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First principle of international relations should be ‘do no harm’

By Yves Engler · September 20, 2018

Many progressives call for Canada to “do more” around the world. The assumption is that this country is a force for good, a healer of humankind. But if we claim to be the “doctors without borders” of international relations, shouldn’t Canada swear to “first do no harm” like MDs before beginning practice? At a minimum shouldn’t the Left judge foreign policy decisions through the lens of the Hippocratic oath?

Libya illustrates the point. That North African nation looks set to miss a United Nations deadline to unify the country. An upsurge of militia violence in Tripoli and political wrangling makes it highly unlikely elections planned for December will take place.

Seven years after the foreign backed war Libya remains divided between two main political factions and hundreds of militias operate in the country of six million. Thousands have died in fighting since 2011.

The instability is not a surprise to Canadian military and political leaders who orchestrated Canada’s war on that country. Eight days before Canadian fighter jets began dropping bombs on Libya in 2011 military intelligence officers told Ottawa decision makers the country would likely descend into a lengthy civil war if foreign countries assisted rebels opposed to Muammar Gadhafi. An internal assessment obtained by the Ottawa Citizen noted, “there is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war… This is particularly probable if opposition forces received military assistance from foreign militaries.”

A year and a half before the war a Canadian intelligence report described eastern Libya as an “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the anti-Gadhafi stronghold. In fact, during the bombing, notes Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese,Canadian air force members privately joked they were part of “al-Qaida’s  air force”. Lo and behold hardline Jihadists were the major beneficiaries of the war, taking control of significant portions of the country.

A Canadian general oversaw NATO’s 2011 war, seven CF-18s participated in bombing runs and two Royal Canadian Navy vessels patrolled Libya’s coast. Ottawa defied the UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians by dispatching ground forces, delivering weaponry to the opposition and bombing in service of regime change. Additionally, Montréal-based private security firm Garda World aided the rebels in contravention of UN resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The NATO bombing campaign was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations. Western media and politicians repeated the rebels’ outlandish (and racist) claims that sub-Saharan African mercenaries fuelled by Viagra given by Gaddafi, engaged in mass rape. Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising and Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, were unable to find any basis for these claims.

But, seduced by the need to “do something”, the NDP, Stephen Lewis, Walter Dorn and others associated with the Left supported the war on Libya. In my new book Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada I question the “do more” mantra and borrow from healthcare to offer a simple foreign policy principle: First Do No Harm. As in the medical industry, responsible practitioners of foreign policy should be mindful that the “treatments” offered often include “side effects” that can cause serious harm or even kill.

Leftists should err on the side of caution when aligning with official/dominant media policy, particularly when NATO’s war drums are beating. Just because the politicians and dominant media say we have to “do something” doesn’t make it so. Libya and the Sahel region of Africa would almost certainly be better off had a “first do no harm” policy won over the interventionists in 2011.

While a “do more” ethos spans the political divide, a “first do no harm” foreign policy is rooted in international law. The concept of self-determination is a core principle of the UN Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peoples’ inalienable right to shape their own destiny is based on the truism that they are best situated to run their own affairs.

Alongside the right to self-determination, the UN and Organization of American States prohibit interfering in the internal affairs of another state without consent. Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter states that “nothing should authorize intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

A military intervention without UN approval is the “supreme international crime”. Created by the UN’s International Law Commission after World War II, the Nuremberg Principles describe aggression as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” In other words, by committing an act of aggression against Libya in 2011 — notably bombing in service of regime change — Ottawa is responsible not only for rights violations it caused directly, but also those that flowed from its role in destabilizing that country and large swaths of Africa’s Sahel region.

If Canada is to truly be the “good doctor” of international relations it will be up to Left foreign policy practitioners to ensure that this country lives up to that part of the Hippocratic oath stating, “First do no harm”.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

UK to Create 2,000-Strong Cyberforce to Counter ‘Russia Threat’ – Reports

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The United Kingdom will set up a cybersecurity force, comprising up to 2,000 members, to tackle the “threat from Russia” and other actors, local media reported on Friday.

The authorities planned to invest some 250 million pounds (over $330 million) in creating the cyberforce, the Sky News broadcaster reported, citing sources.

The force would be tasked with carrying out offensive cyberoperations and would be composed of the officials of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), military personnel and contractors, the outlet added.

The plan to create the unit was reportedly drafted by the Ministry of Defence and the GCHQ amid London’s claims about the alleged growing cyberthreat from Moscow and the United Kingdom’s recent successful use of cyberweapons against the Islamic State terror group.

Over the recent years, Russia has repeatedly been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against other countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, and attempting, in particular, to influence the results of elections. Moscow refuted all such claims, calling them unfounded.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s new cyber strategy seeks global dominion over internet

RT | September 21, 2018

Setting the global standard for online behavior, preserving American dominance, political and economic interests, punishing ‘malicious actors’ like Russia and China: these are the ambitious goals of the new US cyber-strategy.

The White House published the 40-page document on Thursday afternoon, the first comprehensive cyber strategy in 15 years. The strategy’s core assumption is that the US created the internet and that Washington must maintain the dominant role in defining, shaping and policing cyberspace in much the same way as it does the globe.

All strategies are but broad outlines of general measures and overall objectives, and this one is no different. Beyond merely defending US computer networks – that’s just the first part, devoted to protecting the “American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life” – it wants to promote US economic prosperity while advancing influence around the world and achieving “peace through strength” as well.

The Trump administration’s approach to cyberspace is “anchored by enduring American values, such as the belief in the power of individual liberty, free expression, free markets, and privacy,” the strategy says right at the start.

It also takes as an article of faith that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea use “cyber tools to undermine our economy and democracy, steal our intellectual property, and sow discord in our democratic processes.”

Having signed on to this central assertion of Russiagate-peddlers, the Trump administration lays out the ways in which it intends to achieve its pie-in-the-(cyber)sky objectives.

‘Securing US democracy’

The Department of Homeland Security, a vast bureaucracy established after 9/11, is supposed to centralize management and oversight of federal computer networks, with the notable exceptions of those belonging to the Pentagon and the intelligence community. Reforms are supposed to make government networks more secure, reliable and efficient, while federal contracting will drive improvements in both products and services. This is the same process that has produced the F-35, a trillion-dollar clunker.

Those obsessed with seeing Russian hackers behind every voting machine might be interested in page 9, where the strategy proposes to “secure our democracy” by… offering training and risk management to state and local governments “when requested.” Admittedly, there isn’t much more the federal government can do to protect election systems, aside from securing the network infrastructure.

A particularly interesting tidbit here is also that law enforcement will “work with private industry to confront challenges presented by technological barriers, such as anonymization and encryption technologies” to obtain “time-sensitive evidence.” This is basically a rehash of former FBI Director James Comey’s perpetual refrain about the need for backdoor access to encrypted products and services.

The most (in)famous example of this was when the FBI took Apple to court over accessing the San Bernardino terrorist suspect’s iPhone, then hiring an Israeli company to crack the device, only to find… nothing of interest.

Privacy and civil rights advocates will be overjoyed to hear that Trump also wants to “update electronic surveillance and computer crime statutes” to make sure law enforcement can gather more evidence of cyber crimes and “impose appropriate consequences upon malicious cyber actors.”

‘Promoting American prosperity’

The second pillar talks a lot about the US government sponsoring innovation and creating jobs, but its key objective is to “promote the free flow of data across borders” (p.15). And if “repressive regimes” use US-made cybersecurity tools to “undermine human rights,” Washington will expose and counter them.

No word on whether that will apply to Google’s work in China, or Twitter, YouTube and Facebook’s throttling of speech that runs counter to their executives’ politics.

‘Preserving peace through strength’

Pillar three is where things get offensive – literally. Its objective is to “identify, counter, disrupt, degrade, and deter behavior in cyberspace that is destabilizing and contrary to national interests” while preserving US “overmatch.”

In addition to authorizing offensive cyber operations against suspected bad actors, the strategy proceeds from the assumption that the world craves US leadership, and envisions Washington promoting a “framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace” based on international law and “voluntary non-binding norms.”

A coalition of like-minded states, led by the US would “coordinate and support each other’s responses to significant malicious cyber incidents.”

How? Well, through intelligence sharing, but also “buttressing of attribution claims, public statements of support for responsive actions taken, and joint imposition of consequences against malign actors.”

If that sounds a bit like what happened after the UK accused Russia, without evidence, of using a chemical agent to poison ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, and the US and other allies just took Whitehall’s word for it… that’s because it does.

‘Advancing US influence’

That leads us to the fourth and final pillar, advancing US influence around the globe. Accusing China not only of wanting to create a closed, censored internet by exporting that model elsewhere, the strategy envisions US evangelizing for a “free and open” internet.

Washington “will continue to work with like-minded countries, industry, civil society, and other stakeholders to advance human rights and Internet freedom globally and to counter authoritarian efforts to censor and influence Internet development,” the strategy says.

Does that mean the State Department intends to challenge the new EU copyright rules that would effectively outlaw memes and charge a “link tax”? Somehow that seems highly… unlikely.

Read more:

‘Faith-based attribution’: Microsoft unable to identify those behind pre-midterm hacking – experts

‘Our hands are not tied’ anymore: White House approves offensive US cyber strategy

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

UK to set up new internet regulator to monitor ‘hate speech’ and enforce ‘code of conduct’ – report

RT | September 20, 2018

Free speech advocates are appalled at news that the UK government may create a new regulator, empowered to heavily fine social media giants that fail to clamp down on rogue posts, and even banish sites for ‘non-illegal’ content.

The new legislation for reducing online “social harms” will be presented this winter, according to a Buzzfeed report, whose veracity has been confirmed in a statement by the Conservative government.

According to the proposals, Facebook, Twitter and other websites offering user-generated videos, photos and posts will be forced to remove content such as –but not restricted to– child pornography, terrorist incitement and hate speech within a tight time limit, or face hefty fines.

This follows the controversial German model, approved last year, in which companies have to take down posts that violate the law within 24 hours, lest they be penalized with fines of up to €50 million. Critics there have said that the legislation is unenforceable, due to the sheer volume of published information, that it provokes a chilling effect among online voices and forces internet companies into engaging in heavy-handed censorship.

Of even more concern will be the new body’s role in producing “new regulations on non-illegal content and behaviour online” – which could force content that does not actually violate any laws, but is considered undesirable, such as publicly humiliating posts or “fake news” to be removed. Authors note that there are fiery internal debates about whether the government has the right to try and monitor or control such speech, or what the exact boundaries are.

Websites will also be forced to introduce a mechanism of secure age verification, as opposed to current methods, in which the users themselves say how old they are. A similar proposal has been touted for adult content websites accessed from the UK for several years, but plans have been repeatedly delayed over privacy and workability considerations.

Websites, many of which operate outside the UK, will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct, saying that they agree to the above regulations. It is suggested that those that fail to do so will face punishment, and could potentially be blocked altogether to British internet visitors.

Those concerned about the free speech dimension have slammed the idea of a regulator, calling the potential development a step towards total control of the UK population. Others wondered who will be entrusted with controlling and censoring the virtual space, and who would “guard the guards.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Facebook Turns Into Manipulative Tool of US Intelligence – Moscow

Sputnik – 20.09.2018

ST PETERSBURG – Facebook is transforming into a manipulative tool of the US intelligence services and a lever to influence the domestic policy of other states, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

“Facebook continues to follow the path of stricter censorship… [Facebook], which was presented and has established itself as a means of free communication and exchange of various kinds of content, is now being transformed into an instrument of US intelligence agencies to cleanse the information space of materials that are unwanted by Washington,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

As an example, she named the agreement between Facebook and the Atlantic Council stated to be aimed to help monitor attempts to spread “disinformation” in elections around the world.

She further called the process “a manipulation and a deception” stressing that “the fighters for free democratic elections and the purity of the information space themselves are engaged in interference in affairs of other states and in the dissemination of false information.”

In addition, she said that under the pretext of fighting fake news, Facebook planned to check the personal data of users, as well as audio and video materials.

After the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook said it would take a number of steps to improve transparency, including stricter rules for ad placement, fact-checking photos, videos and links, as well as adding technology to get rid of fake accounts and improve security.

The United States has accused Moscow of meddling in its 2016 presidential election, with Russian authorities denying the accusations as groundless.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

New report documents ‘torture in the heart of Jerusalem’

Israeli security forces brutally arrest Palestinian protesters in West Bank [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | September 20, 2018

A new report by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer claims that Israeli officials “routinely” carry out the “practice of torture” at a key interrogation facility in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report, “I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscobiyeh Interrogation Centre”, is based on the testimonies of 138 individuals held in the Russian Compound of Jerusalem gathered during the period 2015-2017.

“For generations of Palestinians, the Russian Compound has represented the most severe interrogation facility in all of the occupied territory,” Addameer states.

“It has been the place of intentionally inflicted suffering for hundreds of prisoners. Its location in the heart of Jerusalem, next to the Old City, is something of a metaphor for the whole apparatus of the occupation. The domination is hidden in plain sight.”

According to the testimonies acquired by Addameer, eight forms of abuse were identified at the facility: positional torture such as “stress positions”; beatings during interrogation; isolation/solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and long interrogation, threats to family members, being subjected to sounds of torture, deliberate medical neglect, and screaming and cursing.

More than half of those surveyed reported being held in stress positions; one 18-year-old former prisoner was held in a stress position for eight hours a day, for 18 days. A third of prisoners reported being beaten, while a fifth of individuals were subjected to violent shaking.

Addameer noted that “children are no exception when it comes to mistreatment and intimidation”, with 47.8 per cent reporting “that they were beaten during their arrest”, 45.5 per cent experiencing positional torture during interrogation, and 40.9 per cent “threatened with the potentially injuring of their families if they did not cooperate”.

According to the rights group, “the primary conclusion that the above research and indicators provide is that mistreatment, and coercion, amounting to torture, are commonplace and systematic within the occupation’s interrogation systems”.

Addameer added that “as a result of torture’s status in international law, the international community has a distinct responsibility to take action to sanction the perpetrating entity”, urging “the international community to begin sanctioning the occupier for its crimes”.

Read also:

Palestinian man dies after Israel forces beat him at his home

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Egypt, Cyprus sign accord to build gas pipeline

MEMO | September 20, 2018

Egypt yesterday signed an agreement with Cyprus to construct a maritime pipeline between the two countries, which will transfer of natural gas from Cyprus to Egypt for re-export to different markets, especially the European Union (EU) countries.

The agreement was signed in a meeting held in Cyprus between the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El-Molla, and the Cypriot minister of Energy, Industry, Tourism and Trades, Georgios Lakkotrypis.

The project, which was said to cost around $800 million, will involve building a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Cypriot Aphrodite field to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

El-Molla said that the agreement contributes “to boosting the economic relations between Egypt and Cyprus and is considered as an important step in maximising the benefit of the discoveries of the Cypriot gas fields.”

“The Egyptian-Cypriot agreement is not only about the implementation of a maritime pipeline, but it will contribute positively to securing gas supplies to the EU,” he added.

The deal, El-Molla reiterated, will encourage further research exploration activities in the region and will contribute to further support joint cooperation in the field of oil and gas between the two countries.

Referring to another memorandum of understanding, which was signed between Egypt and the EU in the field of energy last April, the Egyptian minister stressed that it “will open up important prospects for the role that Egypt can play in the industry.”

On his part, Lakkotrypis said that the deal was “an important milestone, not only for Cyprus but also the entire eastern Mediterranean region,” adding that “it’s [the joint agreement] the first of its kind in Cyprus and Egypt’s shared region.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.09.2018

If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow.

Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky. Their deaths provide propaganda fodder for the British to accuse Moscow of carrying out “revenge killings”.

However, the suspicious circumstances surrounding each death could more conceivably point to the British liquidating the Russian exiles as propaganda assets.

In the case of Sergei Skripal, the disgraced former Russian military intelligence officer was convicted in Russia of being a spy working for Britain’s MI6. He was exiled to England more than a decade ago as part of an espionage swap deal.

When Skripal was apparently poisoned in his resident town of Salisbury in southwest England on March 4, along with his adult daughter, Yulia, the British authorities immediately pointed the finger of blame at Russian President Vladimir Putin for allegedly ordering an assassination. The Kremlin was accused of dispatching agents who supposedly poisoned the Skripals with a deadly nerve agent.

The publication last week by Scotland Yard police of CCTV images showing two Russian men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, walking the streets of Salisbury on the weekend of the alleged attack was reported in the British media as “proof” of the supposed Kremlin assassination plot. The Skripal affair is conveniently portrayed as “one more” example of Putin’s “Kremlin killing machine”.

But let’s look at the whole affair from a different perspective. The following scenario draws on observations and evidence cited by sources such as former British ambassador Craig Murray, the informed analytical website Moon of Alabama, and US-based political analyst Randy Martin (in personal correspondence).

Let’s ask the following question: was Sergei Skripal’s propaganda usefulness to the British as an exiled spy at some later point seen by the British as being better served as a victim of an apparent poison-assassination. That is, as a victim of a false flag attack that was actually carried out covertly by the British state agents in order to give the Western-led anti-Russia media campaign a significant boost?

Recall the Salisbury incident occurred at the time when Putin won re-election as Russian president, and it was during the build-up to the 2018 World Cup tournament hosted by Russia.

There is evidence that Sergei Skripal may have been a drug addict. His movements on the Sunday of March 4 when he was found incapacitated on a public park bench in Salisbury along with daughter Yulia suggest he may have been fixing a drug habit. That day he and his daughter both reportedly switched off their cell phones as they visited parks in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury. The latter venue was also a haunt for the two heroin junkies Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess who later became embroiled in the affair when both apparently were also poisoned with the same nerve agent. Sturgess died days later from her ailment in early July.

Was Skripal visiting venues on March 4 known for scoring drugs? The switching off of phones would indicate some kind of illicit behavior. Recall, too, that earlier on that day, Skripal was reportedly acting in a hurry and very agitated while lunching in a restaurant with his daughter, both of them leaving abruptly. Did he have a monkey on his back, pushing him to get his drug fix?

We can be sure that Skripal was being kept under surveillance by Britain’s MI5 and MI6 all during his decade-long exile in Britain. The postulated drug habit would have been known to his “handlers”.

Moving to cash in their espionage asset for propaganda value, it is possible that British state agents surreptitiously spiked Skripal’s drug fix with some incapacitating substance, such as fentanyl. Indeed, the distressed symptoms of the father and daughter later found in a park on the afternoon of March 4 by members of the public were initially reported as signs of drug overdose.

From that point on, it is contended here, the British secret services intervened as they had anticipated to take control of the “Skripal affair”.

While Sergei and Yulia were comatose in a secured hospital wing, it could have been possible for their blood samples to be doctored with a chemical weapon, the notorious Novichok, which was subsequently and hastily attributed to Russia. That attribution in the British media is wildly overplayed. The British chemical weapons facility at Porton Down is only a few miles away from Salisbury where the Skripals were hospitalized. Without doubt, Porton Down would have its own supply of organophosphate nerve agents, if not samples of Novichok. It is not a uniquely Russian chemical, as British politicians and media falsely imply.

There are gaping anomalies in the official British narrative of a Kremlin-directed “hit job” on Skripal with a deadly nerve agent, a claim which Moscow has vehemently denied.

For a start, Sergei and his daughter have, according to the British government, recovered from their ordeal. Yet, the British authorities were claiming that the alleged nerve poison, Novichok, was a super lethal toxin, multiple times more deadly than related organophosphate chemical weapons Sarin or Tabun. A single drop of Novichok on the skin would be enough to kill almost instantly, so it is claimed.

The official British narrative claims that the killer chemical was applied to the front door handle at the Skripal home. The two Russian men caught on CCTV and accused last week by the British of being Kremlin assassins were not in Salisbury until just before midday on March 4, according to the published CCTV time data. By that time, the Skripals had left the home and were not seen returning. That means the pair were stricken while away from the home, perhaps, as speculated here, while they were in the public park scoring a drug deal.

Plausibly, they were not assaulted with a chemical weapon, but with a spiked drug sample, which British state agents had arranged for the purpose of incapacitating them. In an incapacitated state, the Skripals could then be used as guinea pigs, whose bodily fluids could be contaminated to frame up Russia with a story of “assassination by Novichok”.

Here are some challenging questions: why have the Skripals seemingly gone into hiding since the alleged poison incident over six months ago?

Why did Yulia make only one public statement to the Reuters news agency – three months after the poison incident and apparently having recovered from her “lethal ordeal” – in which she expressed a desire to return to her native Russia? Yet since that one-off public statement nearly three months ago, Yulia or her father have not been seen since. Would she really express such a wish to go back to Russia if she believed the British claim that Russian state agents had just tried to assassinate her and her father?

Why have all official Russian requests for consular contact with Yulia been repeatedly denied by the British side, in flagrant violation of international law and diplomatic norms?

The implication is that the Skripals are being detained under duress by the British authorities who realize that the official version of a Kremlin assassination plot with Novichok might be fatally contradicted by the Skripals’ version of events. Hence the pair are being denied access to public communication.

What about the junkies Charlie Rowley and the late Dawn Sturgess? It is plausible that they were also set up in a covert poison attack by British intelligence using spiked drugs in order to “refresh” the anti-Russia propaganda stunt. Then the story about a perfume bottle containing Novichok was thrown in to the mix to conjure up a murder weapon discarded by alleged Kremlin assassins.

What about the two Russian men caught on CCTV in Salisbury on the weekend that the Skripals were apparently poisoned? Petrov and Boshirov upset the official British narrative by coming forward last week to give a media interview. They said they were ordinary civilians traveling under their own names, not aliases, as the British claimed. They said they are not Russian military intelligence, that they had no perfume bottle with Novichok nor any other substance on their possession in England, and that they were in Salisbury as weekend tourists.

Salisbury and its world-famous 13th century cathedral – reputed to be the most ornate in England – as well as nearby neolithic-age Stonehenge, attract millions of tourists from around the world each year, including many Russian nationals. It is not a stretch that British authorities scanned through reams of CCTV footage on the weekend of March 4, and got a lucky break to find Petrov and Boshirov walking the streets of Salisbury. The two men say they are caught up in a “fantastical coincidence”. More to the point, it seems, they are caught up in a British false flag to incriminate, demonize and delegitimize Russia.

The Skripal false flag is only one in a whole series of propaganda campaigns conducted by Western governments, their state intelligence and their ever-obliging news media in recent years. The alleged “annexation of Crimea”, the “covert invasion of Ukraine”, shooting down a Malaysian airliner, illicit doping of Olympic athletes, meddling in US and European elections, launching cyberattacks on Western power-grids, supporting “brutal dictator Assad” in Syria, among other malicious memes.

The litany of false flags to demonize Russia as a “pariah state” is itself indicative of relentless media orchestration by NATO governments.

The Skripal affair fits into this phenomenal propaganda effort.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Is ‘deep state’ trying to block Corbyn government?

RT | September 20, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn’s top adviser has questioned whether the ‘deep state’ is maneuvering to block any possibility of a Labour government under his leadership, because the establishment deplores his approach to foreign policy.

Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray has not, to date, been granted a parliamentary security pass, and asks in an article he’s penned in the centre-left publication, the New Statesman, whether such a move is a “political stunt” committed by the “deep state,” in an attempt to prevent a Corbyn administration ever coming into power.

Murray has questioned whether the Mail on Sunday revelations he’s been refused “Commons security clearance” in addition to being “banned from entering Ukraine,” is all just a “curiously-timed episode.”

The Labour adviser writes: “We are often told that the days of secret state political chicanery are long past and we must hope so. But sometimes you have to wonder – this curiously timed episode seems less rooted in a Kiev security scare than in a political stunt closer to home.”

The former chair of Stop the War and current chief of staff to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, references the Mail on Sunday, which claims a Ukrainian secret service officer told them Murray’s Ukraine ban is because he’s “part of Putin’s global propaganda network.”

Murray denies such a claim, suggesting the ban is in retaliation to a speech he “made more than four years ago protesting the takeover of Ukraine by ultra-nationalists.”

It’s Corbyn’s attitude to foreign affairs that Murray says the “deep state” cannot live with, claiming a prospective Labour government would put an end to acting aggressively on the world stage.

He says: “The powers-that-be can perhaps live with a renationalised water industry but not, it seems, with any challenge to their aggressive capacities, repeatedly deployed in disastrous wars, and their decaying Cold War world view.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has told BBC Radio 4s ‘Today Programme’ that Murray’s “deep state” interference claims are “highly unlikely,” and called for Corbyn’s adviser to produce the evidence, “otherwise it’s just fake news.”

Watson said: “I genuinely don’t know why he has reached that conclusion and presumably he has more knowledge of that than me.”

Murray signs off his article with an apparent dig at the British intelligence services, stating: “Britain could soon have an anti-war government. Vet that, comrades.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Bret Stephens’ Neocon Vision

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.09.2018

The neoconservative vision of the world is a place where the United States can do what it wants because it is both better morally speaking and also more capable of enforcing desirable standards of behavior. Such a viewpoint just might perhaps be understandable if Washington were actually willing to operate in a disinterested leadership capacity to promote standards that are generally accepted by the international community, somewhat similar to what the United Nations is supposed to do, but it becomes repugnant when there is no sense that the US is actually willing to judge itself by the values that it claims to be upholding. This is why global opinion believes that Washington, not Russia or China, is the greatest threat to world peace and also why the United States ranks near the bottom in opinion polls assessing which countries are viewed favorably.

Every story has to begin somewhere and that is the neocon trick. You take a situation that you have framed from your own perspective and then use it as a starting point for developing additional arguments that favor the action you wanted to take in the first place. In the case of a country like Iran, you claim that the Iranians must be checked because (a) they are destabilizing the region (b) building a Shi’ite land bridge to the Mediterranean (c) supporting terrorism (d) secretly constructing a nuclear weapon and (e) developing ballistic missiles that will enable them to deliver the nuclear weapons. By establishing your premise of Iranian threat as the basis for the discussion, you completely avoid having to demonstrate that Iran is actually doing any of those things, which is a good thing because every single point is either palpably false or can be easily challenged.

The same goes for Syria, where the argument is framed that Syria is becoming an Iranian satrapy and that US troops are in the country to defeat terrorists. Actually, there is a legitimate government in Damascus that is independent of Iran and it is the American soldiers that are present completely illegally in support of some of the terrorists it is supposed to be fighting. But to admit either fact to be true would not be acceptable as it would ruin the discussion from the neocon point of view.

A recent New York Times Bret Stephens op-ed “To Thwart Iran, Save Idlib” on the situation in Syria illustrates just what is wrong with neocon thinking. Stephens is a card-carrying Zionist who has lived in Israel and was between 2002 and 2004 the Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, at that time a right-wing English language newspaper. He still supports the invasion of Iraq and predictably has declared the now-dead nuclear pact with Iran to be worse than the 1938 Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler. It is always 1938 in Munich for someone like Stephens.

In other words, Stephens, with his blinders firmly in place, is not a go-to person if you want to know what is actually happening in Syria or Iran. His op-ed asserts that the United States must act forcefully to prevent the Syrian government’s attempt to retake its terrorist infested Idlib Province.

Why? Because Iran and Russia will be empowered otherwise and the US will appear weak. You see, Stephens believes the “top priority in the Middle East is to thwart Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions.” He asks “So why is [the Trump Administration] so reluctant to lift a finger against Tehran’s most audacious gambit in Syria?”

Stephens explains: “By now, the strategic consequences should also be obvious. Iran will have succeeded in consolidating a Shiite crescent stretching from Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Russia will have succeeded in reasserting itself as a Mideast military victor and diplomatic power broker. Hezbollah, already the dominant political player in Lebanon, will further extend its influence in Syria. As for Assad, he will have shown that the community of civilized nations will, in fact, let you get away with murder.”

What should be done by Washington and its allies? “… The US can destroy everything that remains of the Syrian Air Force and crater the runways… If Assad continues to move, his presidential palaces should be next. After that, Assad himself. By then he will have been fairly warned. The larger goal is to establish that the US has the ability and will to achieve core foreign policy objectives at a relatively reasonable price.”

There is a word in Italian “pazzo.” It means crazy, but actually has a somewhat stronger meaning, more like delusional, completely nuts. Stephens qualifies, particularly when he presumably includes the United States and Israel among the world’s “community of civilized nations.” Both have been bombing and shooting up Syria even though Damascus has neither threatened nor attacked them. And the Shi’ite crescent is a total fabrication, invented by Israel and repeated endlessly by suck-up American politicians and media talking heads like Stephens. Iraq is 60% Shi’ite to be sure, but the rest of its mostly Sunni population is well entrenched and has fought to maintain its autonomy. Syria is 75% Sunni and 9% Christian. Lebanon is 27% Sunni, 6% Druze, and 40% Christian. Do the math Bret!

And don’t you just love the “achieve core foreign policy objectives at a relatively reasonable price” bit? Destroying the country’s air force and airports, blowing up its government buildings, and assassinating its head of state might be reasonable for armchair warriors in Washington, but it looks a lot different on the ground where most would consider it undeclared war of aggression. That’s a war crime.

And to get back to my original point, all the nonsense is designed to support a narrative of death and destruction that starts with the reader having to accept Stephen’s assertion that there is an actual threat out there even when there is none. Nice work Bret Stephens!

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Court orders psychiatric evaluation for Marine Le Pen, she slams it as ‘hallucination’

RT | September 20, 2018

French politician Marine Le Pen said a court ordered her to undergo psychiatric evaluation over a series of images she posted on Twitter showing Islamic State executions. She slammed the order as a “hallucination.”

The president of France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) has released an order saying it comes from the magistrates in Nanterre near Paris, calling on her to “undergo a psychiatric examination.”

“For denouncing the horrors of Daesh (Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS) by tweets the “justice system” has referred [me] to a psychiatric assessment. How far will they go?!” she tweeted in response.

The 2017 presidential candidate denounced the order as “a hallucination,” saying: “This regime is really starting to scare [us].”

French major outlet BMFTV, which also broke the story, said that the procedure was in fact a “common” occurrence. The comment did not go down well with Le Pen though, who branded the claim “a lie.” Such an examination is required of “pedophiles or [those with] sexual deviance,” she argued.

In December of 2015, Le Pen tweeted three pictures of killings carried out by IS terrorists accompanied by the text “Daesh [Arabic term for ISIS] is THIS!” The tweets had been a response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin, who compared Le Pen’s nationalist rhetoric to that of the Islamic terrorist group.

One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, whom the extremists beheaded in August 2014. Back then his family said they had been “deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen’s political gain.”

Le Pen later deleted the images. Speaking to French media earlier this year she said that she is being charged for “having condemned the horrors of Daesh.”

If convicted, the politician faces a maximum punishment of a €75,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

A number of politicians have lambasted the judges’ decision towards Le Pen. According to National Assembly member Gilbert Collard, the order simply means “the psychiatrization of political opinion.”

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also took to Twitter to express support for the French politician. “A court orders a psychiatric assessment for Marine Le Pen. Words fail me! Solidarity with her and with the French who love freedom!” he wrote.

This is not the first time Marine Le Pen has locked horns with the authorities. In 2017, roughly two months before the presidential election, she was summoned by judges for alleged misuse of EU funds. The court said that Le Pen’s staff was fictitiously employed at the European Parliament as assistants. She denied the allegations.

This July, French judges blocked €2 million of subsidies to Le Pen’s party. Le Pen condemned the move as “a blow to democracy,” since withholding the funding would likely result in her party becoming defunct.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Iran urges UN to censure Israel’s nuclear threat, make it respect international rules

Press TV – September 20, 2018

Tehran has written to the United Nations, calling on the world body to condemn Israel for threatening Iran with a nuclear attack and bring the regime’s atomic weapons program under its supervision.

Standing right beside the Dimona nuclear facility late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Iran as a “threat” to the region and said Tel Aviv has the means to destroy its “enemies” in a veiled reference to Tel Aviv’s nuclear arsenal.

“Those who threaten to wipe us out put themselves in a similar danger, and in any event will not achieve their goal,” he said. “But our enemies know very well what Israel is capable of doing. They are familiar with our policy. Whoever tries to hurt us – we hurt them.”

In a letter addressed to the UN on Thursday, the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the world body said Netanyahu’s belligerent remarks poses “a serious threat to international peace and security.”

It also urged the UN to make Israel abide by international rules and the UN Charter.

The letter also highlighted Israel’s long history of aggression, occupation, militarism and state terrorism among other international crimes, urging the world community to take a firm position on the Zionist regime’s “unbridled actions and nuclear threat.”

In the letter, Iran further demanded that the UN condemn Israel’s anti-Iran threat, make the regime join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear program under the supervesion of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It also reminded the UN that Iran is itself a victim of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical weapons.

The UN member states should not turn a blind eye to Israel’s threat and make efforts towards to the elimination of its entire nuclear stockpile, the letter read.

Responding to Netanyahu’s highly aggressive comments, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the premier as “warmonger” and said the threat was “ beyond shameless.”

“Iran, a country without nuclear weapons, is threatened with atomic annihilation by a warmonger standing next to an actual nuclear weapons factory. Beyond shameless in the gall,” Zarif tweeted.

Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but its policy is to neither confirm nor deny that it has atomic bombs. The Tel Aviv regime is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Unlike Iran, the regime is not a member of the NPT — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology – in defiance of international pressure.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment