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Roméo Dallaire and the Toronto Star’s distortion of Rwanda’s tragedy

By Yves Engler · April 11, 2019

The Toronto Star should get its facts straight and stop distorting Rwanda’s tragedy.

A day after the 25th anniversary of when two Hutu presidents were blown out of the sky, the Star’s editorial board published “There’s  no excuse for ignoring lessons of Rwanda’s genocide”. It claims, “on Jan. 11, 1994, Canadian Maj.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, at the time force commander with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, sent a chilling and urgent cable to UN Headquarters in New York. He had been informed of the details of a plan for the ‘extermination’ of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus.” After stringing together a few hundred more humane-sounding, though meaningless, words Star editorialists returned to their core liberal interventionist Canadian hero theme: “In his cable of January 1994 he urged UN leaders to act by telling them the obvious: Where there’s a will to prevent mass killing, there is a way.”

The Star should check Dallaire’s fax more closely. Revealingly, the much-celebrated “genocide fax” the editorialists reference is not titled “‘genocide’ or ‘killing’  but an innocuous ‘Request for Protection of Informant’”, reports International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) lawyer Christopher Black in a 2005 story titled “View from Rwanda: The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication”. The two-page “genocide fax”, as New Yorker reporter Philip Gourevitch dubbed it in 1998, was probably doctored a year after the mass killings in Rwanda ended. In a chapter devoted to the fax in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later Edward S. Herman and David Peterson argue two paragraphs were added to a cable Dallaire sent to Canadian General Maurice Baril at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York about a weapons cache and protecting an informant (Dallaire never personally met the informant). The added paragraphs said the informant was asked to compile a list of Tutsi for possible extermination in Kigali and mentioned a plan to assassinate select political leaders and Belgian peacekeepers.

At the ICTR former Cameroon foreign minister and overall head of the UN mission in Rwanda, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, denied  seeing this information and there’s no evidence Dallaire warned the Belgians of a plan to attack them, which later transpired. Finally, a response to the cable from UN headquarters the next day ignores the (probably) added paragraphs. Herman and Peterson make a compelling case that a doctored version of the initial cable was placed in the UN file on November 27, 1995, by British Colonel Richard M. Connaughton as part of a Kigali-London-Washington effort to prove the existence of a plan by the Hutu government to exterminate Tutsi.

Even if the final two paragraphs were in the original version, the credibility of the information would be suspect. Informant “Jean-Pierre” was not a highly placed official in the defeated Hutu government, reports Robin Philpott in Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction. Instead, “Jean-Pierre” was a driver for the MRDN political party who later died fighting with the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Incredibly, the “genocide fax” is the primary source of any documentary record demonstrating UN foreknowledge of a Hutu “conspiracy” to exterminate Tutsi, a charge even the victor’s justice at the ICTR failed to convict anyone of. According to Herman and Peterson, “when finding all four defendants not guilty of the ‘conspiracy to commit genocide’ charge, the [ICTR] trial chamber also dismissed the evidence provided by ‘informant Jean-Pierre’ due to ‘lingering questions concerning [his] reliability.’”

Tellingly, Dallaire didn’t even initially adhere to the “conspiracy to commit genocide” version of the Rwandan tragedy. Just after leaving his post as UNAMIR force commander Dallaire replied to a September 14, 1994, Radio Canada Le Point question by saying, “the plan  was more political. The aim was to eliminate the coalition of moderates. … I think that the excesses that we saw were beyond people’s ability to plan and organize. There was a process to destroy the political elements in the moderate camp. There was a breakdown and hysteria absolutely. … But nobody could have foreseen or planned the magnitude of the destruction we saw.”

Doctoring a fax to make it appear the UN had foreknowledge of a plot to exterminate Tutsi may sound outlandish, but it’s more believable than many other elements of the dominant narrative of the Rwandan genocide. The day after their editorial, for instance, the Star published a story titled “25 years after genocide, Rwanda rebuilds” which included a photo of President Paul Kagame leading a walk to commemorate the mass killings. But, Kagame is the individual most responsible for unleashing the hundred days of genocidal violence by downing a plane carrying two Hutu presidents and much of the Rwandan military high command.

Even the Star has reported as much. A year ago they published a story titled “Did Rwanda’s Paul Kagame trigger the genocide of his own people?” For its part, the Globe and Mail has published a series of front-page reports in recent years confirming Kagame’s responsibility for blowing up the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, which triggered mass killings in April 1994. In an October story titled “New information  supports claims Kagame forces were involved in assassination that sparked Rwandan genocide” the Globe all but confirmed that the surface-to-air missiles used to assassinate the Rwandan and Burundian Hutu presidents on April 6, 1994, came from Uganda, which backed the RPF’s bid to conquer its smaller neighbour. (A few thousand exiled Tutsi Ugandan troops, including the deputy minister  of defence, “deserted” to invade Rwanda in 1990.) These revelations strengthen the case of  those who argue that responsibility for the mass killings in spring 1994 largely rests with the Ugandan/RPF aggressors and their US/British/Canadian backers.

By presenting the individual most culpable for the mass killings at the head of a commemoration for said violence the Star is flipping the facts on their head. The same might be said for their depiction of the Canadian general. At the end of their chapter tracing the history of the “genocide fax” Herman and Peterson write, “if all of this is true,” then “we would suggest that Dallaire should be regarded as a war criminal for positively facilitating the actual mass killings of April-July, rather than taken as a hero for giving allegedly disregarded warnings that might have stopped them.”

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Like America With Russiagate, India Is Now Obsessed With Pakistangate

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-11

The Indo-American Strategic Partnership has rapidly progressed to such a point that the South Asian state is now copying some of the same conspiracy theories as its new patron, though instead of India being obsessed with suspected Russian interference in its elections like America was, its people can’t stop talking about its imaginary Pakistani variant.

Pakistangate

Pakistani Prime Minister Khan made global headlines earlier this week when he said that it might be easier for his country to clinch peace talks with India and resolve the Kashmir Conflict if Modi wins re-election after his country’s month-long electoral process concludes at the end of May. This took many Indians completely off guard who had hitherto been preconditioned by none other than the ruling BJP itself to think that Pakistan was “meddling” in their elections in order to support the opposition Congress party and their coalition allies. The Pakistani leader explained his initially surprising position by rationally noting how it would be less likely that right-wing forces would oppose any BJP-led peace talks unlike the spoiling effect they could have if left-leaning Congress attempted to initiate the same, which makes sense upon further contemplation and is actually a very wise observation.

From -Gate To -Gate

Instead of being interpreted as such, however, India’s “confirmation bias” on all sides caused it to continue cannibalizing itself over the entirely speculative issue of “who Pakistan really supports”, with practically all parties refusing to believe that their neighbor is just sitting on the sidelines watching in awe as the Indian political class tears itself apart over this issue and discredits their claim to being the self-professed “world’s largest democracy”. Interestingly, what’s unfolding in India at the moment with Pakistangate is very similar to what has been taking place in its military-strategic partner over the past couple of years with Russiagate. This suggests that the vassal state is copying some of the same conspiracy theories as its new patron, including the role that elements of its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) are playing in this process.

“Deep State” Meddling

Democratic-friendly elements of the American “deep state” essentially entrapped Carter Page, after which they consequently used this false flag as the pretext for “justifying” a far-reaching FISA surveillance operation against the entire Trump campaign which then sought to exploit its “six degrees of separation” from Russia to concoct a weaponized narrative that ultimately failed to prevent him from winning the election and then later getting him overthrown through a de-facto coup. Something along the same lines happened with the BJP-friendly elements of the Indian “deep state” that “passively facilitated” the Pulwama incident which was later blamed on Pakistan and used as the pretext for “justifying” a so-called “surgical strike” against it that also miserably failed in what it sought out to do, though it nevertheless succeeded in making Indians hysterical about anything to do with Pakistan.

Witch Hunts

The BJP has even gone as far as to imply that all dissidents who disagree with its official version of events are treasonous, which is reminiscent of how the then-ruling Democrats suggested that anyone supporting Trump was either under the influence of “Russian propaganda” or a “Russian bot” if they were expressing their views in cyberspace. Just as Russia became a convenient scapegoat for the pro-incumbent elements of the American “deep state” to centralize their power behind the scenes and meddle in their own country’s elections, so too has Pakistan been abused to serve the same purpose vis-a-vis the pro-incumbent elements of the Indian “deep state”, with both of their permanent bureaucracies presently in the process of merging their narratives into a geopolitically weaponized one ridiculously alleging that Russia and Pakistan are jointly waging “hybrid wars” across the world.

Concluding Thoughts

It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that India’s “deep state” is copying its American counterpart’s Russiagate conspiracy theory and remixing it with a national touch to produce Pakistangate in pursuit of the exact same purpose of remaining in power, though just like with its inspiration, this might ultimately end up backfiring against its practitioners since it’s impossible to control chaotic processes once Pandora’s Box has been opened. In any case and regardless of the eventual electoral outcome, the Indian and American “deep states” will continue to converge into a single unipolar shadow entity dedicated to the shared objective of stopping multipolarity, using the “bonding experience” of their respective manufactured -gate conspiracies to accelerate this ongoing process and ensure that the Indo-American Strategic Partnership is one of the Eastern Hemisphere’s most geopolitically disruptive developments this century.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Islamophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan is blackmailing Modi and Doval

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | April 11, 2019

Doublespeak is commonplace in statecraft. A celebrated case is of the former US President Barack Obama who was facing re-election in 2012. Battered by criticism by his Republican contender Mitt Romney for being “soft” on Russia, Obama sought a private understanding with the Kremlin leadership that he couldn’t afford to be seen by the American public as flexible on relations with Russia until the presidential election in November that year got over.

Obama and his interlocutor then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were unaware that their deal-making conversation on March 26, 2012 in Seoul was caught on open microphone, with the latter agreeing to Obama’s proposition that Russians would be patient until he secured his second term as president.

Quite obviously, the strong likelihood is that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reported optimism was not intuitively arrived at when he told the international media on Tuesday that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a second term in office, a Kashmir settlement was entirely conceivable.

Imran Khan would only have spoken with the full awareness of Modi’s complex political personality. In particular, he has the great advantage of being privy to the confidential exchanges between then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Modi during the latter’s celebrated surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015 as well as the ‘back channel’ conversations between the National Security Advisors of the two countries. Unlike in our dysfunctional system in the most recent years, Pakistan’s ISI keeps meticulous track of all high-level exchanges with India.

The Indian public knows hardly anything about what transpired between Modi and Nawaz in Lahore — or for that matter, during their famous “informal conversation” in Paris 25 days earlier, which probably set up the Lahore meeting.

(Nawaz Sharif and Modi in “informal” conversation, Paris, Nov 30, 2015)

But make no mistake that the ISI kept track. The Pakistani side was actually expecting Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore and had made elaborate arrangements for a red carpet reception for the visiting Indian leader. Beyond doubt, every move that Modi made on Pakistani soil and every word he spoke to Nawaz was stored away as memory in the ISI archives.

Suffice to say, it is only Modi who is today in a position to clarify on what basis Imran Khan could have said with such audacity, “Perhaps if the BJP – a right-wing party – wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached.”  

(Nawaz Sharif receiving Modi at the tarmac of Lahore airport, Dec 25, 2015)

Equally, Imran Khan’s caustic remark about the Congress is not unwarranted, when he said he didn’t expect the grand old party to deliver on a Kashmir settlement. Imran Khan cannot be unaware that although Manmohan Singh (or his NSAs) didn’t hang tough on Pakistan in the Indian media, he was tough as nail when it came to defending India’s national interests and didn’t make any concessions whatsoever to Pakistan.

In fact, Congress Party’s record has been consistently “hardline”, although it couldn’t match Modi’s rhetoric. Bangladesh war, occupation of Siachen, maritime boundary in Sir Creek — these are just three templates in India-Pakistan relations that alone should testify to the legacy of Congress rule. It must be remembered that the systematic erosion of Kashmir’s autonomy and India’s breach of promises to the Kashmir people took place in the decades since the fifties right up to the eighties only under Congress governments when BJP wasn’t even around as a gadfly.

(Indian troops defending Siachen.)

So, the big question is about the signal that Imran Khan is giving when he reposes confidence in Modi to settle the Kashmir problem. Contextually, he would have three objectives — one, cautioning Modi against going too far in demonising Pakistan in his election rallies, no matter his political compulsions; two, projecting to the international audience an air of reasonableness in Pakistani policies ; and, three, forestalling any precipitate move by Modi to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan in the coming weeks between now and May 23, especially if a spectre of defeat haunts him in the election.

This last point is relevant if we factor in the decision by Islamabad only last Sunday to publicise “reliable intelligence” and “authentic information” available with it to the effect that India might make some military moves against Pakistan in the second half of April, once the elections got under way in India, out of which Modi could make political capital by whipping up jingoism.

(BJP election poster with Modi and Indian soldier providing backdrop)

The intriguing part in all this is what Imran Khan really thinks of Modi as a politician. Historically, there is a perception in Pakistan that the BJP is a “Baniya party” of wheeler-dealers. But the past five years of BJP rule would have somewhat dispelled such notions. Imran Khan cannot but be aware that Modi is a creation of the RSS and unless and until he broke that umbilical cord, he cannot plough a de-ideologised furrow toward Pakistan.

Now, this is where the Modi-Nawaz exchanges and the back channel conversations between Ajit Doval and his counterpart in Islamabad, former NSA Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua, come into play. The Indian public knows nothing about the contents of these exchanges and conversations. But ISI knows, the GHQ in Rawalpindi knows and Imran Khan knows. (And, indeed, Modi and Doval know.)

Importantly, therefore, a Pakistani Prime Minister for the first time in the past 7 decades has interfered in an Indian general election and showed his preference for a particular political leader. This is unacceptable. This is blackmail.

Yet, Modi only is responsible for it. Figuring out that he has nothing positive to project before the Indian electorate, Modi made Pakistan the centre piece of his election campaign to malign and embarrass Congress and to deflect attention from burning issues such as unemployment, agrarian crisis, Rafale scam, etc. But by doing so, Modi held open a door through which Imran Khan has simply walked in.

Look at the kind of things Imran Khan says on the eve of an Indian general election — that he prefers Modi (to Rahul Gandhi) as his interlocutor; that “Muslim-ness is being attacked” in India; that Muslims in India are unhappy; that Modi is electioneering  like Israel’s Netanyahu, exploiting “fear and nationalist feeling”; that J&K’s special status is under attack; that Kashmiris are waging a political struggle and there is no military solution to it; that “there is still the possibility if the polls turn against Modi in the next few weeks that India could take some further military action against Pakistan” and so on.

The most intriguing remark Imran Khan made was that Modi’s much-touted Balakot attack on February 27 was only an act of dissimulation and so  the Pakistani retaliation the next day was a pro forma act — as if it were an elaborate  pantomime being played out with Modi as the master choreographer. As he put it, the IAF bombed trees and the PAF retaliated by bombing stones.

These are exceptional remarks for the leader of a foreign country to make. But Modi cannot take exception, because he only invited this Pakistani slur on India’s democracy and its leadership. Clearly, Pakistan is blackmailing Modi and Doval. This seems like Modi’s “Obama moment” in Seoul 7 years ago.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Wealthy Immigrants, Netanyahu and the Movie Tycoon

By Eve Mykytyn | April 11, 2019

What connects wealthy immigrants to Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Arnon Milchan, (Israeli operative and producer of 145 movies including 12 Years a Slave and Pretty Woman)? They are all supporters of an Israeli tax exemption that is designed to encourage Jewish billionaires to move to Israel.

Since 1950, Israel’s Law of Return has offered automatic citizenship to any­one with one Jewish grandparent who resides in Israel for 90 days. Despite some tensions, immigration has overall been profitable for Israel. Ostensively to encourage immigration, during the 2008 global financial slowdown, Israel enacted Amendment 168 to its tax code exempting from both tax and reporting all foreign source income (income earned outside of Israel) of new or returning residents. By so exempting newcomers, Israel made itself into a tax haven.

Amendment 168 was called the Milchan Law in honor of the man who lobbied for the amendment and, in 2009, the Tablet announced that the “fertilizer company scion-turned-movie mogul Arnon Milchan is taking advantage of the generous benefits and moving back to Israel.”

In response to the law, in 2009-2010 many an expatriate Israeli billionaire decided to return to his homeland and in 2018 Russian Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich became an Israeli citizen and instantly became the country’s wealthiest citizen with a net worth, according to Forbes, of $11.5 billion.

The provision may be a factor in the outsized number of millionaire immigrants to Israel In 2015 over 4000 millionaires moved to Israel, more than 10% of that year’s 31,013 immigrants. In fact, Israel was fourth in millionaire inflow — after Australia, the United States and Canada, in that order.

Haaretz called for a repeal to the exemption noting that it provides a “clear benefit to the billionaires who save on taxes for 10 years… [and] enjoy the fog of not having to report for 10 years – a fog that gives them time to conceal their assets and profits.” This benefit is paid for “by the citizens of countries where billionaires no longer have to pay taxes, and the citizens of Israel, who don’t benefit from a tax on the billionaires’ income.”

Israel’s Tax Authority Director, General Moshe Asher, said Milchan’s law made Israel into one of the world’s “most generous tax havens.” Asher defined a  tax haven as a place where a) one doesn’t pay taxes and b) there is an exemption from reporting one’s income. And, Asher pointed out: “In Israel we have something extra. We have an expansive network of tax treaties with developed countries that a typical offshore tax haven does not have. [This means that the immigrant] would pay no taxes abroad because of the tax treaty with Israel, and no taxes in Israel because of the law here.”

Israel’s state comptroller worried that the Amendment gave immigrants an incentive to launder money or to use money that was laundered abroad, “activities which may encourage crime and damage the integrity of Israeli society and the economy.” In 2014, an audit of 600 bank accounts belonging to recent immigrants found one hundred accounts to have irregular activity that caused the bank to flag them for suspected money laundering.

The reporting exemption also prevents Israel from honoring its 2013 commitment to follow OECD rules and share tax information with other countries. But each year since 2014, a provision canceling the reporting exemption has been included in legislation and each year it has been removed before the legislation was even voted on.

Despite these issues, Netanyahu attempted to increase the exemption period to 20 years in a move that would have helped Milchan but was rejected by the Finance Ministry. The Attorney General has accused Netanyahu of seeking the extension on Milchan’s behalf.

Milchan‘s biography is novelistic. While running businesses in dozens of countries and producing hit Hollywood movies, Milchan secretly worked for Israel’s intelligence service, acquiring technology and weapons. His efforts included helping Israel develop its nuclear weapons by sourcing uranium from South Africa.

Netanyahu and Milchan’s difficulties began in 2013, when Milchan gave an interview to the Israeli news program Uvda. In the interview Milchan detailed his secret spy work. His revelations led the U.S. to deny Milchan an extension of his ten-year residence visa, jeopardizing his Hollywood career. Netanyahu intervened on Milchan’s behalf with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Milchan was granted an extension.

Then, also in 2013, Milchan began expressing his gratitude by providing luxuries and cash that Netanyahu claims were just gifts from a friend. Under repeated questioning by Israel’s Attorney General Mandelblit, Milchan admitted that what Netanyahu and his wife received were not ‘gifts between friends’ but rather responses to demands made by the Netanyahus.

Mandelblit has announced that after Israel’s election he intends to charge Netanyahu with taking bribes to gain influence and political favors. (The charges resulting from his relationship with Milchan are not the only charges.) Borrowing a page from his friend Donald Trump, Netanyahu has dismissed the investigation as a political witch hunt. In another echo of Trump, polls show it wouldn’t cost Likud any seats in the Knesset if he were to face charges.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Airbnb Buckles under Zionist Pressure

By Jeremy Salt | Palestine Chronicle | April 11, 2019

Airbnb has reversed its decision to ban some 200 listings by Zionist settlers in the West Bank while allowing them to continue in occupied east Jerusalem and the occupied and illegally annexed Golan Heights.

The decision against the listing of West Bank settlements was taken in conformity with Airbnb’s policies of non-discrimination and a commitment to inclusion and respect. Through its reversal, Airbnb has now committed itself to discrimination, exclusion, disrespect and contempt for international law.

Airbnb finally backed down after a “settlement” with Israel’s Shurat Hadin law center, representing the interests of American Jews ‘owning’ property in the West Bank. The center claimed that the ban violated the US government’s 1968 Fair Housing Act, extended now, apparently, to territory outside the US defined as occupied in international law. Pressure was also applied by Zionist lobby groups, by the government of Israel and by US state governments that have introduced anti-BDS legislation.

Within Palestine, as occupied since 1948 some 20,000 people use Airbnb. The Zionist ‘strategic affairs minister’ Gilad Erdem urged them to respond to the original Airbnb decision by boycotting the organization and some did.

Ron de Santis, Florida governor, and former member of Congress said 45,000 Floridians used Airbnb and threatened sanctions that would affect its operations in his state.  De Santis also referred to possible violations of the “civil rights” of Floridians who “own” property in the West Bank.

He said Airbnb’s decision violated legislation passed in November 2018, imposing penalties on any company giving support to the BDS campaign. “We have a moral obligation to oppose the Airbnb policy.  It does target Jews specifically and when you target Jews for disfavoured treatment that is the essence of anti-semitism. In Florida, as long as I’m governor, BDS will be D.O.A.”

In May, de Santis will lead a party of 80 to Israel where, in Jerusalem, he will preside over a full meeting of the Florida Cabinet.  He described Israel as being “a tiny little country in a troubled part of the world standing for freedom, for democratic principles … really, the foundation of our civilization here in the United States, and really the western world, can be traced back to that little plot of land.”

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner called the original Airbnb decision “abhorrent” and a violation of his state’s anti-BDS legislation.

The Simon Weisenthal Centre said the decision “against Jewish homeowners” on the West Bank was anti-semitic. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League), Bnei Brith (‘sons of the covenant’), which describes itself as advancing human rights around the world, and a string of other Zionist lobby groups, also denounced the original decision and welcomed its reversal.

The back down by Airbnb is only the latest in a series of reversals on the occupied territories by governments and organizations. In 2017 Canada’s Federal Food Agency rescinded a decision that wine produced in the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights could not be labeled as being produced in Israel.

This decision followed the passage of legislation by the Canadian federal parliament early in 2016 denouncing the BDS campaign.  In May the Ontario state parliament followed suit by passing a “Standing Up Against Discrimination in Ontario” bill which described the BDS campaign as “anti-semitic” and prohibited all state agencies, including pension funds and universities, from any involvement in the BDS campaign.

The bill is a clear threat to freedom of speech as well as the right of universities to make independent choices on moral questions. The bill has been rejected by academics and students alike, with the Canadian Federation of Students defending the BDS campaign.

In Ireland, the government and the parliament came under heavy pressure from lobbyists to drop the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill of 2018, submitted in conformity with the 4th Geneva Convention, which protects civilian rights in occupied territories and prohibits their settlement by an occupying power.

Under the bill, the import or sale of any goods or services from settlements in the West Bank would be illegal. Although opposed by the government, the Dail (the parliament) passed the legislation in late January 2019.

The reaction in the US was almost instantaneous. Ten members of Congress penned a letter threatening that the bill would have “broader consequences” on Ireland’s economic relations with the US. Supporters of the BDS campaign should now be boycotting Airbnb while giving thanks for the Irish.

– Jeremy Salt taught at the University of Melbourne, at Bosporus University in Istanbul and Bilkent University in Ankara for many years, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East. Among his recent publications is his 2008 book, The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press).

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Confirms Interest in Russian Su-35, Su-57 If US Denies It the F-35

By Andrei Martyanov | Reminiscence of the Future | April 10, 2019

It is really fascinating to observe the whole process but Turks seem to be in full reactive armor mode and refuse to yield to US pressure on the issue of F-35, which is, by default, the issue of S-400.

Turkey warned on Wednesday that it could buy jets and additional air defense systems from Russia if it cannot get Patriot missile shields and F-35 jets from Washington, raising the prospect of ever deeper defense ties between Moscow and a NATO member.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s existing plans to buy Russian S-400 missile defenses have already alarmed the United States, which says they are not compatible with NATO systems and would compromise the security of F-35 jets Turkey is due to receive.

Washington has offered Ankara both carrot and stick in response, proposing to sell it the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems instead of the S-400s, while at the same time warning of sanctions and a halt in the F-35 fighter jet sales if the Russian deal goes ahead.

Turkey has shown no sign of giving ground and Erdogan, who held talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week, was quoted on Wednesday as saying the July date for delivery of the first S-400s could even be brought forward.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also reiterated Turkey’s stance that the S-400 purchase was a done deal and that it would meet its defense needs from elsewhere if necessary.

“If the United States is willing to sell, then we’ll buy Patriots. However, if the United States doesn’t want to sell, we may buy more S-400s or other systems,” Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster NTV.

“If the F-35s don’t work out, I will again have to procure the jets I need from elsewhere … There are (Russian) SU-34, SU-57 and others. I will absolutely meet my needs from somewhere until I can produce it myself,” he said.

My main question here is if Turkey knows that F-35 is a…. turkey? I am pretty sure Turks do. Of course, behind all this back-and-forth on S-400 are things much more substantial than even top-notch air defense for Turkey—namely massive economic developments in Eurasia.

It is also obvious that Turks are now in the bargain mode with Russia across the whole spectrum of issues — gas, nuclear power, military, tourism, agriculture, to name a few — and that could be indicative of a tectonic shift in Turkey’s geopolitical orientation but we cannot be sure 100% yet.

On F-35 issue, however, one should not discount the possibility of Turks getting off at the last opportunity from this program in order for a bigger, better thing. This thing are Su-35 of latest modifications and Su-57 which is hitting serial production in 2020 and China expressing interest in this aircraft while already operating full Russian versions of Su-35.

And so the drama is being played out in a front of our very own eyes (and ears). Turkey is getting S-400 (for warm-up), now what  will Greece do? Who knows, but implications are enormous for Turkey, NATO and, of course, the United States.

The US knows that this could be bad, very bad but with Trump being surrounded with neocons and Israel having very serious issues with Turkey, who said that the White House will not continue with self-defeating policies in general, and towards Turkey in particular because of Israel— you may see it for yourself.

Most likely Trump and his “court” of Israeli-firsters, aided by US Congress fully corrupted and bought by Israeli lobby, will continue to self-destruct to make Israeli masters feel better, and situation with Turkey is one such example.

So, here is the news of today and for now, at least, it seems the contract will go ahead but, again, knowing that in this region words mean very little we just have to wait to see how it will play out to the very end. Fascinating!

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel converts historical mosque into a bar and events hall

Israel converts historical mosque into a bar and events hall

MEMO | April 11, 2019

The Israeli municipality in Safed has turned Al-Ahmar Mosque into a bar and events hall, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported yesterday.

As one of the most historical mosques in the Arab city, which was occupied by the Jewish gangs in 1948, the building was first turned into a Jewish school, then into a centre for Likud’s elections campaigns and then into a clothes warehouse before finally being converted into a nightclub.

The London-based newspaper reported that the mosque was turned to a bar and wedding hall by a firm affiliated to the Israeli municipality. Its name was changed from Al-Ahmar Mosque to Khan Al-Ahmar.

Khair Tabari, secretary of Safed and Tiberias Islamic endowment, said that he had been waiting for the Nazareth court to take a decision regarding a complaint he filed requesting the evacuation of the mosque and returning it to the endowment.

He said he attached documents to prove Islamic ownership of the mosque. He called for the different political and popular bodies to increase their cooperation with him in order to save the mosque from violations.

Safed was once home to 12,000 Palestinians who were forced out of their homes in 1948.

Tabari said that the mosque is now open for use for everything except prayers by Muslims.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

After Decades of Refusing Egypt the F-15, US Demands Cairo Terminates Plans to Acquire Russia’s Su-35

Pompeo threatens Egypt, is looking at CAATSA sanctions

Military Watch | April 9, 2019

In response to Egypt’s plans to modernise its Air Force with acquisition of an estimated two dozen Russian Su-35 ‘4++ generation’ air superiority fighters, the United States has issued a blunt warning that such purchases would result in American economic sanctions against Cairo.

Officials stated  regarding the purchase: “In terms of the expanding Russian influence in the region, that’s obviously something which we are quite concerned. We don’t see a lot of material benefits to engagements with the Russians… We just would encourage the Egyptians to turn more toward the West, toward the United States.”

This was closely followed by a statement from State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who said regarding the sale: “We have made clear that systems were to be purchased that… would require sanctions on the regime,” Pompeo told the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “We have received assurances from them, they understand that, and I am very hopeful they will decide not to move forward with that acquisition.”

Egypt has extensively modernised its military capabilities since the coming to power of a new administration in 2013, which overthrew a strongly Western aligned Islamist government that year. The overthrow led the U.S. to freeze arms shipments to the country, which in turn was a considerable factor influencing Cairo to turn away from Washington for future arms purchases.

However, a history of extensive and in the view of many excessive restrictions on American arms sales to Egypt were also reportedly at play in forcing Egypt away from American weapons – in particular jet aircraft.

Israel and the Saudis could buy F-15s, but not the Egyptians

Since abandoning its defence ties to the Soviet Union under President Anwar Sadat in the mid 1970s Egypt has repeatedly sought to acquire high end air superiority fighters – namely the American F-15 Eagle. While these aircraft were sold to Saudi Arabia and Israel in large numbers however, Egypt was restricted to purchasing the cheaper and lighter jets such as the F-16 – ensuring a balance of power which favoured the Western Bloc’s more reliable clients.

Furthermore, Egypt was the only major operator of the F-16 denied modern AIM-120 air to air missiles – meaning its aircraft would face an overwhelming disadvantage in combat with those of any other U.S. client.

Egypt’s move to upgrade its aerial warfare capabilities began with acquisition of the S-300V4 surface to air missile system and 45 MiG-29M medium weight multirole fighters. These were accompanied by purchases of complementary shorter ranged air defence platforms, and advanced long range air to air missiles such as the R-77 and extended range R-27 variants.

With high end heavy air superiority fighters today manufactured only by the United States, Russia and China, of which only the first two offer them for export, it was to be expected that Egypt would turn to Russia for such systems due to the United States’ refusal to provide them.

While the pretext for sanctions against Egypt is that the fighter purchase would provide funds to a U.S. adversary, with the contract estimated at $2 billion, the Su-35 in Egyptian hands also overturns the regional balance of power the United States has for so long succeeded in maintaining.

The fighters are capable of surpassing any other platforms currently deployed in the Middle East or Africa in their air to air combat capabilities, including the advanced Algerian Su-30MKA and Saudi F-15SA, and are also capable of deploying hypersonic R-37M ‘AWACS killer’ missiles.

These platforms retain a 400km engagement range and pose a major threat to support aircraft of Egypt’s potential adversaries such as the America and Saudi Saudi E-3 Sentries or Israeli Eitam AWACS platforms. Ultimately whether Egypt will yield under American pressure remains to be seen, but given its economy’s fragility and heavy reliance on the Western Bloc this remains a considerable possibility.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Who Is Killing Whom in the Middle East? Blaming Iran Might be an Excuse for War

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.04.2019

Newsweek is reporting a story regarding how Iran “was responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.” The account is sourced to a newly revised estimate prepared by analysts at the Pentagon that was discussed by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at a State Department press briefing on April 2nd. According to Hook, Tehran is now being blamed for 17 per cent of all US military deaths because it supplied weapons to the several Shiite militias that were opposing the US invasion, occupation and subsequent presence in the country.

Hook also stated that the American casualties are in addition to the “thousands” of Iraqi troops and civilians that were killed in attacks initiated by what he referred to as the Iranian proxy forces. Hook noted that the new number is higher than the 2015 confirmed death total of 500 that was reported by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, who qualified his estimate by saying “We were not always able to attribute the casualties that we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity, even though we did not necessarily have the forensics to support that.”

There is little doubt that Tehran provided weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq after the invasion of the country by American forces in April 2003 and the defeat and replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime. The US was occupying the country at the time and Shiites were a repressed majority of the population given the fact that Saddam ruled through his Sunni minority.

The most controversial and lethal weapons used by the Shiite and Sunni resistance to the United States were the Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs, subsequently also referred to as Explosively Formed Penetrators or EFPs which were capable of penetrating the armor on US military vehicles. They first appeared in Iraq in the summer of 2004, but they were initially mostly used by Sunni insurgents, not by the Shiites.

Now that the US occupation has ended, Iran and Iraq enjoy a close relationship that is based on their common Shiite religion. The former militiamen are now referred to as Popular Mobilization Forces, which were key to the eventual defeat of ISIS. The United States, which retains a major military base inside Iraq, continues to rail against Iran. During the briefing, Hook said “We are imposing costs on the [Iranian] regime for behaving as an outlaw expansionist regime. The regime is weaker today than when we took office two years ago. Its proxies are also weaker. Unless the regime demonstrates a change in policy and behavior, the financial challenges facing Tehran will mount.”

There are several problems with the Hook analysis, if that is actually what it was. The United States government has been arguing since 2005 that Iran is “interfering” in neighboring Iraq, combined with allegations about “they are killing our soldiers” to make sure that Tehran continues to be everyone’s recognizable regional enemy. Specific claims by generals and US politicians were made between 2005 and 2007 regarding Iranian involvement in the production of the shaped charges, which were increasingly exacting a bloody toll of US and allied military personnel.

But the claims being made by the Bush Administration, by Congress, and by the media regarding Iranian support of militants in Iraq had a number of things in common: they were generic and lacking in specificity, they were based on possibly unwarranted assumptions about Iranian interactions with other players in the region, they played fast and loose with statistics, and they seldom provided actual verifiable evidence to back up the assertions being made. One might also point out that nearly all the reports were derivative in that they build on each other to develop credibility, much like the reports about Iraq in 2002.

It has also been noted that the arguments about Iranian involvement are logically inconsistent. The Iraqi insurgency in the period 2004-2006 was largely Sunni. That the Iranians would be supplying the Sunnis or that the Sunnis would even seek such assistance does not appear probable. In an April 2007 briefing Major General William Caldwell explained, “We have, in fact, found some cases recently where Iranian intelligence services have provided to some Sunni insurgent groups some support.” Three uses of “some” in one sentence suggest a degree of uncertainty. Even the relatively tame media at the briefing were skeptical, asking “Do the Iranians support all the militias in Iraq?”

The fact that the EFP is very simple to make also argues against a largely Iranian provenance. The EFP or variations thereof has been around for a long time. It was reportedly used under its old name “shaped charge” by the French resistance against the Germans and by the Irish Republican Army against British armored vehicles and it has been used extensively by both Hezbollah and Hamas against the Israelis.

The case against Iran basically relies on a basic argument that the EFP is actually a sophisticated weapon that has to have its copper disk machined in a weapons shop that is accustomed to milling metal to the finest tolerances. According to those who believe in an Iranian hand in EFP attacks, it is not possible that the weapons are being produced by Iraqis without Iranian assistance but the fact is that the Iraqis are more than capable of making the weapon. Iraq had a large and relatively sophisticated military prior to 2003. It had its own weapons shops and ordnance experts, many of whom were Sunnis and many of whom became unemployed in the spring of 2003 when the army was disbanded.

So Iran’s EFP weapon of choice that, according to the Pentagon, has killed 608 Americans turns out to be not that hard to make and not uniquely Iranian. But the real argument against Brian Hook’s numbers is the assumption made by the government analysts that supplying weapons, even if and when the end user can be demonstrated, makes one responsible for who gets killed as a result. Since the US is the world’s leading arms manufacturer, that argument leads down a slippery slope as “Made in USA.” weapons are likely featured in every conflict.

Also bear in mind that the United States in Iraq was an invading army in what became a guerrilla war in which that country’s civilians ultimately constituted most of the victims. By one estimate, 460,000 Iraqis died, many by US-made ordnance. To cite one other more recent example of what that measure of accountability might mean, the United States could be considered responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands civilians in Yemen, 5,000 in 2018 alone, as the Saudis are using US supplied weapons. And there are a lot of other instances of American made weapons winding up in all kinds of places, including the arsenals of ISIS and al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda in its war against the Russians in Afghanistan relied largely on American weaponry. Some of those weapons are still being used to kill American rather than Russian soldiers.

Since the United States government is selectively charging Iran with offenses that might well be exploited by neoconservatives named Bolton and Pompeo to initiate a war it should be more careful in how it attempts to frame its arguments. Iran did not kill those 4,424 American soldiers who died in Iraq. President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the band of psychopaths at the Pentagon and National Security Council did that when they initiated a chain of events that began with attacking a country that they knew posed no threat against the United States. The bloody consequences of that action continue to this day.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Egypt pulls out of anti-Iran alliance envisioned by US, allies: Report

US President Donald Trump meets with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, at the White House in Washington on April 9, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)
Press TV | April 11, 2019

Egypt has reportedly turned its back on a US-led initiative to establish a NATO-style alliance of Arab countries primarily aimed at countering Iran out of concerns that such a coalition could increase tensions with the Islamic Republic, among other reasons.

Four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that Cairo had informed the US and the members of what is to be called the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) of the withdrawal plan ahead of their Sunday’s meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

One of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Egypt had not sent a delegation to the Riyadh event.

An Arab source stressed that Egypt had pulled out of the so-called “Arab NATO” because of its doubts about the seriousness of the proposal as well as the danger that such an Arab front would increase tensions with Tehran.

Other reasons were uncertainty about whether US President Donald Trump will win a second term in 2020 and whether his successor may scrap the initiative to form an anti-Iran alliance, the Arab source added.

Reuters described Cairo’s move as a blow to the Trump administration’s anti-Iran strategy.

A Saudi source also confirmed problems with the plan, saying, “It’s not moving well.”

Meanwhile, two other sources emphasized that the remaining MESA members were moving ahead with the initiative and would press Egypt diplomatically to revoke its withdrawal from the anti-Iran group.

“We all want them back,” said one of the sources.

The Arab source, however, noted that Egypt could not be convinced to return to the so-called “Arab NATO,” which is comprised of Jordan and six Persian Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Egyptian officials have not yet commented on the report.

The alliance was first proposed by Saudi Arabia back in 2017 in a bid to counter Iran as well as Russia and China, according to a classified White House document reviewed by Reuters last year.

It has, however, faced several obstacles such as a diplomatic standoff between Qatar and a Saudi-led quartet of countries and the fallout of the state-sponsored killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The problems have delayed a summit in the United States, which would feature the signing of a preliminary accord on the anti-Iran alliance.

The report about Cairo’s withdrawal plan came following a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Trump in Washington.

Before the meeting, Trump had said he would exchange views with Sisi on security issues, but it was not clear whether they discussed the MESA issue.

The US and its allies in the Persian Gulf view regional powerhouse Iran as a common “threat.” They constantly accuse the Islamic Republic of “regional interference,” a claim Tehran vehemently rejects.

Trump – who came to office in early 2017 with a highly belligerent anti-Iran agenda – has been pressing its Arab allies to act on the Saudi initiative and move to form the NATO-like military alliance.

In parallel, the US president has also been encouraging the Arabs to step up their attempts towards normalization with the regime in Israel in favor of a coalition against Iran.

In February, a controversial US-organized summit in Warsaw, Poland, brought together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives from a number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Kuwait, among other participants.

On the sidelines of that event, Netanyahu said the Arab countries participating in the Warsaw forum were “sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Tehran has also repeatedly warned the Persian Gulf littoral states against the US’s divisive policies in the Middle East, saying the planned Arab alliance would merely be a tool for the US to fuel tensions in the region and advance its own agenda there.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah Warns: US Moves Will Not Remain Without a Response

Al-Manar – April 10, 2019

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed that victories achieved in Lebanon are not the result of US and its allies’ tenders, indicating that the US sanctions and measures against Iran and its allies in the region “will not remain without a response.”

In a televised speech commemorating the day of Resistance Wounded Fighters, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the security and peace “we are enjoying were made by our men, women, detainees and wounded, and these terrorists do not have the right to show that they are the ones who gave us stability.”

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that the US is humiliating an entire nation for the sake of terrorist ‘Israel’ and terrorist groups which it’s providing all facilities to.

As he voiced support to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, His eminence condemned and decried the US decision to classify the IRGC as a “terrorist organization,” saying the US insolence and folly set a precedent. “This decision shows that the US audacity and folly went beyond limits.”

“Blacklisting the IRGC is an evidence that it is strong and not weak and this is an expected move by the Great Satan,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that it was also a proof of the US failure and fiasco in the region.

His eminence dismissed reports about possible sanctions against Speaker Nabih Berri and other Hezbollah allies as “mere intimidation.”

We’ll Respond at the Right Time

The Hezbollah S.G. stressed that the Revolutionary Guards has a great role in defending the peoples of the region and had sacrificed a large number of martyrs and wounded for the sake of people of our region, indicating that it occupies a central, advanced, and the most influential place regionally.

“Until now we have only settled with condemnation, denouncement, patience, and managing the situation calmly in the face of sanctions and terror lists, but our patience does not mean that we, the axis of resistance, do not have the cards of strength,” Hezbollah’s S.G. warned, indicating that options remain open.

“It seems that the US blacklists will be prolonged. Our choices are open but we will act calmly, with a cool head and at the right time, in all battlefields and arenas,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. It is our natural right and ethical, religious and humanitarian duty to confront all those who might threaten our country, resistance and achievements through their sanctions and measures, he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah expressed his solidarity and support to the Iranian people who have been plagued by floods which hit Iranian areas. He said that Trump, who is bragging about humanitarianism, is blocking aid for Iranians suffering from the hurricane, expressing gratitude to all humanitarian efforts to collect aid to flood victims in Iran.

Yemen’s Steadfastness Protects the Palestinian Cause

Regarding the war on Yemen, His Eminence pointed out that four years have passed on the war and no one sees that the unarmed and oppressed people who are still steadfast and growing stronger are still fighting armies, pointing out that the war on Yemen is an American-Saudi-British-Israeli aggression.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that had Bin Salman won in Yemen war, he would have forced the Palestinians to sign on the deal of the century, stressing that Yemeni’s steadfastness throughout these years have protected the Palestinians. “What would have happened to Gulf countries and leaderships had the authoritarian Bin Salman won the war on Yemen?” he wondered, “he would have been presented as the great historical leader and victory will be presented in a misleading way.”

The Hezbollah leader indicated that there was an American insistence by Trump personally to continue the war on Yemen, pointing out that the steadfastness of the Yemeni people protects the Palestinian cause and Palestine and every occupied Arab land.

US Move to Blacklist Hezbollah Allies a Scarecrow

Sayyed Nasrallah briefly addressed the internal situation. He criticized what he called the US provocative policy of instigating strife in Lebanon, pointing out that it was continuing despite the failure of Pompeo’s recent visit.

He pointed that it was surprising that some Lebanese in Washington were working on blacklisting Hezbollah’s allies and friends in Lebanon. “The US move of blacklisting Hezbollah allies in Lebanon is just a scarecrow till now. There is not a single indication about an intention to place Nabih Berri and other allies on the terror list and we sense that there are Lebanese in Washington who are working in this direction, but so far this remains an intimidation campaign. When the matter reaches our allies, this means that they are targeting all our people.”

Unity, Resistance Only Way for a Free Lebanon

As for Lebanese concerns that Trump’s decision on the Golan Heights might affect the status of the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Our territorial border is linked to our national will and not to Trump’s decision.”

“We were killed and wounded and massacres were committed in our villages and cities through Israel’s aggression and the US support. Our peace, security and achievements were made by our people, martyrs and wounded. The achievements that were made in Lebanon are not from the blessings of America.”

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the importance of the current spirit of cooperation among the political forces in addressing the current situation regardless of any tensions here or there. “Lebanese should choose between keeping Lebanon in the safe zone or responding to those who are leading it towards sedition,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that the only way for keeping Lebanon free, sovereign and stable is through unity and resistance.

“I voice my support to Speaker Nabih Berri who has repented in Doha in front of the world’s parliamentarians to say the truth with a loud voice and show everyone the path of salvation: unity and resistance,” his eminence said.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech by hailing all wounded fighters who suffered and sacrificed themselves for the sake of this nation, saying: “thanks to your sacrifices, we are enjoying victories, security and the power of deterrence. The enemy doesn’t dare to wage any war because of your wounds and sacrifices.”

He said there was no place for neutrality in the battle of truth and in defending the oppressed.

Throughout his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled the martyrdom anniversary of Sayyed Mohammad Baqer Al-Sadr and his sister, and hailed his enormous intellectual achievements.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno Garces addresses the UN General Assembly. © Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
RT | April 11, 2019

US-backed Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno reneged on asylum agreements made with naturalized citizen Julian Assange, leading to his arrest on Thursday, but how exactly did relations with the whistleblower end up here?

Moreno won a narrow victory in 2017 to become president of Ecuador, having served as vice president under his predecessor Rafael Correa from 2007 to 2013 as part of the center-left PAIS Alliance. Much like Assange, Moreno was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, for championing the rights of the disabled (he is the only world leader who uses a wheelchair).

When he rose to power Moreno quickly locked horns with Assange, eventually revoking his internet access in March 2018 while also reducing the security detail at the embassy as a result of their ongoing spat. Moreno alleged that Assange had installed electronic distortion equipment in addition to blocking security cameras at the embassy. Their deteriorating relationship culminated in Moreno’s withdrawal of asylum granted to the whistleblower on April 11, 2019.

“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr Julian Assange; the hostile and threatening declarations of his allied organization against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video statement shortly after Assange’s arrest.

The writing had been on the wall for a long time, however.

Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return.

He effectively purged many of Correa’s appointments to key positions in Ecuador’s judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing.

Following Assange’s arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history” saying he was guilty of a “crime that humanity will never forget.”

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno’s brother.

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno’s phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | | Leave a comment