Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Facebook Shuts Down Private Page of Head of Sputnik Latvia

Sputnik – 14.02.2019

RIGA – Facebook has deleted a private account of Sputnik Latvia editor-in-chief Valentins Rozencovs after it broadcast a pro-Riga mayor rally.

“Facebook has recently opened a 150-member Riga office and is still hiring. It monitors what people in the Baltics post on the social network website. A staffer or someone who aspires to be one must have informed them about the broadcast from my account, causing it to be shut”, he said.

The airing of last Saturday’s massive rally in support of embattled Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs was watched and reposted by thousands of people. The leader of the popular leftist Harmony party survived a no-confidence vote this Monday, called by right-wing opposition over graft claims.

Rozencovs’ account on Facebook was first purged in January when the California-based social networking giant removed over 500 pages and accounts linked to Russia, citing perceived attempts to manipulate people in the Baltics and elsewhere.

Sputnik global editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the fact that Rozencovs’ private page was targeted again after broadcasting a rally in support of Usakovs was no coincidence. The mayor of the Latvian capital is routinely described in Western media as being pro-Kremlin.

Last July, Valentins Rozencovs said that he had been detained in Riga by the security police upon his arrival from Moscow and released almost 12 hours later. He noted that security services questioned him about his work as Sputnik Latvia’s senior editor and the outlet’s work in the country.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

US-led anti-Iran circus in Warsaw unravels as farce

By Finian Cunningham | RT | February 14, 2019

A conference in Warsaw this week was billed as reinstating the US’ lead role in diplomacy for the Mideast. The absence of Russia and other European leaders only served to expose the ill-conceived summit and Washington’s isolation.

When the forum was initially planned last year by the Trump administration, the purpose was to bring Washington back in from the diplomatic cold which it had opted for by abandoning the international nuclear accord with Iran.

Trump’s tearing up of the Iran deal in May 2018 had isolated the US from other signatories: Russia, China and the Europeans. By holding a high-level conference on Iran, the idea was to burnish Washington’s diplomatic standing in the Middle East.

The trouble was that from the outset most would-be participants saw the real agenda of the meeting as an attempt by Washington to drum up international support for further antagonizing Iran with economic sanctions.

Despite recent official US denials of seeking regime change in Tehran, the long-term pattern of flagrant hostility from President Trump and others in his administration betrayed Washington’s real intentions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has been labeling the Warsaw event “a desperate anti-Iran circus.” Last month, it was evident that European states were going to give the conference a miss on the grounds that the thinly veiled agenda would further undermine EU efforts at preserving the Iran deal.

This week’s conference – although slated as a “ministerial summit” – was conspicuous by the absence of senior delegates. Russia, Turkey, Qatar and Lebanon did not attend. Neither did many European leaders, including EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

The American side sent a high-profile delegation headed by Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Also present were Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and “special advisor” on Middle East policy.

The void in senior foreign participants – especially Russia which has become the main external player in Middle Eastern affairs following its successful military intervention in Syria – only goes to show how diminished Washington’s role has become.

Realizing its anti-Iran agenda was not going to gain much traction, Washington rebranded the Warsaw conference in an attempt to give it an apparently more general regional remit. The event’s updated title proclaiming the “Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East” was intended to not alienate others over the initial hostile focus on Iran.

Hence the agenda was broadened out to include discussions on Syria, Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Still, however, Iran was not invited. How can a supposed Middle East peace and security conference be held without the inclusion of Iran, an undoubted regional powerhouse?

How could discussions on Syria be expected to be productive when the Syrian government is not present, nor its main ally Russia?

There were no delegations from the Houthi rebels in Yemen, nor the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians have boycotted Trump’s much-vaunted peace plan, headed up by Jared Kushner, ever since Washington’s recognition last year of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as ongoing suspicions of additional transgressions against Palestinian rights, such as return of refugees.

On the eve of the Warsaw conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled back the curtains when he revealed the gathering was intended to solidify the “common interest of war with Iran.” Netanyahu’s tweet was quickly deleted but not before it was widely disseminated by critics.

Iran noted it was “no coincidence” that on the first day of the conference in Warsaw, the country saw the worst terrorist attack in years on its soil when 27 of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in a suicide bombing claimed by a jihadist group. Tehran asserted that the terrorist group had links to “foreign intelligence services.”

While attending the summit, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani openly called for regime change in Iran. Giuliani also spoke at a rally in Warsaw organized by the Iranian exile group Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK). The group has been linked to past terrorist attacks in Iran aimed at overthrowing the government in Tehran. It is not clear if the MEK had any involvement in this week’s deadly bombing, but its delegates in Warsaw who had been hosting Giuliani cheered the killing of the Iranian guards, according to Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

Earlier this week, Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution. The anniversary was vilified by Trump as “40 years of terror.” His National Security Advisor John Bolton also directed a message to Iran’s leadership saying its time was up. Israel’s Netanyahu also gloated in a chilling warning that the anniversary could be the last.

Yet, preposterously, American officials tried to pretend that the Warsaw conference was not a “trash Iran” event. Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, griped that the non-attendance of European leaders was “an unhelpful act.”

Andrew Miller, a former diplomat in the Obama administration, was quoted as saying it was unprecedented for such a de facto boycott by American allies of a supposedly landmark summit.

But of course, what does Washington expect? The Trump administration has shown such a high-handed contempt for diplomatic norms, even towards its purported European allies.

It has also revealed itself as riven with contradictions and shambles over its Middle East policy. Is the US withdrawing from Syria or not? The mixed signals out of Washington on this one issue alone is symbolic of the general incoherence and faltering leadership in the White House.

President Trump seems to want to have his cake and eat it. He wants “America First” unilateralism and is all too quick to ride roughshod over allies and their interests – the Iran nuclear deal being a classic case.

Then when the Trump administration tries to mitigate the damage of its bruising behavior and to hold a supposed multilateral conference on the Middle East, the upshot is very few give the event any credence or respect.

It’s abundantly clear that Washington has no intention for “peace and security” in the Middle East. Its charade of posing as a diplomatic arbiter is coming apart at the seams. But the farce that is American diplomacy is revealing how irrelevant Washington’s role has become.

Most nations know that Washington’s obsession with confronting Iran is not a viable policy. Indeed, it is a reprehensible pathology which only seems to resonate with the unhinged regimes of Israeli and Saudi warmongering despots, both of whom were prominent in Warsaw this week.

Even the mere choice of venue was telling of America’s declining status. Poland has been sucking up to Washington with its purchase of US missile systems and its request for the Americans to build a new military base in the country, which Warsaw proposes to call ‘Fort Trump.’ A former Polish diplomat even complained that the Warsaw government had no input into the summit agenda, which he said was dominated by Washington, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration knew it had to hold its Mideast summit in Poland this week because it would not be welcome in Western European states. It’s a sign of the times when US diplomacy seems to be only hosted by marginal European states who are too obsequious to snigger at the farce.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

US Says Iran Misuses Intl Court After Ruling on Assets Took Tehran’s Side

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

WASHINGTON – The International Court of Justice’s ruling to permit Iran to proceed with a lawsuit to recover its frozen assets in the United States is an attempt by Tehran to misuse the court, the US Department of State said in a statement.

“Iran must not be permitted to continue to misuse the International Court of Justice’s judicial process for political and propaganda purposes”, State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Palladino said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the International Court of Justice ruled that Iran’s lawsuit against the United States over more than $2 billion in frozen assets was admissible.

Palladino said the case is yet another example of how Iran seeks to misuse legal processes and distort principles of international law.

“Iran’s goal is to prevent United States victims of the Iranian regime’s wanton acts of terrorism… from recovering compensation from Iran in US courts”, Palladino said.The US Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the money frozen by the United States should go to the survivors and families of victims of terrorist attacks attributed to Iran. Tehran claims that this decision violated the 1955 US-Iranian Treaty of Amity.

Washington said last October that it was terminating the treaty after the International Court of Justice ruled the United States breached the agreement by re-imposing sanctions linked to Tehran’s nuclear program.

READ MORE:

UN Court Allows Iran to Proceed With Bid to Recover $1.75 Bln Frozen by US

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

You can’t have Syria safe zone without Assad’s consent, Russia tells Turkey

Press TV – February 14, 2019

Russia has reminded Turkey that it must obtain the consent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for its plan to create a safe zone in the northeastern part of the conflict-plagued Arab country.

“The question of the presence of a military contingent acting on the authority of a third country on the territory of a sovereign country and especially Syria must be decided directly by Damascus. That’s our base position,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

The remarks came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a tripartite summit in the Russian coastal city of Sochi to provide further coordination among the three countries towards a long-term settlement of the Syria crisis.

The three leaders are going to hold their fourth such meeting in the Astana format.

The Sochi summit comes before the 12th Astana talks in the Kazakh capital in mid-February. The first round of the Astana talks commenced a month after the three guarantors joined efforts and brought about an all-Syria ceasefire.

Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives from the Damascus government and Syrian opposition groups in a series of rounds held in Astana and other places since January 2017.

Since 2012, Turkey has been calling for the establishment of a safe zone of 30-40 kilometers between the northern Syrian towns of Jarablus and al- Ra’i in a bid to drive out the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). However, the safe zone is yet to be established.

Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump held a telephone conversation last month, during which the Turkish leader expressed Ankara’s determination to establish a safe zone in northern Syria.

Trump has suggested creation of a 30-kilometer safe zone along Turkey’s border with Syria, but has not specified who would create, enforce or pay for it, or where it would be located.

Ankara has been threatening for months to launch an offensive in northern Syria against US-backed YPG militants.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The Turkish military, with support from allied militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army, launched two cross-border operations in northern Syria, the first dubbed “Euphrates Shield” in August 2016 and the second code-named “Olive Branch”in January 2018, against the YPG and Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Pence says EU must withdraw from Iran deal & stop trying to ‘break up’ sanctions on ‘vile regime’

RT | February 14, 2019

US Vice-President Mike Pence has demanded that Europe withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and lashed out at the EU’s efforts to evade Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

Speaking at a security conference in Warsaw, Pence chastized Europe for leading an “effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions” against Iran, and complained that European countries had not been “cooperative” since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran deal last year.

“The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal” and join with the US to give the Iranian people and the world “peace, security and freedom,” he said.

Pence said the EU’s newly created Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), conceived as a way to continue facilitating trade between the EU and Iran, was an “ill-advised step” which would only “strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.”

In January, the EU unveiled a new transactions channel aimed at bypassing the SWIFT international payments system to circumvent US sanctions. The system, called INSTEX – or ‘Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges’ – has limited capacity and only allows “humanitarian” trade by focusing on sectors “most essential” to Iranian people like food, pharmaceutical and medical devices. While the EU hailed the mechanism as a way to preserve the Iran deal, critics say it won’t change much as European countries still worry about US repercussions if they are “caught” evading sanctions and working in Iran.

Pence said that the US had been “a force for good” in the Middle East and claimed that Trump is committed to standing with “the good people of Iran and stand up to their oppressors.”

He cited the US’ withdrawal from the Iran deal as proof that Washington was making good on that promise, despite the fact that American sanctions, which Pence called “the toughest in history,” have had devastating effects on the Iranian people. He said the sanctions would “get tougher still” until Tehran complies with US demands, and said Washington’s efforts to isolate Iran was a “noble cause.”

Pence said that the nuclear deal did not ensure that the “vile regime” of Iran would not obtain nuclear weapons, but instead “delayed the day” that this would happen. This is despite the fact that Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN have all said that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal.

Pence called the Warsaw meeting, which was organized by the US and Poland, an “unprecedented gathering” of leaders, but the attendees list probably wasn’t quite what he might have hoped for, since major EU countries chose not to send top officials and Russia declined an invitation altogether. The summit was billed as a way to promote “peace and security in the Middle East” but focused mainly on efforts to isolate Iran. Ironically, Iran was not invited to the gathering.

Earlier at the conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that peace and stability in the Middle East was “not possible” without confronting Iran.

The absence of top diplomats from Germany, France and the UK is a sign that Europe is not likely to back down on its continued support of the Iran deal or its efforts to continue trading with Tehran. Iran dismissed the meeting as an anti-Iran “circus” aimed at “demonizing” the country.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

BBC-staged footage on Syria’s Douma Western media’s ‘theater of absurd’: Russia

Press TV – February 14, 2019

Russia says the latest revelations by BBC that the footage of an April chemical attack near the Syrian capital was fabricated proves the “theater of absurd” in Western media’s coverage of events in the Arab country.

“Over the past few years, and not just in Syria, we have been witness to a travesty being staged by the West and its media agencies, which on [the one] hand brags about brilliant democratic goals and support for civilians of a sovereign state, but on the other does not … give a damn about … international law, various forms of freedom and rights of a nation or a certain minority,” the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

The footage broadcast by BBC showed people being treated after a chemical attack in Douma.

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the issue had been investigated for six months.

Zakharova added, “The culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer, who confirmed based on his own research that the footage [in Douma] had been staged with direct participation of [the so-called civil defense group] White Helmets.

She further pointed out that Russia wanted to listen to BBC’s explanation because it actively covered the events in favor of the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The Western-backed White Helmets group, which has been repeatedly accused of cooperating with Takfiri terrorists and staging fictional chemical attacks, published a video in April 2018, alleging that Syrian government forces had launched a chemical assault in the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

The US has warned it would respond to any possible chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces last year.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

On September 11 last year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov censured the US threats to use military force against Syria as part of Washington’s blackmail policy.

“Unlike the United States, Britain and their allies, Russia provides particular facts on a daily basis through its Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry as well missions in New York, The Hague and Geneva. We particularly name geographical points, where preparations are underway for certain terrorist groups backed by the US and its allies to carry out provocations,” Ryabkov said.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

BBC Says Its Producer Expressed ‘Personal Opinions’ on Douma Incident

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati, who wrote on Twitter that he could prove the video of the victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma being treated in hospital was staged, was expressing his own opinion and did not deny the fact of the attack itself, the broadcaster’s spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.

“The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen”, the BBC spokesperson said.

On Wednesday, the journalist tweeted that he could “prove without a doubt” that the Douma hospital footage had been staged and no fatalities had occurred in the hospital. He said the attack did take place but without the use of sarin gas and that the nature of any chemical used would have to be verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Previously, the RT broadcaster reported that Dalati had already expressed his scepticism about the Douma hospital video in a Twitter post. However, the journalist subsequently deleted his tweet, citing a breach of editorial policy.

The same month, Hassan Diab, 11, who was featured in the White Helmets video, in an interview with a Russian media outlet alongside his father, gave a detailed description of how the footage of people treated in the hospital was filmed. Diab said, among other things, that children were given food for participating in the video.

Moreover, Douma residents, interviewed by Sputnik, were unable to confirm that the attack had taken place there. They said they knew nothing about it and were not aware of anybody having been affected by toxic chemicals.

The reports about the attack and the publication of the footage by the White Helmets were followed by missile strikes carried out by France, the United Kingdom and the United States targeting alleged chemical weapons production facilities in Damascus.

Western states have repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of having carried out the Douma attack, while Damascus denied any involvement in the incident. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the claims about the alleged use of toxic chemicals by the Syrian government were aimed at justifying external military action.

READ MORE: German Journalist Federation Calls on Regulators to Deny Broadcast License to RT

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The Real Motive Behind the FBI Plan to Investigate Trump as a Russian Agent

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | February 13, 2019

The New York Times and CNN led media coverage last month of discussions among senior FBI officials in May 2017 of a possible national security investigation of President Donald Trump himself, on the premise that he may have acted as an agent of Russia.

The episode has potentially profound political fallout, because the Times and CNN stories suggested that Trump may indeed have acted like a Russian agent. The New York Times story on Jan. 11 was headlined, “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” CNN followed three days later with: “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.”

By reporting that Russia may have been able to suborn the president of the United States, these stories have added an even more extreme layer to the dominant national political narrative of a serious Russian threat to destroy U.S. democracy. An analysis of the FBI’s idea of Trump as possible Russian agent reveals, moreover, that it is based on a devious concept of “unwitting” service to Russian interests that can be traced back to former CIA director John O. Brennan.

The Proposal That Fell Apart

The FBI discussions that drove these stories could have led to the first known investigation of a U.S. president as a suspected national security risk. It ended only a few days after the deliberations  among the senior FBI officials when on May 19, 2017, the Justice Department chose Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, to be special counsel. That put control over the Trump-Russia investigation into the hands of Mueller rather than the FBI.

Peter Strzok, who led the bureau’s counter-espionage section, was, along with former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker, one of those involved in the May 2017 discussions about investigating Trump. Strzok initially joined Mueller’s team but was fired after a couple of months when text messages that he had written came to light exposing a deep animosity towards Trump that cast doubt over his  impartiality.

The other FBI officials behind the proposed investigation of Trump have also since left the FBI; either fired or retired.

The entirety of what was said at the meetings of five or six senior FBI officials in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director on May 9, 2017, remains a mystery.

Closed-door Testimony

The CNN and Times stories were based on transcripts either obtained or, in the case of the Times, on portions read to it, of private testimony given to the House Judiciary and Government Oversight and Reform committees last October by Baker, one of the participants in the discussions of Trump as a possible Russian agent.

Excerpts of Baker’s testimony published by CNN make it clear that the group spoke about Trump’s policy toward Russia as a basis for a counter-intelligence investigation. Baker said they “discussed as [a] theoretical possibility” that Trump was “acting at the behest of [Russia] and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will.”

Baker went on to explain that this theoretical possibility was only “one extreme” in a range of possibilities discussed and that “the other extreme” was that “the President is completely innocent.”

He thus made it clear that there was no actual evidence for the idea that he was acting on behalf of Russia.

Baker also offered a simpler rationale for such an investigation of Trump: the president’s firing of FBI Director Comey. “Not only would [firing Comey] be an issue of obstructing an investigation,” he said, “but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security.”

But the idea that Comey’s firing had triggered the FBI’s discussions had already been refuted by a text message that Strzok, who had been leading the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians, sent immediately after the firing to Lisa Page, then legal counsel to Andrew McCabe, formerly the bureau’s deputy director who was then acting director.

“We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting,” Strzok wrote, referring to McCabe.

As Page later confirmed to congressional investigators, according to the CNN story, Strzok’s message referred to their desire to launch an investigation into possible collusion between Trump and the Russians. Strzok’s message also makes clear he, and others intent on the investigation, were anxious to get McCabe to approve the proposed probe before Trump named someone less sympathetic to the project as the new FBI director.

Why the FBI Wanted to Investigate

The New York Times story argued that the senior FBI officials’ interest in a counter-intelligence investigation of Trump and the Russians sprang from their knowledge of the sensational charges in the opposition research dossier assembled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele (paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign) that the Putin government had “tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.”

But the Times writers must have known that Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, had already given McCabe, Page and Strzok information about Steele and his dossier that raised fundamental questions about its reliability.

Ohr’s first contacts at FBI headquarters regarding Steele and his dossier came Aug. 3, 2016, with Page and her boss McCabe. Ohr later met with Strzok.

Ohr said he told them that Steele’s work on the dossier had been financed by the Clinton campaign through the Perkins-Cole law firm. He also told them that Steele, in a July 30, 2016 meeting, told him he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” according to Ohr’s contemporaneous notes of the meeting.

So, key figures in the discussion of Trump and Russia in May 2017 knew that Steele was acting out of both political and business motives to come up with sensational material.

Strzok and Page may have started out as true believers in the idea that the Russians were using Trump campaign officials to manipulate Trump administration policy. However, by May 2017, Strzok had evidently concluded that there was no real evidence.

In a text message to Page on May 19, 2017, Strzok said he was reluctant to join the Mueller investigation, because of his “gut sense and concern” that “there’s no big there there.”

Why, then, were Strzok, Page, McCabe and others so determined to launch an investigation of Trump at about the same time in May 2017?

A CNN article about the immediate aftermath of the Comey firing reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and senior FBI officials “viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reined in, according to two sources describing the sentiment of the time.”

That description by anti-Trump law enforcement officials suggests that the proposed counter-intelligence investigation of Trump served as a means to maintain some leverage over his treatment of the FBI in regard to the Russia issue.

That motivation would be consistent with the decision by McCabe on May 15, 2017 – a few days after the discussions in question among the senior FBI officials – to resume the bureau’s relationship with Steele.

The FBI had hired Steele as a paid source when it had earlier launched its investigation of Trump campaign official’s contacts with Russians in July 2016. But it had suspended and then terminated the relationship over Steele’s unauthorized disclosure of the investigation to David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in October 2016. So, the decision to resume the relationship with Steele suggests that the group behind the new investigation were thinking of seizing an opportunity to take off the gloves against Trump.

The ‘Unwitting Collaboration’ Ploy

The discussion by senior FBI officials of a counter-intelligence investigation of Trump has become part of the political struggle over Trump mainly because of the stories in the Times and CNN.

The role of the authors of those stories illustrates how corporate journalists casually embraced the ultimate conspiracy theory – that the president of the United States was acting as a Russian stooge.

The reporters of the CNN story — Jeremy Herb, Pamela Brown and Laura Jarrett — wrote that the FBI officials were “trying to understand why [Trump] was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia.”

The New York Times story was more explicit. Co-authors Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos wrote that the FBI officials “sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

The same day the Times story was published, the lead author on the piece, Adam Goldman, was interviewed by CNN. Goldman referred to Trump’s interview with NBC’sLester Holt in the days after the Comey firing as something that supposedly pushed the FBI officials over the edge. Goldman declared, “The FBI is watching him say this, and they say he’s telling us why he did this. He did it on behalf of Russia.”

But Trump said nothing of kind. What he actually said — as the Times itself quoted Trump, from the NBCinterview —was: “[W]hen I decided just to do it, I said to myself – I said, you know this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” The Times article continued: “Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. ‘I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Mr. Trump added. ‘He’s the wrong man for that position.’”

Goldman was evidently trying to sell the idea of Trump as a suspected agent of Russia.

Goldman also gave an interview to The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner, in which the interviewer pressed him on the weakest point of the Trump-as-Russian-agent theory. “What would that look like if the President was an unwitting agent of a foreign power?” asked Chotiner.

The Times correspondent, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, responded: “It is hard to say what that would look like.” Goldman then reiterated the concept. “People were very careful to tell me that: ‘It is wittingly or unwittingly.’” And in answer to a follow-up question, Goldman referred to evidence he suggested might be held by the FBI that “perhaps suggests that the President himself may be acting as a foreign agent, either wittingly or unwittingly….”

The idea that American citizens were somehow at risk of being led by an agent of the Russian government “wittingly or unwittingly” did not appear spontaneously. It had been pushed aggressively by former CIA Director John O. Brennan both during and after his role in pressing for the original investigation.

When Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017, he was asked whether he had intelligence indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign was “colluding with Moscow.” Instead of answering the question directly, Brennan said he knew from past experience that “the Russians try to suborn individuals, and they try get them to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.” And he recalled that he had left the government with “unresolved questions” about whether the Russians had been successful in doing so in regard to unidentified individuals in the case of the 2016 elections.

Brennan’s notion of “unwitting collaboration” with Russian subversion is illogical. Although a political actor might accidentally reveal information to a foreign government that is valuable, real “collaboration” must be mutually agreeable. A policy position or action that may benefit a foreign government, but is also in the interest of one’s own government, does not constitute “unwitting collaboration.”

The real purpose of that concept is to confer on national security officials and their media allies the power to cast suspicion on individuals on the basis of undesirable policy views of Russia rather than on any evidence of actual collaboration with the Russian government.

The “witting or unwitting” ploy has its origins in the unsavory history of extreme right-wing anti-communism during the Cold War. For example, when the House Un-American Activities Committee was at its height in 1956, Chairman Francis E. Walter declared that “people who are not actually Communist Party members are witting or unwitting servants of the Communist cause.”

The same logic – without explicit reference to the phrase — has been used to impugn the independence and loyalty of people who have contacts with Russia.

It has also been used to portray some independent media as part of a supposedly all-powerful Russian media system.

The revelation that it was turned against a sitting president, however briefly, is a warning signal that national security bureaucrats and their media allies are now moving more aggressively to delegitimize any opposition to the new Cold War.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on U.S. national security policy. His latest book, “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare,” was published in 2014. Follow him on Twitter: @GarethPorter.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heart of Darkness Germany

By Linh Dinh • Unz Review • February 13, 2019

After Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar made an obvious point about Jewish power influencing American foreign policies, she was forced, by that same Jewish power, to recant, thus confirming, to all those who can still think, the awful influence of Jewish power.

Though Jewish power is quite out in the open, as in AIPAC and the existence of a racist state that’s sustained by terror and endless war, one can’t even say “Jewish power” without being immediately branded an anti-Semite, if not a Nazi.

If it wasn’t for Jewish power, Americans wouldn’t have so much Muslim blood on their hands, or being worse than bankrupt, having fought so many wars for Israel.

If not for Jewish power, questioning the Holocaust wouldn’t be a thought crime in 16 European countries. No other event in human history is so fascistically protected from scrutiny. None but the Holocaust, thanks to Jewish power.

Robert Faurisson conclusively dismantled the Nazi gas chamber myth, so Jewish power destroyed his academic career, put him on trial and bankrupted this brave, unflinching man. In 1989, three thugs claiming to be The Sons of the Memory of the Jews attacked the 60-year-old and broke his jaw.

The Holocaust does not explain genocide but enables it, but few dare to say so, for fear of Jewish power.

There are no scientific or even documentary proofs of the Holocaust, so the six million figure is just as much nonsense as the human skin lampshades and human fat soap.

Thanks to the Holocaust, Germany is forever shamed, but there is “an inherent right of every individual to defend the community to which he belongs—that is, his people—from false and wicked accusations including the wickedest,” so states the lawyer for Ursula Haverbeck, a ninety-year-old woman who is imprisoned for questioning the Holocaust.

Even if she’s completely wrong, a raving lunatic, shouldn’t Haverbeck be entitled to her own thoughts? Jewish power emphatically says no.

Proscribing thoughts, Jewish power deforms minds, distorts personalities and turns men into cowardly idiots, and when this happens en masse, as in Germany, an entire society can unravel.

Outside the West, nationalism is embraced as natural and necessary, but in most white countries, it’s become increasingly equated with Fascism, and nowhere is this attitude more salient than in Germany. There, I saw graffiti denouncing Deutschland and even calling for “volkstod,” or “national death.” So many Germans wouldn’t hate themselves so vehemently if it wasn’t for the Holocaust, it’s safe to say.

For several years, I’ve posted reports from a German friend, describing his country in crisis, so below is his latest. Burdened by Holocaust guilts, Germans are shamed into accepting millions of refugees, many of whom are Muslims fleeing from wars triggered by Jewish power.

While still enjoying prosperity, stability, even tranquility (at least in comparison to most countries in the world), there are more signs we are fast approaching the “heart of darkness.”

In Berlin and Hamburg, two German cities with a high and rising percentage of migrants, the news are sobering: In Berlin, a study of 24,000 ten-year-old students shows that about 75% didn’t reach the basic levels of reading, writing and math. The news from Hamburg were equally dismal.

Or take Duisburg. Formerly best known for a TV character (Commissioner Schimanski), it’s now famous for its constant rising percentage of Migrants (and the problems that come with it). A 2017 study shows that only 8% of all first grade students spoke accurate German, while 16% spoke no German at all! Might it have something to do with the fact that in 50% of Duisburg households, German was not the first language spoken?

Lo and behold, the solution is near, for we are told we just have to work harder on integration, and everything will be fine (one wonders where all the jobs for these pupils shall come from…).

A further glimpse into the future is provided by the lovely town of Pforzheim. With about 160,000 people, its percentage of migrants is now roughly 60%. In the last local elections, the conservative AfD reached 26%, which is very uncommon in western Germany. Though similar to American Republicans, the AfD is constantly accused of Nazism and racism by the media, with the effect that many Germans are convinced these evil Nazis must be stopped.

Christiane Quincke is someone who quite eloquently fights “Nazis.” A typical product of western Germany’s reeducation, she feels morally obligated to fight Nazis and to integrate migrants. To achieve these ends, she has allied herself with DITIB, an organisation financed by the Turkish state and accused of having rather revolting stances on women, equality and gender, etc. It doesn’t matter. Progressive Quincke sees no contradictions.

Meanwhile, the media are doing their best to show us the evil face of Germany. In Chemnitz, two Germans were stabbed to death by a group of refugees (a thing which happens now on a weekly basis). A few thousand Germans demonstrated to express their anger and rage, but the crowd was peaceful and no riots took place. Nevertheless, some Neonazis within the demonstration showed the Hitlergruß (the Nazi salute), and this was more shocking to the media than the crime itself.

Even more shocking were news some demonstrators had allegedly chased migrants through the streets. In a video posted on an Antifa channel, two Migrants were chased by some men for a few yards. The entire media came immediately to the same conclusion: It was “Dunkeldeutschland” (the dark Germany, as our former president had called it) or Nazi Germany showing its ugly head.

The deed was unequivocally condemned by all media personalities and politicians, and even Chancellor Merkel jumped on the bandwagon to state that she would not tolerate a mob hunting foreigners. Some media even claimed that a pogrom had taken place. We should keep in mind that during a real pogrom, people not only get beaten up, but often killed, while windows are smashed, houses burnt and the likes. Nothing of the kind took place in Chemnitz.

It’s funny but the media and politicians never said this incident should be thoroughly investigated by the police. Lo and behold, the alternative media finally interviewed the woman who had made the video. In it, she and her husband (who remained anonymous for fear of reprisals) explained that an argument had happened before the incident.

Two young migrants had repeatedly shouted “Piss off” at the demonstrators, who shouted back, “Shut up!” After a moment, some demonstrators started running towards the migrants, who fled. After a few yards, the demonstrators stopped and let the migrants escape. A German shouted after them, “Ihr seid hier nicht willkommen!” (“You are not welcome here!”)

So this was the horrendous incident! This was Nazi Germany, and so horrific that it had to be condemned by all good citizens! The mainstream media paid no attention to the interview with the maker of the video. Furthermore, the Director of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Herr Maaßen, had to resign for simply stating that no pogrom had taken place in Chemnitz.

So we now have two realities: A real one and a fake one. (He who reads Orwell might not be too surprised).

Another funny thing happened some weeks later: A group of young refugees were chasing Germans in the small town of Amberg. Drunk, they punched passersby, some of whom were running away. All in all about 12 Germans were punched and/or kicked, with two hospitalized.

While this was a real violent incident, it caused no media uproar, in contrast to the fake pogrom in Chemnitz. It’s no wonder why all the great newspapers in Germany are failing.

Two other examples to explain the difference between reality and the media’s picture: For years, German Christmas markets were cheerfully attended by many people (Germans and others). People drank glühwein, ate potato pankaces and shared stories. There was no police around, no fences, no guards, nothing.

In 2018, German Christmas markets are surrounded by concrete posts to prevent Islamists from driving into the crowds. Police is often around, sometimes heavily armed and closely watching everything. Yet, we are still told, all is quiet on the Western (and Eastern) front.

Only obscure bloggers bother to paint a different picture of the reality. Vera Lengsfeld is a former politician of the conservative German Christian Democrats. Born in the former East Germany, she was a critic of the Communist regime, so was jailed for speaking her mind.

After the fall of the socialist regime, she joined the Conservative party. As she once put it, she thought that the rest of her life would be spent on “beautiful things” like art, exhibitions, etc., and she would never have to speak out against another unjust regime.

To her great amazement, the Federal Republic of Germany underwent a change from a liberal country to a politically correct state, which began to follow suicidal polices in regards to migration, economics and the environment, etc.

Lengsfeld became one the staunchest critics of Merkel’s open door policy. Since it’s hard to paint her as a racist or a Nazi, the media simply ignores her. Her informative blog paints a rather bleak picture of present day Germany. She shows that during last New Year’s Eve, for example, there was much violence in many German cities, but since these incidents were buried in local news, most Germans did not know about them.

Since the media paint the right wing AfD as a menace, AfD members are most likely to have their cars burned or their offices smashed. They may also face problems at work or have bars and restaurants shun them. In Berlin, a posh restaurant put out a sign indicating it won’t serve members of the AfD.

It’s so funny how these patterns are repeated throughout history: I am quite sure these restaurant owners are convinced of doing the right thing, but doesn’t it rhyme with “don’t buy from the Jew”? Not yet, but we’re only a few steps behind.

The change in political climate can also be seen in the following incident: The boss of the AfD in Bremen, Frank Magnitz, was attacked and badly hurt. You can see the picture of him lying unconsciously in a hospital.

When the media reported about the attack by some thugs (probably Antifa), they were quick to mention that Frank Magnitz had it coming, for he was spewing vicious hatred… I don’t want to imagine the national hysteria had Magnitz been a Social Democrat or Green Party politician. An outcry of historic proportions would have ensued.

We have it coming too. Recently, our Minister of Finance told us that “die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” (“the fat years are over”). He meant that tax revenues will go down and an economic slowdown might ensue.

Danke, Herr Minister! With about 50 billion Euros a year for all the new programs for migrants and refugees, including housing, language and integration courses, social benefits and what-have-you, what shall we do? We must stop relying on the state for everything, that’s what, and get our lazy asses going!

Hmm, wise words, but I smell something fishy here… With taxes already at the highest level in German history, what should we expect? Even higher taxes! And more economic hardship, of course. On and on it goes…

Diesel is the new evil, Trump is evil, the AfD is evil, East Germans are evil, especially Saxons (though they started the uprising against Communism), and refugees are our shiny future, even if 65% of them are still unemployed, and the ones with jobs are overwhelmingly low-skilled.

Two young Germans were just pushed in front of a train and died? Who are the suspects? Ah, some Germans (sigh of relief), but they are of Turkish and Greek origins? The Germans were pushed because they had told the suspects to stop smoking there. Oh, well… It could have been the other way around, no? Unfortunately, statistics tell a different story.

So all in all, we are on our way to the heart of darkness. It will still take many years until we’ll finally get there, but we will, for sure. No revolution will stop this course, no reform, no rationality, no new thinking. Nothing.

Reality will matter still less in the years to come. We will swallow up all our resources until we reach complete pauperization, and on our way to the bottom, we’ll see our liberties vanished and our way of life, too. There will be more taxes, violence, hatred, bigotry, irrational behavior and modern witch hunts.

We are ruled by ideologists, not only in Germany but across the West, and they will not stop chasing paradise on earth as they create hell.

Will we learn from the epic downfall awaiting us? I hope and pray that some of us will hold up the light of rational thinking, the heritage of our forefathers, who gave their lives for freedom and justice. In Berthold Brecht’s Galileo Galilei, Galilei is threatened with torture for his heresy, so recants his observation that the sun is the center of the universe, and not the earth, which prompts a disappointed follower to blurt out, “Pity the country that has no heroes!”

The frail Galilei famously corrects him, “No, pity the country that needs heroes.”

Be that as it may, we will be challenged in the years ahead to become heroes of a true and decent humanity. Good luck to us all.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | | Leave a comment

US Air Freight Company that Smuggled Weapons Into Venezuela Linked to CIA “Black Site” Renditions

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | February 13, 2019

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – Two executives at the company that chartered the U.S. plane that was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela last week have been tied to an air cargo company that aided the CIA in the rendition of alleged terrorists to “black site” centers for interrogation. The troubling revelation comes as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has rejected a U.S. “humanitarian aid” convoy over concerns that it could contain weapons meant to arm the country’s U.S.-backed opposition.

Last Tuesday, Venezuelan authorities announced that 19 rifles, 118 ammo magazines, 90 radios and six iPhones had been smuggled into the country via a U.S. plane that had originated in Miami. The authorities blamed the United States government for the illicit cargo, accusing it of seeking to arm U.S.-funded opposition groups in the country in order to topple the current Maduro-led government.

A subsequent investigation into the plane responsible for the weapons caché conducted by McClatchyDC received very little media attention despite the fact that it uncovered information clearly showing that the plane responsible for the shipment had been making an unusually high number of trips to Venezuela and neighboring Colombia over the past few weeks.

Steffan Watkins, an Ottawa-based analyst, told McClatchy in a telephone interview that the plane, which is operated by U.S. air cargo company 21 Air, had been “flying between Philadelphia and Miami and all over the place, but all continental U.S.” during all of last year. However, Watkins noted that “all of a sudden in January, things changed” when the plane began making trips to Colombia and Venezuela on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day.

According to Watkins’ analysis, this single plane had conducted 40 round-trip flights from Miami International Airport to Caracas and Valencia — where the smuggled weapons had been discovered — in Venezuela, as well as to Bogota and Medellin in Colombia in just the past month.

Publicly available flight radar information shows that the plane, although it has not returned to Venezuela since the discovery of its illicit cargo, has continued to travel to Medellin, Colombia, as recently as this past Monday.

Multiple CIA ties

In addition to the dramatic and abrupt change in flight patterns that occurred just weeks before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence prompted Venezuelan opposition member Juan Guaidó to declare himself “interim president,” a subsequent McClatchy follow-up investigation also uncovered the fact that two top executives at the company that owns the plane in question had previously worked with a company connected to controversial CIA “black sites.”

Indeed, the chairman and majority owner of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, and 21 Air’s director of quality control, Michael Steinke, both have “either coincidental or direct ties” to Gemini Air Cargo, a company previously named by Amnesty International as one of the air charter services involved in a CIA rendition program. In this CIA program, individuals suspected of terrorism were abducted by the intelligence agency and then taken abroad to third-country secret “black sites” where torture, officially termed “enhanced interrogation,” was regularly performed.

Steinke worked for Gemini Air Cargo from 1996 to 1997, according to a 2016 Department of Transportation document cited by McClatchy. Moreno, although he did not work for Gemini, registered two separate businesses at a Miami address that was later registered to Gemini Air Cargo while the CIA rendition program was active. McClatchy noted that the first business Moreno registered at the location was incorporated in 1987 while the second was created in 2001. Gemini Cargo Logistics, a subsidiary of Gemini Air Cargo, was subsequently registered at that same location in 2005.

21 Air has denied any responsibility for the weapons shipment discovered onboard the plane it operates, instead blaming a contractor known as GPS-Air for the illicit cargo. A GPS-Air manager, Cesar Meneses, told McClatchy that the weapons shipment had been “fabricated” by the Maduro-led government to paint his government as the victim. Meneses also stated that “the cargo doesn’t belong to 21 Air and it doesn’t belong to GPS-Air” and that it had been provided by third parties, whose identities Meneses declined to disclose.

Contras redux?

The revelation that the company that operates the plane caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela has connections to past controversial CIA programs is unlikely to surprise many observers, given the CIA’s decades-long history of funneling weapons to U.S.-backed opposition fighters in Latin America, Southeast Asia and other conflict areas around the globe.

One of the best-known examples of the CIA using airliners to smuggle weapons to a U.S.-backed paramilitary group occurred during the 1980s in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, in which the Reagan administration delivered weapons to the Contra rebels in order to topple the left-leaning Sandinista movement. Many of those weapons had been hidden on flights claiming to be carrying “humanitarian aid” into Nicaragua.

The parallels between aspects of the Contra scandal and the current situation in Venezuela are striking, particularly given the recent “outrage” voiced by mainstream media and prominent U.S. politicians over Maduro’s refusal to allow U.S. “humanitarian aid” into the country. Maduro had explained his rejection of the aid as partially stemming from the concern that it could contain weapons or other supplies aimed at creating an armed opposition force, like the “rebel” force that was armed by the CIA in Syria in 2011.

Though the media has written off Maduro’s concern as unfounded, that is hardly the case in light of the fact that the Trump administration’s recently named special envoy in charge of the administration’s Venezuela policy, Elliott Abrams, had been instrumental in delivering weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras, including hiding those weapons in “humanitarian aid” shipments. In subsequent testimony after the scandal broke in the 1980s, Abrams himself admitted to funneling weapons to the Contras in exactly this way.

With the recently uncovered illicit weapons shipment from the U.S. to Venezuela now linked to companies that have previously worked with the CIA in covert operations, Maduro’s response to the “humanitarian aid” controversy is even more justified. Unfortunately for him, the U.S.-backed “interim president,” Juan Guaidó, announced on Monday that his parallel government had received the first “external” source of “humanitarian aid” into the country, but would not disclose its source, its specific contents, nor how it had entered the country.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment