Aletho News


Trump: War President or Anti-Interventionist?

By Patrick J. Buchanan • Unz Review • June 25, 2019

Visualizing 150 Iranian dead from a missile strike that he had ordered, President Donald Trump recoiled and canceled the strike, a brave decision and defining moment for his presidency.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence had signed off on the strike on Iran as the right response to Tehran’s shootdown of a U.S. Global Hawk spy plane over the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. claims the drone was over international waters. Tehran says it was in Iranian territory. But while the loss of a $100 million drone is no small matter, no American pilot was lost, and retaliating by killing 150 Iranians would appear to be a disproportionate response.

Good for Trump. Yet, all weekend, he was berated for chickening out and imitating President Barack Obama. U.S. credibility, it was said, has taken a big hit and must be restored with military action.

By canceling the strike, the president also sent a message to Iran: We’re ready to negotiate. Yet, given the irreconcilable character of our clashing demands, it is hard to see how the U.S. and Iran get off this road we are on, at the end of which a military collision seems almost certain.

Consider the respective demands.

Monday, the president tweeted: “The U.S. request for Iran is very simple — No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!”

But Iran has no nuclear weapons, has never had nuclear weapons, and has never even produced bomb-grade uranium.

According to our own intelligence agencies in 2007 and 2011, Tehran did not even have a nuclear weapons program.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, the only way Iran could have a nuclear weapons program would be in secret, outside its known nuclear facilities, all of which are under constant U.N. inspection.

Where is the evidence that any such secret program exists?

And if it does, why does America not tell the world where Iran’s secret nuclear facilities are located and demand immediate inspections?

“No further sponsoring of terror,” Trump says.

But what does that mean?

As the major Shiite power in a Middle East divided between Sunni and Shiite, Iran backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war, Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon, Alawite Bashar Assad in Syria, and the Shiite militias in Iraq who helped us stop ISIS’s drive to Baghdad.

In his 12 demands, Pompeo virtually insisted that Iran abandon these allies and capitulate to their Sunni adversaries and rivals.

Not going to happen. Yet, if these demands are nonnegotiable, to be backed up by sanctions severe enough to choke Iran’s economy to death, we will be headed for war.

No more than North Korea is Iran going to yield to U.S. demands that it abandon what Iran sees as vital national interests.

As for the U.S. charge that Iran is “destabilizing” the Middle East, it was not Iran that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, overthrew the Gadhafi regime in Libya, armed rebels to overthrow Assad in Syria, or aided and abetted the Saudis’ intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Iran, pushed to the wall, its economy shrinking as inflation and unemployment are rising, is approaching the limits of its tolerance.

And as Iran suffers pain, it is saying, other nations in the Gulf will endure similar pain, as will the USA. At some point, collisions will produce casualties and we will be on the up escalator to war.

Yet, what vital interest of ours does Iran today threaten?

Trump, with his order to stand down on the missile strike on Iran, signaled that he wanted a pause in the confrontation.

Still, it needs to be said: The president himself authorized the steps that have brought us to this peril point.

Trump pulled out of and trashed Obama’s nuclear deal. He imposed the sanctions that are now inflicting something close to unacceptable if not intolerable pain on Iran. He had the Islamic Revolutionary Guard declared a terrorist organization. He sent the Abraham Lincoln carrier task force and B-52s to the Gulf region.

If war is to be avoided, either Iran is going to have to capitulate, or the U.S. is going to have to walk back its maximalist position.

And who would Trump name to negotiate with Tehran for the United States?

The longer the sanctions remain in place and the deeper they bite, the greater the likelihood Iran will respond to our economic warfare with its own asymmetric warfare. Has the president decided to take that risk?

We appear to be at a turning point in the Trump presidency.

Does he want to run in 2020 as the president who led us into war with Iran, or as the anti-interventionist president who began to bring U.S. troops home from that region that has produced so many wars?

Perhaps Congress, the branch of government designated by the Constitution to decide on war, should instruct President Trump as to the conditions under which he is authorized to take us to war with Iran.

Copyright 2019

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments

Fukushima’s Three Nuclear Meltdowns Are “Under Control”: That’s a Lie

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News – June 22, 2019

The implementation of the safe decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is a unique complex case and expected to span several decades: the IAEA Review Team considers that it will therefore require sustained engagement with stakeholders, proper knowledge management, and benefit from broad international cooperation.

– Report by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Review Team, January 30, 2019

The bland language of the official IAEA report is itself a form of lying, offering the false appearance of reassurance that a catastrophic event will be safely managed “for several decades.” There is no way to know that: it is a hope, a prayer, a form of denial. The IAEA, as is its job in a sense, offers this optimism that is unsupported by the realities at Fukushima.

On April 14, 2019, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited the Fukushima meltdown site. According to The Asahi Shimbun’s headline, “Abe [was] pushing idea that Fukushima nuclear disaster is ‘under control’.” Abe entered the site wearing a business suit and no protective clothing to shield him from radiation. He stood on elevated ground about 100 meters from a building holding one of the melted-down reactors. He had his picture taken. He told reporters, “The decommissioning work has been making progress in earnest.” Abe’s visit lasted six minutes. This was a classic media pseudo-event, designed to be reported despite its lack of actual meaning – for all practical purposes it was another nuclear lie.

The entire Fukushima site remains radioactive at varying levels, from unsafe to lethal, depending on location. The site includes six reactors, three of them in meltdown, and at least as many fuel pools, some of which still contain fuel rods. The site has close to a thousand large storage tanks holding more than a million tons (roughly 264.5 million gallons) of radioactive wastewater.

The prime minister’s stage-managed visit placed him on a platform where the radiation level “exceeds 100 micro-sieverts per hour,” a low level but less than safe. That’s why Abe’s visit lasted only six minutes. Prolonged exposure to that level of radiation is not healthy. A year’s exposure to 100 micro-sieverts per hour would total 87,600 micro-sieverts in a year. How bad that would be is debatable. By way of illustration, even US regulations, not known for their stringency, allow American nuclear workers a maximum annual radiation exposure of 50,000 micro-sieverts.

Translation: the Prime Minister was posing in an area of dangerous radiation level and pretending it was all fine. Call it lying by photo op.

The first thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they are not even close to being over. The second thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that no one really knows what’s going on, but officials routinely and falsely issue happy-talk reassurances that just aren’t true. The third thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they won’t be over for years, more likely decades, perhaps even ever.

Now, more than eight years after the triple reactor meltdown at Fukushima, the status of the three melted reactor cores remains somewhat contained but uncontrolled, with no end in sight. No one knows exactly where the melted cores are. No one has any clear idea of how to remove them or how to dispose of them safely. For the foreseeable future, the best anyone can do is keep the cores cooled with water and hope for the best. Water flowing into the reactors and cooling the cores is vital to preventing the meltdowns from re-initiating.

Clean groundwater continues to flow into the reactors. Then radioactive water flows out into the Pacific. Continuously. A frozen ice wall costing $309 million diverts much of the groundwater around the site to the Pacific Ocean. The water flow is not well measured. Some contaminated water is stored on site, but the site’s storage capacity of 1.37 million tons of radioactive water may be reached during 2020.

One proposed wastewater solution is to dilute the stored radioactive water and then dump it in the Pacific. Fukushima fishermen oppose this. Radioactivity in Fukushima fish has slowly declined since 2011, but the local fishing industry is only at 20 percent of pre-meltdown levels.

When it exists, reporting on Fukushima continues to be uneven and often shabby, buying into the official rosy view of the disaster, as The New York Times did on April 15. The day after Abe’s visit to Fukushima, the Times reported that an operation to begin removing fuel rods from a fuel pool was a “Milestone in Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup.” The Times, with remarkable incompetence, couldn’t distinguish clearly between the fuel pool and the melted reactor cores:

The operator of Japan’s ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday at one of three reactors that melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, a major milestone in the long-delayed cleanup effort….

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said in a statement that workers on Monday morning began removing the first of 566 spent and unspent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s third reactor. A radiation-hardened robot had first located the melted uranium fuel inside the reactor in 2017.

That is such a botch. The fuel pool is a storage pool outside the reactor. It contains fuel rods that have NOT melted down. They could melt down if the pool loses its cooling water, but for now they’re stable. The fuel pool has nothing more to do with the melted reactor cores than proximity. The fuel pool is outside the reactor, the melted cores are somewhere near the bottom of the reactor. The melted cores are beyond any remediation for the foreseeable future. To pretend that the start of fuel rod removal is any kind of meaningful milestone while the three melted cores remain out of reach is really to distort the reality of Fukushima.

The summer Olympics are planned for Tokyo in 2020. In 2013, two years after the Fukushima meltdowns, Prime Minister Abe pitched the Tokyo site by telling the Olympic Committee in reference to Fukushima: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control.”

This was a lie.

Even now, no one knows where the melted reactor cores are precisely. One robot has made one contact so far. Radiation levels at the core are lethal. There is, as yet, no way to remove the cores safely. They think they’re going to remove the cores with robots, but the robots don’t yet exist. The disaster may not be as out of control as it was, but that’s about the best that can be honestly said, unless there’s another tsunami.

Official government statistics show pediatric cancers almost doubling since the Fukushima meltdowns of 2011. Thyroid cancers are reaching epidemic levels. The Japanese government refuses to track leukemia and other cancers. The official Fukushima death toll is more than 18,000, including 2,546 who have never been recovered. Most of Fukushima prefecture remains uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

On March 21, 2019, Dr. Helen Caldicot offered an assessment much closer to the likely truth:

They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.

The Japanese government doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to re-start all its other nuclear power plants. TEPCO doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to stay in business as long as the Japanese government is willing to make the company profitable with billions of dollars in bailouts. The IAEA and the rest of the nuclear industry don’t want to address Fukushima in full because they don’t want to see the over-priced, over-subsidized, and ultimately dangerous nuclear industry die from its own shortcomings. With billions of dollars at stake, who needs the truth?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

$9 billion for Egypt in return for deal of the century

MEMO | June 24, 2019

According to documents released by the White House, the economic aspect of Donald Trump’s peace plan between Palestine and Israel includes granting $9 billion to Egypt, half of which is in the form of soft loans.

The documents revealed that $50 billion will be dedicated to the economic part of the deal of the century, which will be invested in the revival of the Palestinian territories, as well as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

The US President’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner will announce the details of the first phase of the peace plan during the workshop on “Peace for Prosperity” in Manama, Bahrain, on 25 and 26 June.

According to the documents, the funds received by Egypt will be invested during three stages over 10 years, as follows:

  • $5 billion to be invested in modernising transport infrastructure and logistics in Egypt.
  • $1.5 billion to be invested in supporting Egypt’s efforts to become a regional natural gas hub.
  • $2 billion to be dedicated to the Sinai Development Project ($500 million for power generation projects, water infrastructure, transport infrastructure and tourism projects).
  • An additional $125 million to be directed to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which will direct this fund to small and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt.
  • $42 million to repair and modernise electricity transmission lines from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
  • The commitment to discuss ways to enhance trade deals between Egypt, Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank through Qualifying Industrial Zones in Egypt within the QIZ Agreement.

The rest of the $50 billion

According to the documents, the West Bank and Gaza Strip will receive about $28 billion, which will be invested in improving transport infrastructure, electricity networks, water supply infrastructure, education, housing, and agriculture.

$5 billion will be spent on transport infrastructure linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and another $1 billion on the development of the Palestinian tourism sector.

The remaining part of the $50 billion will be divided between Jordan, which will receive $7.4 billion, and Lebanon, which will be granted $6.3 billion. The totality of funds will be raised through an investment fund managed by a Multilateral Development Bank.

Where will these funds come from?

According to the documents, this amount is divided into $13.4 billion as grants, $25.7 billion as subsidised loans, and private capital in those projects will be $11.6 billion.

However, there are serious doubts as to whether this amount can be collected or not.

“There are deep doubts about the willingness of potential donor governments to make contributions at any time as long as the thorny political differences that are at the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict have not been resolved,” Reuters mentioned in a report.

The news agency quoted experts as saying: “Most foreign investors will prefer to stay away not only because of security concerns and fears of corruption, but also because of the obstacles the Palestinian economy is facing due to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which hampers the movement of people, goods, and services.”

The cost for Egypt

In his interview with Reuters, Kushner described the economic aspect of the plan as “less controversial,” raising more questions about the formula for the political solution Trump and his associates are seeking.

Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, has repeatedly denied that the United States asked Egypt to give up land in Sinai to create a sovereign Palestinian entity expanding to parts of Rafah and Arish.

For its part, Egypt announced its participation in the Manama conference this week with a delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Finance, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafiz told Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Hafez stressed that the Egyptian participation aims to “follow up the ideas that will be presented during the workshop and evaluate the compatibility of the contained theses with the Palestinian National Authority’s vision of the ways of granting legitimate rights of the Palestinian people through a political framework and in accordance with the Palestinian and Arab determinants and constants, and the related UN decisions.”

The deal of the century is a peace plan prepared by the Trump administration and is said to be forcing Palestinians to make unfair concessions in favour of Israel, including on the status of occupied East Jerusalem and the refugees’ right of return.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Chosen-mess

By Gilad Atzmon | June 24, 2019

A few days ago the BBC reported on an extraordinary French identity theft scam. For two years starting in late 2015, an individual or individuals impersonating France’s defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, scammed an estimated €80m from wealthy French patriots.

The victims of this fraud were tricked into believing that they were being contacted by France’s Defence Minister who was requesting money to help pay ransom for journalists held hostage by Islamists in the Middle East. Since France officially does not pay ransom to terrorists, the fake minster assured the victims that payments could not be traced and asked for the funds to be wired to a bank in China.

The BBC deemed the operation “one of the most outlandish and successful rackets of recent times.”

You may not be surprised that the accused evil genius behind this con is a French-Israeli character of Tunisian Jewish background named Gilbert Chikli. Chikli grew up in the working-class Belleville neighbourhood of northeast Paris.

In 2015, Chikli was found guilty of scamming money from French corporations by pretending to be their chief executive. By the time the verdict was reached, Chikli was safely ensconced in the Jewish State, which refuses to extradite its nationals.

Chikli’s luck ran out in August 2017 when he made the mistake of travelling to Ukraine where he was arrested at the request of the French police. Chikli told police he was on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a well-known rabbi. But a search into his phone’s communication revealed that he went to Ukraine to buy a silicone mask

The alleged crime saga didn’t end there. Recently reports began to arrive at French embassies around the world that once again a fake Le Drian, now French foreign minster, was trying to squeeze money out of influential ‘friends of France’. In February, three French-Israeli citizens were arrested near Tel Aviv in connection with this new swindle.

Chikli’s racket is astonishing, creative; criminologists may decide that it borders on genius. Although Chikli didn’t invent the art of the swindle, he ratcheted it up to a higher level.

What I find remarkable about Chikli’s operation is not the stunning amounts of money, the sophistication, or even the chutzpah involved: it is the fact that Chikli ’s scam was dependent upon the humane compassion of others. He banked on the fact that humans feel and care for each other.  We are dealing with a disgraceful blow against the most precious aspect of humanity, that which sustains kindness and brotherhood.

It is not surprising that some very wealthy and influential people fell for Chikli’s racket and for the obvious reason: decent humans would find it hard or even impossible to imagine the extent of Chikli and his friends’ deception.

And Chikli is not alone in his practices. In recent years we have seen a number of instances of gross misbehavior and abuse and on a spectacular  scale. And as is the case of Chikli we find Jews and Israelis at the centre of these embarrassing  sagas.

In 2010  an Israeli court ruled that seven Israelis suspected of scamming tens of millions of dollars from U.S. pensioners in a so-called ‘Nigerian scam’ could be extradited to the United States to face trial there. Israel has bought itself a reputation as the location of some of the most horrendous crimes such as organ trafficking (look here and here), and is notorious as a hub of human trafficking,  blood diamondcrypto currency criminalsthe binary options scam, and the scope of gross unethical behavior extends well beyond the borders of the Jewish State.

In 2012  Britain was shocked to discover that one of its most popular TV stars was a serial pedophile who had committed sex crimes against children throughout his 50 year career. Jimmy Savile raped children in the BBC’s dressing rooms, in orphan homes and in institutions that cared for the disabled. No one bothered to defend Jimmy Saville. Yet when Lord Janner faced similar allegations, the British establishment was somehow hesitant and confused. Despite the fact that Lord Janner was suspected of sexually abusing more than 30 children from the mid-1950s until the late 1980s the British judicial system found itself struggling.

Janner, a former Leicester MP (Labour) was the chairman of the Board of Jewish Deputies (BOD), a body that claims to represent British Jewry and the founder of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET). To date, neither the BOD nor the HET has expressed any regret for its past association with Janner who died at age 87 before a trial could take place.

Lord Janner’s family is taking good care to restore their father’s reputation. Soon after the Lord passed away we learned from the British press  that Janner’s three grown-up children asked “to take part in the investigation into his alleged crimes.”

Outside the investigation’s London headquarters, Lord Janner’s son, Daniel Janner QC, attacked the “shambolic and discredited inquiry” (into his father alleged crimes).

He claimed there had been a “total failure” to acknowledge “our late father’s good character and legal status as innocent”

In February 2018 we learned that Lord Janner’s son vowed to bring a private prosecution against the man who initiated the Westminster child abuse claims, who has himself been charged with paedophile offences.

I am not in a position to verify whether Lord Janner was guilty of the crimes he was accused of but I can confirm that the enquiry into his suspected sex abuse has collapsed. In all, 33 men and women accused Lord Janner of abusing them. Their plight has been forgotten. One of the most embarrassing chapters in Britain’s past remains untouched.

Lord Janner is hardly alone as a suspect in an abusive sex scandal. For the last two years we have been learning about another Zionist enthusiast who left more than 80 victims traumatized, abused and humiliated.

In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that tens of women came forward and accused Harvey Weinstein, formerly head of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company (TWC), of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least three decades. More than 80 women in the film industry have since accused Weinstein of such acts. Weinstein denied “any non-consensual sex”.

Jeffrey Epstein’s story is similarly abusive. The convicted sex offender prostituted dozens of underage girls and should have spent the rest of his life in jail. Again this is no ‘one-off’ abuse of an underage child, he was a serial sex predator.

According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.”

Vox writes that the girls and women who reported abuse by Epstein, meanwhile, were markedly powerless. Most of them “came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care,… Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness.”

In November 2017 the genius comedian Larry David was criticized in the Jewish press for admitting on Saturday Night Live that many of those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood are Jewish.

Jews often brag about their genius gene pool and about the fact that so many Nobel Prize winners are Jewish (20%). Jews frequently boast about their power in politics, media and finance. “Jews must never be afraid to use their well-earned power” was the title of a recent article by Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of Epstein’s legal team and was later accused by one of the victims’ lawyers of himself participating in the sex trafficking ring.

This raises the obvious question of whether the same ‘gene-pool’ that created so many spectacular Jewish minds is also responsible for the list of gross misconduct as illustrated above. I am not a biologist nor an evolutionary scientist, but I admit I am not a great believer in the notion of a ‘Jewish gene.’

I contend that Chikli, Janner, Weinstein and Epstein have something else in common. Their actions display a dismissal of others that verges on complete contempt for humanity. This is the crux of choseness. To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy. Chikli is clearly aware of the human inclination for empathy, it is that impulse that he allegedly exploited to his own benefit, he just lacks that empathic quality himself.

Not every Jew identifies him or herself as chosen. None of the Jews in my social circuit displays any of the horrid symptoms described above. As a reader of early Zionist texts, I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to re-make them, I am also aware  that some rabbinical Judaic interpretations of choseness are somehow different from the contemporary Zionist secular Jewish political interpretation of Jewish exceptionalism. Nor is choseness limited to Zionists or Israelis.  Choseness has become the pillar of Jewish self identification. Choseness is what binds Jews together. This includes anti Zionist Jews boasting about the precious contribution of the so-called ‘Jews in the movement’ and the Israelis and Zionists who celebrate their choseness at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine.

 Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

Guardian Continues to Promote “Progressive” Censorship

But don’t worry, they only want to shut down “settled” debates

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | June 23, 2019

There’s a lot of talk about “free speech” being under threat these days, with reports of de-platforming at universities, academics losing their jobs because of their political opinions, artists and celebrities getting “cancelled” over an off-colour joke, an even vaguely non-PC opinion, or just supporting Donald Trump.

The entire reason this website exists is the sheer amount of censorship in both corporate media and social media.

We have an archive dedicated to it, that doesn’t include even half of 1% of the deleted comments on The Guardian alone.

Rather notably the US is trying to extradite (and perhaps execute) a man for simply telling the truth.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that free speech was, indeed, under attack.

But you’d be wrong. The Guardian says so, or at least Martha Gill says so. She headlines:

Free speech isn’t under threat. It just suits bigots and boors to suggest so

Before explaining:

But is free speech really under threat? The first thing to say is that the scale of the problem in universities has been exaggerated. The practice of denying people speaking slots over their views has rightly caused concern, but every single instance has also attracted vast coverage in national papers, giving the impression of an epidemic. They are not reflective of the feelings of most students.

Free speech advocates also misunderstand the motivation of those who might want to shut down a debate: they see this as a surefire mark of intolerance.

…some debates should be shut down. For public dialogue to make any progress, it is important to recognise when a particular debate has been won and leave it there.

It’s a magical journey:

  • Censorship ISN’T happening, that’s just something racists say
  • If censorship WERE happening it would be for a good reason
  • Censorship IS happening, and is a good thing

Personally, I love the phrase “For public dialogue to make any progress, it is important to recognise when a particular debate has been won and leave it there”, wonderful. Perfect. The liberal argument for censorship – The debate isn’t shut down, it’s just over. We won. We need to move forward.

Dissent will be bad for “public dialogue”.

The examples she cites – Flat Earth, burning witches etc. are deliberately extreme and ridiculous, but the principle could equally apply to anything. Global warming, Assad’s “war crimes”, socialism, antisemitism. MH17. The Skripals.

The list is endless. All they have to do is assume a political position, declare the debate over and then silence the dissent for the sake of “public dialogue”. This does not make them “anti-free speech”:

No-platformers are not scared – they simply think certain debates are over. You may disagree, but it does not mean they are against free speech.

A beautifully totalitarian position. They will rebrand intolerance as being “enlightened” and “woke” and “progressive”.

Don’t worry guys – The only debates being shut down are ones which should be, because they’re over.

How comforting.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Boxed in by Neocons and the Media, Will Trump Launch Iran War?

By Ron Paul | June 24, 2019

President Trump did the smart thing last week by calling off a US airstrike on Iran over the downing of an American spy drone near or within Iranian territorial waters. According to press reports, the president over-ruled virtually all his top advisors – Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel – who all wanted another undeclared and unauthorized US war in the Middle East.

Is Iran really the aggressive one? When you unilaterally pull out of an agreement that was reducing tensions and boosting trade; when you begin applying sanctions designed to completely destroy another country’s economy; when you position military assets right offshore of that country; when you threaten to destroy that country on a regular basis, calling it a campaign of “maximum pressure,” to me it seems a stretch to play the victim when that country retaliates by shooting a spy plane that is likely looking for the best way to attack.

Even if the US spy plane was not in Iranian airspace – but it increasingly looks like it was – it was just another part of an already-existing US war on Iran. Yes, sanctions are a form of war, not a substitute for war.

The media are also a big part of the problem. The same media that praised Trump as “presidential” when he fired rockets into Syria on what turned out to be false claims that Assad gassed his own people, has been attacking Trump for not bombing Iran. From Left to Right – with one important exception – the major media is all braying for war. Why? They can afford to cheer death and destruction because they will not suffer the agony of war. Networks will benefit by capturing big ratings and big money and new media stars will be born.

President Trump has said he does not want to be the one to start a new war in the Middle East. He seemed to prove that by avoiding the urgings of his closest advisors to attack Iran. It is hard to imagine a president having top advisors who work at cross-purposes to him, planning and plotting their wars – and maybe more – behind his back. Even Trump seems to recognize that his national security advisor is not really serving his administration well. Over the weekend he said in an interview, “John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he’d take on the whole world at one time, okay?”

I think when you have a national security advisor who wants to fight the whole world at once, you have a problem. Does anyone believe we will be more secure after spending a few trillion more dollars and making a few hundred million more enemies? What does “victory” even look like?

President Trump is in a bind and it is of his own making. Iran has shown that it is not willing to take its marching orders from Washington, which means “maximum pressure” from the US will not work. He has two options remaining in that case: risk it all by launching a war or make a gesture toward peace. A war would ruin his presidency – and a lot more. I would urge the president to issue waivers to China, India, Turkey, and the others who wish to continue buying Iranian oil and invite the Iranian leadership to meet at a neutral location. And fire Bolton and Pompeo.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

No Evidence Russia Meddled in Brexit via Facebook, Company’s VP Nick Clegg Says

Sputnik – June 24, 2019

While the British government has consistently accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 national referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by using fake accounts on social media, Facebook, which has conducted multiple investigations into the matter, has repeatedly stressed that it found no substantial evidence to back up the claims.

There is “absolutely no evidence” that Russia swayed the 2016 Brexit vote using Facebook, Nick Clegg, the company’s vice president for Global Affairs and Communications, told the BBC on Monday.

Clegg, who served as the UK’s deputy prime minister from 2010 to 2015, explained that the company had conducted analyses of its data and found no “significant attempt” to influence the outcome of the national referendum.

He, likewise, dismissed the claim that Cambridge Analytica, a leading data mining firm, influenced Britons’ decision to vote Leave.

“Much though I understand why people want to sort of reduce that eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy – or some use of new social media through opaque means – I’m afraid the roots to British Euroscepticism go very, very deep”, he elaborated.

In fact, he contended that opinions had been influenced more by “traditional media” over the past 40 years rather than by new social media.

The British government has repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 referendum on EU membership and spreading “fake stories” in the media to “sow discord in the West”, but has failed to provide any evidence to corroborate the claim. Moscow has consistently dismissed the allegations as groundless.

Facebook undertook several probes over the claims and has on multiple occasions stated that the investigation produced no substantial results: in December 2017, the company said that it had found only $0.97 of ad spending originating from the “notorious Russian troll factory“.

Two months later, after Facebook was urged to continue the probe, the tech titan told a British parliamentary committee that a further investigation to try and “identify clusters of coordinated Russian activity around the Brexit referendum that were not identified previously” had as well been unproductive.

Twitter has likewise announced that it found no evidence proving Russia’s alleged meddling.

The investigations were fuelled by a report from UK-based communications agency 89up, published in February 2018 that accused the Russian media of having a strong anti-EU sentiment prior to the Brexit referendum.

The report claimed that the social reach of these outlets was “134 million potential impressions, in comparison with a total social reach of just 33 million and 11 million potential impressions for all content shared from the Vote Leave website and Leave.EU website respectively”. The company also alleged that the Russian media’s purported interference in the EU referendum was worth up to 4 million pounds ($5 million).

The United Kingdom held the Brexit referendum on 23 June 2016, where almost 52 percent of Britons backed the decision to withdraw from the European Union.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

US deploying missiles along Russia’s borders could lead to ‘new Cuban crisis’ – Russia’s deputy FM

RT | June 24, 2019

Washington will provoke explosive tensions, reminiscent of the darkest moments of the Cold War, if it sends missiles close to Russia’s border after suspending the INF Treaty, a senior diplomat in Moscow warned.

If Washington deploys short or mid-range ground-based missiles along Russia’s borders, the situation “will not only become complicated, it will escalate to the maximum level,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told lawmakers on Monday.

“We can end up in a missile crisis not just similar to the one we had in the 1980s, but to the Cuban Missile Crisis [in 1962].”

The diplomat was commenting on the demise of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between Moscow and Washington. The deal banned owning and testing of all ground-based missiles with a range of up to 5,500km (3,420 miles), as well as their launchers.

Last year, the US announced the suspension of its obligations under the treaty, alleging that Russia secretly violates it. Moscow strongly denied the allegations and accused the US of conducting tests, illegal under the INF Treaty, which Washington likewise denied. In February, Russia suspended its participation in the agreement in “a mirror response” to the US’ actions.

Speaking on Monday, Ryabkov said that Moscow stands ready to continue taking “a responsible approach” to the situation but will do everything to “firmly maintain its own national security and the security of our allies in the changing environment.”

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Trump Describes Advisors’ Attempt to Push Him to Attack Iran as So Disgusting: WSJ

Al-Manar | June 24, 2019

US President Trump bucked most of his top national-security advisers by abandoning retaliatory strikes in Iran on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“In private conversations Friday, Mr. Trump reveled in his judgment, certain about his decision to call off the attacks while speaking of his administration as if removed from the center of it.”

“These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting,” Trump told one confidant about his own inner circle of advisers. “We don’t need any more wars.”

“In these conversations, Trump bemoaned the costs of a drone shot down by Iran—about $130 million before research and development—but told people the dollar figure would resonate less with US voters than the potential casualties.”

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Will the Australian Government Join in a “Nuremberg Class” Attack on Iran?

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo welcomes Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on January 30, 2019.
Credit: U.S. Department of State/ flickr
By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | June 24, 2019

As my father used to say in response to difficult questions – “ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies”. This seems to be the approach of Australia’s media organizations to our government’s extraordinary silence over events in the Gulf of Oman. Barring an anodyne statement condemning the attacks on civilian shipping, neither Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne nor Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ventured an opinion on who might have been responsible for these provocative actions. This remains the case even when subsequent developments included a narrowly averted war with global repercussions, with no questions asked and no lies proffered.

In the aftermath of recent attacks on journalistic freedoms and intimidation of whistleblowers, many people have expressed the view that it is the job of journalists to hold governments and public servants to account. That the governments of both Australia and its parent Britain seek to avoid such scrutiny is clear from their actions. Draconian punishments now apply to those who are thought to “threaten national security” by revealing inconvenient truths.

So we might wonder whether the ABC’s failure to ask questions of Government ministers about the dangerous confrontation in the Persian Gulf is connected to these recent developments, which included a highly provocative police raid on the headquarters of the ABC. The ABC purports to be independent of Government, and is expected to interview ministers on behalf of the public when necessary, as well as seeking the view of shadow ministers from the opposition Labor party.

In those recent raids, which concerned an Australian equivalent of the “Collateral Murder” crime exposed by an insider in Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan and leaked to an ABC journalist two years ago, there was a widespread shock at the actions authorized under the police warrant. In examining the ABC’s files relating to the case, it was revealed that the recently expanded powers of police forensic officers included the deletion and alteration of computer files – though this was explained as limited to the removal of irrelevant material and identities. This could be true given that the need to rewrite history is now minimized thanks to current controls over access to information.

What was more shocking to some, however, was a widely expressed but ill-informed view from the “Murdoch Right” that the ABC raids were justified, as its actions had endangered national security. Similar views were expressed over the alleged crimes of Julian Assange, whether “narcissist” or “cyber-terrorist”, with little sympathy from fellow Australians for his persecution and torture by the UK regime.

Australian sentiment towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is similarly prejudiced, so persuading the public that Iran would have launched an attack on two tankers near the Straits of Hormuz on the basis of minimal evidence was never going to be difficult; a mere dog-whistle sufficed. What now seems worrying is that “Central Narrative Control” knew this in advance – that they could show a blurry video of Iranian forces rescuing a ship’s crew, while saying it showed them “removing a limpet mine”, and the US aligned media audience would believe that this was what they saw.

But how could people be fooled by this ridiculous story, presented with a video that didn’t stand the slightest scrutiny?  Why anyway would Iran sabotage two ships as a direct provocation, while trying to make it look as though the US or its allies were responsible? This wouldn’t make any sense, as the US would have no motive for such an attack – other than to frame Iran for it as a pretext for what has now followed!

The corollary of this perverse provocation by the US or its local agents is that while an Iranian strike on the two tankers could have been understood as a response to newly imposed sanctions targeting Iran’s petrochemical industry, such an attack on civilian shipping by the US with the sole object of framing Iran would be an undoubted war crime. As in fact, it was – and we need to remember this as subsequent events and silence from the media relegate it to a later investigation, or the memory hole. (Iran has also registered a protest over the US accusations with the UN)

Those subsequent events, which we now discover have brought us to the point of a major military escalation, allow current news reports to state that “following the Iranian attack on two ships in the Gulf of Oman” – tensions on both sides are increasing; no longer is the ship attack “alleged”. Instead, a new “limpet mine” narrative has been created to reinforce the idea of the Iranian threat, and this, in turn, feeds into talk of new Uranium enrichment above the agreed levels in the JCPOA, despite this being an entirely legitimate Iranian response to the US’ failure to keep to the agreement. Contrary to the immediate wild accusations from the usual suspects that Iran is now “again” working on a nuclear bomb (it never was, since 2003 [if ever] ), the renewed enrichment remains only to the 3.7% base limit, as those nuclear-armed suspects know perfectly well.

The need to be reminded of these stages in the development of the false narrative that Iran is the aggressor is that the silence from both media and politicians has actually enabled it, simply by drawing on the prejudices of the population. It seems that only those who doubt or deny the US-led accusations against Iran have noticed the deafening silence of Australia’s leaders and the failure of the main media to ask them to show their hand. Is it possible that we could find ourselves supporting the real aggressors in a criminal attack on a peaceful and friendly nation – a classic case of “sleepwalking into war”?

Well, now it appears that this is the case. The ABC hasn’t thought to ask the foreign minister whether we agree with the US story, and whether we would support them in military action against Iran despite the lack of evidence, because there is already that assumption. Despite the early skepticism of US claims from some mainstream commentators, and parallels drawn with the proverbial Iraqi WMD fraud, those reservations appear to now be forgotten. With this comes the realization that my father’s riposte does not apply to our national broadcaster; it doesn’t fear being told lies but rather fears having to admit the obvious truth, which is that of course, we believe the US story, and will support any action that our alliance demands.

Such blindness to the truth, and blind submission to the whims of the world’s most dangerous state, was brought home by this quote from Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Michael Bachelard:

“Some have likened the escalating atmosphere to the feeling leading up to George Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. So why are we suddenly using the “w” word in the Middle East again, and should Australia brace to be invited into another Coalition of the Willing?”

Bachelard presents – and perhaps believes – “Australia” to be a well-intentioned onlooker on the mixed-up politics of the Middle East, whose “contribution” would always be towards peace and security and resolution of conflict. It is a rosy-eyed view of Australia sadly prevalent amongst people whose own intentions are honorable – assuming that the leaders of our traditional allies and partner “democracies” share their honesty and integrity and benevolence. By contrast, these same people seem happy to assume the worst about our “enemies”; Bachelard’s inappropriate use of a photo of a smiling President Assad greeting Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran in February in the above article nicely reflects this ingrained prejudice.

The reality of Australia’s role in Middle Eastern politics, on the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and over Palestine and Israel is sadly very different. Despite a “modest contribution” to the Iraq invasion force, John Howard was George Bush’s closest ally, notably refusing to accept that Saddam Hussein had no WMD until around 2010. More recently the involvement of Australian fighter jets in the 2016 US coalition attack on the Syrian Army near Deir al Zour was symptomatic of Australia’s illegitimate presence in Syria, and complicity in NATO allies’ support for the insurgent forces. This intimate alignment with the US also saw Australia copying Trump’s “recognition” of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite the damage this did to relations with our closest neighbor Indonesia.

In the light of this record, and the catalog of unasked questions and untold lies, we can only speculate on the Australian Government’s RSVP to America’s “invitation” to join in a “Nuremberg class” attack on Iran. With Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s record of meetings with both Pompeo and Bolton, and our shared bases and assets in the region, it seems likely such an invitation was a mere formality, likely preceding the first strikes on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

And as with the story of the war crimes in Afghanistan, there won’t be any desire to rewrite the history of how the third Great War began, should the truth finally surface. That history has already been certified as true by the silence of “Australia’s most trusted news source” and recorded in the mind of the nation; no-one would now believe otherwise.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

‘They tried hard, but failed’: Iran foiled all US attempts to carry out cyber-attacks

RT | June 24, 2019

Iran successfully prevented US cyber-attacks that targeted its infrastructure, the country’s information minister said after Washington was reported to have crippled Tehran’s missile control sites with a retaliatory cyber-strike.

Minister for Information and Communication Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi appeared to deny reports in the US media that a massive cyber-offensive had disabled Iranian computer systems that control rocket and missile launches on Thursday.

Neither the Pentagon nor the White House commented on the reports, which claimed that the strike had been carried out by US Cyber Command in cooperation with US Central Command to avenge the downing of an unmanned US Navy drone by Iran on Thursday morning.

Stopping short of directly addressing rumors that the attack had taken place, Jahromi said that Iran has vast experience of thwarting these kind of assaults, having foiled some “33 million attacks with the [national] firewall, only within the last year.”

He specifically referred to Stuxnet, a computer worm jointly developed by the US and Israel, which was used to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear facility networks in 2009-2010.

“They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack”.

The Washington Post reported earlier that the alleged cyber-strike had incapacitated Iran’s military command posts and control systems.

The Trump administration has been pursuing a hawkish cyber-strategy. Signed by Trump last September, the document rolled up many of the constraints that limited the usage of offensive cyber-operations in retaliation against foreign actors.

Unveiling the strategy, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who has been rallying behind a military option in Iran, announced that Washington’s “hands are not tied” anymore.

Meanwhile, Iran has exercised caution, warning that the US military should carefully assess the risks before going to war with Tehran. A senior Iranian general warned that if a conflict breaks out, “no country would be able to manage its scope and timing.”

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment