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Urban’s Tale Clears Away Some of the Smoke and Mirrors in Salisbury

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 3, 2018

There’s enough smoke and mirrors in the Salisbury poisonings to make the Magic Circle blush. It is impossible for the public to understand what happened, and who did what to whom, not only because the details don’t add up, but because many of the so-called “facts” that have been released are suspicious in and of themselves. Whichever aspect of the case we look at to try to make sense, we can never quite be sure that we are not going down a rabbit trail, since the “facts” we base our case on may in fact not be facts at all.

What we can do, though, is to keep looking at the official claims. The investigators of the case obviously have access to information that ordinary members of the public don’t have, and they have made an accusation. But the big question is whether the claims and the accusation they have made stand up to scrutiny – not just to the “facts” that have been given out, but also to logic and to reason.

It is important to begin by defining exactly what the claim is. There are essentially two branches.

The first comes from the British Government, who have declared the Russian State to be responsible for an attempted assassination of Mr Skripal on 4th March (to begin with they hedged their bets between direct responsibility and indirect responsibility, but later statements are more explicit about direct responsibility). In making this claim, because they are not in a court of law, but rather in a Parliament full of remarkably incurious folk, they have been able to able to come up with vague and airy statements about the case, all of which may well be enough to satisfy the incuriosity of that particular audience and their chums in the media, but which are unlikely to satisfy the minds of the more discerning.

The second branch comes from the Metropolitan Police. It is by far the more important of the two, since it is the specific claim of those paid to investigate the case, and is therefore the one upon which the Government’s claim ultimately rests (it is, however, worth reminding ourselves that in the Alice in Wonderland times we now find ourselves in, the Government’s claim came prior to the investigation, not after it, which as anyone acquainted with logic, reason and justice will tell you, is precisely the wrong way around).

To understand The Met’s central claim, however, we must first hack our way through much smoke and navigate our way around many mirrors. So let’s do that by first establishing what the claim is not:

It is not that the Russian state was behind the poisoning (although the Metropolitan Police statement of 5th September does repeats the claim made by the Prime Minister on 14th March, it does so only as a prelude to what is then said about the two suspects, and is not central to its claim about those men).

It is not that Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov are GU Intelligence Officers.

It is not that Ruslan Boshirov is in reality Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

All these are peripheral to the central claim made by the Metropolitan Police, and in many ways just smokes and mirrors. The Metropolitan Police’s central claim can be succinctly said to be the following:

“That between 12:10pm and 13:30 on 4th March 2018, the two men named as suspects – Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov – went to the house of Sergei Skripal at 47 Christie Miller Road, Salisbury, on foot, and there applied a high purity, military grade nerve agent to the handle of the front door in an attempt to assassinate Mr Skripal.”

Now, astute readers will realise that the Metropolitan Police has mentioned nothing about the timing that I have stated: 12:10 – 13:30. Nevertheless, that this is what their claim entails is an incontrovertible fact taken from two pieces of information:

a) The image released by the Met of the two men on the Wilton Road at 11:58 (ten minutes after another image showing them arriving at Salisbury train station), which is a little over 5 minutes walk from 47 Christie Miller Road.

b) That Mr Skripal’s car was seen on CCTV driving away from his house at 13:33, towards the town, never to return.

In other words, the claims that the Government first made back in March, when there were still various conflicting claims as to where and how the poisoning took place, have now been distilled into a very particular location — the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road — and a very specific timeframe — 1 hour and 20 minutes.

To put that into Cluedo terminology, the Metropolitan Police have made an accusation, and it is as follows:

“We believe it was Boshirov and Petrov (perhaps not their real names), at the door handle of Christie Miller Road, with the Novichok, between 12:10 and 13:30.”

The whole of the Government accusations from March onwards are now indelibly connected with this claim, and its truth or otherwise.

Now, the first thing to say about the claim is that the information released by the Met so far has not proven this claim at all. The images showing the two men coming into the UK do not prove the claim. The images of the two men walking around Salisbury do not prove the claim (in fact, they tend to do the opposite, since the idea that two apparently highly trained intelligence officers would not only carry out their deed under cover of daylight, walking together at all times, but would then spend almost two hours traipsing around town are frankly not very credible). The image showing the two men on the Wilton Road does not prove the claim, since it is some 600 yards from the alleged crime scene.

It may all be enough to convince the nation’s MPs, but it ought not be enough to convince anyone still committed to reason and logic.

However, comments in a new book by the BBC reporter, Mark Urban, reveal a couple of things that are of crucial interest in light of the claim. Here is the first:

“Urban discovered that Skripal spent much of his day watching Russia’s Channel One, a pro-Kremlin state broadcaster. He adopted ‘the Kremlin line in many matters’, the journalist writes, ‘even while sitting in his MI6-purchased house’, especially over Moscow’s fraught relations with Ukraine.”

The key part I want to draw your attention to is that, according to Urban, Mr Skripal’s house was “MI6-purchased.” This may come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention, but it does at least clear away some of the smokes and mirrors. So the house that Mr Skripal lived in, and the one that he was apparently targeted in, was owned by MI6. And the reason for this, as the British media seem to have belatedly discovered, is that Mr Skripal was still working for MI6.

Mr Urban also says this:

“The people closest to him [Sergei] were probably what he called his ‘Team’ — the officers from MI5 and MI6 who looked after his welfare. He spoke about them with affection and had a special mobile phone that went directly to their duty officer.”

Hopefully, you’re beginning to get the picture. Sergei Skripal was not only active for MI6, and not only lived in a house which was purchased by MI6 but – according to Mr Urban – he had MI5 and MI6 officers assigned to protect him, as well as a direct line should he need to get in contact. As an aside, would it be cheeky to enquire whether this particular phone was one of the ones that was allegedly made untraceable on 4th March?

Given what Mr Urban says about the house, the phone and the protection, let me ask a few simple questions:

  1. How conceivable is it that the house did not have some kind of security measures in place, including CCTV cameras?
  2. How conceivable is it that Russian intelligence wouldn’t have assumed that Mr Skripal’s house would have had some kind of security measures in place, including CCTV cameras covering the front door?
  3. How conceivable is it that Russian intelligence would have chosen a method of assassination that was not only highly untargeted, but which was practically guaranteed to result in the filming of the assassins committing the crime?

To discerning persons, the answer to all three questions is quite obvious, though perhaps not to the nation’s MPs or media.

But let’s just suspend reason and logic for a moment, and imagine that despite the extremely high probability that Russian intelligence would have assumed Mr Skripal’s house to be well protected, and the absurdly low probability that they would then have chosen this particular method of assassination, they had still carried out the attack in the way the Met claims. What would it mean?

It would mean that there has been a massive failure on the part of British intelligence to protect one of their own assets in his own house — a house which they owned, and which should therefore have been made safe. In which case, why are there no questions being asked about this failure in the House of Commons? Or do we already know the reason for that.

Let me spell it out even more clearly. There only three options here:

Option 1: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house did indeed have the kind of security measures you would expect it to have had, given that Mr Skripal was actively working for British Intelligence. In which case, if the central claim of the Metropolitan Police is true, there must be CCTV footage of the two suspects, applying “high purity, military grade nerve agent” to the door handle.

Option 2: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house didn’t have the kind of security measures one would expect it to have had, given that Mr Skripal was actively working for British Intelligence. In which case, if the central claim of the Metropolitan Police is true, does this not constitute a failure of security of the highest order?

Option 3: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house may or may not have had the kind of security measures you would expect it to have – but it’s all neither here nor there because the door handle assassination claim is untrue.

The discerning amongst you will make your own minds up as to which of these possible scenarios is correct.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo

By Craig Murray | October 3, 2018

Bellingcat’s attempts to gild the Chepiga lily are now becoming ludicrous. The photo they published today is a very obvious fake.

Many people have noticed that the photo of Chepiga on this wall appears to be hanging in completely different lighting conditions from the others. That is indeed a good point.

But there is a more important point here, and that is to do with sequencing. Except for Chepiga and Popov, who according to Belligncat also became a Hero of Russia in 2014, all of the people here are indeed openly and officially listed Heroes of Russia or, in the majority of cases, Heroes of the Soviet Union.

What is more, they are, as you would expect on a military honours wall, ranked in date order. ONLY CHEPIGA IS OUT OF DATE ORDER. The order runs top row let to right, then second row left to right, then bottom row left to right.

The bit of the bottom row we can see runs:

Karpushenko (2000), Ribak (2005), Maclov (2012), Popov (2014).

So why is Chepiga in a row of much earlier Heroes of the Soviet Union? Next in sequence in fact to Grigory Dobrunov who got his award in 1956!!!! The pictures are definitely otherwise all in date order.

The glaringly obvious answer – in line with the reflections anomaly – is that Chepiga’s “picture” has been photoshopped onto this wall. The military do not suddenly insert photos out of order and at random on an honours board. Bellingcat, however, have a track record of image manipulation.

None of which proves or disproves the Boshirov identification. It is however an important reminder to take Bellingcat as a source with a pinch of salt.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

US Responsible for Cyberspace Becoming a War Domain Instead of an Area of Cooperation

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 03.10.2018

Much has been said about the potential dangers of a cyber war. This type of attack could be formidably destructive and is extremely difficult to track to its source. Superiority in this domain offers a great advantage, making it possible to knock out the enemy’s critical infrastructure sites and inflicting damage comparable to a massive nuclear attack. Just imagine the electricity grids, one of the softer targets, out of commission and all the lights out and the computers dead! In 2016 the North Atlantic Alliance officially declared cyberspace the fourth domain of war.

NATO is beefing up its cybersecurity and plans to develop an offensive cyber potential. The bloc has regularly conducted a Cyber Coalition exercise ever since 2008. In 2017, NATO defense ministers agreed to set up a Cyber Operations Center to integrate the growing cyber warfare capabilities for both offensive and defensive operations. The new unit will be an operational complement to NATO’s Tallinn-based Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), which was established in 2008 to act as a hub for NATO’s cyber defense, and it is growing more powerful as more members of the bloc join the project. Added to that is the alliance’s network operations center and computer emergency response teams (CERTs). Exercises, such as Locked Shield 2018, are held regularly. The fictional foe is always Russia.

In April, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alongside the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), issued a joint alert about malicious cyber activity “carried out by the Russian government.” All these moves have been made at a time when the Western media is busy launching attacks aimed at painting Russia as a villain. To be sure, Moscow is being accused of hacking and other misdeeds, but what if it was a non-state actor who was responsible? The US sanctions and whatever else is being done under the auspices of NATO — all those efforts will go down the drain, with the real perpetrator going scot-free! Attacks will happen again.

On Sept. 14, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated in his interview with Axios that the alliance might invoke Article 5 on collective defense, if it decides that Russia has carried out a cyberattack against one of its members. On Sept. 20, the UK announced its decision to step up cyber warfare efforts against Russia, with the Ministry of Defense and GCHQ jointly creating a new £250m joint task force of up to 2,000 digital warriors. The new unit would represent a near four-fold increase in manpower focused on offensive cyber operations.

In late September, the new US National Cybersecurity Strategy (NCS), which expands the authority for launching offensive operations, took effect after being signed by President Trump. It actually calls for an offensive response against any nation the administration chooses to target. “America created the Internet and shared it with the world. Now, we must make sure to secure and preserve cyberspace for future generations,” said the president in his introduction to the document. Russia and China are listed as the biggest threats. The publication of the strategy came on the heels of other major movements in cyberspace, such as elevating the US Cyber Command to full unified command status and delegating certain responsibilities from the president to the DoD, tasking it with conducting cyber operations abroad.

Much has been said about the need to work out certain rules to prevent an “unfettered arms race” and “combat operations” in this domain. The truth is that Moscow has called for a broad international effort to prevent the militarization of cyberspace. It wants the issue to become part of a broader Russia-NATO and OSCE agenda. Russian-US cooperation would be a step in the right direction, especially now that the efforts of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) have been stymied.

In 2017, Moscow and Washington were engaged in talks on creating a working group. The idea was suggested by Russia President Vladimir Putin. Both nations could join efforts to tackle this critical issue as allies. The US missed that opportunity. President Trump rejected the initiative under pressure from the Republicans.

On Feb. 27 a 17-member Russian team arrived in Switzerland for a two-day stay to discuss cyber security with its US counterparts. The negotiators were informed upon their arrival that the US delegation was not coming. The talks had been torpedoed by the Americans. No excuse or explanation was ever offered, either before or after the event. Here is an example of diplomacy “a l’Americaine” for all to see.

If not for that US move, the first-ever non-aggression pact in cyberspace might have become a reality. With Moscow acting as an intermediary, Beijing could have joined the process, with many other states to follow. But that opportunity was missed and the US is to blame.

It is possible to reach an agreement on restrictions as well as rules of engagement. Russia and China signed one in 2015. That same year, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization launched an initiative aimed at tackling cybersecurity on a global level. The West refused to discuss it.

It seems to have been forgotten now that the US and Russia worked out a, a package of agreements in 2013 that included the exchange of data and establishment of emergency response teams. The US pulled the plug on that dialog because of the 2014 events in Ukraine.

There is no international law regulating cyber operations. Nothing governs activities in this domain. There is no law, no control, no rules, and no international mechanism that would make it possible to investigate, prosecute, or punish the guilty. But everything is possible. The Russian-US think tanks have offered suggestions about bilateral cooperation in cybersecurity. They could become the basis for a bilateral and then a multilateral agreement, along with other ideas on controlling cyber operations.

Cyberspace could theoretically become a sphere of cooperation, and that process could gradually spread to encompass other areas. It could also become the war domain that NATO envisions, with an unfettered arms race pushing everyone to the brink of conflict. Russia has tried to avoid the latter scenario, but the US has made a different choice.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

FBI documents detail Clinton and Mueller’s own ‘Russiagate’ – but they’re classified

RT | October 3, 2018

The FBI is facing new calls to declassify documents relating to the sale of US uranium to a Russian company, documents that could implicate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and ‘Russiagate’ witch-hunter Robert Mueller.

While Clinton and crew relentlessly push the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election, and while Special Counsel Robert Mueller searches with a magnifying glass for any sign of this collusion, all parties involved are much quieter when it comes to the Uranium One scandal.

Among a trove of documents relating to the controversial deal, the FBI has identified 37 pages that could shine a light on why then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration approved the deal.

The pages were recently added to the agency’s Freedom of Information Act online vault. The only problem – they’re classified.

The reasons given for the classification will sound familiar to anyone following President Trump’s recent struggle to declassify another set of FBI documents: doing so would violate the privacy of individuals involved, would place national security at risk, would disclose secret law enforcement techniques, and would reveal confidential inter-agency communication, among others.

What we do know about Uranium One reads like a Cold War spy thriller.

The debacle began in 2009 when state-owned Russian atomic energy firm Rosatom was in talks to buy part of Canadian-based mining company Uranium One, and with it control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

As the deal was being hashed out, the FBI planted a spy posing as a consultant, businessman William Douglas Campbell, in Rosatom. Campbell uncovered evidence that Rosatom’s main executive in America, Vadim Mikerin, was involved in bribery, extortion, and money laundering, as he sought to gain “improper business advantages” for US firms that worked with a Rosatom-owned firm he chaired.

The FBI compiled Campbell’s evidence, and Mikerin was charged and deported, but not until summer 2018. Back in 2010, the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom anyway.

The sale needed to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which was chaired by Hillary Clinton. Campbell told three separate Congressional committees that Moscow had hired lobbying firm APCO Worldwide to use its influence with Clinton to negotiate the deal, for which the Clinton Foundation would receive generous kickbacks.

Democrats dismissed the scandal as the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theory, and Clinton herself called accusations of wrongdoing “baloney.” Still, Republicans held that something was amiss, citing Bill Clinton’s $500,000 fee for a speech in Moscow in 2010 as proof the Clintons were peddling influence for Russian money. At the same time, Mrs. Clinton was pushing for a great “reset” in US-Russia relations. The plot thickens.

The FBI director at the time? None other than Robert Mueller, currently the Witch-Hunter-in-chief, leading the crusade against the Trump team. What a difference eight years make.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in March that a federal prosecutor from Utah, John Huber, would look into both the Uranium One deal and FBI misconduct in the Clinton email investigation. Trump too seemed eager to get to the bottom of the scandal, and has regularly bashed Clinton for her alleged role in facilitating the sale.

The Justice Department’s probe has largely taken place on the sidelines, has generated few headlines, and has not made its findings, if any, public. Why then, are the FBI’s documents, clearly of critical importance to understanding the whole debacle, still secret?

“Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision,” wrote The Hill’s John Solomon. If the second option were true, the next step would be establishing whether the agency withheld this evidence knowingly, or through simple negligence.

According to Solomon, an investigative reporter who first disclosed Campbell’s involvement in Rosatom as an FBI informant, Campbell maintains that both then-President Obama and then-Director Mueller were briefed by agents about Rosatom’s shady activities, but the sale was allowed to go through because of “politics.”

According to another of Solomon’s sources, “There is definitely material (in the 37 pages) that would be illuminating to the issues that have been raised… somebody should fight to make it public.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) has called on the FBI to “stop investigating high school yearbooks and start declassifying Uranium One,” and has urged Senate Republicans to pressure the agency into declassifying the documents. Failing that, Huckabee suggested that Trump order the declassification, which he is well within his power to do so.

Doing so would not only bring the truth that much closer to being revealed, but could also give Trump the opportunity to score some political points against his old nemeses: surely a tempting prospect.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Why do young people opt for the military?


October 3, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 10 Comments

US policy on Iran is viewed through Israeli prism: Ex-Pentagon official

Press TV – October 2, 2018

The United States is exerting pressure on Iran to implement Israeli policy, according to a former Pentagon official.

“US policy toward Iran is really being looked at through an Israeli prism,” former Pentagon security analyst Michael Maloof told Press TV in a phone interview on Tuesday.

He said the foreign policy of the United State of American was being led by President Donald Trump’s neoconservative team of Israel-lovers.

The US foreign policy team comprised of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who clearly want an American-Israeli military conflict with Iran, are running the policies, according to Maloof.

Trump’s neoconservative foreign policy team seeks Tel Aviv’s approval on any policy linked to Iran. “Anything that has to do with Iran has to be sanctioned by Israel for some reason,” Maloof insisted, adding that was where the neoconservatives really flourished.

“They regard Iran as the number one enemy of Israel, and as the consequence, any US foreign policy toward Iran necessarily goes through Tel Aviv,” he said.

Instead of pursuing Americans’ interests, the neoconservatives are making effort to implement Israeli policy.

“Israeli Prime Minister,Benjamin Netanyahu would like the United States to apply militarily the expansion and execution of basically Israeli policy for Iran.” he noted, adding, “This complicates the things incredibly.”

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Victory for Iran: Highest UN court orders US to suspend sanctions

Press TV – October 3, 2018

In a victory for Tehran against Washington, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered the United States to halt the unilateral sanctions it recently re-imposed on “humanitarian” supplies to Iran.

The Hague-based court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, announced its ruling on Wednesday regarding the July lawsuit brought by Tehran against Washington’s decision to re-impose unilateral sanctions following the US exit from the the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s lawsuit argued that the sanctions violate the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between Iran and the US. It also called on the court to order Washington to immediately suspend the measures.

On Wednesday, the UN’s top tribunal – known as the World Court — unanimously ruled that the US must ensure that the re-imposed sanctions do not impact humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.

According to the verdict, which was read out by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, Washington “shall remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on May 8 to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities” as well as airplane parts.

The court further said that sanctions on goods “required for humanitarian needs… may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.”

US sanctions on aircraft spare parts also had the “potential to endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the lives of its users,” it added.

The decisions of the ICJ – which rules on disputes between UN member states – are legally binding and cannot be appealed.

In a post on his Twitter account on July 16, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the complaint challenged the US “unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions.”

“Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy & legal obligations. It’s imperative to counter its habit of violating int’l law,” he tweeted.

In May, Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite objections from the other signatories to the accord.

In August, he re-imposed the first round of sanctions on Iran. The second phase of US bans will come into effect next month.

Defeat for ‘sanctions-addicted’ US

Meanwhile, Tehran has welcomed the ruling by the 15-member panel of justices, saying it once again indicted Iran’s “righteous” position against the hostile US policies.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif described the verdict as yet another defeat for the “sanctions-addicted” US government.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, saying the decision “proved once again that the Islamic Republic of Iran is right, and that US sanctions against people and citizens of our country are illegitimate and cruel.”

It also showed that “the US government is growing more isolated day by day due to its wrong and extremist policies and as a result of its own excessive demands from other countries,” the statement added.

Tehran further called on Washington to abandon its unpleasant addiction to imposing cruel and illegal sanctions against other people and act as a responsible member of the international community.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

US cancels 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran after UN court ruling

Press TV – October 3, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington is canceling a 1955 treaty with Tehran after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United States to halt the unilateral sanctions it recently re-imposed on “humanitarian” supplies to Iran.

“I’m announcing that the United States is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran, this is a decision that is 39 years overdue,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday at the State Department.

“In July, Iran brought a meritless case in the International Court of Justice alleging violations of the Treaty of Amity,” Pompeo said.

“We’re disappointed that the court failed to recognize that it has no jurisdiction to issue any order relating to these sanctions measures with the United States, which is doing its work on Iran to protect its own essential security interests,” he added.

“Iran has attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions as necessary to protect our national security and Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes,” the top American diplomat said.

He claimed the United States would work to ensure it is providing humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people.

The Hague-based court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, announced its ruling on Wednesday regarding the July lawsuit brought by Tehran against Washington’s decision to re-impose unilateral sanctions following the US exit from the 2015 nuclear deal.

The decisions of the ICJ – which rules on disputes between UN member states – are legally binding and cannot be appealed.

Iran’s lawsuit argued that the sanctions violate the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between Iran and the US. It also called on the court to order Washington to immediately suspend the measures.

The treaty established economic relations and consular rights and was signed during the terms of former US President Dwight Eisenhower and former Iranian Prime Minister Hossein Ala.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite objections from the other signatories to the accord.

In August, he re-imposed the first round of sanctions on Iran. The second phase of US bans will come into effect next month.

In a post on his Twitter account on July 16, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the ICJ complaint challenged the US “unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions.”

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Showdown at Tanf

Sic Semper Tyrannus | October 3, 2018

The reconciliation process initiated by the Russians in Syria has saved countless lives of soldiers, civilians and even jihadists. It also preserved SAA fighting strength, brought a lot of Syrian territory back under the control of Damascus. It brought former jihadists back into the fight on the side of the SAA. This process may appear to be tedious and without the glorious satisfaction of annihilating jihadis in a costly series of rapid offensives, but I firmly believe the reconciliation process is the right way for Syria. This strategy is now being brought to bear at Tanf.

The first evidence of this was the mid-September agreement for the removal of the US trained and backed al-Qaryatayn Martyrs Brigade and 5,000 civilians from the Rukban refugee camp to the Euphrates Shield-held area in northern Aleppo. This was the work of the Russian Reconciliation Center. More recently, tribal leaders from Damascus have met tribal leaders at the refugee camp to discuss their situation. A list of refugees wanting to engage in the reconciliation process is being prepared. Many of those not reconciling with Damascus will be shipped north to join the al-Qaryatayn Martyrs Brigade and their families. The camp evacuations are already underway. Next week the Russians will escort a UN aid convoy into the Rukban Refugee Camp.

Although the US has apparently acquiesced to the Russian plan to depopulate the Rukban Refugee Camp, I believe Russia has cleverly outmaneuvered the US. The SAA is steadily destroying the remaining jihadis on the al-Safa plateau. I believe the US forces at Tanf will soon be left alone without jihadis to control, or even any remaining jihadis to fight. The “fighting ISIS” rationale will disappear and the real reason for remaining at Tanf will become clear. At Israel’s behest, we are blocking the Teheran-Baghdad-Damascus highway.


October 3, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

UAE recruiting Africans for Saudi-led war: Report

Press TV – October 3, 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia’s key partner in the ongoing Riyadh-led invasion of Yemen, has reportedly been recruiting tribesmen from northern and central parts of Africa to fight in the war.

The campaign features Emirati envoys “seducing” the tribesmen across a vast area spanning southern Libya as well as entire Chad and Niger, who earn a living by herding as well as human and material smuggling, the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) press monitoring organization reported on Wednesday.

“This campaign is supervised by Emirati officials who gained material profits in collaboration with human traffickers,” the report added.

An awareness campaign has been launched by Chadian activists, led by campaigner Mohamed Zain Ibrahim, to warn the tribesmen against joining the Saudi-led war.

“The Arabs of the [Persian] Gulf region, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have never bothered to get to know the Arabs of the desert, and today they are asking for their support and seducing them to fight by their side in Yemen!” MEMO cited Ibrahim as telling pan-Arab Arabi21 electronic newspaper.

The envoys offer potential mercenaries such incentives as sums ranging from $900 to $3,000, in addition to acquiring UAE citizenship in return for their applying for jobs in Emirati security companies.

Ibrahim said the job opportunities were “an actual military recruitment campaign to gather mercenaries for the Yemeni war and use them to fight the people of Yemen, who are Arabs and Muslims as well, and all that for a bunch of dollars.”

“A delegation of Emirati people in business visited Niger in January 2018, where they met Arab tribal leaders and recruited 10,000 tribesmen living between Libya, Chad, and Niger,” MEMO said.

The Emirates has been contributing heavily to the 2015-present war, which seeks to reinstall Yemen’s former Saudi-allied officials.

In addition to their own forces, both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deployed thousands of militants across the violence-scarred country to intensify the invasion.

The Emirati side began beefing up its contribution in June, when the coalition launched a much-criticized offensive against al-Hudaydah, Yemen’s key port city, which receives the bulk of its imports.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How the tentacles of the US military are strangling the planet

By Vijay Prashad | Asia Times | October 3, 2018

In June this year in Itoman, a city in Okinawa prefecture, Japan, a 14-year-old girl named Rinko Sagara read out of a poem based on her great-grandmother’s experience of World War II. Rinko’s great-grandmother reminded her of the cruelty of war. She had seen her friends shot in front of her. It was ugly.

Okinawa, a small island on the edge of southern Japan, saw its share of war from April to June 1945. “The blue skies were obscured by the iron rain,” wrote Rinko Sagara, channeling the memories of her great-grandmother. The roar of the bombs overpowered the haunting melody from the sanshin, Okinawa’s snakeskin-covered three-string guitar. “Cherish each day,” the poem goes, “for our future is just an extension of this moment. Now is our future.”

This week, the people of Okinawa elected Denny Tamaki of the Liberal Party as the governor of the prefecture. Tamaki’s mother is an Okinawan, while his father – whom he does not know – was a US soldier. Tamaki, like former governor Takeshi Onaga, opposes the US military bases on Okinawa. Onaga wanted the presence of the US military removed from the island, a position that Tamaki seems to endorse.

The United States has more than 50,000 troops in Japan as well as a very large contingent of ships and aircraft. Seventy percent of the US bases in Japan are on Okinawa island. Almost everyone in Okinawa wants the US military to go. Rape by American soldiers – including of young children – has long angered the Okinawans. Terrible environmental pollution – including the harsh noise from US military aircraft – rankles people. It was not difficult for Tamaki to run on an anti-US-base platform. It is the most basic demand of his constituents.

But the Japanese government does not accept the democratic views of the Okinawan people. Discrimination against the Okinawans plays a role here, but more fundamentally there is a lack of regard for the wishes of ordinary people when it comes to a US military base.

In 2009, Yukio Hatoyama led the Democratic Party to victory in national elections on a wide-ranging platform that included shifting Japanese foreign policy from its US orientation to a more balanced approach with the rest of Asia. As prime minister, Hatoyama called for the United States and Japan to have a “close and equal” relationship, which meant that Japan would no longer be ordered around by Washington.

The test case for Hatoyama was the relocation of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Base to a less populated section of Okinawa. His party wanted all the US bases to be removed from the island.

Pressure on the Japanese state from Washington was intense. Hatoyama could not deliver on his promise. He resigned his post. It was impossible to go against US military policy and to rebalance Japan’s relationship with the rest of Asia. Japan, but more properly Okinawa, is in effect a US aircraft carrier.

Japan’s prostituted daughter

Hatoyama could not move an agenda at the national level; likewise, local politicians and activists have struggled to move an agenda in Okinawa. Tamaki’s predecessor Takeshi Onaga – who died in August – could not get rid of the US bases in Okinawa.

Yamashiro Hiroji, head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, and his comrades regularly protest against the bases and in particular the transfer of the Futenma base. In October 2016, Hiroji was arrested when he cut a barbed-wire fence at the base. He was held in prison for five months and not allowed to see his family. In June 2017, Hiroji went before the United Nations Human Rights Council to say, “The government of Japan dispatched a large police force in Okinawa to oppress and violently remove civilians.” Protest is illegal. The Japanese forces are acting here on behalf of the US government.

Suzuyo Takazato, head of the organization Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, has called Okinawa “Japan’s prostituted daughter.” This is a stark characterization. Takazato’s group was formed in 1995 as part of the protest against the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen based in Okinawa.

For decades now, Okinawans have complained about the creation of enclaves of their island that operate as places for the recreation of American soldiers. Photographer Mao Ishikawa has portrayed these places, the segregated bars where only US soldiers are allowed to go and meet Okinawan women (her book Red Flower: The Women of Okinawa collects many of these pictures from the 1970s).

There have been at least 120 reported rapes since 1972, the “tip of the iceberg,” says Takazato. Every year there is at least one incident that captures the imagination of the people – a terrible act of violence, a rape or a murder.

What the people want is for the bases to close, since they see the bases as the reason for these acts of violence. It is not enough to call for justice after the incidents; it is necessary, they say, to remove the cause of the incidents.

The Futenma base is to be relocated to Henoko in Nago City, Okinawa. A referendum in 1997 allowed the residents of Nago to vote against a base. A massive demonstration in 2004 reiterated their view, and it was this demonstration that halted construction of the new base in 2005.

Susumu Inamine, former mayor of Nago, is opposed to the construction of any base in his city; he lost a re-election bid this year to Taketoyo Toguchi, who did not raise the base issue, by a slim margin. Everyone knows that if there were a new referendum in Nago over a base, it would be roundly defeated. But democracy is meaningless when it comes to the US military base.

Fort Trump

The US military has a staggering 883 military bases in 183 countries. In contrast, Russia has 10 such bases – eight of them in the former USSR. China has one overseas military base. There is no country with a military footprint that replicates that of the United States. The bases in Japan are only a small part of the massive infrastructure that allows the US military to be hours away from armed action against any part of the planet.

There is no proposal to downsize the US military footprint. In fact, there are only plans to increase it. The United States has long sought to build a base in Poland, whose government now courts the White House with the proposal that it be named “Fort Trump.”

Currently, there are US-NATO military bases in Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria, with US-NATO troops deployments in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The United States has increased its military presence in the Black Sea and in the Baltic Sea.

Attempts to deny Russia access to its only two warm-water ports in Sevastopol, Crimea, and Latakia, Syria, pushed Moscow to defend them with military interventions. A US base in Poland, on the doorstep of Belarus, would rattle the Russians as much as they were rattled by Ukraine’s pledge to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and by the war in Syria.

These US-NATO bases provide instability and insecurity rather than peace. Tensions abound around them. Threats emanate from their presence.

A world without bases

In mid-November in Dublin, a coalition of organizations from around the world will hold the First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases. This conference is part of the newly formed Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases.

The view of the organizers is that “none of us can stop this madness alone.” By “madness,” they refer to the belligerence of the bases and the wars that come as a result of them.

A decade ago, a US Central Intelligence Agency operative offered me the old chestnut, “If you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.” What this means is that the expansion of the US military – and its covert infrastructure – provides the incentive for the US political leadership to treat every conflict as a potential war. Diplomacy goes out of the window. Regional structures to manage conflict – such as the African Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – are disregarded. The US hammer comes down hard on nails from one end of Asia to the other end of the Americas.

The poem by Rinko Sagara ends with an evocative line: “Now is our future.” But it is, sadly, not so. The future will need to be produced – a future that disentangles the massive global infrastructure of war erected by the United States and NATO.

It is to be hoped that the future will be made in Dublin and not in Warsaw; in Okinawa and not in Washington.

This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute, which provided it to Asia Times.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment