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Whose Interests Are Served by the US Occupation of East Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

By Mike Whitney • Unz Review • March 11, 2019

What is Israel’s stake in east Syria? Has Israel influenced Washington’s decision to maintain a long-term military presence in Syria? How does Israel benefit from the splintering of Syria into smaller statelets and from undermining the power of the central government in Damascus? Did Israel’s regional ambitions factor into Trump’s decision to shrug off Turkey’s national security concerns and create an independent Kurdish state on Syrian sovereign territory? What is the connection between the Kurdish independence movement and the state of Israel?

The Pentagon does everything in its power to conceal the number and location of US military bases in a war zone. That rule applies to east Syria as well, which means we cannot confirm with absolute certainty how many bases really exist. Even so, in 2017, a Turkish news agency, “Anadolu Agency published an infographic on Tuesday showing 10 locations in which US troops were stationed. Two airbases, eight military points in PKK/PYD-controlled areas.”

According to a report in Orient.Net : “The 8 military sites, according to the agency, host military personnel involved in coordinating the aerial and artillery bombardments of US forces, training Kurdish military personnel, planning special operations and participating in intensive combat operations.” (“AA’s map of US bases in Syria infuriates Pentagon”, )

The location of these bases is unimportant, what is important is that there has been no indication that Washington has any plan to close these bases down or to withdraw American troops. In fact, as the New York Times reported just weeks ago, the number of US troops has actually increased by roughly 1,000 since Trump made his withdrawal announcement in mid-December. We think that is especially significant in view of Trump’s surprising comments last week, that he now agrees “100%” with maintaining a military presence in Syria. His sudden reversal shows that the opponents of the “withdrawal plan” have prevailed and the US is not going to leave Syria after all. It’s also worth noting that Trump administration has made no effort to implement the “Manbij Roadmap” which requires the US to coordinate its withdrawal with the Turkish military in order to maintain security and avoid a vacuum that could be filled by hostile elements. Ankara and Washington agreed to this arrangement long ago in order to expel Kurdish militants (who Turkey identifies as “terrorists”) from the area along the border. It appears now that Trump will not honor that deal, mainly because Trump intends to be in Syria for the long-haul.

But, why? Why would Trump risk a confrontation with a critical NATO ally (Turkey) merely to hold a 20 mile-deep stretch of land that has no strategic value to the United States? It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Now in earlier articles we have argued that influential think tanks, like the Brookings Institute, have played a critical role in shaping Washington’s Syria policy, and that indeed is true. Just take a look at this short excerpt from a piece by Brookings Michael E. O’Hanlon titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:

“… the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria…. the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able…. Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….

The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force… to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.” (“Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)

Strategic planners and think-tank pundits have long sought to break up Syria, that’s old news. What’s new is the emergence of powerful neocons operating in the White House and State Department (John Bolton, Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo) who, we suspect, are using their influence to shape policy in a way that is sympathetic to Israel’s regional ambitions. It’s worth noting, that Zionist plans to dismember surrounding Arab states to ensure Israeli superiority, date back more than 30 years. The so called Yinon plan was a fairly straightforward strategy to balkanize the Middle East’s geopolitical environment to enhance Israeli regional hegemony while “A Clean Break” was a more recent adaptation which emphasized “weakening, containing or even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” In any event, many right-wing Israelis seem to think that chopping up sovereign Arab states into smaller bite-sized pieces, governed by tribal leaders or Washington’s puppets, will unavoidably boost Tel Aviv’s power across the Middle East.

But how does the US military occupation of east Syria fit in with all this?

Well, the US occupation effectively creates an independent Kurdish state in the heart of the Arab world which helps to weaken Israel’s rivals. That’s why some have referred to emerging Kurdistan as a “second Israel”. Here’s how Seth Frantzman, a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs in Herzliya, explains it:

“Israel would welcome another state in the region that shares its concerns about the rising power of Iran, including the threat of Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq,” says Frantzman. “Reports have also indicated that oil from Kurdistan is purchased by Israel.” (“Why Israel supports an independent Iraqi Kurdistan”, CNN)

While its true that Kurdish oil may provide an added incentive for long-term occupation, the real goal is to block a “land corridor” from opening (that would connect Beirut, to Damascus, to Baghdad to Tehran) and to further undermine Iran’s growing influence in the region. Those are the real objectives. In fact, US military operations in Syria are actually part of a broader campaign directed at Iran, a campaign that undoubtedly has the full support of neocons Pompeo and Bolton.

Check out this lengthy quote from a piece by Rauf Baker at The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies which helps to put the whole Israel-Kurdistan issue into perspective:

“Since declaring “Rojava” in northern and northeastern Syria in 2013, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), both of which are linked to the PKK, have built a uniquely viable entity amid the surrounding bedlam. (Note: The PKK, is on the State Departments list of terrorist organizations and has been conducting a war on Turkey for more than 3 decades.)

The ancient proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” could be useful to Israel in this grim scenario. The Syrian regime continues to uphold its traditional anti-Israel stance, and is in any case largely dependent on Iran, Hezbollah, and the other Shiite militias, all of which want Israel destroyed….

The Syrian Kurdish parties opposing PYD are openly linked to Ankara, which is ruled by a president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is obsessed with power and whose ideology considers the entire State of Israel to be illegitimately occupied by Jews. Moreover, he has recently established a rapprochement with Tehran – a worrying development…

Iran is now closer than ever to securing a land corridor that will connect it to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This corridor will expand its sphere of influence from the Strait of Hormuz in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, and will ensure that Israel is surrounded by land and sea

Should Israel strengthen its relationship with the Syrian Kurds, its gains would extend beyond strategic, political, and security benefits. Rojava’s natural resources, especially its oil, can contribute to Israel’s energy supply and be invested in projects such as an oil pipeline through Jordan to Israel. US troops are stationed at several military bases in Rojava, which could offer an alternative to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey...

It appears abundantly clear that the Kurds are the most qualified, if not the only, candidate in Syria on which Israel can count for support… Israel should act swiftly to support the emerging Kurdish region in Syria...

It is very much in Israel’s interest to have a reliable and trustworthy friend in the new Syria. If Jerusalem hopes, together with its ally in Washington, to prevent Tehran from establishing its long-sought land corridor, it will need to strengthen its influence in the Syrian Kurdish region to serve as a wall blocking Iran’s ambitions.” (“The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally”, Rauf Baker, BESA Center)

So, the question is: Whose interests are really served by the US occupation of east Syria: America’s or Israel’s?

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

US Wants India to Stop Oil Trade With Venezuela – Special Envoy Abrams

Sputnik – 10.03.2019

US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams confirmed that Washington is pressing India to stop buying Venezuelan oil.

“We say you should not be helping this regime, you should be on the side of the Venezuelan people”, Abrams told Reuters, adding that the White House had given the same message to other governments.

Previously, Bloomberg suggested that Caracas shipped 620,000 barrels a day to India in the first half of February, which is 66% more than the average daily shipments a month earlier.

In response, Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar stated that New Delhi would ignore US pressure and continue its trade with Venezuela.

Addressing the political crisis in the Latin American country earlier in February, US National Security Adviser John Bolton had warned that “nations and firms that support Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten”.

Washington introduced sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in January, blocking $7 billion in PDVSA assets and pressuring companies to cut ties with the firm until 11 March. The deadline, however, was later extended until 10 May.

The decision was made after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country’s interim president. The United States immediately recognised him as head of Venezuela, with many of its allies following the suit; however, Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey and a number of other countries have supported Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

US Stealth War on Venezuela

By Finian Cunningham | Sputnik | March 9, 2019

As Venezuela’s nationwide crippling power outage goes into days, rather than hours, the suspicion grows that the South American country has been hit with a mass attack by the United States.

When US President Donald Trump and other senior White House officials earlier bragged that “all options are on the table” for Washington’s regime change objective in Venezuela, it has to be assumed now that one of those options included a devastating cyber sabotage of the country’s power infrastructure.

For its part, the government of President Nicolas Maduro is convinced that the US is waging an “electrical war” and is behind the latest power outages. Washington and its anointed Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaido claim that the disruption is the result of “incompetent management” of the country by Maduro’s socialist government.

Venezuela’s 31 million population is reportedly used to the inconvenience of frequent power cuts. The country’s economic turmoil over recent years due to declining revenues for its oil exports as well as — perhaps the main factor — US sanctions, has hampered normal administration, thus leading to recurring power outages and other consumer shortages.

However, the scale of the latest blackouts indicate an unprecedented damage to the country’s power infrastructure.

At first, the Venezuelan government was promising that electricity supplies would be resumed “within hours” after the initial blackout which happened Thursday. That resumption has apparently not been achieved yet by the authorities — several days later.

The entire country appears to have been paralyzed. The public transport systems of trains and airports have been shut down. Without electricity to operate fuel pumps, cars and other traffic have also ground to a halt.

At night, Caracas the capital and other major cities are hooded in darkness without house and street lights and other basic services.

Hospitals are reportedly struggling to maintain life-saving operations, such as ventilators for newborn babies.

It is no exaggeration to say that lives will be lost as a result of the far-reaching power cuts.

The nationwide scale and duration of the outages strongly suggest that the disruption has been caused by deliberate sabotage — as the Venezuelan government says.

There doesn’t appear to be any hard proof of how the purported sabotage was carried out. But a reasonable conjecture would be that some form of cyber attack was launched on the Venezuelan power grid.

That might explain why it is taking so long to isolate and rectify the problem.

Washington’s rapid reaction to the latest power calamity is suggestive of a premeditated act. Politicians like Senator Marco Rubio who has been leading the regime-change campaign did not skip a beat to immediately proclaim the outages as “evidence” of the Maduro government’s mismanagement and illegitimacy. This line was also quickly chimed by the US-backed opposition figure Guaido, whom Washington has arbitrarily and illegally designated as the “recognized president” of Venezuela.

Guaido further hinted at the colossal blackmail tactic being played.

He declared that “the lights will come back on when the usurper Maduro is overthrown”.

The tactic here is therefore to inflict as much hardship and misery on Venezuelans — from systematic power cuts — and then tell them “the price” for relief is to topple President Maduro. That is in spite of Maduro having been elected last year by a huge majority in free and fair elections.There are several other reasons which point to the US using a “stealth war” strategy.

We know that the Americans have serious cyber-attack capabilities.

Only a few years back, the US launched a mass attack on Iranian infrastructure with the so-called Stuxnet computer virus. At the time, the Americans even publicly boasted about perpetrating that sabotage.

The irony is that the US and its NATO allies continually accuse Russia of attempting to knock out civil infrastructure in their countries.

Such cyber stealth is part of the supposed “hybrid war” that Moscow has developed to target “Western democracy”. Lurid claims have often been made in Western news media about Russia aiming to decimate power and transport systems through computer hacking.

Moscow has denied all such claims as provocative slander. No doubt Russia has developed its own cyber weapons, as many other states have, as part of a modern arsenal against would-be enemies. But Western allegations against Moscow are more likely to be what the psychologists call “projection of their guilt” in having the capability and actually deploying cyber weapons. Venezuela would seem to be a present case in point.

A US conventional military attack on Venezuela — one of the infamous “options on the table” — would be unfeasible and messy for Washington.

Venezuela has well-equipped and robust armed forces. Those forces have shown their mettle recently by remaining loyal to the government and nation’s constitution, despite immense intimidation and bribes issued by Washington and its opposition surrogates. The Trump administration has no doubt realized that any military adventurism in South America would be met with a fierce and potentially humiliating response.

Secondly, Russia last week announced that it would not tolerate any American military intervention in Venezuela, with whom Moscow is a firm ally.

The solid military defense of Venezuela, the steadfastness of its army and the majority of civilians in support of Maduro, as well as its Russian ally, probably persuaded the Americans to take the stealth war option — in the form of sabotaging the country’s power grid.

The added advantage of this option is “plausible deniability” for the Americans. A military attack on Venezuela could have incurred major political and legal problems as the world would have witnessed a gratuitous aggression.

By crippling the country through cyber attacks on its civilian power supply, Washington can use deception to hide its dirty hands. Better still, it can lay the blame on “mismanagement” by the Maduro government.

A conventional military intervention by the Americans would also have mobilized Venezuelans to defend their country from what would be seen by them as imperialist aggression.

By contrast, the abstract method of stealth aggression will throw many Venezuelans into doubt about who just is the perpetrator. They may even be convinced by Washington and its orchestrated opposition puppet, and hence blame President Maduro for their latest travails.

Stealth war may be hard to discern. Nevertheless, it is still a monstrously criminal act of aggression.


Cabinet Minister Says Venezuela’s Blackout May Be Caused by US Cyberattack

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Palestine cuts staff pay over Israeli tax deductions

MEMO | March 10, 2019

The Palestinian government will pay civil servants half of their salaries after Israel withheld tax money collected on its behalf, according to the Palestinian finance minister.

“The government will pay 50 per cent of the salaries,” Shukri Bishara told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday.

He said the government has also applied a host of austerity measures, including halting the appointment of new civil servants, promotions and additional allowances.

“The government needs to borrow around $50-60 million a month from the local market to meet its obligations towards its employees and state institutions,” he said.

Last month, the Ramallah-based government refused to accept deducted tax revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The move came after the Israeli government decided to deduct some 502 million Israeli shekels (roughly $138 million) from the Palestinian tax money, citing that the amount was being paid by Ramallah to the families of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israeli targets.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decried by the Israeli measure, saying his government would continue to pay monthly stipends to the families of Palestinian prisoners and martyrs.

Israel collects around $175 million each month in taxes on Palestinian imports and exports on behalf of the PA, for which tax revenue represents the main source of income.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Pakistan Must Resist Demands From “Friends”

The Perfectionistas | March 9, 2019

Someone needs to send the Pakistani government a copy of the picture book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

In it, a pestering mouse asks a boy for a cookie, and after he obliges, the rodent gets pushier with his demands until he’s moved into the exhausted boy’s house.

Similarly, Pakistan is surrounded by a nest of mice, actually wolves in sheep’s clothing, pressuring the nuclear-armed country through a carrots-and-sticks policy to oblige to their demands to join the anti-Iran coalition. These countries include America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, all bent on waging war with Iran and aware they can’t do it without cooperation from Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has so far resisted pressure to join the war path but future prospects look precarious, unfortunately, as the government shows signs of capitulating under stress and altering policies to oblige outsiders.

This week, for example, under global pressure to reign in terrorists, the government seized hundreds of institutions run by banned outfits and apprehended their leaders. That’s the right thing to do, of course, but should be done on principle not under pressure.

Buckling under pressure sends signals to others that, if enough force is applied, Pakistan will come around and do as told.

High on the American-Israeli-Saudi axis to-do list for Pakistan right now is normalizing relations with Israel, something most Arab countries have done de facto but are waiting for 200-million strong Pakistan to do first so they can declare it officially. Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to recognize Israel in 1947, and that has remained the country’s policy.

While getting Pakistan to change course on Israel is a tall order, especially with Pakistani officials accusing Israelis of involvement in India’s foiled attacks on Pakistan last month, the pressure is on nonetheless, and has been intensified since Khan, whose ex-wife has Jewish roots, took office last year.

Khan insists normalization with Israel is not on the table but some in his government have already succumbed to the normalization narrative.

Last month Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told an Israeli news portal that “Pakistan is interested in advancing its relations with Israel,” according to media reports, and in November MNA Asma Hadid tried coaxing colleagues to support Israel during a meeting of the National Assembly. The media also claims that the Pakistani government allowed a plane carrying a senior Israeli official to fly into Islamabad from Tel Aviv last fall. And although the Pakistani passport says it is “valid for all countries of the world except Israel,” a Pakistani Jew was allowed to fly to Israel for the first time in January.

Others pushing Pakistan to establish diplomatic ties with Israel include:

  • Military men: Pakistan’s former President Retired General Pervez Musharraf told reporters in Dubai last month that “there is no harm to establish a relationship with Israel” as it will help “counter India,” buttressing the arguments of those who say India’s attacks were the “sticks” to get Pakistan to normalize relations with Israel.

  • Media: Pakistan’s English-language newspaper Daily News editorialized last week that Pakistan should explore ties with Israel as the two “are not enemies.”
  • Lobby: The Pakistan Israel Alliance (PIA) of London “seeks to build bridges and better understanding between Israelis and Pakistanis,” according to its Facebook page. PIA offers ways of “maintaining relations” off-the-record, including the pre-revoluton Iranian model (recognize Israel secretly like the Shah of Iran), Jordanian model (close political and military ties without official recognition), or Chinese model (establish military contacts before political relations), according to a February 2018 post on its Facebook page.
  • Literature: PIA’s publishing arm Pak Israel News releases books in Urdu celebrating Zionism, such as “Zionism, Israel, and  Palestinians” and “The State of Israel: In War and Peace and Islamic Terrorism.”

Even if Pakistan does sell its soul and recognizes Israel, demands on the country–like those on the boy in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie–will not stop until Pakistan too is weakened to the point of collapse. These demands include helping the American-Israeli-Saudi axis wage war on Iran and the nuclear disarmament of Pakistan. Scholar Syed Jawad Naqvi predicts Pakistan will eventually be pressured to shut its nuclear program and sell its technology to Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan can learn from the disastrous affects of capitulating to outside pressures from Iran. Iran’s economy is in shambles after agreeing to curb its nuclear program under a 2013 deal with the US and five other countries. Not only did the the US start putting demands on Iran’s missile program next but it then backed out of the agreement altogether and imposed stringent sanctions on the Iranian nation.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Imam Ali Khamanei had warned its politicians that acquiescence to demands will lead to attempts to “bring the country’s decision-making… centers under their control.”

“The point is Iran doesn’t follow arrogant powers,” Khamanei said in 2016. “In this war, willpowers are fighting. The stronger willpower will win.”

Pakistan, too, must strengthen its resolve and resist outside pressures. That is the only way to fail the best-laid schemes of mice and men.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Intelligence Contractors Make New Attempt To Provoke Tensions With North Korea

By William Craddick | Disobedient Media | March 8, 2019

It’s the second, but no less ludicrous, attempt in one week to sway the opinion of the public and President Donald Trump against the concept of denuclearization and peaceful dialogue with North Korea.

A March 8, 2019 report from National Public Radio (NPR) follows another by NBC News with sensational and misleading claims that satellite imagery released by private corporations with contractual ties to government defense and intelligence agencies show imminent preparations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to engage in missile testing or the launch of a satellite from their facilities in Sanumdong, North Korea. An examination of the photos provided shows absolutely no indication of such activity.

I. Satellite Footage Of Sanumdong Facility Shows No Sign Of Imminent Launch

Images provided to NPR by private contractor DigitalGlobe consist of two low resolution images, one of a building in the Sanumdong complex and the other of a train sitting along a rail line. In neither photo is there any discernible amount of unusual activity.

Credit: Image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, Inc. Graphic: Alyson Hurt/NPR

The first image of a “production hall” bears a striking resemblance to a similar photo run by the Washington Post in July 2018 where unnamed intelligence officials claimed that North Korea was building one or possibly two liquid fueled ICBMs which appear to have never materialized or been used in any launch. The claims came one month after President Trump met with Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit between the United States and the DPRK.

NPR claims that the imagery shows “vehicle activity” occurring around the facility. Yet close inspection shows that the “activity” consists of a few inert vehicles, which appear to be a white pickup and white dump truck or flatbed parked in a permanent position next to piles of metal. The scene does not appear to be different from any number of sleepy yards of businesses that can be examined by members of the public on Google Maps.

Credit: Image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, Inc. Graphic: Koko Nakajima/NPR

The second image, according to NPR, shows rail cars sitting “in a nearby rail yard, where two cranes are also erected.” The photo simply shows a train car sitting inert with empty flatbed cars and hopper cars that are either filled with coal or empty. A second rail line similarly holds a number of hoppers and flatbed cars. Hopper cars in particular are totally unsuitable for the transportation of military technology such as missiles.

The tracks in the lower left corner are covered in snow, meaning that the train sat for many months through the winter or was backed into its position. Considering that US and international sanctions have caused an extreme scarcity of fuel in the DPRK it is likely that the trains have not moved for quite some time, unless their diesel engines were converted to burn coal or wood.

In short, there is absolutely no indication that several low resolution photos of a facility in North Korea have any activity in them outside of a few rusting vehicles that have sat without moving for some time.

II. NPR’s Sources Of Satellite Imagery Are Contractors For The CIA And Pentagon

The report by NPR lists two sources of satellite imagery – DigitalGlobe, Inc. and Planet Labs, Inc. As Disobedient Media has previously reported, DigitalGlobe is an American vendor of satellite imagery founded by a scientist who worked on the US military’s Star Wars ICBM defense program under President Ronald Reagan. DigitalGlobe began its existence in Oakland, CA and was seeded with money from Silicon Valley sources and corporations in North America, Europe and Japan. Headquartered in Westminster CO, DigitalGlobe works extensively with defense and intelligence programs. In 2016, it was revealed that DigitalGlobe was working with CIA chipmaker NVIDIA and Amazon Web Services to create an AI-run satellite surveillance network known as Spacenet.

Planet Labs is a private satellite imaging corporation based in San Francisco, CA that allows customers with the money to pay for an opportunity to gain access to next generation surveillance capabilities. In February 2016, Federal technology news source Nextgov noted a statement from former CIA Information Operations Center director and senior cyber adviser Sue Gordon that Planet Labs, DigitalGlobe and Google subsidiary Skybox Imaging were all working with the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to provide location intelligence. Planet Labs’ own website also lists press releases detailing past contracts for subscription access to high resolution imagery with the NGA.

The pervasive involvement of intelligence agencies and defense contractors in attempts to undermine negotiations with North Korea does not create confidence in the already shaky claims made by NPR regarding alleged preparations by the DPRK to participate in a missile launch. These contentions are not supported in substance by any tangible facts. As claims and pressure continue to build on President Donald Trump to abandon the peace process, there are multiple factions of the United States government who are running a real risk of behaving in manners which could be interpreted as open sedition or refusal to carry out the stated goals and policies of the President.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US military truck carrying missiles crashes in Idaho

Press TV – March 10, 2019

Police in the US state of Idaho were forced to close down a highway after a semi-truck carrying missiles for the military crashed.

According to state police, the truck veered off the main road at a rest stop along I-90 in northern Idaho on Friday night as the driver attempted to use the interstate on-ramp.

The 50-year-old man at the wheel lost control of the truck and accidentally drove into a hazardous materials containment area and disabled his vehicle by driving over a snowbank at the end of the hazmat area.

No one was hurt in crash but police had to completely shut down the road for four miles as a precaution, because the truck was transporting 16 missiles, each one weighing 900kg (2,000lbs).

The driver was cited for inattentive driving.

The US military has a long history of botched transportation of dangerous weapons and military equipment.

In November 2015, an astonishing video surfaced showing an armored escort vehicle colliding into a nuclear warhead loaded into a truck near Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

The escort vehicle was speeding behind the truck but the driver failed to react in time and ended up driving into it.

More recently, in February this year, a truck hauling a shipment of US Navy-owned military munitions crashed into two commercial trucks on US Highway 212 in southeastern Montana.

The US Air Force sent a six-member disposal unit to the scene, who then used 58kg of explosives to detonate 60 hazardous munitions that were damaged. The unit recovered 420 other projectiles.

In late January, two US military vehicles crashed in New Mexico, injuring all 9 personnel onboard, two of them critically.

The US military has been blamed for similar incidents abroad, notably in Germany and Japan.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

The Final Version of the EU’s Copyright Directive Is the Worst One Yet

By Cory Doctorow | EFF | February 13, 2019

Despite ringing denunciations from small EU tech businesses, giant EU entertainment companies, artists’ groups, technical experts, and human rights experts, and the largest body of concerned citizens in EU history, the EU has concluded its “trilogues” on the new Copyright Directive, striking a deal that—amazingly—is worse than any in the Directive’s sordid history.

Goodbye, protections for artists and scientists

The Copyright Directive was always a grab bag of updates to EU copyright rules—which are long overdue for an overhaul, given that it’s been 18 years since the last set of rules were ratified. Some of its clauses gave artists and scientists much-needed protections: artists were to be protected from the worst ripoffs by entertainment companies, and scientists could use copyrighted works as raw material for various kinds of data analysis and scholarship.

Both of these clauses have now been gutted to the point of uselessness, leaving the giant entertainment companies with unchecked power to exploit creators and arbitrarily hold back scientific research.

Having dispensed with some of the most positive versions of the Directive, the trilogues have also managed to make the (unbelievably dreadful) bad components of the Directive even worse.

A dim future for every made-in-the-EU platform, service and online community

Under the final text, any online community, platform or service that has existed for three or more years, or is making €10,000,001/year or more, is responsible for ensuring that no user ever posts anything that infringes copyright, even momentarily. This is impossible, and the closest any service can come to it is spending hundreds of millions of euros to develop automated copyright filters. Those filters will subject all communications of every European to interception and arbitrary censorship if a black-box algorithm decides their text, pictures, sounds or videos are a match for a known copyrighted work. They are a gift to fraudsters and criminals, to say nothing of censors, both government and private.

These filters are unaffordable by all but the largest tech companies, all based in the USA, and the only way Europe’s homegrown tech sector can avoid the obligation to deploy them is to stay under ten million euros per year in revenue, and also shut down after three years.

America’s Big Tech companies would certainly prefer not to have to install these filters, but the possibility of being able to grow unchecked, without having to contend with European competitors, is a pretty good second prize (which is why some of the biggest US tech companies have secretly lobbied for filters).

Amazingly, the tiny, useless exceptions in Article 13 are too generous for the entertainment industry lobby, and so politicians have given them a gift to ease the pain: under the final text, every online community, service or platform is required to make “best efforts” to license anything their users might conceivably upload, meaning that they have to buy virtually anything any copyright holder offers to sell them, at any price, on pain of being liable for infringement if a user later uploads that work.

News that you’re not allowed to discuss

Article 11, which allows news sites to decide who can link to their stories and charge for permission to do so, has also been worsened. The final text clarifies that any link that contains more than “single words or very short extracts” from a news story must be licensed, with no exceptions for noncommercial users, nonprofit projects, or even personal websites with ads or other income sources, no matter how small.

Will Members of the European Parliament dare to vote for this?

Now that the Directive has emerged from the Trilogue, it will head to the European Parliament for a vote for the whole body, either during the March 25-28 session or the April 15-18 session—with elections scheduled in May.

These elections are critical: the Members of the European Parliament are going to be fighting an election right after voting on this Directive, which is already the most unpopular legislative effort in European history, and that’s before the public gets wind of these latest changes.

Let’s get real: no EU political party will be able to campaign for votes on the strength of passing the Copyright Directive—but plenty of parties will be able to drum up support to throw out the parties that defied the will of voters and risked the destruction of the Internet as we know it to pour a few million Euros into the coffers of media companies and newspaper proprietors—after those companies told them not to.

There’s never been a moment where your voice mattered more

Watch this space. We will be working with allies across the EU to make this upcoming Parliamentary vote into an issue that every Member of the European Parliament is well-informed on, and we’re going to make sure that every MEP knows that the voters of Europe are watching them and taking note of how they vote.

All that it takes is for you to speak up. Over four million Internet users have signed the petition against the Directive. If you can do that, you can pick up the phone and call your MEP. Tell them why you’re against the Directive, what it means for you, and what you expect your representatives to do in the forthcoming plenary vote. It really is the last chance to make your voice heard.

Take Action – Stop Article 13

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

My Daughter’s New Agenda 21 Eco-Friendly Bedroom

Truthstream Media | August 14, 2014

I thought I should get my daughter prepared for her downsized future…


March 10, 2019 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

French ophthalmologists demand Macron ban rubber bullets as eye injuries spread like ‘EPIDEMIC’

RT | March 10, 2019

France is experiencing an “epidemic” of eye injuries as police repeatedly deploy golf-ball-sized rubber bullets, France’s top ophthalmologists say, urging President Macron to halt use of the projectiles.

As the Yellow Vest protests enter their 17th consecutive week, the debate around the government’s alleged use of excessive force continues to gain momentum. On Saturday, the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche published a letter to President Macron written by the country’s 35 leading ophthalmologists, in which they asserted that the police’s use of rubber bullets has led to an “epidemic of serious eye injuries.”

Many people risk losing their vision, doctors say, hinting that the current dismal developments are no coincidence as rubber balls fly with great force and are often directed inaccurately. The letter, which demands “a moratorium” on using rubber bullets, was actually written in early February but only made public a month later to make sure the recipient gets the message, according the newspaper.

French riot police have become notorious for using hand-held guns, locally known as defence-ball launchers or Flash-Balls, during the protests that been ongoing since November.

The currently deployed model – named LBD 40 – fires 40mm foam projectiles, roughly the size of a golf ball. Rubber bullets have apparently become the police’s primary means of combating unruly crowds, and have been deployed more than 13,000 times, according to local officials.

The controversial weapon has landed the French government in hot water as reports of people losing their eyes in skirmishes with police began to surface. More than 20 protesters have lost eyes, five hands have been partially or entirely torn off, and one person lost their hearing as a result of a TNT-stuffed GLI F4 stun grenade.

The legal status of rubber-ball guns has been repeatedly questioned by human rights associations and politicians in France and abroad. In early February, France’s top administrative court, however, refused to ban the police from using the hand-held launchers.

Meanwhile, the country’s interior security code allows police to use force to dispel violent crowds but only when no other means suffice.

On Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for a “full investigation” of France’s excessive use of force towards the Yellow Vests who, according to her words, demand a “respectful dialogue.”

Government figures show that over 2,000 protesters and over 1,000 police officers have been injured since protests broke out in November.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Brussels Shows Its Fear of Euroskeptics

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.03.2019

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been under fire from the European Union for years for his opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open immigration policy.

A policy which she herself has had to pull back on. And no matter how far Merkel has changed her stance and acceded to the reality of the damage her policy has created, Orban is still guilty of the sin of non-compliance.

Actually, he’s guilty of a whole lot more than that. Because Orban has not only stepped on the third-rail of European politics he’s stomped up and down while taking a massive dump on it.

That third-rail, of course, is naming names. Naming the very person who controls so much of EU policy through his co-opting large swaths of the European parliament.

That person, of course, is George Soros.

Now there is a push, ahead of May’s European Parliamentary elections, to kick Orban’s dominant Fidesz party out of the European People’s Party (EPP), a nominal center-right coalition and the largest single party within the EU parliament.

And with each victory over Soros Orban grows even bolder. After a successful re-election campaign predicated on the slogan, “Don’t Let Soros Win,” Orban has banned Soros’ major NGO, Open Society Foundation, as well as forced out his Central European University.

But his biggest sin was equating outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude “When things get tough you have to lie” Juncker with Soros’ attempts to weaken Hungary’s border.

His reward for this, and building a border fence which thwarts Soros and Merkel’s tactic of tying immigrants in the host country in legal limbo for years by being inset from Hungary’s actual border, has been an Article 7 procedure opened up against Hungary for not abiding by the EU’s position on human rights.

Poland is in similar hot water with Merkel but thanks to one of the few reasonable things within the EU’s framework, each country can use the other to veto the actual censuring and concomitant removal of voting rights within the Union that comes with the full application of Article 7.

But this article isn’t really about Orban’s latest troubles with the faux democrats within the EU parliament. It’s about how scared those people are of the rise in Euroskeptics like Orban across the continent ahead of May’s elections.

Orban’s potential expulsion from the EPP is just another symptom of this fear. Recently, France’s Marine Le Pen, found out that the trial against her for tweeting out images of ISIS beheadings back in 2015, will go forward with the potential of landing her in jail for three years.

This is not much different than the kidnapping charge Sicilian prosecutors tried to bring against Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of Lega and all-around bad boy Matteo Salvini in Italy. This was a lame attempt to split Italy’s Euroskeptic coalition and keep it focused on internal trivialities versus mounting a real challenge in May’s elections.

The same is true now for Le Pen. Her National Rally party is polling within the margin of error of President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche with a real chance to send a plurality of French Euroskeptic MEPs to Brussels in a couple of months.

Merkel is struggling with the same thing. And even though support for Alternative for Germany (AfD) has waned in recent polling, down to just 13%, don’t underestimate the voters’ desire to send a strong message to Brussels by voting in stronger numbers for the new or alternative parties rather than how they would vote for them at home.

We’ve seen this in the past with UKIP who shocked everyone in the last European elections in 2014 with the size of the vote for them. It never translated into domestic momentum as typical prisoner’s dilemma concerns are more prevalent in Britain’s majoritarian voting system.

But for the EU parliament where the two-party system doesn’t hold sway and the direct benefits are harder to make a case to voters for, it’s much more likely voters will loosen up a little and throw their support for a smaller, less established party.

And that, along with some serious miscalculations about Brexit which I’ll get to in a minute, has the power elite in European political circles very scared. So scared that they are willing to devote serious resources in Quixotic endeavors of dubious value.

Expelling Orban from the EPP will only give him more strength. It will only give Euroskeptics more ammunition. Orban, like Salvini, revels in being the outsider. He’ll use it to rally others across Eastern Europe and pull a few more seats into that orbit.

According to the latest polling, which you can find an up-to-date tally of here, Euroskeptic parties will take between 215 and 225 seats out of the 705 up for grabs, assuming Britain actually leaves and doesn’t stand for MEP elections, which at this point doesn’t look likely.

If reports are true that Prime Minister Theresa May cut a deal with Merkel in July of last year on the withdrawal agreement. And if that agreement was structured so as to ease the way for the U.K. to rejoin the EU later are true, then there is no way Mrs. May will be able to forestall Brexit on WTO terms at this point, even if it takes another 90 days to do so.

A report from the Bruges Group, since taken down, had the details (see link above). And we’ll know if this is the case if suddenly Theresa May agrees to step aside as Prime Minister just after March 29th whether or not Britain leaves.

Because she will have either failed to scuttle Brexit and be sacrificed to save the Tories. Or she steps aside for a true Brexiteer in the event of Parliament voting for an extension.

We’ll know this was the case if she does so.

Lots of ifs, I know, but right now everyone is doing the Juncker-Two-Step, lying and cajoling to maintain the status quo and continue forward towards further European integration.

Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank did his part, going full dove for the rest of 2019 to keep markets from imploding.

And if Brexit is settled on WTO terms that opens up their worst nightmare going forward.

Watch Viktor Orban smile the smile of the just at that point.

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment