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In first, US endorses Israeli occupation of Golan, votes against 9 anti-Israel resolutions

Press TV – November 16, 2018

The US has, for the first time, endorsed the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights by voting against an annual UN resolution that condemned the occupation and was unanimously approved along with several other resolutions against Tel Aviv.

The resolution titled “The occupied Syrian Golan,” adopted on Friday with 151 votes in favor, two against (Israel and the US), and 14 abstentions, condemns Israel for “repressive measures” against Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights.

The resolution, which was adopted during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), expresses deep concern that the Syrian Golan, occupied since 1967, has been under continued Israeli military occupation.

The non-binding annual resolution takes issue with the “illegality of the decision” taken by Israel “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan,” which is illegal under international law.

The US’ vote against the annual resolution signaled a dramatic shift in Washington’s policy toward the territory, as it used to abstain in previous cases. The administration of Donald Trump had announced its changed policy ahead of the vote.

“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel,” outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement.

During the debate, Syrian envoy Bashar al-Jafari vowed that Damascus would recapture the heights by peace or by war.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

The Tel Aviv regime has built dozens of illegal settlements in the area since its occupation and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government

Tel Aviv has also been pressing the US administration under Israel-friendly President Trump to recognize its claim to sovereignty over the occupied territory in defiance of international law.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

Eight other resolutions against Israel

The resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan was one of the nine separate resolutions which condemned the Israeli regime.

Through these resolutions, the UN reinforced the mandate of its Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and renewed the mandate of its “special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.”

Other resolutions included “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues”, “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities”, “Applicability of the Geneva Convention… to the Occupied Palestinian Territory…”, and “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East”.

The member states also unanimously voted for a resolution titled “Assistance to Palestine refugees”.

Apart from the US, which voted against all the nine resolutions, only a few member states – including Canada and Australia – cast nay votes. The majority of member states voted for the resolutions.

View the resolutions and voting results here: https://t.co/WlLL5EBZ4q
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Son and California Powerbroker Found Bilking Indian Tribe

Judges Find Breach of Contract and Trust

By Peter Byrne | Consortium News | November 16, 2018

Darius Anderson is one of California’s most powerful men. He promotes himself as a champion of liberal social causes, a philanthropist, a public servant, a man of integrity who cares about his community—especially racial minorities.

That image has not survived judicial scrutiny. A panel of arbitration judges has found that a company controlled by Anderson and his partner, Douglas Boxer, the son of former Senator Barbara Boxer, defrauded its Native American clients in a Bay Area casino deal. The partners convinced the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria to buy undevelopable swamp land in which they themselves held a large interest. They then made a secret deal with a Las Vegas gambling corporation in which they benefited at the Graton tribe’s expense.

The two-month long judicial proceeding took place behind closed doors at the San Francisco office of JAMS, a high-profile group of legal mediators formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services. A final binding arbitration award issued in April by the judging panel was confirmed by Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer on June 1. That outcome has drawn almost no publicity. The only media to report on the findings of fraud against Anderson and Boxer is the North Bay Bohemian, a local alternative weekly newspaper.

For decades Anderson has advised and raised campaign funds for prominent state Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Jerry Brown, governor of the west coast state.

Another of his high-profile clients is Barbara Boxer, the longtime U.S. senator from California who retired in 2017. Her son Douglas partnered with Anderson in what judges found to be acts of fraud and deception against the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria that began after Sen. Boxer pushed through legislation restoring the tribe’s sovereignty and granting it the right to run a casino.

The case raises comparisons with the 2005 Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal, in which powerful consultants charged exorbitant fees to Indian clients seeking to develop casinos on their reservations. As such it adds another installment to the history of white men breaching trust with Native Americans for economic gain that began with European settlement of this continent. This case has a happier ending than is usual.

Sen. Boxer: Pushed bill to give tribe sovereignty. (Flicker: Shotgun Spratling)

Local Empire

Anderson, 53, oversees a restaurant and media empire in Napa and Sonoma Counties, 40 miles north of San Francisco. He owns a culinary school called Ramekins and he is the managing member and chairman of Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and its affiliate publications, which includes most of the newsprint media in the two-county region. In September, the Press Democrat reported a 900-word story about the arbitration findings that portrayed the tribe and Anderson as having settled a contractual “dispute”—the “fraud” word was not mentioned and the details of the deceptions were not exposed.

Anderson is much more that a restaurateur and newspaper publisher. His California-based lobbying firm, Platinum Advisors, advertises that it generates “billions of dollars in work for our clients” by navigating their deals through mazes of local, state, and federal government bureaucracies. Another of his companies, Kenwood Investments, is developing upscale housing and yacht havens on Treasure Island, a fabulously valuable island in the San Francisco bay built in 1939 as a World’s Fair site.

The business name that is key to this story is Kenwood Investments No. 2. Three retired state judges in the arbitration process declared in April that Anderson and his partners in “Kenwood No. 2” defrauded the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria of millions of dollars between 2002–03 and committed many acts of deception. They ordered Anderson’s investment firm to pay three quarters of a million dollars to the tribe to cover its lawyer’s fees and arbitration costs.

According to the judges, Anderson breached his consulting contract with the tribe, which now owns the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park. The judges found that Anderson and his associates “fraudulently induced” and “breached” an agreement to assist the tribe in developing a Las Vegas-style casino business.

The ruling, by retired Superior Court judges William Cahill, Read Ambler and Richard A. Kramer, concludes a long legal battle that was instigated not by the wronged party, but by Anderson, as he sought to further enrich his business at the tribe’s expense.

In a settlement arrangement, Kenwood No. 2 agreed not to appeal the judges’ findings. Anderson’s firm will pay less than the dollar amount of the award, says Joel Zeldin, the tribe’s arbitration counsel. There are no charges of criminal fraud pending against Kenwood No. 2, but the three judges, one of whom was chosen by Anderson’s firm, did their best to restore justice: “Even if the Tribe was willing to overlook Kenwood No. 2’s unethical behavior, the courts and these arbitrators will not.”

Summary of Violations

The 53-page arbitration report details how Darius Anderson and the senator’s son, Douglas Boxer, harmed the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria over the course of several years. In summing up their findings, the judges’ panel found that Anderson and Boxer had violated their duty to be loyal to the tribe in the following ways:

• Anderson and Boxer represented that Kenwood No. 2 had experience and abilities that it in fact lacked.

• Kenwood No. 2 breached its contract when it bought an option on wetlands without telling the tribe, and then promoted the land to the tribe for the casino site despite its unsuitability for development.

• Anderson and Boxer sent out bid solicitations for a casino manager that benefited Kenwood No. 2 at the expense of the tribe and without telling the tribe of the existence of the “requests for proposals” or RFPs.

• They rejected a proposal that was the most favorable to the tribe without telling the tribe or informing it of that bidder’s reservations about irregularities in the contractual terms proposed by Kenwood No. 2.

• They entered into undisclosed consulting agreements “to the detriment” of the tribe, some of which involved conflicts of interest.

• “Despite causing major problems and providing virtually no effective assistance to the Tribe,” Anderson claimed that it was the tribe that had breached the consulting agreement with Kenwood No. 2. Anderson’s pursuit of his “unmerited” claim against the tribe caused it to spend significant amounts of money and to “suffer business risks and distractions.”

The judges ordered Kenwood No. 2 to pay the tribe’s attorney fees and costs of $725,657.48, and to receive nothing for itself.

Anderson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Boxer’s Role

Douglas Boxer: In on deal with Anderson. (YouTube)

Boxer was involved as a lobbyist for Platinum Advisors and as Anderson’s partner in Kenwood Investments No. 2. His mother, the now-retired U.S. senator, in 2000, wrote federal legislation that restored the national sovereignty of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and authorized the tribe to establish a casino business.

In early 2002, Anderson and Boxer approached the tribe’s chairman, Greg Sarris, a novelist and professor of creative writing and Native American studies at Sonoma State University. They proposed that the newly empowered tribal nation hire Platinum Advisors to help it acquire reservation land and start a business to make it self-sufficient. Anderson and Boxer told Sarris that Platinum Advisors had “significant real estate development experience and connections with local, state and federal politicians,” according to the arbitration award. They proffered a platform of consulting services for a monthly retainer of $1,000, with payment deferred and contingent upon success.

Sarris trusted Boxer because the lobbyist’s mother had sponsored the legislation that re-established the tribe’s sovereignty. After Anderson presented a promise-filled PowerPoint to the tribal council, it voted to hire Platinum Advisors, ultimately paying it $1.2 million.

Fifteen years later, arbitrators declared that Anderson and Boxer had breached their contract to deliver adequate professional services in the tribe’s interest, damaging the casino project’s prospects. According to the arbitration document, the Graton Rancheria was afraid to expose these actions when it discovered what Anderson was doing in 2003, fearing political retaliation by the consultants.

The story only came to light because in November 2013, Anderson demanded that the Graton Rancheria pay Kenwood No. 2 a percentage of the projected revenue from its recently opened casino. Anderson insisted that the tribe pay his firm $43 million; he threatened to compel arbitration if it refused.

The tribe refused. It sued Kenwood No. 2 in state superior court, claiming that its sovereign immunity prohibited Anderson from compelling arbitration of his claim.

In November 2015, the court ruled that the tribe had waived its sovereign immunity defense in its contract with Anderson. In 2017, that judgment was affirmed by the appellate court, and the JAMS arbitration commenced.

Anderson claimed 2.5 percent of the Graton Resort & Casino’s net revenue for the first seven years of its operation, despite the fact that after 2005, the tribe had ceased doing business with his company. Insisting that the Graton Rancheria had “unjustly enriched” itself at the expense of his firm, Anderson demanded that it pay his attorney fees, too.

But it was the tribe, not Anderson, that had been wronged, the retired judges ruled. After months of sworn testimony, the panel ordered Kenwood No. 2 to pay the tribe’s attorney fees because it was Kenwood No. 2 that had breached the consulting contract, and Anderson’s claims to the contrary “lacked merit.”

The two trials generated thousands of pages of testimony, depositions and exhibits. The court record of the arbitration award was partly redacted and relabeled at Anderson’s request, according to Zeldin, the tribe’s arbitration counsel.

Anderson’s and Boxer’s names are replaced by “Person A” and “Person B,” respectively. “Platinum Advisors” is replaced with “Company 1.” “Kenwood No. 2” replaced “Kenwood.” The names of politicians and descriptions of their actions are blacked out. But who they are and what they did is clear from the narrative context and from contemporaneous news reports.

How It Began

In March 2002, the Graton Rancheria signed a contract with Platinum Advisors as its “exclusive agent” to provide it with “strategic advice and consultation” and to develop “political visibility.” The contract granted Platinum a right of first refusal to “partner with the tribe in any business opportunity it pursued.” The idea was to attract investors.

From the get-go, Boxer worked to convince the tribe how “‘much of a home run a casino would be’ rather than organic food processing, grape growing, strip mall, or senior assisted living facility,” according to the arbitration award. It did not take much convincing. Casinos are famous magnets for cash. Even as Anderson and Boxer worked with the tribe on a public relations campaign to further a casino project, they were making secret deals to benefit themselves, the arbitrators found.

According to a declaration filed by Anderson in 2015, he, Boxer, Jay Wallace of Platinum Advisors and Stuart Sunshine, a San Francisco city official, created Kenwood Investments No. 2 LLC in January 2003.

Anderson. (Platinum Advisors)

The arbitration judges ruled that Anderson’s new company shadowed Platinum Advisors’ tribal consulting activities, while serving a hidden agenda to make money for its principals—at the tribe’s expense.

Without informing Sarris or the tribe, Anderson and Boxer struck a deal to buy 1,736 acres of tidal wetlands near Highway 37, a major road connecting San Francisco to the nearby city of Oakland.

Kenwood No. 2 paid $100,000 for an option to purchase the swampy property, eventually billing the tribe $750,000 for it.

As Kenwood No. 2 was secretly securing the option, Platinum Advisors was advising the tribe to select the Highway 37 site for its casino, even though it was a politically impossible place to pour acres of concrete.

“The site was part of 50,000 acres of tidal wetlands that conservationists had been trying to protect and restore since the 1970s,” noted the arbitration judges, who were incredulous that Anderson had suggested it. The attempt to locate the casino on the wetlands site proved to be a public relations and monetary disaster for the tribe.

As Anderson and Boxer were negotiating to buy the swampy land in late 2002, they were also negotiating casino-management deals with several Las Vegas–based casino operators, including Station Casinos, Harrah’s, Maloof and MGM, without telling the tribe.

In February 2003, Anderson sent a request for proposals to potential casino operators. The proposal represented Kenwood No. 2 as the “exclusive development partner” and “financial advisor” for the tribe. The RFP stated that Kenwood No. 2 would evaluate the bid proposals and select the casino manager for the tribe.

Kenwood No. 2 had no contractual relationship with the Graton Rancheria when it issued the RFP. The tribe’s contract was with Platinum Advisors.

According to the arbitration award, “the evidence established that the Tribe was unaware that Kenwood No. 2 had sent an RFP to operators and had not approved the contents of the RFP drafted by Kenwood No. 2.”

Strange Bidding Terms

The trial revealed that Anderson’s RFP instructed potential casino operators to bid their services on the basis of several unusual assumptions:

• The operator would commit to buying Kenwood No. 2’s option to purchase the Highway 37 land and then buy the land from the seller on behalf of Kenwood No. 2, which would be the “titleholder.” The RFP assumed that the casino would be built on the Highway 37 site controlled by Kenwood No. 2 and that there were no other possibilities.

• The operators could charge the tribe 20 percent of the casino’s net revenues and were to “assume a management fee to Kenwood No. 2 of 10 percent of net gaming revenues.”

• The operators would pay Kenwood No. 2 “development fees” of $2.5 million up front to purchase the option on the Highway 37 site, and another $2.5 million when the tribe took over the site—$5 million total.

• “Lastly, operators were required to pay Kenwood No. 2 ‘pre-development fees’ of $8.4 million ($200,000 per month) for advisory and consulting services.”

The operators were not required by the RFP to make upfront cash payments to the tribe, or to provide any specific amounts of money for the tribe’s maintenance costs (i.e., its ability to maintain its existence until the casino began generating revenue).

Anderson received and evaluated four responses to the RFP, which he did not share with the tribe. Notably, Harrah’s proposed to take up to 24 percent of the net gaming revenue as its management fee. Improving on the terms of the RFP itself, Harrah’s offered to pay $100,000 a month to the tribe for its operating expenses, along with a $4 million pre-development fee. Harrah’s also offered to donate $100,000 per year to set up an educational scholarship fund for tribal members. And it offered to make a one-time $25 million “quality of life” loan to address tribal citizen’s needs for housing and medical care.

Harrah’s declined to pay a percentage of net revenues to Kenwood No. 2, although it offered to pay Anderson $50,000 a month in consulting fees, if the tribe approved of the arrangement. Harrah’s pointed out that such an arrangement with a consultant was not a normal business practice; it would have to be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Harrah’s expressed concern about the legitimacy of Anderson’s claim to be representing the tribe’s interests. It asked to be put directly in touch with the tribal council before proceeding further. Anderson rejected Harrah’s proposal without consulting with Sarris and the tribal council or informing them of the proposal’s existence.

Watch Peter B. Collins interview Peter Byrne on Boxer, Anderson fraud (Article continues below):

A Better Deal—For Anderson

Station Casinos’ response to the RFP was far more favorable toward Anderson. It suggested that Kenwood No. 2 and Station Casinos partner to manage the casino. It proposed divvying up 30 percent of the casino revenues—20 percent to Anderson’s firm, 80 percent to Station.

The Las Vegas–based corporation offered to pay Anderson $10 million cash up front and $15,000 a month for consulting services. It offered $100,000 a month for tribal operations, but it did not offer the tribe any pre-development fees, scholarships or loans.

On March 7, 2003 Anderson and Boxer asked the Graton Rancheria to assign the Platinum Advisors contract to Kenwood No. 2, and claimed it would not change the terms of the agreement.

But the assignation did change the terms of the agreement. The new arrangement gave Kenwood No. 2 new authority to act as the tribe’s exclusive agent. Kenwood No. 2 was allowed to negotiate a cut of the casino operator’s management fee for itself. And, importantly, the tribe agreed to waive its sovereign-immunity defense in the case of a contract dispute—a concession it later regretted.

Anderson and Boxer had been negotiating with gaming corporations since the fall of 2002. They first told Sarris and the tribe that they had issued RFPs on March 11, 2003.

Brian Campbell, a tribal member doing legal work for the tribe, got wind of the RFP and asked Boxer for a copy. Boxer gave Campbell a copy but did not tell him about the responses that had been received.

Boxer later testified under oath that he had given drafts of the RFP to the tribe before it was sent out in 2002. The tribe’s witnesses testified that Boxer did not do that. Campbell testified that he was surprised that Anderson had asked for 10 percent of the gaming revenues and $5 million in upfront fees in the RFP.

On March 14, 2003, Anderson told the tribal council about the existence of RFP responses. He did not disclose Harrah’s offer to the tribe of tens of millions of dollars in cash.

Anderson told the tribe that Station Casinos had made the best proposal for “superior overall economics.”

Even as members expressed outrage at Anderson’s self-dealing behavior, the tribal council accepted his recommendation that Station Casinos be selected as its casino operator.

Time to Hire Lawyers

Suspecting that Anderson was more motivated to benefit himself than the tribe, the Graton Rancheria hired attorneys from California Indian Legal Services to watch over its interests. These lawyers noted that it was a conflict of interest for Anderson to negotiate with Station on behalf of the tribe while he was also negotiating with Station on his own behalf for a cut of the management fees. Anderson agreed that he would not negotiate a separate deal.

On April 22, 2003, the tribe signed the revised agreement with Kenwood No. 2. It provided that Anderson’s company would receive 4 percent of the net gaming revenues for seven years (later reduced to 2.5 percent). Anderson agreed to donate $25,000 annually to the UCLA College of Indian Law Program. (UCLA declined to confirm if the donations were made.)

The next day, according to trial exhibits, Anderson secretly made a separate consulting agreement with Station Casinos, despite his promise that he wouldn’t.

The Graton Resort Casino. (gratonresortcasino.com)

Kenwood No. 2 contracted to assist Station Casinos “maintain its relationship” with the tribe. Station Casinos agreed to pay Anderson $20,000 per month and it bought the option on the Highway 37 site for $750,000, netting Kenwood No. 2 a $650,000 profit. (The tribe later reimbursed Station for the option payment).

Station Casinos agreed to pay Anderson a total of $9.5 million for achieving various “milestones” as it helped the tribe to navigate the bureaucracy of getting its casino up and running.

Anderson did not tell the tribe about his side deal with Station Casinos. “The evidence indicates that Kenwood No. 2 intentionally kept information regarding the Station/Kenwood No. 2 agreement secret from the Tribe,” the arbitrators found. “[Exhibit] 490 [Douglas Boxer] notation: ‘don’t tell Sarris: negotiation.’”

Boxer did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In fact, the tribe did not learn of the secret side agreement’s existence until June 2003, when Station Casinos included a copy of the side agreement in the paperwork accompanying its negotiations with the tribe, the arbitrators found. Station Casinos declined to comment.

Picking on the Wrong Wetland

On the same day they signed the side agreement, Station Casinos and Anderson announced that the Graton Rancheria planned to develop the Highway 37 site for a casino. A coalition of environmental groups that supported the Bay Delta Restoration Plan to restore local wetland habitats enlisted local, state and federally elected officials to vehemently oppose erecting the casino.

The tribe’s attempt to “appease these groups by offering to restore hundreds of acres of wetlands on the property” was a non-starter. After Diane Feinstein, a U.S. senator from California, “threatened to redraft the Tribe’s restoration language to obstruct the Tribe’s ability to open a casino anywhere,” the Graton Rancheria backed down and nixed the wetlands as a possibility.

The tribe ended up paying for and donating the Highway 37 wetlands to the Sonoma County Land Trust, which has restored it. The wetlands debacle ended up costing the tribe about $5 million, which included paying for the unusable land and for Kenwood No. 2’s profit on the land-purchase option.

Without Anderson’s assistance, Sarris and the tribe went looking for an alternative site to build their casino, and eventually bought 270 acres in Rohnert Park for $100 million, which it borrowed from Station Casinos. The tribe had little or no contact with Anderson and Boxer after 2005, when it stopped using their services.

Boxer testified that Kenwood No. 2 did significant work for the tribe prior to 2006. The trial record reports that in 2004 Boxer “‘killed’ a bill” in the state assembly that would “require gaming tribes to negotiate with local governments to mitigate the impact of casinos.”

Boxer said at trial that he had designed publicity and lobbying campaigns for the tribe; helped it to create a financial budget and to find office space; and “assisted tribal members in securing personal loans.”

The arbitrators determined that lobbying on the tribe’s behalf violated California law because Kenwood No. 2 was not a registered lobbying firm. Regardless, the judges found that Anderson and Boxer did not materially assist the tribe in jumping through the complicated governmental, environmental and financing procedures necessary to obtain a gaming compact and open the casino.

Sarris testified that the tribe felt that “Kenwood No. 2 was providing little or no value . . . and the Tribe wanted to sever its relationship with [Anderson and Boxer] but was afraid that if it did so, [they] might retaliate and use [their] political connections against the Tribe.”

The tribe estimated that it ended up paying Kenwood No. 2 $10,000 an hour for the services it did receive before the contract ended.

Nonetheless, the tribe invited Anderson and Boxer to attend the opening party for the Graton Resort and Casino on Nov. 5, 2014. That same day, Anderson demanded that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria wire a payment of $43 million to his bank account.

A version of this story was first published on Bohemian.com as “Graton Expectations.”


Northern California-based journalist Peter Byrne combines investigative reporting with science writing. In 2017, Peter’s 11-part series in the Point Reyes Light “Busted: Breast Cancer Money and the Media” won the top science writing award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received national, regional, and local recognition for investigative work, writing style, and in-depth profiles of politicians and scientists. Peter reports on terrorism and its twin, counter terrorism, from epicenters of violence such as Mosul, Iraq and Orange County, California. He has written highly regarded books on quantum physics and writes for many publications, including Scientific American, New Scientist, Quanta, American Consequences, Mother Jones, and the North Bay Bohemian. He can be found at www.peterbyrne.info.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

If click-bait headlines were an art, NYT’s op-ed would be a masterpiece

RT – November 16, 2018

Russia has been scheming for decades to splinter the West with civilization-shattering fake news, claims a shocking three-part film series published by the New York Times. The series was filed under ‘op-ed’ for a reason, however.

READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9ipe

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Video | , | Leave a comment

Moscow Urges to Avoid Politisation of Probe Into Khashoggi Killing

Sputnik – 16.11.2018

MOSCOW – Moscow has no reasons to doubt the ability of Saudi authorities to conduct a proper investigation of the killing of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi and warns against politicizing this tragedy, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Friday.

“Moscow notes the course taken from the beginning by the Saudi side to conduct the most thorough and objective investigation of the incident, including the interaction with the Turkish authorities,” the source said.

The Foreign Ministry official stressed further that Russia sees ‘no reason to question the ability of the Saudi authorities to deal with this high-profile case at the proper professional level.’

Addressing the politicisation of the issue, he stressed that Moscow was convinced that it was ‘inadmissible’, as such cases needed to be ‘resolved exclusively within the legal framework.’

The official’s statement comes after Saudi Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Thursday the completion of the investigation of Khashoggi’s murder saying that 21 people had been detained in connection with the case, with 11 of them charged. Prosecutors are demanding the death penalty for five of the defenders.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Deception in North Korea? Nope, But a New Flavor of Neocon

By Peter Van Buren | Medium | November 15, 2018

What is the state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war, or is progress being made at an expected pace? Are there Asian Neocons fanning the flames for conflict in Pyongyang much as others did with Baghdad?

A year ago, in November 2017, John Brennan estimated the chance of a war with North Korea at 20 to 25 percent. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the odds were 50/50. The New York Times claimed we were “slouching toward war” with the North, on a “collision course.” National security adviser HR McMaster said North Korea represented “the greatest immediate threat to the United States” and that the potential for war with the communist nation grew each day. The US lacked an ambassador in Seoul; Victor Cha was rejected by Trump because, according to “sources and reports,” he didn’t support a preemptive strike on Pyongyang. It was reported the US was “imminently preparing for an attack on North Korea,” driven in part by hawks like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton.

All that was wrong.

Cha, it appears, didn’t in fact support what Trump actually was planning: not a preemptive strike, but a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, held some five months ago in Singapore following a first try at courtship aside the Seoul Olympics in January 2018. World leaders meeting to talk peace is historically seen as a good thing. Yet the American media consensus was a president they believe is roundly despised globally conveyed “legitimacy” on Kim Jong Un, no matter that his family has ruled North Korea for some seven decades, and his country already holds a seat at the United Nations. No shortage of experts from South Korea universities and American think tanks were found to support those claims.

The media generally ignored, in return for the US postponing a handful of military exercises (“concessions,” which were deeply criticized by an American media which has failed to note the US has actually resumed some exercises), the North unilaterally stopped ICBM testing (the missiles which might someday be able to reach the US) and nuclear detonations. It released American hostages, and took steps to close down two nuclear missile facilities. Kim Jong-un fired top military leaders who dissented over his approaches to South Korea and the United States.

Officials from North and South now meet regularly, and US diplomats engage with both sides on an ongoing basis; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been to Pyongyang. Numerous practical steps have been taken along the DMZ to reduce the chance of accidents. South Korea’s unification minister in charge of North Korea issues Cho Myoung-gyon will visit the United States this week, where he is expected to meet Pompeo. This is the first time in four years for South Korea’s unification minister to visit Washington. On the last visit, in 2014, then-Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet with his predecessor in line with the Obama (and Bush) administrations’ policy of ignoring North Korea in hopes the problem would go away.

Yet the headlines this week in the New York Times and other major US outlets scream of a “great deception” by the North Koreans, evidenced by a hardline think tank — helmed in part by Victor Cha — “discovering” North Korean missile facilities already long known to US intelligence (Cha’s lo-rez commercial satellite photos are dated March, months before the Trump-Kim summit, so everyone who mattered already knew.) In a matter of a few paragraphs, Cha and the Times blow this “discovery” up to announce, without any evidence, “What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement” that formally ends the Korean War. Mr. Trump, he said, “would then declare victory, say he got more than any other American president ever got, and the threat would still be there.”

What is the real state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war?

Of course not. South Korea’s presidential spokesperson put those “new” missile facilities into the perspective Trump’s critics lack, saying “North Korea has never promised to shut down this missile base. It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory… There is no agreement, no negotiation that makes it necessary for it to be declared.” In other words, there can be no deception where there was no agreement.

To call what the Times discovered a “deception” is deeply misleading. The Singapore declaration and the inter-Korean summit declarations of April 27 and September 19 this year do not commit Pyongyang to disclose the sites. What is new to the Times is actually old news; Kim Jong Un in his January 2018 New Year’s Day guidance stated North Korea would shift to the mass producing nuclear weapons in such facilities. “The nuclear weapons research sector and the rocket industry should mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, the power and reliability of which have already been proved to the full, to give a spur to the efforts for deploying them for action,” Kim said. The Times in fact more or less acknowledged all this in September, before being surprised by it in November.

And the Times’ big scary takeaway, that the old/new facilities are in caves, confuses tactical concealment with some sort of nefarious political “deception.” Did they expect the missiles to be worked on in the parking lot outside Kim’s villa?

One issue only lightly touched by a western media obsessed with parsing tweets as their stab at journalism is the ongoing rush forward driven by the two Koreas themselves, what under any other media climate would be hailed as a huge series of successes but which falls in 2018 under the Trump Is Always Wrong Shadow. In a short time the two states established psuedo-embassies just north of the DMZ, where representatives from the two Koreas have met more than 60 times. The office has become a clearinghouse for over a dozen projects launched during the summit. There are plans for a massive bi-national project to link roads and railroads severed during the Korean War.

North and South Korea have begun removing landmines from the border, drawn back some troops, and most recently held a third leaders’ summit in September in Pyongyang where North Korean leader Kim offered to permanently dismantle two key ICBM facilities under the observation of outside experts. He also offered to negotiate further on the permanent shut down of the nuclear facility at Yongbyon. South Korean President Moon Jae-In, for his part, better than the US understands the future is ultimately about economics, not nukes. Moon seeks sanctions relief as negotiations move forward (little is ever accomplished without some give and take.) “I believe the international community needs to provide assurances that North Korea has made the right choice to denuclearize and encourage North Korea to speed up the process,” he said this week in Paris during a visit with French President Emmanuel Macron. If the western media is correct that Trump is being duped, played, deceived, and cheated by the North, what must they think about the faster pace set by the South? After all, a US miscalculation means we all switch from Samsung to Apple phones made in China, while South Korea risks being turned into a wasteland dotted only with signs for Nuka Cola.

Left off to the side is that it has been only five months since the historic summit in Singapore. Obama’s agreement with Iran, which did not even involve actual working nukes, took almost two years to conclude. Cold War negotiations with the Soviet Union ran across administrations, extending the broader process into decades of talks, and were aimed at goals much shorter than full denuclearization. Five months is barely enough time to grow a decent garden, never mind resolve multinational problems that reach back to 1945.

With North Korea, there is no history of trust, no basis of goodwill to build on. That all has to be created, built from scratch, as part of the heavy lifting of diplomacy. The ultimate goal — denuclearization — may or may not someday come to pass, but if it does it will be the result of years of more small steps forward than small steps back. Diplomacy is about moving the goalposts and embracing the long game, not playing chicken. It will require the North’s nuclear weapons to become unnecessary, as the North agrees to and is allowed to become so engaged with the global system that it finds itself no longer in need of such a powerful deterrence to attacks by its neighbors. Diplomacy requires one to at least understand the opponent’s goals and motivations, even if you don’t agree with them.

There exists an industry of sorts devoted to portraying North Korea as an eviler than evil empire, with Kim as a parody of the movie Dr. Evil. These hardliners, ensconced mostly in universities in South Korea and think tanks in the US, have been around since the Cold War to make sure the case for the militarization of South Korea and American support for various South Korean military dictators never lacked public advocates. They act as mouthpieces for North Korean defectors with horror stories, and are quick to seize on anything to amplify the threat. Older readers will remember similar mostly defunct “industries” set up to do the same over the actions of Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union once (though the Red Threat gang is trying to make a comeback over Bond villian wanna-be Putin.)

Victor Cha himself is a kind of one man gloom machine, writing regularly of the impossibility of denuclearization. His old articles focus fearfully on meetings canceled (but since successfully concluded; fatalism ignores the future) he in fact represents a kind of Asian neocon, an industry dedicated to the impossibility of peace on the peninsula as long as the Kim dynasty remains in power. Cha’s home organization, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for example, features multiple former Secretaries of Defense on its board and as trustees, and is well-funded by elements of the military industrial complex. Of the plan to link railroads across the DMZ, what any sane person would see as progress, the organization grumbled the “move is expected to increase friction with its traditional ally Washington over the pace of inter-Korean engagement.”

So shame on those hardline groups — let’s call them Asian Neocons, for they want regime change in the North in the same way as Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, wanted it in the Middle East — and shame on the New York Times for morphing its Trump-is-always-wrong editorial policy into presenting something long-known to US intelligence as something new enough to declare deception has overtaken the diplomatic long game on the Korean Peninsula. As they did during the run up to the Iraq War, the Times is once again serving as a platform for those who cannot see or will not wait for a peaceful way forward.

Deception? The deception, it is clear, is all (again) on the side of the neocons. They seek to destroy any chance of lasting peace with unrealistic expectations and by announcing failure at goals never actually set. Because if not diplomacy, then what is the alternative? Theirs is not pessimism, it is fatalism. Success instead should be measured by the continued absence of war and the continued sense that war is increasingly unlikely. Anyone demanding more than that wants things to fail.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton Ordered To Answer Additional Questions Under Oath About Private Email Server

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 11/16/2018

A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton to respond to further questions, under oath, about her private email server.

Following a lengthy Wednesday court hearing, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (who is also presiding over fmr. National Security adviser Michael Flynn’s case), ruled that Clinton has 30 days to answer two additional questions about her controversial email system in response to a lawsuit from Judicial Watch.

Hillary must answer the following questions by December 17 (via Judicial Watch)

  • Describe the creation of the clintonemail.com system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.
  • During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails “were in the State’s system” and “if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.” Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.

Sillivan rejected Clinton’s assertion of attorney-client privilege on the question over emails “in the State’s system,” however he did give Clinton a few victories:

The court refused Judicial Watch’s and media’s requests to unseal the deposition videos of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and other Clinton State Department officials. And it upheld Clinton’s objections to answering a question about why she refused to stop using her Blackberry despite warnings from State Department security personnel. Justice Department lawyers for the State Department defended Clinton’s refusal to answer certain questions and argued for the continued secrecy of the deposition videos. –Judicial Watch

Wednesday’s decision is the latest twist in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit targeting former Clinton deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The case seeks records which authorized Abedin to conduct outside employment while also employed by the Department of State.

“A federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to answer more questions about her illicit email system – which is good news,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is shameful that Judicial Watch attorneys must continue to battle the State and Justice Departments, which still defend Hillary Clinton, for basic answers to our questions about Clinton’s email misconduct.”

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

How Elites Use Mainstream Media to ‘Maintain and Expand Their Power’

By Kit Klarenberg – Sputnik – November 16, 2018

For quite some time, debate about ‘fake news’ has reverberated clamorously in both mainstream and alternative discourse. One could easily conclude the issue was a pressingly new plague, restricted to certain corners of the web – but academic TJ Coles begs to differ. In fact, he tells Sputnik fake news has been ubiquitous for thousands of years.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment the term ‘fake news’ entered the Western political and media lexicon, but the election of Donald Trump as US President certainly turbocharged its usage. For the controversial leader and his supporters, the label can be automatically applied to any and all media reporting critical of him, while his opponents play much the same game when roles are reversed.

This tit-for-tat sparring inspired TJ, director of Plymouth University’s Institute for Peace Research, to write a book on the subject — the fruit of his labours, Real Fake News: Techniques of Propaganda and Deception-based Mind Control, was published in September.

“All that talk made me think ‘hang on a minute, we’ve always had fake news’. It’s the nature of power — all power structures want to maintain and expand their power, so it’s therefore important to present information that benefits them, and keeps populations in a psychological and/or intellectual prison. The ‘fake news’ peddled by elite financial, commercial and political financial interests, duly regurgitated by major media organizations, eclipses any bogus story perpetuated by alleged ‘bots’ on Twitter, or whatever,” TJ says.

Babylonian Beginnings

In his work, TJ traces the birth of fake news all the way back to ancient Babylon, when rulers sought to perpetuate the notion they were descended from Gods and thus had a right to dominate and control the populace — history’s first recorded instance of the ‘divine right of kings’.

Similarly, Plato famously popularized the idea of the ‘noble lie’ — privileging untruths told for the benefit of elites and the population alike. These ideas very much endure in the modern day — TJ notes Wikileaks’ dump of the Clinton campaign’s internal emails amply demonstrates her team felt it wouldn’t be good, or necessary, for Hillary’s supporters to be aware of her close connections to Wall Street, so did their utmost to conceal the mephitic kinship.

“Elites the world over are acutely aware information is power, and actually quite open about their use and abuse of the news to shape public perceptions and preserve sociopolitical conditions benefitting them. For instance, the UK Ministry of Defence regularly publishes projections of how planners think the world will look in 10 — 20 years, and they routinely note the media is one of the key ways to maintain the current paradigm, and discuss the various ways information can be ‘weaponized’ against the public,” he says.

TJ suggests elites shape and control the public mind so effectively because they exploit fundamental facets of human nature. First, the well-established instinctive inclination to reflexively believe something reinforcing one’s existing beliefs, rather than assessing whether alternative facts or viewpoints have any value, or indeed considering whether what one believes might be wrong, or informed by confirmation bias.

This tendency is greatly exacerbated by the use of internet and social media algorithms that present a ‘personalized’ picture of the world to users, unfailingly presenting individuals with content they want to see, and tacitly suppressing information contrary to their existing opinions.

“Elites also know how easy it is to exploit guilt, which is why atrocity propaganda is so widespread today. Most sympathize with the victims of major atrocities, and naturally want to do something to help, so this aspect of human nature can be easily manipulated to justify aggressive foreign policy actions — ‘look at what we’re letting happen to poor defenceless people, we have a responsibility to protect them’ etcetera. It’s funny, when it comes to the economy, the powerful are quick to say people are naturally selfish, so it’s everyone for themselves, but when it comes to foreign policy, we should care about our fellow human beings and do something to help,” TJ says.

Evidence

As the academic’s work makes clear, atrocity propaganda doesn’t even need to have any grounding in reality whatsoever. In the lead-up to the NATO-backed violent overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the mainstream media was awash with reports government forces fuelled by viagra were conducting mass rapes of civilians, and planning a borderline genocidal massacre of rebel forces — claims used to justify the imposition of a no-fly zone over the country, and NATO airstrikes.

The stories were subsequently found to be entirely without foundation — similarly, serious question marks hover over the veracity of numerous claimed chemical weapons attacks in Syria, which likewise have provided a pretext for Western attacks on the country.

Muammar Gaddafi

© Flickr / Thierry Ehrmann

“It’s especially easy to exploit guilt when you present bite-sized news reports about an atrocious event stripped of all context, and exclude the voices of people who are actually on the ground. Occasionally, contradictory voices do filter through the system, although largely by accident. For instance, the BBC made the mistake of inviting Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria, on air to discuss chemical weapons attacks — he quickly demolished their propaganda. He hasn’t been invited back since,” TJ says.

Ford is surely but one of a great many talking heads to effectively be banned from appearing on the BBC for daring to state views and evidence contrary to ascendant elite narratives. However, the British state broadcaster’s blacklisting activities also extend to its own employees — in April 2018, the BBC admitted that for decades, job applicants and serving staff were subject to political vetting by MI5, in an effort to prevent “subversives” gaining employment with the Corporation.

Often, individuals were ostracized on extremely tenuous grounds. For instance, respected film director John Goldschmidt was blacklisted in the late 1960s, with two projects he was working on for the Beeb cancelled midway through production without warning or explanation — MI5 deemed him a potential subversive as he’d spent a few weeks in Czechoslovakia in his youth, as part of a student exchange program. Similarly, award-winning journalist Isabel Hilton was refused a job by BBC Scotland in 1976 — that she spoke Chinese and had been a member of Scottish China Association at Edinburgh University made MI5 extremely anxious.

Under the policy, popular children’s book author and playwright Michael Rosen was also outright sacked from the BBC in 1972 while a graduate trainee for a number of ‘transgressions’, including student activism at Oxford, and producing a film featuring clips of US soldiers being tested with LSD. The American Embassy in London complained about the project to both MI5 and the BBC directly, whereupon Rosen was shown the door.The policy was wound down in the 1990s, and it’s unknown whether any comparable structures existed at other major news organizations — although City University research suggests dissenting voices remain rare in the British mainstream media. The 2016 study concluded UK journalists are overwhelmingly white, male, and elite-university educated — and are far more trusting of politicians, the government, police and military than the general population, which the study’s authors partly attributed to reporters’ “reliance on these institutions as sources of information”.

Such widespread faith in the establishment may account for why so many prominent reporters see no problem with maintaining close relationships with the intelligence services. The Guardian’s Luke Harding has frequently, openly and proudly advertised his warm bond with British spying agencies in articles and books — and equally frequently been condemned for uncritically running stories of questionable probity potentially provided to him by agency staff. In a September article he claimed Russian diplomats had held secret talks in London with associates of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in an attempt to assist in his escape from the UK. The covert action would’ve allegedly seen Assange smuggled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge under cover of Christmas Eve in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to Moscow.

The story was entirely based on the testimony of anonymous sources, the identity of which Harding didn’t even hint at in the piece. In response, Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, slammed the article, calling it a “quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies” and “entirely black propaganda” published by an “MI6 tool”.”I was closely involved with Julian and with Fidel Narvaez of the Ecuadorean Embassy at the end of last year in discussing possible future destinations for Julian. It is not only the case Russia did not figure in those plans, it is a fact Julian directly ruled out the possibility as undesirable. The entire story is a complete and utter fabrication. It is very serious indeed when a newspaper like the Guardian prints a tissue of deliberate lies in order to spread fake news on behalf of the security services. I cannot find words eloquent enough to express the depth of my contempt for Harding and Katherine Viner, who have betrayed completely the values of journalism,” Murray wrote.

Similarly, in 2007 the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran published an analysis of 44 articles written by Daily Telegraph Defence Editor Con Couglin on Iran — including stories suggesting North Korea was helping Iran prepare a nuclear weapons test, and Iran was grooming Bin Laden’s successor. They found the pieces almost invariably; were based on “unnamed or untraceable” sources in intelligence agencies or the UK Foreign Office and “published at sensitive and delicate times” when there’d been “relatively positive diplomatic moves” towards Iran; contained ‘exclusive revelations’ about Iran combined with eye-catchingly controversial headlines, which were typically drawn from a single sentence in the wider article.

Prison Break

Despite his bleak analysis, TJ does not view the elite monopoly on information as insurmountable, or invincible — there’s much individuals and groups can do to shatter the stranglehold.

“People should keep a keen eye on sources that analyse news reporting and misreporting, such as Glasgow University Media Group and MediaLens, which offer alternative information and tell you what media coverage is actively omitting from the real story. However, change must come from within too — people should divorce themselves from preconceptions, and question their beliefs wherever and whenever possible. When presented with information that doesn’t conform to our predispositions, we should ask ourselves whether it’s true, rather than reflexively dismissing it outright,” TJ says.

While having less trust in the media more generally is a must, the academic also warns against placing too much faith in alternative news outlets and social networks, despite them being valuable resources with a significant positive potential.

“Independent media is growing in size and strength, but its overall reach is still relatively tiny — while print circulation is obviously down, people still get the vast bulk of their information from mainstream outlets. Similarly, social media could’ve democratized the spread of information, but it hasn’t — and in fact any such potential has probably been permanently neutered by the proliferation of ‘fact-checking’ resources, which are anything but unbiased and disinterested arbiters of truth,” TJ notes.

One-such ‘fact-checker’ is the Atlantic Council, a NATO-offshoot with a board of directors comprised of a ‘who’s who’ of contentious US political figures, including Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Robert Gates, Michael Hayden and David Petraeus, among others.

It partnered with Facebook in May to “independently monitor disinformation and other vulnerabilities” and combat the spread of fake news on the platform. To date, the collaboration has resulted in untold hundreds of pages and personal accounts being shut down — rather than being promulgators of propaganda though, the overwhelming bulk of the banished were alternative news sources, political organizations and individuals, highlighting issues and events the mainstream media downplays or ignores, such as US interventionism, drug legalization and police brutality.

Moreover, that elites exploit social media’s information-sharing capabilities to suit their own objectives is well-established.”The US State Department has used major social networks to recruit revolutionaries on several occasions, most notably during the ‘Arab Spring’, connecting ‘moderate rebels’ — actually violent jihadist lunatics — in select countries. Washington wanted Assad, Gaddafi and Mubarak gone, because they weren’t following orders — but there were no Twitter or Facebook ‘revolutions’ in the Gulf states, because the American empire wanted their rulers to remain in place. In Cuba, the CIA even went as far as creating a social network for the same purpose,” TJ concludes.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rather than being critics, Liberals actually enable Saudi crimes

By Yves Engler · November 16, 2018

One has to admire the Canadian government’s manipulation of the media regarding its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Despite being partners with the Kingdom’s international crimes, the Liberals have managed to convince some gullible folks they are challenging Riyadh’s rights abuses.

By downplaying Ottawa’s support for violence in Yemen while amplifying Saudi reaction to an innocuous tweet the dominant media has wildly distorted the Trudeau government’s relationship to the monarchy.

In a story headlined “Trudeau says Canada has heard Turkish tape of Khashoggi murder”, Guardian diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour affirmed that “Canada has taken a tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record for months.” Hogwash. Justin Trudeau’s government has okayed massive arms sales to the monarchy and largely ignored the Saudi’s devastating war in Yemen, which has left up to 80,000 dead, millions hungry and sparked a terrible cholera epidemic.

While Ottawa recently called for a ceasefire, the Liberals only direct condemnation  of the Saudi bombing in Yemen was an October 2016 statement. It noted, “the Saudi-led coalition must move forward now on its commitment to investigate this incident” after two airstrikes killed over 150  and wounded 500 during a funeral in Sana’a.

By contrast when the first person was killed from a rocket launched into the Saudi capital seven months ago, Chrystia Freeland stated, “Canada strongly condemns the ballistic missile attacks launched by Houthi rebels on Sunday, against four towns and cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh’s international airport. The deliberate targeting of civilians is unacceptable.” In her release Canada’s foreign minister also accepted the monarchy’s justification for waging war. “There is a real risk of escalation if these kinds of attacks by Houthi rebels continue and if Iran keeps supplying weapons to the Houthis”, Freeland added.

Ottawa has also aligned itself with Riyadh’s war aims on other occasions. With the $15 billion LAV sale to the monarchy under a court challenge in late 2016, federal government lawyers described Saudi Arabia as “a key military ally who backs efforts of the international community to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the instability in Yemen. The acquisition of these next-generation vehicles will help in those efforts, which are compatible with Canadian defence interests.” The Canadian Embassy’s website currently claims “the Saudi government plays an important role in promoting regional peace and stability.”

In recent years the Saudis have been the second biggest recipients of Canadian weaponry, which are frequently used in Yemen. As Anthony Fenton has documented in painstaking detail, hundreds of armoured vehicles made by Canadian company Streit Group in the UAE have been videoed in Yemen.Equipment from three other Canadian armoured vehicle makers – Terradyne, IAG Guardian and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada– was found with Saudi-backed forces in Yemen. Between May and July Canada exported $758.6 million worth of “tanks and other armored fighting vehicles” to the Saudis.

The Saudi coalition used Canadian-made rifles as well.“Canada helped fuel the war in Yemen by exporting more rifles to Saudi Arabia than it did to the U.S. ($7.15 million vs. $4.98 million)”, tweeted Fenton regarding export figures from July and August.

Some Saudi pilots that bombed Yemen were likely trained in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In recent years Saudi pilots have trained  with NATO’s Flying Training in Canada, which is run by the Canadian Forces and CAE. The Montreal-based flight simulator company also trained Royal Saudi Air Force pilots in the Middle East.

Training and arming the monarchy’s military while refusing to condemn its brutal war in Yemen shouldn’t be called a “tough line on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.” Rather, Canada’s role should be understood for what it is: War profiteer and enabler of massive human rights abuses.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

The Donbass Dilemma

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 16.11.2018

The November 11th elections of the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics along with the members of their People’s Councils has again underlined the dilemma facing Ukraine, its NATO masters, and Russia for, as Tass reported, the result makes it very clear that there is a high level of support among the peoples of the Donbass for integration with Russia.

It is a dilemma for the NATO puppet regime in Kiev since the political solidity of the Republics remains even in the face of the assassinations of Donbass leaders that have taken place since 2014 including that of Donetsk leader Alexander Zakharchenko in August of this year and in the face of the constant state of siege under which the peoples of the republics live as they resist the attempts to break them. The regime in Kiev is once again forced to recognise that it rules a divided country that is a direct result of the NATO backed putsch that put them in power and the attempts to suppress the Russian language, culture and influence in Ukraine that immediately followed that putsch.

The Russian government on Tuesday the 13th stated as much, ever hopeful, at the OSCE in Vienna,

Russia believes that Sunday’s elections … represent a major step towards dialogue between Donbass and Kiev on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

That belief can only be based on the fact that the elections confirm the political integrity and will of the peoples of the Donbass republics and confirm the failure of the Kiev state of siege to break them. This should, hope the Russians, force NATO and Kiev back to the Minsk agreements and a compromise political solution. But there is little chance of that when the immediate response of the US government was to condemn the elections.

Their State Department spokesperson said on the 12th,

The United States joins our European Allies and partners in condemning the November 11th, sham elections in Russia controlled eastern Ukraine. Yesterday’s illegitimate processes were an attempt by Moscow to institutionalise its Donbass proxies, the so-called …Republics. These entities have no place within the Minsk agreements or within Ukraine’s constitutional government, and they should be dismantled along with their armed formations.

It is in fact a declaration of war, founded on lies. One of them is that Russia has already annexed the territories of the republics when it has not, the other that the peoples governments are just Russian stage sets when they have proven that they are truly representative of the peoples of the Donbass and often have conflicting views with Russia on how to move forward. The third lie is that the Republics have no place in the agreements when in fact the agreements were all about the special status of the republics, or “regions” and the nature of their “interim self-government.”

The Americans finished by stating they regard the elections as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that they will continue their illegal economic warfare against Russia, under the quasi-legal guise of “sanctions,” adding in for good measure, until Russia surrenders “its control of Crimea to Ukraine”.

The fact that this is the same United States that, as it spoke, was in illegal occupation of Afghanistan, and Syria, had bombed and occupied Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, set up the illegal status of the Serbian province of Kosovo as its puppet state under a confessed war criminal, Hashim Thaci, constantly violates the territorial integrity of China and threatens the DPRK and Iran with imminent attack. This is the same government that was involved in the overthrow of the legitimate government of Ukraine in 2014, revealing the other lie in the American statement because Ukraine does not have a legitimate, constitutional government representative of the people but one riddled with Nazis and ultra reactionary forces willing to sell their country to the Americans and Germans. The evidence of members of the present Kiev regime being involved, along with foreign snipers, including US Army snipers, in the killings in the Maidan in Kiev in 2014 is strong evidence that the shootings, chaos and final putsch were an organised NATO operation to install a puppet regime.

It is a dilemma for NATO because with the putsch they had hoped to secure control of the big naval base at Sevastopol and place their battle formations directly on Russia’s border. Russia’s quick action of acceding to the request of the Crimean people to have a referendum on Crimea’s integration with Russia saved both the Russians living there from the nightmare of rule by the Nazi infected regime of Poroshenko and saved their strategic base from falling into NATO’s hands. Instead of the quick victory they had hoped for NATO are faced with a determined opposition from two buffer states that are closely allied to and supported by Russia while stuck with a corrupt and incompetent cabal in Kiev that cannot deliver what they want, complete control of Ukraine.

For Russia the dilemma is whether to absorb the republics into Russia or maintain the very messy status quo of stalemate and siege and the danger of being dragged into a larger war in Ukraine. Integration would have a number of advantages, including bringing under Russian control the mining and industrial strength of those republics, the loyalty of their people, their military experience and resources, and a resolution of the stalemate. On the other hand the Russian leadership fears that integration will be deemed by the NATO gang as an “invasion and annexation” of Ukraine and would be used as a pretext for a wider war against Russia. A wider war can lead to a nuclear war something that Russia, unlike the United States, wants to avoid. But as we see they are already accused of annexing those territories, and that propaganda narrative is not going to change.

And so, the stalemate remains. The dilemma remains. The peoples of the Donbass have expressed their wish. They have shown their courage and their determination, their resilience. They cannot be ignored. But neither can the real concerns of the Russian government. The Minsk Accords of 2015 provide a workable framework for a political resolution that requires compromises to be made. The Donbass republics and Russia have tried to adhere to the agreements consistently while Kiev and NATO violate them at every turn and maintain a state of siege against civilian populations and cities, with daily bombardments, small but deadly engagements, always the threat of larger ones, assassinations, committing war crimes on a daily basis, all supported by the NATO democracies who, as they spent November commemorating the war dead of the past, at the same time celebrated the large scale military exercises they are holding in Norway; practice for an attack on Russia.

The United States, unpleasant as it is to tell you, seizes every opportunity for bloodshed, like a raven flying to the stink of carrion. One day its unbounded greed will deliver the fate it deserves, but its leadership is not interested in political solutions that involve compromise. They want everything. In the case of Ukraine it is clear with the assassination of Zakharchenko that their intention is to resolve the problem with war. Their reaction to the elections confirms it.

Everything the American government does points to war. Not that the world is not already at war. When has it not been, and when has the United States and it allies not been behind them? But the very quick build up of economic warfare on Iran, China, Russia, the DPRK, the rejection of nuclear arms treaties under pretexts, the continuous series of military exercises surrounding Russia, Iran, China, the occupation of Afghanistan, the reactivation of the US 2nd Fleet, the ever hysterical anti Russian, and now beginning to build, anti-Chinese propaganda, are signs they have a military solution in mind in order to solve their problems.

For Russia and the Republics the way out of the dilemma is good will, negotiations and a peaceful resolution. For the US and its allies the way out is more hostility, diktats and violence. Is there an answer?

Clausewitz gives us a clue when he says,

“Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of the object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.”

Russia is saying simply, “your war, your siege, your assassinations, your “sanctions” have failed. The elections are a statement of strength and determination to resist. You cannot subdue them. You must abandon the effort and restore the peace. To continue is illogical, an act of stupidity, a danger to the world. The risks are not worth the object.”

Unfortunately, we all know the NATO leadership is locked into their self created fantasies and delusions and so cannot perceive reality or comprehend it when they do, any more than the captain and officers of the NATO Norwegian frigate that, despite all its high tech gear, were unable to see what was right in front of them and collided with a slow moving oil tanker and then sank after returning from the NATO exercise in the area; because they believed in their own infallibility. But this is how all wars start, with delusions, with insanity.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia Accused of Disrupting NATO Drills: Just Another Unfounded Allegation

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.11.2018

Finnish Prime Minister (PM) Juha Sipila has accused Russia of interfering with the Global Positioning System (GPS) in Finland’s Lapland region during the Trident Juncture-2018 NATO exercise. NATO fighter jets and surveillance aircraft landed and took off from the airport in Rovaniemi during that training event. In his weekly interview with the national public broadcasting company YLE Radio Suomi, the PM said the electronic interference was “almost certainly deliberate.” He thinks it is quite likely that Russia was behind the episode, which jeopardized civil aviation in addition to other concerns. An experienced pilot himself, Sipila said that the incident would be treated as a breach of Finnish airspace. Finland has launched an investigation into the matter. Foreign Minister Timo Soini has promised to provide a report to parliament about the alleged Russian jamming.

Norwegian authorities joined in to point a finger at Russia. “The jamming in the period between October 16th and November 7th came from Russian forces on Kola,” said Birgitte Frisch, Special Advisor in the Ministry of Defense. Danish aircraft were not affected but Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjord Frederiksen declared that Russia’s denials of involvement were not convincing. According to him, the GPS jamming incidents were another sign of Russia’s “aggressive” behavior toward neighboring countries. Nothing has been proven, but a Finnish investigation was launched after the accusations had already been made public.

No formal protests have been submitted. All the charges have been denied by Russia. It’s worth noting that neither the US Defense Department nor NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were willing to comment. Is it conceivable that Russia’s alleged activities affected only the aircraft belonging to these two nations, especially since the American military was playing the biggest role in that exercise? Suppose Russia wanted to test its EW systems. How could the jamming exclude US aircraft and ships? All in all, over 30 countries took part in the training event, but only two of them complained. Were the others not subjected to jamming? If the jamming was so powerful, why were there no accidents? Can Finnish and Norwegian officials explain that? The fact that these very simple questions remain unanswered demonstrates how easy it is to hurl accusations without substantiating one’s claims.

Norway insists the interference came from the Kola Peninsula. The Russians’ best “tactical” electronic warfare (EW) systems, such as the Krasukha-4 or the aircraft-based Khibiny, cannot jam satellites. The state-of-the-art Porubschik EW system is carried by the Ilyushin Il-22PP aircraft. If it had been used, it would have been easy for NATO intelligence to have detected it.

It had to be a “strategic” system. Russia has at least two of them. One is the Samarkand, which has not been deployed as yet. The only system that could have jammed the NATO forces during the exercise would have been the Murmansk-BN. But it is positioned in Kaliningrad, not the Kola Peninsula. Besides, it’s really hard to explain why Russia would have done such a thing. Moscow does not stand to gain anything by jamming NATO GPS communications. The interference could have been caused by solar activity, which can be much more powerful than any conceivable EW system. That happens from time to time. But neither the Finnish nor the Norwegian authorities were willing to consider that possibility. And GPS positioning is normally less accurate in the polar regions anyway.

In 2016, Russia put forward a set of proposals to enhance security in Europe in general and in the Baltic Sea in particular, especially during military exercises. NATO refused to discuss them.

Thank God the Royal Norwegian Navy does not blame Russia for sinking its frigate Helge Ingstad, which hit a tanker during the drills. Many of the foreign servicemen who came to Norway to take part in Trident Juncture behaved badly and drank too much. Underdressed Slovenian soldiers nearly froze to death in Norway. Should Russia be blamed for that too? It has become a trend — Russia is blamed for whatever goes wrong, without any evidence to support such accusations. Those who put the blame on Russia for the glitches affecting the NATO military during these drills that were staged for the purpose of scaring Moscow to death need to do the right thing and provide some answers to these questions.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

North Korea tests ‘ultramodern tactical weapon’: State media

Press TV – November 16, 2018

North Korea’s state media says the country’s leader Kim Jong-un has witnessed the test of an ultramodern tactical weapon in his first publicized visit to a weapons test site since the country’s test-launch of an ICBM last November.

Kim visited the testing ground of the Academy of Defense Science, the center of weapons development in North Korea, and “supervised a newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon test,” official Korean Central News Agency said in a Friday report.

“After seeing the power of the tactical weapon, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was so excited to say that another great work was done by the defense scientists and munitions industrial workers to increase the defense capability of the country,” the KCNA reported.

The type of the new weapon has not been identified, but the test does not seem to be in violation of the voluntary moratorium Pyongyang imposed on tests of nuclear and long-range ballistic missiles this year.

The new test, however, can further complicate the already stalled negotiations between North Korea and the US over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean daily newspaper Chosun Ilbo on Friday quoted anonymous government sources as saying that North Korea had tested multiple-rocket launchers this month.

Kim last publicly attended a weapons test last November, when his country launched its Hwasong-15 ICBM, which was widely considered powerful enough to reach the continental United States.

Kim initiated a rapprochement with South Korea in January. And the US started diplomatically engaging North Korea only later.

The two Koreas have since been advancing their relations. But the US’s failure to reciprocate North Korean moves has plagued diplomatic engagement between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korean authorities have complained about continued US and international sanctions on their country, calling those measures a “source of mistrust.”

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said at the United Nations General Assembly late September that “there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first.”

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment