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How US plundered Persian antiquities to fill its museums

A golden vessel from Achaemenid era on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. (Photo via Metmuseum.org)
Press TV – February 9, 2019

People around the world visit countless pieces of antiquities from the Persian Empire in different museums every day, without ever asking themselves how those relics ended up thousands of kilometers away from their home in Iran.

Mohammad Beheshti, head of Iran’s Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), said in 2017 that almost all museums across the globe featured ancient Iranian relics.

Among those artworks, he said, were some 4,000 artifacts taken from Persepolis alone, the ancient Persian capital which was once called the “richest city under the sun.”

According to Beheshti, around 80 percent of the objects in the Arab World Museum in Paris also belonged to Iran.

Western governments have long tried to cover their involvement in the systematic plunder of Persian antiquities and archaeological finds.

While over the years, Iran has managed to repatriate some of the stolen relics, most of them still remain in possession of museums in the US and elsewhere, helping them generate millions of dollars in income.

Dr. Mohammad Gholi Majd, who has a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, has managed to shed more light on the manner in which the US government guided and assisted American museums in acquiring vast quantities of Iranian antiquities.

In his 2003 book “The Great American Plunder of Persia’s Antiquities 1925-1941,” Majd uses recently declassified US State Department records and other available sources to document this process.

Majd also describes “the looting of Persia’s mosques and shrines, the transfer of these religious artifacts to London, and the subsequent acquisition of some of the objects by such museums as the Metropolitan of New York,” according to one online review.

The author explains that the importance of the antiquities story in American-Persian relations has remained unrecognized and much more needs to be done in this regard.

You can find out more about Dr. Majd and his work in the links below:

‘WWI massacre of Iranians deliberately hushed’

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Book Review | , | 1 Comment

Israeli and US Forces to Begin Major Military Drills

IMEMC News & Agencies – February 9, 2019

Amid growing tension along the northern border, Israeli and US forces will hold their annual joint exercise next week, to test the level of coordination between the two armies, in the event of future conflicts.

The exercise is part of a long standing agreement, between the US and Israel, to hold bilateral training exercises on a regular basis. An Israeli military spokesperson stressed that it was not associated with a particular threat or world event.

The goal of the drill – known as Juniper Falcon – is to strengthen cooperation, mutual learning, and coordination between the armies. In 2017, 12 American F-15E Strike Eagles and approximately 80 Airmen attached to the 494th Fighter Squadron flew missions with the Israeli Air Force.

The drill is expected to include over 300 US Army soldiers and 400 Israeli soldiers from different units.

The last Juniper drill, which took place in March 2018, was labeled as the largest Israeli and US European Command joint exercise in 2018, with more than 2,500 US troops deployed in Europe, participating alongside 2,000 Israeli troops, logistics units, medical forces, and other units.

On Wednesday, the United States purchased the Iron Dome missile defense system from Israel, for an immediate need of the United States Army. “This is yet another expression of the strengthening of our strong alliance with the US,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Days of Palestine further notes that the American F15 Eagle warplanes were used to kill thousands of Palestinians, during the 3 deadly wars that the Gaza Strip faced, in 2008, 2011 and 2014.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 16 Comments

Maduro Denies Hezbollah Ties, Mocks Pompeo’s Charge As “Proven Lies”

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 02/09/2019

One day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Hezbollah was “active” and operating inside of Venezuela, embattled President Nicolas Maduro responded in a televised speech in Caracas slamming Pompeo’s allegation which had also hinted at Iranian connections as”lies that have been proven false.”

According to Maduro, “Hezbollah is a legal political party within Lebanon’s political life. Hezbollah is primarily a political party, with ministers, deputies, and elected officials.”

We do not have, nor have we had any political relations with the Hezbollah political party. There are many Lebanese living in Venezuela,” he continued during the Friday statement, as translated by Al-Masdar News journalist Renato Velez. Acknowledging the historic roots of Arab communities in Latin America and Venezuela, he continued, “Long live the Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian Arab colonies in Venezuela.”

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nassrallah

The U.S. will continue to spread lies – lies that have been proven false. The Lebanese in Venezuela have political freedom and Venezuela, in order to defend itself, does not need cells of anyone in the world. We will defend ourselves,” he added.

He was responding specifically to Pompeo’s Wednesday night interview with Fox Business wherein Pompeo implied the Maduro government was allowing the US-designated terror group to have a base of operations in Venezuela. We noted previously that what looked like an apparent failure to come up with an even remotely original narrative for another imminent American intervention, Pompeo asserted during the interview that “Hezbollah has active cells in Venezuela.”

He said that “people don’t recognize that Hezbollah has active cells” in the country, adding that “the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America. We have an obligation to take down that risk for America” he said further, as quoted by the Independent.

Ironically or not, when it comes to Hezbollah, which the US has long considered a terrorist organization, sanctions on people in Venezuela linked to the Iranian-backed Lebanese group have been imposed as far back as the George W Bush administration, seemingly in anticipation for just such an event.

Washington also believes Latin America has served as a base of fund-gathering for the group for some years, including through drugs and money-laundering schemes, according to past reports and to justify said close link, the media notes that Venezuela’s former president Hugo Chavez formed tight links with Iran under Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s leadership. Supposedly that is a sufficient and necessary condition to conclude that Maduro is now harboring terrorists, which in turn would require a US “peacekeeping” mission.

And just so the US population does not lose plot, later in his Wednesday evening Fox interview, the former CIA director described Maduro as “evil” and insisted the US was intervening on behalf of ordinary Venezuelans who have suffered under his rule. In other words, yet another “humantiarian” coup under US auspices.

“We should not permit a country in our hemisphere to treat its own people this way,” he said, despite Washington’s – and the CIA’s – dismal track record of fomenting government overhauls in the region. “American values – America’s, not only our interests but our values – are at stake here.” But it wasn’t clear just which values he was referring to.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Engineer pours cold water on battery and hydrogen technologies

Global Warming Policy Foundation – 07/02/19

A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) dismisses the idea that grid-scale electricity storage can help bring about a UK renewables revolution.

According to the paper’s author, Professor Jack Ponton, an emeritus professor of engineering from the University of Edinburgh, current approaches are either technically inadequate or commercially unviable.

Many commentators have suggested that intermittent power from wind turbines could simply be balanced with batteries or pumped hydro storage, but as Professor Ponton explains, this approach is unlikely to be viable.

“You need storage to deal with lulls in wind generation that can last for several days, so the amount required would be impracticably large. And because this would only be required intermittently, its capital cost could probably never be recovered”.

Professor Ponton also thinks that another potential saviour of the renewables revolution – hydrogen storage – has been unjustifiably hyped:

“A major problem with hydrogen is its low volumetric energy density. The only practical way of storing the large volumes required would be in underground caverns or depleted gasfields. We are already short of this type of storage for winter supplies of natural gas.”

Professor Ponton concludes that a lack of suitable storage technologies means that intermittent renewables cannot replace dispatchable coal, gas and nuclear power and so a sensible energy policy cannot be based on them.

“Wind and solar power are not available on demand and there are no technologies to make them so. Refusing to face these inconvenient facts poses a serious threat to our energy security”.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

Russian Arctic Archipelago Declares Emergency Amid Polar Bear Invasion

Sputnik – 09.02.2019

Russia’s remote archipelago of Novaya Zemlya is situated in the extreme northeast of the country’s European part and has a population of only slightly over 2,000 people.

An emergency has been declared on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region. The measure was triggered by a massive invasion of polar bears, the governor’s press office said in a statement.

According to Aleksander Minaev, deputy head of the Novaya Zemlya municipality, from December 2018 to February 2019, large gatherings of polar bears were spotted in the vicinity of settlements on the archipelago. Some 53 bears were detected near the settlement of Belushya Guba, with some of them attacking people, breaking into houses and other buildings.

“There are numerous oral and written statements from residents and groups of schools and kindergartens demanding to ensure safety on the territory of the municipality. People are scared, afraid to leave their houses, their daily activities are disrupted, parents are afraid to let their children go to schools and kindergartens”, the deputy chief of the municipality said.

Head of Novay Zemlya Zhigansha Musin has said that the regime of emergency will be in place until the security of the settlements will be provided.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

U.S. Tells Iran’s Oil Customers Not To Expect New Waivers

By Tsvetana Paraskova | Oilprice.com | February 7, 2019

Iran’s oil customers should not expect new U.S. waivers in May, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said this week, urging buyers to stop importing Iranian oil.

“What we have announced is the policy to get to zero imports of Iranian crude as quickly as possible. We are not looking to grant any future waivers or exceptions to our sanctions regime, whether it is oil or anything else,” Hook told Japanese public broadcaster NHK while on a visit to Japan.

When it re-imposed sanctions on Iran last November, the U.S. granted waivers to eight countries so they could continue purchasing oil from Iran at reduced rates until early May 2019.

Some of those buyers, including the four major Asian buyers of Iranian oil—China, India, Japan, and South Korea—have recently resumed buying limited volumes of Iranian crude oil, after a period of around a month and a half in which they had to clarify how much and under what conditions they would purchase oil from Iran.

Earlier this week, Iran criticized Italy and Greece for not buying Iranian oil despite the fact that they had obtained waivers to do so.

The U.S. Administration has not officially said that no waivers will be issued, but officials have said that the goal is to drive Iranian exports to zero. Analysts, however, believe that there will be a direct correlation between the U.S. Iran waivers policy and the price of oil at the time Washington decides.

Despite the fact that the U.S. is not looking to grant any waivers to Iranian oil customers when the current ones expire in early May, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that no waivers will be issued, Hook and analysts hinted last month.

“We did not want to lift the price of oil, and we were successful doing that. So when the president left the deal it was trading at $74. When our sanctions went back into effect, and we had taken off a million barrels of Iranian crude, oil was at $72,” Hook said at Atlantic Council’s 2019 Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in mid-January.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Trump’s Syria ‘Pullout’ Aimed at Aggressing Iran

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 09.02.2019

US President Donald Trump again this week portrayed his plan to pull troops out of Syria as a “victory homecoming” and “an end to endless wars”. Then, in stepped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to clarify what’s really going on: it’s a “tactical change” to put Iran in the crosshairs.

The purported pullout is not a return of US military from the Middle East, as Trump has been trumpeting with self-congratulations. It’s more a reconfiguration of American military power in the strategically vital region, and in particular for greater aggressive leverage on Iran.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress this week, Trump talked about giving a “warm welcome home to our brave warriors” from Syria. Supposedly it was “mission accomplished” for the US in defeating the ISIS terror group in that country.

It should be pointed out that ISIS would not have been in Syria or Iraq if it were not for criminal American military interventions, covert and overt, in those countries.

In any case, Trump was proclaiming America “victorious”, and so it was time, he said, to follow up on his order given in December for the 2,000 or so troops (illegally present) in Syria to withdraw.

The day after his nationwide address, Trump reiterated the theme of glorious homecoming at a forum of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, held in Washington DC. This was a two-day gathering of dozens of US allies who have been attacking Syrian territory in the name of fighting terrorists (terrorists that many of these same coalition members, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been covertly sponsoring.)

“We look forward to giving our warriors a warm welcome home,” Trump again told delegates after informing them that the ISIS caliphate had been virtually destroyed by US forces and partners.

His top diplomat Mike Pompeo, however, assured the gathering that the US was still “leading the fight against terror” and that the planned troop withdrawal from Syria was only a “tactical maneuver”. He said that what Washington wanted was for more regional partners to take over military operations from the US.

When Trump first made the announcement of a troop withdrawal from Syria on December 19, there was immediate pushback from military figures in the Pentagon and politicians in Washington. Together with a proposed drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan by Trump, it was construed that the president was signaling a wholesale retreat from the region.

Since the “surprise” announcement by Trump, lawmakers within his Republican party have been doubling down to prevent any pullout from Syria or Afghanistan. This week, the US Senate voted through legislation to block any abrupt withdrawal, claiming that, contrary to Trump’s assertions, ISIS has not been defeated and still poses a national security threat.

The Pentagon has also been warning of a “resurgence” of ISIS in Syria and Iraq if US forces were to pull out. A Department of Defense document published this week quoted Pompeo. “Following the president’s announcement in December 2018 to withdraw troops from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the policy objectives of defeating ISIS and deterring Iran had not changed.”

In other words, the Pentagon is busily rationalizing for entrenchment in the region, not for a retreat.

Last month, while on a nine-nation tour of the Middle East, Pompeo was at pains to emphasize to America’s Arab client regimes that Trump’s pullout from Syria was a reorganization of military forces, not an overall withdrawal. During his tour, Pompeo renewed Washington’s project to create an “Arab NATO” for the region, with the top priority being to contain Iran. According to Radio Free Europe, he said, “the United States is redoubling efforts to put pressure on Iran.”

Next week, the US has organized a conference to be held in Poland which is dedicated to intensifying international pressure on Iran. The indications are that senior European Union officials will not attend the summit as it is stoking tensions with Tehran at a time when the EU is striving to save the nuclear accord with Iran.

However, the conference in Poland testifies to ramped up efforts by Washington to isolate Iran internationally and provoke instability in the country for regime change. Since Trump walked away from the internationally-backed nuclear accord last year, his administration has been piling on the aggressive rhetoric towards Iran, in particular from his national security advisor John Bolton, as well as Pompeo.

This obsession to confront Iran would explain the real significance of Trump’s supposed pullout plans in Syria and Afghanistan. Both countries have been utter failures for US imperialism. They are a dead loss, despite the self-congratulatory nonsense spouted by Trump.

What the White House is intent on doing, it seems, is redirecting its military forces in the region away from dead-end causes for a more aggressive stance towards Iran. Pompeo’s “clarifications” about Trump’s troop withdrawal makes it clear that what is going on is not a scaling down of American military power in the region, but a reconfiguration.

Trump himself has indicated that too. In a recent interview with the CBS channel, Trump said that US forces would be reassigned from Syria to Iraq where the Pentagon has several large military bases. He explicitly said that the US forces in Iraq would be used to “keep a watch on Iran” and the wider region.

Trump’s braggadocio immediately got him into hot water with the Iraqis. Iraqi President Barham Salih fulminated that the 5,000 or so US troops in his country were there strictly for the purpose of combating terrorism, not for “watching Iran” or any other neighboring country. Other Iraqi lawmakers have been so incensed by Trump’s comments that they are calling for the presence of US forces to be terminated.

Thus, the apprehensions among the bipartisan War Party in Washington and some at the Pentagon regarding Trump’s purported troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan are misplaced. Trump is not “ending the endless wars” that feed American imperialism and its war-machine economy.

Far from it. The Condo King is simply moving the Pentagon’s real estate around the region in order to get a better view of the planned aggression towards Iran.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran FM Zarif to visit Lebanon amid Tel Aviv-Beirut tensions

Press TV – February 9, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will pay a visit to Lebanon amid growing tensions between Beirut and Tel Aviv.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Zarif will travel to Lebanon at the head of a delegation on Sunday to hold talks with senior officials in the West Asian country.

The trip comes amid reports of a massive military exercise held by the Israeli army to simulate a war on Lebanon. Yiddish News reported on Friday that the drill involved tanks and warplanes.

The maneuver comes days after the secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement expressed his readiness to bring defense systems from Iran in order to confront Israeli aircraft.

Syria and Iraq are accepting Iran’s help and benefiting from it, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, adding, “Whatever the Lebanese Army needs to become the strongest regional army, I am willing to go to Iran and bring it.”

“Why should Lebanon remain afraid to cooperate with Iran?” he asked.

“In the military field, wouldn’t people make an uproar and accuse Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into war should the party shoot down an Israeli aircraft attacking Lebanon? I’m a friend of Iran, and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront Israel.”

Israeli warplanes regularly violate Lebanon’s sovereignty and targets belonging to Hezbollah, which has been successfully helping Syria contain Takfiri militancy.

Israel launched two wars on Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, in both of which Hezbollah inflicted heavy losses on the regime’s military. Israeli officials have even threatened another war on Lebanon.

Lebanese officials have repeatedly complained about Israeli jets’ violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

On Friday, Lebanon’s Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri blasted Tel Aviv for its “continued violation of Lebanese airspace and territorial waters.”

He made the remarks at a meeting with Major General Stefano Del Col of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

“The escalation in the Israeli tone towards Lebanon does not serve the interests of the calm that has been going on for more than 12 years,” he said.

The Israeli army enjoys an overwhelming support from the Western countries.

Zarif told Russia’s RT television on Wednesday that the US and EU countries should be held accountable for exports of arms to the Middle East and stoking wars in the region.

“The arms which are daily fired above the heads of ordinary Yemenis and kill many people are not of local production. They were manufactured in the USA, France, the UK as well as in other European countries. They should be held accountable for that,” Zarif said.

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment