Aletho News


Tanks on Maidan, president’s gold bath & more outrageous Ukraine fakes by disgraced Spiegel reporter

RT | December 22, 2018

One wonders just how outrageous ‘fake news’ must be in order to get busted, but Der Spiegel’s ex-star reporter Claas Relotius got away with it all while writing for several outlets – maybe because it was about places like Ukraine.

Titled ‘Bribing prohibited’ Relotius’ piece on the new Ukrainian police has all the elements of his trademark style: dramatic narrative, likeable heroes – and entirely made-up ‘facts’.

The ‘report’, published by the Swiss magazine Reportagen in June 2016, tells a tale of two young people – Dimitri and Valeria – who became members of the rebranded police force of post-Maidan Ukraine. Given the recent revelations over his fictional reporting, it’s now unclear whether Relotius met the duo in reality, but the story makes for a very compelling read indeed.

It states that each day before going on patrol, Dimitri and Valeria have been coming to the center of Kiev to pray near the “altar” erected in memory of those who died during the 2014 Euromaidan unrest. The two were among the protesters back then, it reveals, describing how they recall burning buildings, the “smell of corpses,” a man “with a child in his arms” shot dead beside an old well – and a ruined wall, where dozens were “slayed by snipers” and “rolled over by tanks.”

Wait, what? Given that the majority of victims in Kiev – both protesters and law enforcement officers – were killed over two days of murky clashes in February 2014, the “smell” of dead bodies appears to be a little of an exaggeration. No “old wells” could immediately be found in central Kiev, and there’s nothing to back up the story about a “man with a child” either.

But most glaring of all, no “tanks” were ever deployed to curb the city unrest, so the “ruined wall” part was made up in its entirety. In reality, the police unsuccessfully tried to use light APCs to storm some barricades, but the vehicles were pelted with Molotovs and burnt down. At least the “burning buildings” part holds some water, as some central Kiev sites, including the Trade Unions Building, were indeed put to the torch.

It’s not much of a surprise that the rest of the article is riddled with inconsistencies and false statements. Notably, it claims that the ousted President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, had a mansion where he “lived like a pharaoh, with banisters and baths made of pure gold.” The claim appears to be based on the long-debunked rumor that the protesters who stormed the president’s lavish residence discovered a golden toilet.

Incumbent president of the country – Petro Poroshenko – is also described, for some reason, as a “billionaire praline manufacturer from Odessa.” Poroshenko has held several top government posts since the early 2000s, but this fact is not even mentioned in the article. He was indeed born in the Odessa region in the Soviet Union, yet the image of a “successful businessman from Odessa” seems to be quite a stretch.

Describing the old bribery mindset the new police officers have been supposedly battling, Relotius managed to make another, quite outlandish, mistake. The article says that the new police force was in use not only in the capital city of Kiev, but in other major cities, namely “in Kharkiv and Donetsk, in Lviv and in Odessa.”

The problem is, at the time of publication, the eastern city of Donetsk had for two years been under the control of anti-Kiev rebels, who rejected the Euromaidan coup, proclaimed their own republic, and had actual tanks and warplanes sent to crash them into submission – with only limited success.

It doesn’t seem probable that the new Ukrainian police force would have been welcome there – a fact that may have eluded the disgraced Der Spiegel reporter. Just as it, sadly, would go over the head of many of his readers, submerged in the MSM reporting on Ukraine – a narrative often fed from the Kiev government’s POV – and with little fact-checking.

Read more:

Kiev scheduled shooting contest to mark Maidan protest, where dozens were killed by snipers

Game of deception: How a fraudster who faked his stories for years got to be Germany’s top reporter

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Trump made the right decision to quit Syrian conflict

Despite the criticism, there is a strong argument that the US president has done the right thing by withdrawing his forces from Syria

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | December 21, 2018

If 700 days out of US President Donald Trump’s 1,461 days of presidency seem a wasteland of unfulfilled promises and expectations in foreign policy – except, perhaps, on the Korean Peninsula – things dramatically changed on December 19 when he announced the troop withdrawal from Syria.

Taken together with Washington’s hurry to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban, it appears that Trump is, finally, on the move as a man of peace, fulfilling the pledge of Candidate Trump to prioritize nation-building over extravagant military adventures in faraway lands.

However, the big question remains: Is the Washington establishment ready for Trump’s action plan? The signs so far are very discouraging. The resignation of US Defense Secretary James Mattis raises the stakes incalculably.

Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed on Thursday the widespread skepticism whether Trump’s decision will be enforced by Pentagon commanders. Yet the odds are that they just might. This needs explaining.

Admittedly, Trump is still a quintessential “outsider” in the Washington Beltway, but then, he also enjoys the backing of a good majority of the American people who are tired of the United States’ endless wars abroad. And that becomes a decisive factor in Trump’s political calculus. This is one thing.

A proxy war

Indeed, a coalition of disgruntled elements and assorted interest groups is forming to debunk Trump. Simply put, they are unhappy that the US military is pulling out of Syria. For many, a gravy train is running while for some others, the issue is Trump – not even Syria.

For the Cold Warriors in the strategic community, Syria is a proxy war against Russia.

Evidently, there is a sophistry in their campaign against Trump’s decision. Principally, three phony arguments are being advanced – that Trump’s decision “baffles” the United States’ allies; that he has thrown the Kurds under the bus; and that a US pullout from Syria harms the anti-ISIS fight.

To take the last argument first – what will be the impact on the Syrian situation? To be sure, ISIS is down, but not quite out. But then, ISIS is today only residual terrorism, after the huge defeat in Iraq.

At any rate, the brunt of the fight against the ISIS was borne by the Syrian government forces and their allies – remember Aleppo? Their grit to finish the job has never been in doubt and there is no reason to fear any let-up.

In fact, their interest lies in stabilizing the security situation in the quickest possible way so the political process leading to a post-conflict Syrian order can be sped up.

Ironically, the departure of the US forces could help matters, since in many ways the US military presence only impeded the anti-ISIS fight in Syria. It is well known that terrorist groups took shelter in the US-led security zones in eastern Syria.

The Al-Tanf base and its 50-square-kilometer security perimeter was only the most glaring example. Again, the “no-fly zones” prevented Syrian and Russian jets from hunting down the ISIS cadres and de facto amounted to US air cover for terrorists.

National security

Succinctly put, the Americans are laboring under an illusion that they alone “won” the war against the ISIS in Syria, or Iraq. This illusion must be purged.

No, without the 2,000 American troops, Syria isn’t about to collapse like a sack of potatoes or become the revolving door for international terrorists. Trust the Russians and Iranians to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from Syrian soil, because it directly affects their own national security.

Therefore, isn’t it the smart thing to do to let “others” do the job, as Trump put it? However unpalatable the thought might be, a tragedy like the attack on the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983 is waiting to happen in Syria once the Turkish military crushes and scatters the Kurdish militia, leaving the 2,000 US troops stranded like sitting ducks in 12 bases in the middle of nowhere spread over a vast territory about one-third the size of all Syria.

Wouldn’t Trump know he’s skating on thin ice? For if body bags were to come home, the political cost would be his – not Mattis’.

Equally, Trump can no longer take for granted the Saudi willingness generously to bankroll the United States’ war in Syria, especially if the self-styled humanists on the Hill proceed with their foreign-policy agenda to wreak vengeance on Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. You can’t have the cake and eat it too, can you?

The ground reality is that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan have exited the Syrian conflict. Egypt has no stomach to get involved and Turkey, of course, has turned hostile. So who are these “allies” that the agitated folks in the US are talking about? The frank answer is: a clutch of British and French operatives and a horde of Western mercenaries. Isn’t this a macabre joke?

The Americans have been acting as “spoilers” in Syria, locked in a geopolitical struggle that has very little to do with fighting terrorism and has only impeded the stabilization of the Syrian situation. Thus it is no coincidence that Trump unveiled his considered decision just as the announcement was made in Geneva that the pan-Syrian committee for the drafting of a new constitution has been set up, which will work under United Nations supervision to galvanize a political process leading to elections and the formation of a new government enjoying the mandate of the people.

Turkey and the Kurds

Finally, the Kurdish factor. The alliance with the Kurdish militia in Syria has severely damaged US-Turkish relations. Turkey will never allow the creation of a Kurdish homeland on its borders, and it has a congruence of interests with Iraq and Iran – and even Syria – in this regard.

On the other hand, without a strong partnership with Turkey, a “swing” state overlooking several regions, American strategies not only in the Greater Middle East but also in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Caucasus will be at a serious disadvantage. Now, is that something the US can afford?

The US has done a great injustice to the Kurds by giving them false hopes. Leave them alone. They will reconcile with Damascus, availing of the good offices of Russians who have dealt with them from time immemorial.

Plainly put, the Pentagon’s trainers and Special Forces “embedded” with Kurdish men and women fighters helped develop romantic notions of creating an independent country for their partners. This should never have happened.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Turkey Won’t Drop S-400 Deal Despite Trump’s Promise to Sell Patriots – Report

Sputnik – 22.12.2018

The US has been attempting to thwart the Russian S-400 air defence systems’ sale to Turkey ever since the contract was signed in December 2017, threatening to halt F-35 jet shipments to Ankara. In its latest attempt to dismantle the deal, the US State Department approved the sale of US-made Patriot systems to Turkey.

Turkey has “zero chance to drop S-400” deal with Russia despite the US planning to sell its Patriot defence systems to Ankara, Hürriyet Daily News reported citing an anonymous diplomatic sources. The source added that Turkey is going to try and convince Washington that it will take all measures to develop its own software to prevent any alleged problems over the S-400 deployment.

Hürriyet’s source also shared that US President Donald Trump assured his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Congress will not thwart the proposed sale of Patriot missile systems to Ankara, which received a green light from the US State Department earlier this week. Trump reportedly didn’t elaborate how he was going to ensure the fulfilment of this promise.

The media’s diplomatic source also added that apart from his promise on the Patriot sale, Trump vowed that there will be no problem with F-35 jet deliveries, which came into question after Turkey struck a deal with Russia to buy the S-400 systems.

The supplies of the newest fifth generation jets to Turkey are being threatened by a bill, adopted earlier by the US Congress, requiring the US Defence Department to present a report on the possibility of Russian defence systems in Turkey revealing sensitive data about the F-35s and sending it to Moscow. Without a report from the Defence Department, the F-35 deliveries to Turkey will be impossible.

The issue was raised in the US Congress after Turkey signed a $2.5 billion contract with Russia to buy its S-400 air defence systems in December 2017. Ankara pointed out then that it would gladly buy missile systems produced by the US and its allies, if it would have been given such an option.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

History Is Written By The Winners

Corbett Report | December 14, 2018

Who gets to write the history textbooks? Where do the history teachers learn about history? What documents are allowed into the historical record, and what documents are excluded? These are not merely academic questions, they go right to the heart of the question of history itself. Join James Corbett for today’s edition of The Corbett Report and an in-depth exploration of the formation of the historical record about World War One.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4

The WWI Conspiracy

Richard Grove on the Rothschilds and WWI

Gerry Docherty on the Hidden History of WWI

How & Why Big Oil Conquered the World

Norman Dodd On Tax Exempt Foundations repository of Reece Committee documents

Rene Wormser on The Canegie Endowment’s role in molding public opinion

The Guns of August

The Innocence of Kaiser Wilhelm II

Daily Telegraph Affair

MacMillan intelligencesquared debate

Meet Margaret MacMillan, David Lloyd George’s great-granddaughter

Meet Margaret MacMillan, former Rhodes Trustee

Jim and Gerry’s Hidden History blog

Fake History. How The Money Power Controls Our Future By Controlling Our Past

Fake History 3: From Burning Correspondence To Permanently Removing The Evidence

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

How NBC News Lied about RT to Whip Up Anti-Russian Hysteria

Dr. Paul Kindlon | Russia Insider | December 19, 2018

“Alleged Terrorist says Russian TV Channel influenced attack on Buckingham Palace.”

This was an actual headline -in big bold type- run by NBC recently.

The subtext of this headline – what the headline is really saying – is this:

“Man watches news report on government-controlled channel of our enemy, Russia, which convinces him to commit an act of terror!”

In other words, “Russia is guilty of instigating terror in London!” The article begins this way…

“An Uber driver who allegedly tried to attack police with a Samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace has told a court he became angry after seeing news put out by the Russian television network RT.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 27, from Luton, said he was looking at news produced by the controversial English-language channel on his phone on the day he decided to “confront” police outside Windsor Castle, 40 miles south of Luton.”

Actually – no – he did not say he was definitely watching RT. He said and I quote “I think it was RT”. But in many respects this fact is irrelevant. Many news outlets have been covering the tragic war in Yemen. NBC clearly implies that there was some nefarious propagandistic angle to RT’s coverage. But reporting on war is what news networks do. That is their job. Insinuating that a news network of a country is culpable for an act of terror by covering a news story IS propaganda however. Linking the terror act to Russia by implying a terrorist was provoked by RT News is misleading, deceptive and manipulative. It was the bombing of Yemen by the Saudis that triggered Chowdhury’s angry response. NBC wants you to “shoot the messenger” for delivering the bad news. So who’s being nefarious?
The globalists’ mainstream media are incorrigibly dishonest.

Chowdhury makes it clear that he was disturbed by the crimes he witnessed. Of civilians – many of whom are women and children – being killed by Saudi bombs with support from the UK and America. Does RT support the pro-Saudi foreign policy of America and UK ? Far from it. RT has been consistently critical of the Saudi campaign of bombing.

Study the language being used in that article – “controversial English-language channel”. What does that even mean? As more and more people come to distrust mainstream corporate media, aren’t CNN, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and even NBC considered “controversial”? Why single out RT in this manner? Well, there’s a reason…

“Controversial” is a word with a negative connotation. I am reminded of the time, while working as a journalist in Moscow, reading an AP wire report on the confrontation between President Yeltsin and his opponents in Parliament. The lead paragraph spoke of Yeltsin having to deal with “former Communists Alexander Rutskoi and Ruslan Khasbulatov” (the leaders of the revolt in 1993). To an uninformed reader, this portrays Yeltsin as a democratic reformer up against the bad guys. What the wire report failed to mention is that Yeltsin was also a Communist. In fact, Yeltsin was the head of the Communist Party in Sverdlovsk where he protected the powerful local mafia from prosecution.

A news organization should try to inform its audience, not willfully deceive. So why is NBC engaging in such poor journalistic activity?

What most people do not know is that corporate news networks are journalistic entities in name only. In reality they function as PR departments for what Ray McGovern calls“ the “Military- Industrial – Congressional -Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex… profiteering on high tension with Russia.” This explains why NBC, CNN and others spin stories and twist facts about RT and Russia in order to misinform its unsuspecting audience.

Want to know the real truth? NBC and other corporate media entities think you are dumb. And they want to make you even dumber if they can. By lying.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Good News, for a Change: Trump Quits Syria

By Michael Howard | American Herald Tribune | December 22, 2018

Nothing brings the media and political establishments together like an imperial question. It’s this subject, more so than any other, on which, like some terrible bloodthirsty cult, they all share the same defective brain. When the president, whoever and however unpopular he may be, uses violence to expand the empire’s global reach, laurels spurt in from every direction. See every major US military action in recent history. On the other hand, should the president neglect to add to our imperial adventures or, horror of horrors, roll them back a tad, he’s sure to reap a whirlwind of frenzied opposition. The public observes this and becomes conditioned: aggression is good; inaction is bad. By and large, this is how the empire maintains itself.

Having announced plans to take the boots off the ground in Syria, where their presence is a crime, Trump finds himself on the wrong end of the equation. According to Bob Woodward, Trump never forgave himself for letting the generals talk him into deploying more troops in Afghanistan, a pointless war if ever there was one. He wanted out, but they badgered him into staying. Now he’s paying them back. In one of his unwonted lucid moments, Trump outlined the rationale behind the pullout heard round the world: “Does the USA want to be the policeman of the Middle East, getting nothing but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight.”

For that, he’s in the doghouse, the empire’s errand boys descending on him like an army of (war) hawks. Reading quickly through the numerous reports, op-eds and editorials churned out by the mass media over the past twenty-four hours, it’s plain to see that everyone is working from the same script, as if a talking-points memo had been issued from on high. They all hate Trump’s decision, and they all hate it for the same exact reasons.

Reason number one: ISIS isn’t dead yet. Every article I read emphasized the fact that, according to military analysts, there are still thousands of ISIS fighters in Syria and elsewhere. Of course there are. While the caliphate was crumbling, experts on the region like Patrick Cockburn were warning that, rather than vanish into thin air, ISIS would adjust its tactics and mutate into a guerrilla force, which is what it has done. America’s track record against guerrilla units isn’t very impressive—they’re notoriously resilient and difficult to root out. Besides, ISIS isn’t merely a militia; it’s an ideology (exported by our good friends and allies in the Gulf), and you can’t kill an ideology with bombs. We tried that, remember? Before Dick and George launched their War on (sic) Terror, global terrorists of the ISIS variety were dwelling in a few obscure pockets of the Middle East. Seventeen years and two invasions later, they’re everywhere. It’s called cause and effect. We have yet to learn about it. If we ever do, we might want to give the late William Blum’s anti-terror formula a try:

If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize—very publicly and very sincerely—to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America’s global interventions—including the awful bombings—have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but—oddly enough—a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions.

Speaking of Israel, that’s another reason to oppose Trump’s Syria withdrawal. If we pull out of Syria now, we’ll be hanging Israel out to dry. So goes the talking point. Behold: Trump “promised to protect Israel, but that nation will now be left to face alone the buildup by Iran and its proxies along its northern border.” That’s from the Washington Post editorial board. Here’s how the New York Times editorial board formulated it: “The American withdrawal worries Israel, anxious about Iran’s robust military presence in Syria …” And the editorial board at the Wall Street Journal: “Israel will have a harder time stopping Iran’s military and militia buildup in southern Syria …” Uncanny! One paper ought to sue the others for plagiarism.

Want more? Let’s go to the op-eds. The Post published a whole heap of them, all pushing the same point of view. Born-again liberal Max Boot says that a “US withdrawal from Syria will entrench the Islamic Republic of Iran on Israel’s doorstep,” while the winsome Jennifer Rubin submits that Trump’s directive “confirms we have no coherent policy for containing Iran. Israel may finally discover that slavish praise of Trump … won’t help keep Iran at bay.” Over at CNN, Emmy-winning correspondent Nick Paton Walsh tells us that an American withdrawal “threatens Israel.” Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. What I’d like to know is why American citizens should care at all about whether or not Israel feels threatened by Iran’s presence in Syria. What has Israel done for us lately? What has Israel ever done for us? (Answer key: nothing; nothing.) We’re constantly fed scare stories about how the big, bad mullahs are coming for the poor Israelis, with their stock of undeclared nuclear weapons, but no one ever bothers to explain why that matters. Worse, almost no one bothers to ask. The sooner we start demanding answers to these questions the better off everyone will be.

As if selling Israel down the river wasn’t bad enough, Trump is reportedly giving a “gift” (it being December) to everyone we’re supposed to hate: anti-Semitic Iran, genocidal Assad and, last but certainly not least, the evil, hegemonic Russians. “Tehran and Moscow will celebrate … As will Bashar al-Assad, who proved that genocide pays in the end.” That’s Rubin, who goes on to lament that “our” enemies are not the same as Trump’s. By “our” she means “my.” After all, Bashar al-Assad is no more an enemy of the American people than Israel is a friend. Our enemies are the corporations, the bought-and-paid-for politicians, the police state, and people like Jennifer Rubin, who try to convince us otherwise.

Not to be outdone, Victoria “Yats is the guy” Nuland (another enemy) roved way off the reservation and declared that, once US troops vacate Syria, “The Kremlin will proceed as it has long planned, consolidating control over the rest of Syria for Assad until 2021 and then rigging an election for a new figurehead.” Who will the Kremlin select as its 2020 figurehead in Washington? Submit your requests at the Russian consulate nearest you. Ultimately, Vicky moans, “Putin will have achieved his long-held dream of restoring post-Soviet hegemony in the heart of the Middle East.” Considering the outcomes of American hegemony in the Middle East, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to step aside let someone else have a turn. Putin couldn’t do any worse if he tried.

Slightly less alarmist, but no less goofy, was David Ignatius’ take for, again, the Post. “What’s truly distressing,” Ignatius writes plaintively, “is that until Trump’s sudden turnabout, the United States had something of a virtuous cycle going in the region.” A virtuous, not to be confused with vicious, cycle. Interesting. Let’s take a look at some of the American military’s virtuous activity over the past few years. In a report titled “War of Annihilation,” about the US-led coalition’s campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS, Amnesty International writes [my emphases]:

The wholesale destruction wrought upon every almost street in Raqqa as a result of artillery and air strikes stands in stark contrast to Coalition claims about precision strikes. UN experts, Amnesty International’s researchers who conducted the investigation, and seasoned war correspondents found the level of destruction in Raqqa worse than anything previously witnessed in other wars. In April the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency stated that “the UN team entering Raqqa city were shocked by the level of destruction, which exceeded anything they had ever seen before.”

US Army Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell stated that “In five months [the coalition] fired 30,000 artillery rounds on ISIS targets … They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam War.” Airwars estimates that no less than 1,300 civilians were killed in Raqqa by the US-led coalition in four months—about eleven people per day. According to UN officials, eighty percent of the city was destroyed by a combination of airstrikes and artillery fire, and is now uninhabitable. Virtuous or vicious?

In Mosul, Iraq, government forces backed by US air power fought ISIS for nine months between October 2016 and July 2017. Like Raqqa, much of the city was flattened by coalition airstrikes. Civilian infrastructure, including residential areas, was demolished. Last December, the Associated Press reported that 9,000 to 11,000 civilians were killed in the fighting. “Of the nearly 10,000 deaths the AP found, around a third of the casualties died in bombardments by the U.S.-led coalition or Iraqi forces.” Another third were killed by ISIS, “and it could not be determined which side was responsible for the deaths of the remainder.” More than 3,000 killed by the virtuous guys.

Then there’s Yemen, where shrapnel from US-made bombs has repeatedly been found at the sites of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Not to mention the mass famine and widespread disease (85,000 children have died of starvation since the war began in 2015; millions more are at risk). According to David Ignatius, “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates wanted to help contain Turkish power and create a more stable Syrian state.” Now, thanks to the big pullout, they’re no longer in a position to do so. A crying shame.

Obtuse as these analyses are, a few started to wander in the right direction before stopping and turning back. Ignatius, for example, notes that Trump has “ceded power in northern Syria to Turkey and its proxies, which have made a ruinous mess everywhere in Syria they’ve tried to control.” The Wall Street Journal mentioned the Turkish connection too: “Mr. Trump made his withdrawal decision soon after a phone call with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” So did the NYT : “In recent days he has vowed to launch a new offensive against them in the Syrian border region. Mr. Trump discussed his withdrawal decision in a telephone call with Mr. Erdogan on Friday.” The Post went furthest, writing: “The autocratic Turkish ruler appears to have extracted favors from Mr. Trump in recent days, including the sale of U.S. Patriot missiles and a promise to re-examine the possible extradition of his rival, Fethullah Gulen, from Pennsylvania. If Mr. Trump received anything in return, he hasn’t disclosed it.”

Is the Post being coy, or are its editors really unable to connect the dots? Trump and Erdogan agreed to a quid pro quo. In exchange for the US stepping aside and looking the other way while Turkey invades Syria and attacks the Kurds (again), Erdogan will stop pretending to care that a Washington Post columnist was murdered on the orders of Mohammed bin Salman. You won’t be hearing the name Khashoggi very much in the future. That scandal, such a nuisance for Trump, is as good as dead.

In any case, pulling out of Syria may be a loss for the American empire, but it’s a win for the American republic. Next up, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia, et al.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Endless War Has Been Normalized and Everyone Is Crazy

By Caitlin JOHNSTONE | Medium | December 22, 2018

Since I last wrote about the bipartisan shrieking, hysterical reaction to Trump’s planned military withdrawal from Syria the other day, it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. I’m having a hard time even picking out individual bits of the collective freakout from the political/media class to point at, because doing so would diminish the frenetic white noise of the paranoid, conspiratorial, fearmongering establishment reaction to the possibility of a few thousands troops being pulled back from a territory they were illegally occupying.

Endless war and military expansionism has become so normalized in establishment thought that even a slight scale-down is treated as something abnormal and shocking. The talking heads of the corporate state media had been almost entirely ignoring the buildup of US troops in Syria and the operations they’ve been carrying out there, but as soon as the possibility of those troops leaving emerged, all the alarm bells started ringing. Endless war was considered so normal that nobody ever talked about it, then Trump tweeted he’s bringing the troops home, and now every armchair liberal in America who had no idea what a Kurd was until five minutes ago is suddenly an expert on Erdoğan and the YPG. Lindsey Graham, who has never met an unaccountable US military occupation he didn’t like, is now suddenly cheerleading for congressional oversight: not for sending troops into wars, but for pulling them out.

“I would urge my colleagues in the Senate and the House, call people from the administration and explain this policy,” Graham recently told reporters on Capitol Hill. “This is the role of the Congress, to make administrations explain their policy, not in a tweet, but before Congress answering questions.”

“It is imperative Congress hold hearings on withdrawal decision in Syria — and potentially Afghanistan — to understand implications to our national security,” Graham tweeted today.

In an even marginally sane world, the fact that a nation’s armed forces are engaged in daily military violence would be cause for shock and alarm, and pulling those forces out of that situation would be viewed as a return to normalcy. Instead we are seeing the exact opposite. In an even marginally sane world, congressional oversight would be required to send the US military to invade countries and commit acts of war, because that act, not withdrawing them, is what’s abnormal. Instead we are seeing the exact opposite.

A hypothetical space alien observing our civilization for the first time would conclude that we are insane, and that hypothetical space alien would be absolutely correct. Have some Reese’s Pieces, hypothetical space alien.

It is absolutely bat shit crazy that we feel normal about the most powerful military force in the history of civilization running around the world invading and occupying and bombing and killing, yet are made to feel weird about the possibility of any part of that ending. It is absolutely bat shit crazy that endless war is normalized while the possibility of peace and respecting national sovereignty to any extent is aggressively abnormalized. In a sane world the exact opposite would be true, but in our world this self-evident fact has been obscured. In a sane world anyone who tried to convince you that war is normal would be rejected and shunned, but in our world those people make six million dollars a year reading from a teleprompter on MSNBC.

How did this happen to us? How did we get so crazy and confused?

I sometimes hear the analogy of sleepwalking used; people are sleepwalking through life, so they believe the things the TV tells them to believe, and this turns them into a bunch of mindless zombies marching to the beat of CIA/CNN narratives and consenting to unlimited military bloodbaths around the world. I don’t think this is necessarily a useful way of thinking about our situation and our fellow citizens. I think a much more useful way of looking at our plight is to retrace our steps and think about how everyone got to where they’re at as individuals.

We come into this world screaming and clueless, and it doesn’t generally get much better from there. We look around and we see a bunch of grownups moving confidently around us, and they sure look like they know what’s going on. So we listen real attentively to what they’re telling us about our world and how it works, not realizing that they’re just repeating the same things grownups told them when they were little, and not realizing that if any of those grownups were really honest with themselves they’re just moving learned concepts around inside a headspace that’s just as clueless about life’s big questions as the day it was born.

And that’s just early childhood. Once you move out of that and start learning about politics, philosophy, religion etc as you get bigger, you run into a whole bunch of clever faces who’ve figured out how to use your cluelessness about life to their advantage. You stumble toward adulthood without knowing what’s going on, and then confident-sounding people show up and say “Oh hey I know what’s going on. Follow me.” And before you know it you’re donating ten percent of your income to some church, addicted to drugs, in an abusive relationship, building your life around ideas from old books which were promoted by dead kings to the advantage of the powerful, or getting your information about the world from Fox News.

For most people life is like stumbling around in a dark room you have no idea how you got into, without even knowing what you’re looking for. Then as you’re reaching around in the darkness your hand is grasped by someone else’s hand, and it says in a confident-sounding voice, “I know where to go. Come with me.” The owner of the other hand doesn’t know any more about the room than you do really, they just know how to feign confidence. And it just so happens that most of those hands in the darkness are actually leading you in the service of the powerful.

That’s all mainstream narratives are: hands reaching out in the darkness of a confusing world, speaking in confident-sounding voices and guiding you in a direction which benefits the powerful. The largest voices belong to the rich and the powerful, which means those are the hands you’re most likely to encounter when stumbling around in the darkness. You go to school which is designed to indoctrinate you into mainstream narratives, you consume media which is designed to do the same, and most people find themselves led from hand to hand in this way all the way to the grave.

That’s really all everyone’s doing here, reaching out in the darkness of a confusing world and trying to find our way to the truth. It’s messy as hell and there are so many confident-sounding voices calling out to us giving us false directions about where to go, and lots of people get lost to the grabbing hands of power-serving narratives. But the more of us who learn to see through the dominant narratives and discover the underlying truths, the more hands there are to guide others away from the interests of the powerful and toward a sane society. A society in which people abhor war and embrace peace, in which people collaborate with each other and their environment, in which people overcome the challenges facing our species and create a beautiful world together.

People aren’t sleepwalking, they are being duped. Duped into insanity in a confusing, abrasive world where it’s hard enough just to get your legs underneath you and figure out which way’s up, let alone come to a conscious truth-based understanding of what’s really going on in the world. But the people doing the duping are having a hard time holding onto everyone’s hand, and their grip is slipping. We’ll find our way out of this dark room yet.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Trump Enacts Bill Sanctioning Hamas, Hezbollah for Using Civilians as Shields

Sputnik – 22.12.2018

US President Donald Trump signed into law a bill ensuring the imposition of sanctions on members of the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanese organization Hezbollah for the use of civilians as human shields, the White House said in a statement.

“On Friday, December 21, 2018, the President signed into law: H.R. 3342, the ‘Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act,’ which requires the President to identify and impose specified sanctions on members of Hizballah or Hamas who use civilians as human shields,” the statement read.

Washington has been supporting Israel in accusing Hamas and Hezbollah of using civilians as human shields and exploiting infrastructure as a cover-up for their offensive activities. The United States has designated both groups as terrorist organizations, while other countries including Russia and China, regard the two groups as legitimate political parties.

Last week, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said that the US was looking to lead the international fight against terrorism, however, wants other countries to do more to contribute to the effort.

In November, the US State Department offered a bounty of up to $5 million for information on a leader of the Hamas organization and two leaders of the Hezbollah.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

States that stood up for INF Treaty have now ‘de facto blessed’ US for scrapping it – Moscow

RT | December 22, 2018

The very same nations that blasted the White House for deciding to pull out of the landmark 1987 INF Treaty have now helped to defeat the UN resolution calling for its support, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.

Russia expressed “disappointment” as a resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was voted down by a narrow margin in the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Forty-three states, including China and South American countries, voted for the document drafted by Russia.

Forty-six voted against the resolution, with 78 abstaining. The US’ allies in NATO and the EU voted ‘No’ despite previously speaking in favor of keeping the arms agreement intact, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

These countries, especially the NATO members – contrary to their own statements about the importance of the INF Treaty – acted as its opponents.

Friday’s vote shows how the US’ allies “de facto blessed” Washington for violating the INF deal, the foreign ministry stressed.

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya told Rossiya 1 TV channel that prior to the vote his American counterpart, Nikki Haley, sent out a letter urging everyone to vote down the Russian draft.

As the US announced its willingness to ditch the landmark INF Treaty back in October, many European politicians defended the need to keep the existing agreement and hailed its role in nuclear disarmament. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Washington’s decision “regrettable” as the treaty is “hugely important” to the European continent.

EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini referred to the embattled treaty as the “key” and “a fundamental pillar” to European security architecture and urged for it to be “preserved and fully implemented.”

The INF Treaty bans Moscow and Washington from developing and deploying ground-based missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Both sides accuse each other of violating its terms, and likewise deny any wrongdoing.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to pull the US from the deal in 60 days “unless Russia returns to compliance.”

Russia, in turn, warned that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty will trigger an arms race across the globe.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berlin to Ban Iran’s Mahan Air Airline From Using German Airports – Reports

Sputnik – 21.12.2018

BERLIN – The German government is going to ban Iran’s Mahan Air airline from using German airports starting from 2019, local media reported on Friday.

According to the Bild newspaper, the decision was made after intensive discussions and followed the US intelligence services’ claims that German cooperation with Mahan Air would threaten US citizens in German airports.

The airline carries out six flights between Tehran and Germany per week: four flights from Duesseldorf and two more from Munich.

Mahan Air was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in October of 2011. According to the US Treasury, the airline routinely transports fighters and equipment to Syria in order to support the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Israel Removes Memorial Honoring Famed Palestinian Writer Ghassan Kanafani

Ghassan Kanafani. (Photo: File)
Palestine Chronicle | December 22, 2018

Israel removed a memorial statue in the city of Acre this week dedicated to Palestinian intellectual and writer Ghassan Kanafani.

The statue was set up in a cemetery by Palestinians in the northern Israeli city to honor the iconic intellectual and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member.

The local Waqf (Endowment) in Acre was contacted shortly after the memorial was erected and pressured to remove it immediately by Israel’s Interior Ministry.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said earlier this week that “we will not allow memorials in honor of terrorists in Israel”.

A relative of Kanafani said the memorial would be moved to a garden of another relative in Acre.

Ahmad Odeh, a Palestinian member of Acre’s city council, said Kanafani was a “symbol for the entire Palestinian people” and denounced the Israeli decision.

Despite being a civilian who did not bear arms, Kanafani, born in Acre in 1936, was assassinated in Beirut in 1972 by a car bomb believed to have been orchestrated by Israeli Mossad agents.

Kanafani’s obituary in Lebanon famously said:

“He was a commando who never fired a gun, whose weapon was a ball-point pen, and his arena the newspaper pages.”

His family was forcibly displaced from the city in 1948 during the mass exodus of Palestinians known as the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe.

Acre was historically a mixed city of Palestinian Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Baha’i, but around 75 percent of the population was displaced during fighting surrounding the creation of the Israeli state.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments