … and unleash a new wave of terrorism. … It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

Three weeks before Putin’s piece, on August 21, there had been a chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was immediately blamed. There soon emerged, however, ample evidence that the incident was a provocation to bring direct U.S. military involvement against Assad, lest Syrian government forces retain their momentum and defeat the jihadist rebels.

In a Memorandum for President Barack Obama five days before Putin’s article on September 6, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) had warned President Barack Obama of the likelihood that the incident in Ghouta was a false-flag attack.

Despite his concern of a U.S. Attack, Putin’s main message in his Op-Ed was positive, talking of a growing mutual trust:

“A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action. [Syria’s chemical weapons were in fact destroyed under UN supervision the following year.]

“I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive … and steer the discussion back toward negotiations. If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust … and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.”

Obama Refuses to Strike

In a lengthy interview with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published in The Atlantic much later, in March 2016, Obama showed considerable pride in having refused to act according to what he called the “Washington playbook.”

He added a telling vignette that escaped appropriate attention in Establishment media. Obama confided to Goldberg that, during the crucial last week of August 2013, National Intelligence Director James Clapper paid the President an unannounced visit to caution him that the allegation that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack in Ghouta was “not a slam dunk.”

Clapper’s reference was to the very words used by former CIA Director George Tenet when he characterized, falsely, the nature of the evidence on WMD in Iraq while briefing President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in December 2002. Additional evidence that Ghouta was a false flag came in December of 2016 parliamentary testimony in Turkey.

In early September 2013, around the time of Putin’s Op-Ed, Obama resisted the pressure of virtually all his advisers to launch cruise missiles on Syria and accepted the Russian-brokered deal for Syria give up its chemical weapons. Obama had to endure public outrage from those lusting for the U.S. to get involved militarily. From neoconservatives, in particular, there was hell to pay.

Atop the CNN building in Washington, DC, on the evening of September 9, two days before Putin’s piece, I had a fortuitous up-close-and-personal opportunity to watch the bitterness and disdain with which Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman heaped abuse on Obama for being too cowardly to attack.

Five Years Later

In his appeal for cooperation with the U.S., Putin had written these words reportedly by himself:

“My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

In recent days, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has left no doubt that he is the mascot of American exceptionalism. Its corollary is Washington’s “right” to send its forces, uninvited, into countries like Syria.

“We’ve tried to convey the message in recent days that if there’s a third use of chemical weapons, the response will be much stronger,” Bolton said on Monday. “I can say we’ve been in consultations with the British and the French who have joined us in the second strike and they also agree that another use of chemical weapons will result in a much stronger response.”

Haley: Already knows who did it. (UN Photo)

As was the case in September 2013, Syrian government forces, with Russian support, have the rebels on the defensive, this time in Idlib province where most of the remaining jihadists have been driven. On Sunday began what could be the final showdown of the five-year war. Bolton’s warning of a chemical attack by Assad makes little sense as Damascus is clearly winning and the last thing Assad would do is invite U.S. retaliation.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, with remarkable prescience has already blamed Damascus for whatever chemical attack might take place. The warnings of direct U.S. military involvement, greater than Trump’s two previous pin-prick attacks, is an invitation for the cornered jihadists to launch another false-flag attack to exactly bring that about.

Sadly, not only has the growing trust recorded by Putin five years ago evaporated, but the likelihood of a U.S.-Russian military clash in the region is as perilously high as ever.

Seven days before Putin’s piece appeared, Donald Trump tweeted: “Many Syrian ‘rebels’ are radical Jihadis. Not our friends & supporting them doesn’t serve our national interest. Stay out of Syria!”

In September 2015 Trump accused his Republican primary opponents of wanting to “start World War III over Syria. Give me a break. You know, Russia wants to get ISIS, right? We want to get ISIS. Russia is in Syria — maybe we should let them do it? Let them do it.”

Last week Trump warned Russian and Syria not to attack Idlib. Trump faces perhaps his biggest test as president: whether he can resist his neocon advisers and not massively attack Syria, as Obama chose not to, or risk the wider war he accused his Republican opponents of fomenting.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years, and was a Presidential briefer from 1981 to 1985.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Beyond Orwellian: Myth of UK’s ‘non-intervention’ in Syria

By NeilClark | RT | September 12, 2018

A new House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report calls on the UK government to launch an inquiry into its ‘non-intervention’ in Syria. This is gaslighting on a massive scale, because there’s been intervention aplenty.

What do you understand by the term ‘non-intervention‘? Not intervening in something, I presume? It’s clear that the Foreign Affairs committee has another definition which is the complete opposite. In their ‘Through the Looking Glass’ world, ‘non-intervention’ actually means ‘intervention’. Bombing the country in question, funding, supplying and training ‘rebel’ groups to attack government forces, imposing sanctions and doing everything possible to keep the conflict going, are all examples of ‘inaction’, it seems.

“The decision not to intervene in Syria has had very real consequences for Syrians, their neighbors, the UK and our allies,” the report declares. Actually it was the decision to intervene which did that. Syria would be in a far better state if the UK and its regional allies had genuinely not meddled, illegally, in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.

Let’s recap Britain’s role in the conflict. The former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas claimed in an interview on French television that two years before the war began, UK officials had told him they were “preparing something” in Syria. “This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria,” Dumas said.

If the idea of Britain conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government sounds far-fetched, then consider this. We already know that in 1956/7 there was a joint UK/US plan to do just that. It involved agent provocateurs being deployed to stage a number of incidents, which would then be used as a pretext for invasion and ‘regime change’.

“Once a political decision is reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS [MI6] will attempt, to mount minor sabotage and coup de main incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals.”

“The two services should consult, as appropriate, to avoid overlapping or interfering with each other’s activities,” the plan said.

If Dumas is correct, something very similar was in the offing in 2009/2010 too. Perhaps the government just dusted down the old 1950s blueprint.

It didn’t take Britain too long, when the violence started in Syria in 2011, to call for President Assad to step down. In fact ‘Assad must go’ became an obsession for the UK’s political elite, a goal they seemed determined to pursue at any cost and irregardless of the fact that among the forces opposed to Assad were al-Qaeda affiliates and other extreme sectarian groups. In June 2012, an Israeli website suggested that British Special Forces were already operating inside Syria.

Two months later, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that Britain was to give an ‘extra’ £5m (on top of £1.4m) to Syrian opposition groups, including radio and satellite equipment. Again, how can this be classed as ‘non-intervention’?

Also that August, it was reported that the Syrian ‘rebels’ were receiving ‘aid’ from British intelligence. The Sunday Times quoted an opposition official who said that the British authorities “know about and approve 100%” intelligence from their Cyprus military bases, being passed through Turkey to the rebel troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).”

Writing in the Independent one year later, Kim Sengupta revealed that Britain had handed over equipment worth £8m to Syrian ‘rebels’, including “five 4×4 vehicles with ballistic protection; 20 sets of body armour; four trucks (three 25 tonne, one 20 tonne); six 4×4 SUVs; five non-armoured pick-ups; one recovery vehicle; four fork-lifts; three advanced “resilience kits” for region hubs, and VSATs (small satellite systems for data communications.”

Throughout 2013, the UK was doing all it could to escalate the conflict by pushing other EU countries to agree to arming the Syrian ‘rebels’. “It is difficult to imagine a more hopeless or stupid policy from our head of diplomacy”, wrote Neil Hamilton, (that’s the former Conservative MP and not the actor who played Commissioner Gordon in the 1960s Batman TV series), in a Sunday Express article entitled ‘Hague on path to Syrian hell’.

Things came to a head in August 2013, as Prime Minister David Cameron asked for Parliamentary support to bomb Syria. It was clear by then, that air strikes, at the very least, were needed if Assad was to be ousted. The war lobby were confident of a ‘Yes’ vote but Labour, led by Ed Miliband, voted against. Miliband correctly said that the House of Commons (for once) had spoken “for the people of Britain.”

It was this decision which is always cited as a ‘great mistake’ by the Syria hawks but they ignore what went off before, and after it. The UK government had been thwarted but they continued to push for ‘regime change’. Cameron finally got Parliamentary approval to bomb Syria in December 2015, (this time on the basis of fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) which had gained ground in Syria largely because of the policies of the US/UK and their allies), but the BBC reported in July 2015 that air strikes on the country carried out by British pilots had already taken place. News of this only emerged after a Freedom of Information Request.

Between December 2015 and June 2016 there were a total of 51 British air strikes in Syria. This year, there has been further bombing, including the targeting of military bases near Damascus and Homs in April.

“We believe that the consequences of inaction can be every bit as serious as intervening,” the Foreign Affairs committee report states.

How can we explain this extraordinary attempt to portray Britain’s extensive and well-documented operations in Syria as ‘not intervening’? After all so much is on the public record, including, on the Ministry of Defence website, details of RAF air strikes.

A look at the membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee is illuminating. Its chair, Tom Tugendhat, Tory MP for Tonbridge and Malling, is a hardcore neocon and a former member of the Intelligence Corps. Peter Oborne, the highly respected political commentator, wrote about the ‘neocon coup’ that took place on the committee last year and warned us of its consequences. But how many were paying attention?

Other members of Tugendhat’s committee include Ian Austin, the Labour MP who likened Russia’s holding of the World Cup to Nazi Germany’s hosting of the 1936 Olympic Games, and who told Jeremy Corbyn to “sit down and shut up” when he was criticizing the Iraq war.

Then we have Chris Bryant, a signatory to the statement of principles of the uber neocon Henry Jackson Society and Priti Patel, who stepped down from the Cabinet in 2017 when it was revealed she had undisclosed, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers. In fact, if we look at the composition of the committee and compare it to the far more balanced one under the chairmanship of Crispin Blunt, (which produced a critical report on the UK government’s intervention in Libya in 2016) it’s no surprise we’ve got the document we have.

Neocons know that after the disasters of Iraq and Libya, ‘interventionist’ foreign policies have been utterly discredited. So, the only way out is to portray Syria, however ludicrously, as an example of UK ‘non-intervention’, in the hope that some people might fall for it and support ‘rectifying’ the ‘inaction’ at some point in the near future. Perhaps in response to a non-independently verified chemical weapons attack in Idlib, later this month? The Foreign Affairs Committee report, which makes George Orwell’s 1984 look quite understated, is perfectly timed for that.

Read more:

‘Straight out of the RT propaganda machine’: MP attacked for urging UK military restraint in Syria

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Congress today sneaking through $38 billion to Israel

If Americans Knew | September 12, 2018

Israel partisans are sneaking through 2 Congressional bills today! Voters need to phone Congress about them now!

  • The largest aid package in U.S. history.
  • A bill for a special envoy who will monitor criticism of Israel world wide.

Phone the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Congressional rep. (If you don’t know who that is, put your zip code in here.)

1) VOTE NO ON S.2497

S. 2497 – Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018. The House number is H.R.5141

This gives Israel $33 billion on top of the $5 billion that was recently voted.

It also mandates that NASA work with the Israeli space agency, despite accusations that Israel stole classified information.

More information  here.

2) VOTE NO ON H.R. 1911 

“Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2018”

This “special envoy” works to monitor criticism of Israel.

More information here.

PDFs of the bills that are before Congress today are here and here.

By the way, U.S. media have not informed American citizens about these current bills – while groups like AIPAC have told their members to pressure Congress for them.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 5 Comments

John Bolton versus the International Criminal Court: A Simple Solution

By Thomas L. Knapp | William Lloyd Garrison Center | September 11, 2018

In a September 10 speech to the Federalist Society, National Security Advisor John Bolton offered “a major announcement on US policy toward the International Criminal Court.” The US government, per Bolton, considers the court “fundamentally illegitimate. … We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC.”

Bolton threatened sanctions against the court and those who resort to it or cooperate with it in investigations of war crimes involving the United States or Israel. He also announced the first such sanction, closure of a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in retaliation for the state of Palestine’s referral of charges against Israel for actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

What’s with this sudden interest in the court and its jurisdiction?

Why is Bolton suddenly so concerned with protecting notions of “sovereignty” (he uses the word nine times) that the US government itself routinely ignores at its convenience, claiming global jurisdiction over individuals and organizations outside its own borders in matters ranging from the 17-year “war on terror” to its financial regulation and sanctions schemes?

The answer, in a word: Afghanistan. The regime installed by the US after its 2001 invasion of that country, and maintained in power by the US since then, ratified the Rome Statute in 2003. Crimes committed in Afghanistan since then, regardless of the perpetrators’ nationalities, therefore fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Bolton finds it unconscionable that an American — in particular an American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or politician — accused of crimes committed in Afghanistan might be tried in a court Afghanistan’s government has duly accepted the authority of. So much for “sovereignty.”

Bolton wants it both ways. On one hand, the long arm of US law must reach everywhere, be it to a bank in Switzerland, to a hacker’s keyboard in the United Kingdom, or to a battlefield in the Middle East. On the other hand, no foreign arm of law must ever reach a US citizen, regardless of the alleged crime or where it was committed.

Pretty messed up, but there’s a simple solution. All the US government has to do is close its embassies and consulates in, withdraw its troops from, and advise its citizens not to travel to, any of the 120-odd countries which recognize the International Criminal Court as their judicial authority for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

Starting with Afghanistan.

Problem solved.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

‘Maverick’ Media Use McCain Funeral to Shore Up US Imperialism

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | September 11, 2018

Elite media insist they’re engaged in challenging the imperious presidency of Donald Trump. But their support for US imperialism itself remains vigorous, as coverage of the funeral of Sen. John McCain showed clearly.

In a September 1 news report, Washington Post national security reporter Greg Jaffe and White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker (9/1/18) write that

the full tableau of his funeral—which included the previous three presidents and every major-party nominee for the past two decades— . . . served as a melancholy last hurrah for the sort of global leadership that the nation once took for granted.

“Global leadership” is a vacuous euphemism media employ that carries the assumption that the US plays a decidedly positive role in world affairs, even as the same outlets report on dozens of Yemeni schoolchildren killed by a US-made bomb, for example, or on Syrians in devastated Raqqa, whose families could be expected to reach a different conclusion.

“Global leadership” also suggests that nations consistently and voluntarily seek to emulate the United States. However, history is replete with examples of countries seeking to chart a course independent of Washington to varying degrees, and being violently attacked by the US as a result—from Guatemala to Cuba to Chile to Nicaragua to Iran to Vietnam, to cite only a few of the practically endless cases.

Jaffe and Ruckner assert:

Much of the praise for McCain focused on his vision of the United States as a global superpower and moral beacon, positions Trump has been accused of abandoning. His longtime friend, former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, lauded McCain’s globe-trotting ways and his advocacy on behalf of political prisoners and dissidents in far-flung places such as Myanmar and Syria…. Yet more than ever before in the post–World War II era, McCain’s vision of the United States as the bulwark against tyrants, guarantor of global stability and refuge for the oppressed is out of favor.

By giving credence to characterizations of America as a “moral beacon” and a “bulwark against tyrants, guarantor of global stability and refuge for the oppressed,” the reporters legitimize US international supremacy. Nothing in their article raises any doubt about whether it makes sense to describe as a “guarantor of global stability” a state currently involved in seven wars, all of which it initiated.

Or whether a country loses its “moral beacon” status for bombing and killing more than 6,000 civilians, as the United States has in Syria since 2014. Or whether one can be a “bulwark against tyrants” while underwriting an Israeli government that since March 30 has massacred 179 Palestinians, including 23 children, two journalists, three paramedics and three people with disabilities.

WaPo: This weekend, we really did mourn the passing of America’s greatness

Anne Applebaum (Washington Post, 9/3/18) calls for “a new vision of genuine American greatness” that might require “people who can understand cybersecurity and online manipulation.”

Post columnist Anne Applebaum (9/3/18) echoed concern that McCain’s funeral “marked the end of a particular vision of American greatness.” She expressed faith that “America can still inspire, and America can still lead,” but feared that until new figures emerge to fill the void left by McCain’s allegedly sterling foreign policy record, “the world really will be mourning the passing of American greatness.”

The paper’s Jennifer Rubin (9/3/18) proposed “launch[ing] a party built on the ideals McCain propounded,” the first of which was

American leadership based on American values: Support democratic allies and the international economic system that has existed for 70 years. Stand with freedom-seeking peoples struggling against oppression.

Policy specifics can be worked out, Rubin contended,

as long as one is aligned on the big things—sticking to the facts, defending our alliances, standing up to international bullies, opposing assaults on the First Amendment and bolstering the rule of law.

What Rubin and others occlude is that in those 70 years, no government on Earth has carried out international aggression with a frequency remotely comparable to the US, most recently to devastating effects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, which suggests it’s the US that’s the international bully most in need of standing up to. Moreover, Washington is actively propping up dictators crushing “freedom-seeking peoples struggling against oppression” in Honduras, in Egypt, and in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, to name only a few of many examples.

Far from having retreated from the world stage under Trump, as these articles imply, Washington has between 800 and 1,000 military bases in other countries, while only 11 other countries have bases in foreign nations, and these total 70. The US has the highest military expenditure in the world, spending more on its war machine than the next seven highest-spending countries combined, and doing so at an accelerated rate in the Trump era.

The point of the Post’s inversions of reality is to convince people that the US ruling class needs to be in the charge of the world to ensure peace and freedom, when in fact that same ruling class is responsible for an exceedingly large share of war and repression. And if the US can be depicted as a “refuge for the oppressed”—rather than a country with the highest incarceration rate in the world, disproportionately imprisoning the poor and ethnic minorities—then it can claim a moral pretext for policing other countries’ oppression.

Spreading and cementing the unexamined and spectacularly false assumption underlying the handwringing over America’s supposed surrender of its empire—that such a measure would be undesirable—was a central task performed by the coverage of McCain’s funeral.


Gregory Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toro. His book, The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media, is published by OR Books.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

No Russian trace in Manafort case, but Moscow portrayed as villain – Lavrov

RT | September 12, 2018

Nothing in the charges against former US President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort suggests any ties to Russia, but US media are scapegoating Moscow anyway, the Russian foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was addressing young diplomats at a session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Wednesday, when he touched on the case of Manafort, originally investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of the wide-ranging Russia collusion probe.

Manafort has faced two separate trials, in Washington, DC and Virginia, after being charged with a list of offenses ranging from tax and bank fraud to witness tampering and unreported lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian government under the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

Last month, Manfort was found guilty of five counts of tax fraud, one count of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud by a jury in Virginia. He faces seven separate charges in an upcoming trial in Washington. However, none of the allegations have anything to do with the initial purpose of the prosecution’s looking into his shady dealings – that is to find a proof of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Kremlin.

The total lack of evidence did not stop the mainstream media from brazenly peddling the Russia narrative when the investigation was in its early stages, Lavrov noted.

“They began hyping up the case of Manafort, who was accused of being almost the main executioner of Kremlin’s sinister plot to stop Hillary Clinton from winning” the presidential elections, he said. “In the end, after months-long investigation, hearings, he was charged only with being an agent of the Ukrainian government and working in the interest of the Ukrainian government.”

However, the damage has already been done as ordinary Americans were made to believe that Russia is “a villain that runs everything in the US.”

The top Russian diplomat also took aim at America’s two-party system, arguing that “regrettably” it seemed that the decades-old system “glitched” during the 2016 elections, with the Democratic party that emerged on the losing end still trying to find those responsible for its stunning debacle outside the US.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘Straight out of the RT propaganda machine’: MP attacked for urging UK military restraint in Syria

RT | September 12, 2018

Labour’s Emily Thornberry has come under fire on social media for simply asking the UK government not to rely on “open source intelligence from terrorist groups” in the event of a reported chemical attack in Syria.

Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, asked the government if they would consult Parliament before taking military action over reports of chemical weapon attacks in areas controlled by Al-Qaeda proxy Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a US-proscribed terrorist organization.

This prompted hysterical responses on social media, with one Twitter user claiming: “This is UK Labour guided by the spirit of Thomas Mair” – the far-right activist who murdered Thornberry’s fellow Labour MP Jo Cox. Another accused Thornberry of providing cover for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged crimes.

There were numerous references to this news organization, with accusations Thornberry was doing the work of “propaganda” outlets such as RT and Sputnik. There was even a charge of “genocide denying” leveled at the MP.

In turn, Thornberry’s position drew levels of support from both left-wing and right-wing critics of UK military involvement in Syria.

HTS are thought to have some 10,000 fighters in the last rebel stronghold – Idlib province, a region in Syria’s northwest along the Turkish border.

Upon reports of a potential chemical attack, Thornberry urged the UK to wait “until the chemical weapons inspectors, the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], have visited those sites under the protection of the Turkish government, independently verified those reports and attributed responsibility for any chemical weapons used.”

“Relying on so-called open source intelligence provided by proscribed terrorist groups is not an acceptable alternative,” she said.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment