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The US-NATO Military Alliance Continues Confrontation Along Russia’s Borders

By Brian Cloughley | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 23, 2019

The Pentagon and its sub-office in Brussels, HQ NATO, in its new billion dollar building, are intent on maintaining military pressure around the globe. The US itself is much more widely spread, having bases tentacled from continent to continent, with the Pentagon admitting to 514 but omitting mention of many countries, including Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia.

Independent researchers came up with the more realistic total of 883 bases, and examination of the current US defence budget shows that the Pentagon’s spending priorities are far from modest in regard to spreading its wings, hulls and boots-on-the-ground to maintain military domination by what Trump calls “the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth.” To this end its vast military spending programme includes:

  • increasing the strength of the Army, Navy, and Air Force by almost 26,000;
  • building another ten combat ships for $18.4 billion;
  • increasing production of the most expensive aircraft in world history, the F-35, costing over eleven billion; and
  • upgrading and expanding the triad of nuclear weapons deliverable from air, land and sea.

The US military budget for 2020 is officially $750 billion. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, total US-NATO military expenditure in 2018 was “$963 billion, which represents 53 per cent of world spending.” In striking (no humour intended) contrast, Russia’s entire defence budget was $61.4 billion, its annual outlay having “decreased by 3.5 per cent,” which even the most brainwashed western war-drummer would have to agree does not reflect the policy of a nation preparing to invade anybody.

Yet the US-NATO alliance is increasing the number and scope of military manoeuvres along Russia’s borders, and announced that “in 2019, a total of 102 NATO exercises are planned; 39 of them are open to partner participation.” The exercises include 25 land, 27 air and 12 maritime-centred groups of manoeuvres.

“Partner participation” is a disguised way of saying that non-NATO countries around Russia’s borders have been encouraged to join in all the expensive military jamborees aimed at convincing their citizens they should follow “the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth” in its never-ending conquests.

HQ NATO announced that from 8-22 June military forces of 18 nations took part in the BALTOPS naval manoeuvres which involved “maritime, air and ground forces with about 50 ships and submarines and 40 aircraft” in and around the Baltic. The NATO spokesperson said, presumably with a straight face and no hint of the wry amusement felt by independent observers, that “BALTOPS is now in its 47th year and is not directed against anyone.” Sure. And the Easter Bunny just landed on Mars.

In the most recent example of US-NATO confrontation, according to US European Command, “the US Air Force deployed F-35 Lightning and F-15E Strike Eagles to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, as part of Operation Rapid Forge under the Department of Defense’s Dynamic Force Employment Concept. Rapid Forge will involve forward deployments to bases in the territory of NATO allies in order to enhance readiness… and are conducted in coordination with US allies and partners in Europe. Rapid Forge aircraft are forward deploying to the territory of NATO allies… The goal of the operation is to increase the readiness and responsiveness of US forces in Europe…”

Then on July 16 Stars and Stripes (a remarkably objective commentator, incidentally) reported that the Rapid Forge strike aircraft had been sent to Poland, Lithuania and Estonia “in a test of the service’s ability to quickly deploy air power overseas” These aircraft were specifically deployed to operate as closely as possible to Russian airspace.

The manoeuvres are part of ongoing refinement of the Pentagon’s new Dynamic Force Employment strategy “which is focused on using more unpredictable deployments to demonstrate military agility to possible adversaries.” This concept involves “a shift away from traditional six-month naval deployments to a flexible system that can involve shorter but more frequent stints at sea. And in March, the Army dispatched 1,500 soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Germany and onward to Poland in one of the service’s largest snap mobilizations to Europe in years.”

It was intriguing that the surge in US-NATO military deployment confrontation occurred at the same time it was revealed that the US has been storing nuclear weapons all over Europe for years. Most analysts knew this, although nothing had been admitted, but, as noted in the brilliant BBC TV satire Yes, Minister by the lead character: “First rule in politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.”

As the Washington Post reported, “A recently released — and subsequently deleted — document published by a NATO-affiliated body has sparked headlines in Europe with an apparent confirmation of a long-held open secret: some 150 US nuclear weapons are being stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.” The moment a “NATO official” announced that “we do not comment on the details of NATO’s nuclear posture… this is not an official NATO document,” it was obvious that the deleted details given in the document must be accurate. And now many questions must be answered. For example : under whose guard are these weapons held? Are officials, politicians and military personnel of host countries permitted access to US nuclear storage facilities? What are the nuclear readiness states, and are the host nations informed of these? And it would be very interesting to know if US practice deployments involve nuclear bombs and missiles.

One of the most important aspects of the nuclear bases saga is the likely connection between these US weapons and this year’s US-NATO military manoeuvres. The ‘Rapid Forge’ deployments to Russia’s borders involve F-35A and F15E strike aircraft, and Lockheed Martin tells us that “once air dominance is established, the F-35 converts to beast mode, carrying up to 22,000 pounds of combined internal and external weapons.” Similarly, the F-15E is now capable of delivering B61-12 nuclear bombs.

As reported by the Belgian daily De Morgen (in English in the Brussels Times on 16 July), the document stated that “In the context of NATO, the United States [has deployed] around 150 nuclear weapons in Europe, in particular B61 free-bombs, which can be [delivered] by both US and Allied planes.” But we can be certain that the citizens of the countries concerned, or of any of the other NATO nations, will never be told on what terms the United States is storing nuclear weapons in their countries and what international developments might govern their use.

Presumably it is the President of the United States who will give approval for release of the nuclear bombs being stored in six of the US bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy (2), the Netherlands and Turkey — but is he going to seek agreement from the governments of these countries to use these weapons? It is far from certain that there would be concurrence on the part of Turkey, for example, whose relations with Trump Washington are extremely precarious.

What would happen if President Erdoğan objected to an obviously indicated US intention to convert the USAF’s F-35s to “beast mode”, loading B61 nuclear bombs at Incirlik airbase?

Nobody knows.

And nobody knows if all these US-NATO martial fandangos in the skies around Russia’s borders involve test deployment of strike aircraft in “beast mode”, as nuclear attack preparedness is so aptly described by Lockheed Martin, that prominent member of Washington’s Military-Industrial Complex.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland seem to be delighted that US-NATO is continuing to confront Russia by flying nuclear strike aircraft in their airspace. But have they really thought all this through?

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

US & UK doctors warn against hormones/surgery for trans-identified kids

RT | July 23, 2019

Medical professionals in the US and UK are sounding the alarm about the growing use of “hormonal and surgical interventions” for children who are confused about their gender identity, saying that more studies are required.

Members of the conservative childrens’ advocacy group the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) wrote a letter on Monday to the Surgeon General of the United States, warning about the effects of gender-reassignment surgeries and  hormonal drugs on minors, saying such interventions have “not undergone long-term study.”

The ACP called the issue a “grave public health concern” and said that the drastic methods have become the new “standard of care” in lieu of “ethical psychotherapy” for children and teens who present with gender dysphoria (GD).

 The ACP letter cites research which claims that 61-98 percent of youth affected by GD will “outgrow” it “if allowed to progress through natural puberty.”

The group also laments that healthcare professionals are “increasingly prohibited from investigating psychosocial factors” which may have led to GD symptoms and fear being penalized or accused of discrimination.

Dual warnings

The warnings are coming from both sides of the pond. Earlier this month, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) cautioned that there is a lack of “robust evidence” about the long-term effects of puberty-blockers and hormonal drugs.

In a 12-page position paper, the RCGP complained that family doctors were under pressure to provide gender dysphoria services that “lie outside the remit” of their generalist expertise. The paper advises that more research is needed on the pros and cons of medical treatment vs. a less dramatic “wait and see” approach.

Medical treatment of children with GD often begins with the prescription of puberty blockers, which are given to halt normal onset of puberty. Next, the child is given “cross-sex hormones” – in other words, hormones which match their stated identity rather than their biologically assigned sex. At a later stage, the patients undergo gender-reassignment surgery.

The side-effects of these interventions can include “sterility, sexual dysfunction, surgical complications, thromboembolic and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, malignancy, and persistently elevated rates of suicide,” the ACP advises.

‘Surge’ of GD in girls

The medical warnings come as the UK’s only child gender clinic, the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), reported significant increases in the numbers of children seeking to transition to the opposite gender – an overwhelming majority of them (74 percent) being young girls seeking to transition to a male identity.

The Sunday Times reported on the “surge” last month, noting that the majority (54 percent) of the children referred to the clinic are 14 or under. In the UK, 17 year-olds are now allowed to be seen in adult gender clinics and to independently consent to treatment. The newspaper also recalled that a “review” into the new wave of girls seeking to transition had been ordered by the former equalities minister Penny Mordaunt last year, but “little has been heard of it since.”

While transgender rights activists argue that the huge increases are due to growing public acceptance of a previously taboo issue, skeptics say that impressionable children are being confused by activists who ‘promote’ the idea of changing genders and who pressure health professionals to immediately accept a child’s assertion that he or she is the opposite sex, rather than first exploring psychological reasons why a child may feel that way.

Whistleblower

The RCGP warning was shortly followed by claims from a National Health Service (NHS) psychologist who said poor and potentially abused children are being misdiagnosed as transgender. Dr Kirsty Entwistle, a former GIDS worker, said children can present with GD due to “traumatic early experiences,” including sexual abuse, but those cases are not being investigated properly because medical professionals fear being labeled “transphobic.”

Entwistle said she left GIDS after being accused of transphobia herself, after raising concerns over the skyrocketing numbers of young people identifying as transgender. She also claims that GIDS staff tell parents of children that the effects of puberty blockers are “fully reversible” despite a lack of evidence on the effect the drugs have on children’s brains.

The BBC reported on Monday that GIDS lowered the age it offered kids puberty blockers based on a study which is being investigated by the Health Research Authority. The drugs, which are given to children as young as 11 years-old in Britain, could be linked to increases in suicidal thoughts.
De-transitioning?

Some recent reporting has also explored the phenomenon of the “detransitioners”; individuals who believed themselves to be transgender before changing their minds and deciding to transition back to their original biological gender. The detransitioners are thought to make up a very small number of the adult trans population.

But the story seems to be different for children. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that two-thirds of adolescent patients at a clinic in Amsterdam ended up identifying as their original birth-assigned gender. Another study, often called into question by trans activists, found that up to 80 percent of trans kids eventually identified as their birth sex. Canadian sex researcher James Cantor wrote in a blog post in 2016 that “only very few trans-kids still want to transition by the time they are adults.”

Instead, he claimed, “they generally turn out to be regular gay or lesbian folks.”

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Missiles Used in Iraq Attack Match Those Used by Israel in Syria Strikes, Kuwaiti Media Claims

Sputnik – July 23, 2019

On Friday, AP reported that an unmanned drone had carried out strikes against a base in Iraq used by the Popular Mobilisation Forces, the mostly Shia Iraqi paramilitary force which took part in the campaign to defeat Daesh and which has received assistance and training from Iran.

Israel may be behind Thursday night’s mystery drone attack on an alleged Iranian-backed militia base in Amirli, northeastern Iraq, Kuwait’s Al-Jarida newspaper has alleged, citing a source in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

According to Al-Jarida’s source, the attack on the militia depot, which contained stocks of short- and medium-range missiles, as well as a militia headquarters building, was allegedly carried out by an aircraft flying out of an American base near the Syrian-Jordan-Iraqi border, possibly al-Tanf.

The source claimed that the preliminary results of a forensic investigation by the Iraqi government have suggested that they were the same type used by Israel during its periodic attacks against Syria.

Al-Jarida also claimed that during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Iraq in May, Pompeo warned Iraqi officials that Israel could strike “Iranian targets” in the country “at any time.”

Iraqi sources speaking to the newspaper said that Baghdad will be unlikely to officially accuse Israel, because it would put the government ‘in a difficult position’, and lead to popular anger demanding the restructuring of the armed forces.

Officials from Iraq, Iran, and Israel have not commented on the newspaper’s allegations.

No country or group has claimed responsibility for Thursday night’s attack, which reportedly killed one militia fighter and injured two others, who may have been Iranian advisers. The US immediately denied any involvement, with a Pentagon spokesman saying bluntly that “US forces were not involved.” An Iraqi Civil Defence Corps spokesman said the perpetrator “remains unknown.”

The Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) are an umbrella paramilitary force consisting mostly of Iraqi Shia Muslim militias formed in June 2014 to fight Daesh (ISIS) and to check the terrorist group’s advance into Iraq and Syria. Some of the member militias in the PMF took part in fighting the US occupation after the 2003 invasion, and have received training and material assistance from Iran. Relations between the PMF and US forces operating in Iraq have deteriorated in the months following Daesh’s retreat, with the two sides generally committing to avoiding operating in the same areas to avoid exacerbating tensions.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel-born Treasury official is at the center of U.S. policies on Iran

Sigal P. Mandelker, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Treasury in Dubai, UAE, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Jewish Insider )

At the Center of U.S. Iran policies is an Israel-born Treasury official named Sigal Mandelker. The Atlantic writes that her ‘hand is on the lever’ of crippling economic sanctions meant to force Iran’s ‘capitulation or demise’… meanwhile the Treasury Department refuses to divulge whether Mandelker is still an Israeli citizen… (Iran has long been in Israeli crosshairs)

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 23, 2019

According to a just published report in the Atlantic and a previous article by a former CIA officer, an Israeli-born individual is at the center of U.S. policies targeting Iran.

The Atlantic reports that financial sanctions are the “key tool” the United States has been using against Iran during  “the past three presidential administrations.” And Treasury official Sigal Mandelker” is the one with her hand on the lever.”

According to the article, “Because Trump is anxious to avoid war with Iran but also eager to push the Iranians, she is one of the most powerful officials designing the strategy Trump’s administration hopes will force Iranian capitulation—or, failing that, perhaps even the government’s collapse.”

Mandelker has been working on governmental policies since 2006 – the year in which U.S. officials “focused on finding ways to cut off Iran from the global financial system.”

According to Mandelker’s Treasury Department bio, from 2006-2009, Mandelker served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Prior to that, she was Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, “where she advised the Secretary and worked extensively on intelligence, national security, counterterrorism, and border security matters.”

In 2017 Mandelker was named Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. As we will see, this office was created at the behest of Israel partisans. It provides a powerful position from which to direct policies.

In this position she is in charge of “developing and implementing U.S. government strategies to combat terrorist [sic] financing and money laundering… She oversees the operation and coordinates actions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), and the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC).”

In the years just before her 2017 Under Secretary appointment, Mandelker was a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, a powerful, politically connected international law firm with ties to Israel. The pro-Israel website Algemeiner,* reports: “Historically, Proskauer Rose was known as a ‘Jewish’ law firm.”  Partner Joseph M. Proskauer was “a Democratic Party stalwart, friend of politicians, state judge, civic and philanthropic personality, and major fund raiser for the state of Israel.”

Born in Israel

It appears that Mandelker is or was an Israeli citizen who was born in Israel. While this is periodically referred to in Israeli and Jewish media, the Treasury Department has refused to answer whether Mandelker is still an Israeli citizen, despite numerous email and phone inquiries requesting this information about a high U.S. official.

The information is particularly relevant since U.S. attacks on Israel’s neighbors are often pushed by Israel partisans concerned with maintaining Israeli hegemony in the region.

Dual citizenship became permissible in the U.S. in 1967 under a decision by the Abe Fortas Supreme Court in a case on behalf of Israel that broke a 200 year American tradition. Today, many Americans feel that such a potential conflict of interest by governmental officials should, at minimum, be divulged to the U.S. public, and perhaps disallowed.

Israel has long targeted Iran for attack

From Israel’s earliest days, Ben Gurion wrote about the need to neutralize Israeli neighbors who might potentially support Palestinian rights. This strategy has also been enunciated in various strategy documents, including the Yinon Oded Plan and A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (the realm was Israel).

Israel and pro-Israel groups in the U.S. have frequently promoted anti-Iran policies, despite the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies have found that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and that accusations claiming this have proven unfounded. (Israel has in the range of 100-300 nuclear weapons and has refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT.)

Advertisement placed in New York Times with the names of the sponsoring groups.

Israel partisans & Treasury’s “Office of Terrorism”

The Atlantic reports that Stuart Levey was the founding official in the role Mandelker now holds.  Mideast analyst Grant Smith writes: “AIPAC and its associated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), were instrumental in lobbying the president for the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence unit early in 2004. The Israel lobby also vetted Stuart Levey who President Bush approved to lead the new unit.”

Israel partisans continued to abound. Levey was then succeeded by David S. Cohen (Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz recommended Cohen for his first job, with Israel partisan Nathan Lewin). The Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, is also an Israel partisan.

Former CIA officer and current executive director of the Council for the National Interest Philip Giraldi investigated this situation and found that Israel partisans have pervaded the office. He writes:

… A key component in the Israeli penetration of the U. S. government has been President George W. Bush’s 2004 signing off on the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) within the Department of the Treasury. The group’s website proclaims that it is responsible for “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats,” but it has from its founding been really all about safeguarding Israel’s perceived interests. Grant Smith notes however, how “the secretive office has a special blind spot for major terrorism generators, such as tax-exempt money laundering from the United States into illegal Israeli settlements and proliferation financing and weapons technology smuggling into Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons complex.”

The first head of the office was Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey, who operated secretly within the Treasury itself while also coordinating regularly both with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

Levey left OTFI in 2011 and was replaced by David Cohen. It was reported then and subsequently that counterterrorism position at OTFI were all filled by individuals who were both Jewish and Zionist. Cohen continued the Levey tradition of resisting any transparency regarding what the office was up to. Smith reports how, on September 12, 2012, he refused to answer reporter questions “about Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, and whether sanctioning Iran, a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, over its internationally-inspected civilian nuclear program was an example of endemic double standards at OTFI.”

Cohen was in turn succeeded in 2015 by Adam Szubin who was then replaced in 2017 by Sigal Pearl Mandelker, a former and possibly current Israeli citizen. All of the heads of OTFI have therefore been Jewish and Zionist. All work closely with the Israeli government, all travel to Israel frequently on “official business” and they all are in close liaison with the Jewish groups most often described as part of the Israel Lobby. And the result has been that many of the victims of OTFI have been generally enemies of Israel, as defined by Israel and America’s Jewish lobbyists. OTFI’s Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN), which includes sanctions and enforcement options features many Middle Eastern Muslim and Christian names and companies but nothing in any way comparable relating to Israel and Israelis, many of whom are well known to law enforcement otherwise as weapons traffickers and money launderers . And once placed on the SDN there is no transparent way to be removed, even if the entry was clearly in error.

Here in the United States, action by OTFI has meant that Islamic charities have been shut down and individuals exercising their right to free speech through criticism of the Jewish state have been imprisoned. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act succeeds in making its way through congress the OTFI model will presumably become the law of the land when it comes to curtailing free speech whenever Israel is involved…

Mandelker frequently speaks movingly of her parents’ suffering under the Nazis. She seems to equate Iran with Hitler, despite the fact that Germany was defeated almost three-quarters of a century ago, and that today it is her birth country that is based on discrimination against people who are not of the preferred religion or ethnicity.

The economic policies Mandelker and others have engineered against Iran are creating significant humanitarian hardship, which seems to be the plan – just as Israel partisans worked to destabilize and eventually attack Iraq. Today, we are teetering on the brink of escalation that could again cost untold lives and damage the U.S. even more.

Perhaps it’s time for Americans to stop allowing the Treasury Department to be weaponized by partisans working in the perceived interests of a foreign country.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.


* According to Wikipedia, “The Algemeiner Journal, known informally as The Algemeiner is a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news. Former Senator Joseph Lieberman described the paper and the Jacobson Foundation as “independent truth telling advocates for the Jewish people and Israel”.[2] The Algemeiners Advisory Board was chaired by Nobel laureate, writer and activist Elie Wiesel…. In 1972, Gershon Jacobson founded the Yiddish-language Der Algemeiner Journal, after consulting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.[3] He served as editor and publisher from its inception until his death in 2005.[4]

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 3 Comments

NOAA on water vapor – 2019 edition

Tallbloke’s Talk Shop | July 22, 2019

NOAA’s latest offering on this topic is here. Of course we’re pitched into the world of ‘greenhouse gas’ theory. But it seems to be a world of considerable uncertainty, if the phrases highlighted (by the Talkshop) are anything to go by. Most attention is given to CO2 in the media, but it’s only a very minor player in the atmosphere (0.04%). There’s no accepted figure for ‘water vapor’ as exact data doesn’t exist, although ballpark estimates from various readings can be found. Why do greenhouse gas believers obsess about CO2 when they don’t know a lot about what’s going on with water vapor, which is on the face of it far more important to their theory?

Water Vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, which is why it is addressed here first. However, changes in its concentration is also considered to be a result of climate feedbacks related to the warming of the atmosphere rather than a direct result of industrialization.

The feedback loop in which water is involved is critically important to projecting future climate change, but as yet is still fairly poorly measured and understood.

As the temperature of the atmosphere rises, more water is evaporated from ground storage (rivers, oceans, reservoirs, soil). Because the air is warmer, the absolute humidity can be higher (in essence, the air is able to ‘hold’ more water when it’s warmer), leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere.

As a greenhouse gas, the higher concentration of water vapor is then able to absorb more thermal IR energy radiated from the Earth, thus further warming the atmosphere. The warmer atmosphere can then hold more water vapor and so on and so on. This is referred to as a ‘positive feedback loop’.

However, huge scientific uncertainty exists in defining the extent and importance of this feedback loop. As water vapor increases in the atmosphere, more of it will eventually also condense into clouds, which are more able to reflect incoming solar radiation (thus allowing less energy to reach the Earth’s surface and heat it up).

The future monitoring of atmospheric processes involving water vapor will be critical to fully understand the feedbacks in the climate system leading to global climate change. As yet, though the basics of the hydrological cycle are fairly well understood, we have very little comprehension of the complexity of the feedback loops.

Also, while we have good atmospheric measurements of other key greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, we have poor measurements of global water vapor, so it is not certain by how much atmospheric concentrations have risen in recent decades or centuries, though satellite measurements, combined with balloon data and some in-situ ground measurements indicate generally positive trends in global water vapor.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Israeli forces laugh and cheer as tower collapses

RT | July 23, 2019

Israeli police and military were filmed laughing and cheering as they blew up a Palestinian building in the West Bank district of Wadi Hummus in East Jerusalem on Monday.

The footage shows three men looking down on the area where Israel began demolition of 13 buildings, after a High Court ruled against an appeal to stop the demolition ordered by the Defense Ministry, which said the buildings were too close to the separation barrier Israel constructed around and inside the West Bank in the 2000s.

A man wearing a balaclava holds the controls to set off the explosions inside the building below. Once it starts to explode, the men laugh and celebrate as other people can be heard cheering and whistling.

The buildings are located on the outskirts of Sur Baher in Wadi Hummus, which is in Area A of the West Bank, meaning it is under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The separation barrier left Wadi Hummus on the Israel side of the structure, even though it remains part of the West Bank. The buildings that were demolished had permits issued by the PA.

Their destruction was condemned as a “grave aggression” by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who said that a complaint would be made to the International Criminal Court. “This is a continuation of the forced displacement of the people of Jerusalem from their homes and lands – a war crime and a crime against humanity,” he said.

Last week UN officials called on Israel to halt its demolition plans and the EU said the policy “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace.”

See also:

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 14 Comments

House of Reps to sneak through billions to Israel, oppose BDS, etc

Eliot Engel (D-NY) chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Photo from December 2013 when Engel was named chair of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians.
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | July 22, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives is reportedly scheduled to fast track three measures on behalf of Israel tomorrow: a law to give Israel a minimum of $38 billion over the next 10 years, a law to sanction foreign groups and individuals who support the Palestinian resistance, and a resolution expressing opposition to the global boycott of Israel (BDS).

The  measures are expected to be voted on Tuesday afternoon under the House’s suspension of the rules procedure.

The aid bill is H.R.1837 – United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act. Versions of the legislation were passed in 2018, but Congress ran out of time before passing a final version to be signed into law, thus requiring the legislation to be re-introduced this year. The bill has 279 cosponsors.

The aid would amount to $7,230 per minute to Israel, about $23,000 per every Jewish Israeli family of four.

The bill codifies into law – and expands – a non-binding agreement signed by Obama with Netanyahu in 2014. The law would increase the amount of aid given to Israel beyond the amount in the Obama MOU, and also contains some additional pro-Israel perks (see this).

A Senate version was passed in February after several failed attempts due to the controversy over the government shutdown.The media have largely failed to report on the legislation.

Two other items on behalf of Israel are also scheduled to be pushed through tomorrow:

 • H.R. 1850: a law that would financially sanction any foreign organization or individual who provides “support” to an organization deemed to be part of the Palestinian resistance. Groups such as Hamas are termed “terrorists” although Palestinian resistance groups have killed vastly fewer civilians than have Israeli forces – see a timeline of deaths here. The bill has 41 cosponsors. (It is unclear whether this bill could also be applied to American citizens.)

 • H.Res. 246: a resolution expressing opposition to “BDS,” the international boycott of Israel over its human rights abuses. Surveys show that a large majority of Americans oppose anti-boycott legislation. It has 346 cosponsors.

(An opposing resolution was introduced July 16th, H.R.Res.496, which affirms Americans’ First Amendment right to boycott, but has not been placed on the House calendar. The resolution has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), a life-long supporter of Israel. Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reports that Nadler’s district is “said to be the most Jewish congressional district in the country.”)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Eliot Engel, passed the items last week, clearing the way for tomorrow’s vote. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) said AIPAC was “elated,” and called the legislation “manna for AIPAC” (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Engel is co-chair of the Israel Allies Caucus.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who scheduled the vote for tomorrow, is known for pressuring Congress members to participate in AIPAC trips to Israel. (See information on next month’s trip here.)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has appointed Israel partisans to chair committees particularly relevant to Israel, as she describes in the video below.

Go here to contact Congress about the legislation


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew , president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Mueller’s FBI ‘Attack Dog’ Weissmann Begged Ukrainian Oligarch For Dirt On Trump

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 07/23/2019

As the FBI investigated whether Donald Trump was working with Russia, top bureau attorney Andrew Weissmann secretly approached a Ukrainian Oligarch’s US attorneys seeking dirt on President Trump, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon.

In exchange, the FBI was willing to drop an ongoing case against the Ukrainian – Dmitry Firtash, who was hit with 2014 corruption charges in Chicago alleging that he engaged in corruption and bribery in India linked to a US aerospace deal.

According to a defense memo recounting Weissmann’s contacts, the prosecutor claimed the Mueller team could “resolve the Firtash case” in Chicago and neither the DOJ nor the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office “could interfere with or prevent a solution,” including withdrawing all charges. “The complete dropping of the proceedings … was doubtless on the table,” according to the defense memo. –The Hill

Dmitry Firtash at the supreme court in Vienna on June 25

It was a desperate move for the FBI – which was grappling with a lack of evidence against Trump as the Steele dossier was turning out to be an embarrassing dud (“There’s no big there there,” lead FBI agent Pete Strzok texted a few days before Weissmann’s overture, writes Solomon).

At the same time, the DOJ’s evidence against Firtash in the 2014 case was also falling apart.

Two central witnesses were in the process of recanting testimony, and a document the FBI portrayed as bribery evidence inside Firtash’s company was exposed as a hypothetical slide from an American consultant’s PowerPoint presentation, according to court records I reviewed. –The Hill

In short, the DOJ had two high profile cases which were unraveling as Weissmann reached out.

Two weeks before the offer was made, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel – tasked with continuing and expanding upon the FBI’s substantial investigative efforts (including espionage) against Donald Trump and anyone in his orbit.

Firtash’s legal team thought Weissman was probably overstepping his authority, as the special counsel’s office was still subject to DOJ oversight. They were also taken aback after Weissmann went to extraordinary lengths to enlist the Ukrainian by sharing prosecutorial theories the FBI was forming about Trump and his team.

Prosecutors in plea deals typically ask a defendant for a written proffer of what they can provide in testimony and identify the general topics that might interest them. But Weissmann appeared to go much further in a July 7, 2017, meeting with Firtash’s American lawyers and FBI agents, sharing certain private theories of the nascent special counsel’s investigation into Trump, his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russia, according to defense memos.

For example, Firtash’s legal team wrote that Weissmann told them he believed a company called Bayrock, tied to former FBI informant Felix Sater, had “made substantial investments with Donald Trump’s companies” and that prosecutors were looking for dirt on Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Weissmann told the Firtash team “he believes that Manafort and his people substantially coordinated their activities with Russians in order to win their work in Ukraine,” according to the defense memos. And the Mueller deputy said he “believed” a Ukrainian group tied to Manafort “was merely a front for illegal criminal activities in Ukraine,” and suggested a “Russian secret service authority” may have been involved in influencing the 2016 U.S. election, the defense memos show. –The Hill

Despite being ‘holed up’ in Austria for five years while fighting extradition charges to the US, Firtash turned down Weissmann’s plea overtures. His lawyers told John Solomon that he rejected the deal because he didn’t have credible information or evidence against Trump, Manafort, or anyone else Weissmann laid out in his theories.

In sealed Austrian court filings earlier this month, Firtash’s attorneys compared the DOJ’s 13-year investigation to medieval inquisitions, citing Weissman’s approach as politically motivated – and noting the “possible cessation of separate criminal proceedings against the applicant if he were prepared to exchange sufficiently incriminating statements for wide-ranging comprehensively political subject areas which included the U.S. President himself as well as the Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Hilariously, the DOJ won a ruling in Austria to secure Firtash’s extradition to Chicago – Austrian officials reversed course after his legal team filed new evidence that included the Weissmann overture, according to the report.

That new court filing asserts that two key witnesses, cited by the DOJ in its extradition request as affirming the bribery allegations against Firtash, since have recanted, claiming the FBI grossly misquoted them and pressured them to sign their statements. One witness claims his 2012 statement to the FBI was “prewritten by the U.S. authorities” and contains “relevant inaccuracies in substance,” including that he never used the terms “bribery or bribe payments” as DOJ claimed, according to the Austrian court filing.

That witness also claimed he only signed the 2012 statement because the FBI “exercised undue pressure on him,” including threats to seize his passport and keep him from returning home to India, the memo alleges. That witness recanted his statements the same summer as Weissmann’s overture to Firtash’s team.

Firtash’s lawyers also offered the Austrian court evidence of alleged prosecutorial wrongdoing. –The Hill

Embarrassingly for the DOJ, a key document they submitted to Austria in support of Firtash’s extradition allegedly from his corporate files and purportedly showing evidence that he sanctioned a bribery scheme in India was actually a slide from a powerpoint presentation created by the McKinsey consulting firm as part of a hypothetical presentation on ethics for the Boeing Corp. 

Firtash’s U.S. legal team told me it alerted Weissmann to DOJ’s false portrayal of the McKinsey document in 2017, but he downplayed the concerns and refused to alert the Austrian court. The document was never withdrawn as evidence, even after the New York Times published a story last December questioning its validity. –The Hill

“Submitting a false and misleading document to a foreign sovereign and its courts for an extradition decision is not only unethical but also flouts the comity of trust necessary for that process where judicial systems rely only on documents to make that decision,” Firtash’s US legal team told Solomon. “DOJ’s refusal to rescind the document after being specifically told it is false and misleading is an egregious violation of U.S. and international law.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear war is not an option’: Pakistani PM says he’d give up nukes if India did so too

RT | July 23, 2019

In a stunning statement, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he would be willing to give up his nation’s nuclear weapons if its rival India vowed to do the same. He also urged New Delhi to come to the negotiating table.

When asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier if India offered to relinquish it nuclear arsenal, would Pakistan, Khan answered with an emphatic “yes.”

“Because nuclear war is not an option. And between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction, because we have two and a half thousand-mile border,” Khan said.

The Pakistani PM added that the recent escalation in tensions between the two nuclear rivals, following sporadic outbreaks of violence in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack, was unnecessary.

Khan said he had asked US President Donald Trump to mediate between the two regional powers over the Kashmir issue, which Khan said was the only reason for which, over the past “70 years that we have not be able to act like civilized neighbors.”

Khan played down India’s fiery response to reports of potential talks mediated by the US, in which New Delhi insisted that negotiations could only take place bilaterally. He instead urged India’s government to come to the table.

“We’re talking about 1.3 billion people on this Earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved.”

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Agents of Influence

Trips to Israel, a “Nationalism Conference,” Epstein and more

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 23, 2019

Some journalists in the Jewish media are starting to complain that President Donald Trump is “loving Israel” just a little too much since he keeps citing his concern for the Jewish state as the driving force behind some of his erratic behavior. It is a viewpoint that I most definitely share, though I would describe the apparent White House lovefest with the Israel as a “lot too much.” When the President of the United States calls a congresswoman an anti-Semite and demands that she apologize to him personally and also to Israel it is definitely a lot too much.

So Israel is always in the news, or so it seems, though it is often not in the news when the story might be derogatory. The story disappears from sight as soon as it is determined that Israel might be involved, as is currently the case with Jeffrey Epstein, or Israeli activity is excised completely as was the case with the Mueller investigation where Russiagate should have really been called Israelgate as it was Israel that was seeking favors from the incoming Trump Administration, not Russia. As Noam Chomsky put it, Israeli interference in American politics “vastly overwhelms” anything Russia has done.

I have recently written about how the Jewish state works hard to brainwash the American people and limit the foreign policy options of the U.S. government, to include aggressive efforts to obtain what the intelligence agencies would call “agents of influence.” Agents of influence live and work in one country while simultaneously and treacherously advancing the interests of another nation. It is what George Washington warned about in his Farewell Address when he counseled “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

Foreign influence as a potential national security threat is also a status defined in legal terms by the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA), which requires anyone working on behalf of a foreign government to register and make transparent sources of income.

Uniquely, no foundation or individual working in America to advance the interests of the Jewish state has ever been required to register under FARA even though many, like the odious American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), boast unambiguously on their websites that they are “America’s pro-Israel Lobby.” Many of the foundations are regarded as educational or charitable 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profits, which means the U.S. taxpayer is helping support their activity. But being a non-profit charity does not necessarily mean austerity, as the salaries of top employees are generous. Canadian Jew Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), a 501(c)3, is paid $560,000 in salary and benefits. FDD has for many years been calling for war against Iran.

The most recent foundation being set up by Israel’s friends to promote the interests of the Jewish state is the Edmund Burke Foundation, which hosted a conference on “Nationalism” last week. The conference was interesting in that the Burke Foundation is headed by an Israeli and an American Jew who has served as Executive Director of the Christians United For Israel (CUFI). The event was held at the Washington D.C. Ritz-Carlton, suggesting that the Burkeans are not short of cash. Pro-Israel groups always seem to have plenty of Benjamins.

A number of traditional conservatives and even some organizations were fooled by the promotional material and speakers’ list into thinking that the program was legitimate and would focus on supporting national interests as well as foreign policy restraint, but some at least had their eyes opened when John Bolton, as featured speaker, was vigorously applauded by at least half of the audience.

Some potential critics of the agenda were not invited or even deliberately denied tickets to limit dissent, and several attendees were appalled by what they had witnessed, which was essentially an affirmation of status quo foreign policy, to the benefit of the hawks in Washington and Israel. Inevitably, some delusional dimwits were unable to understand that they were being used and were oddly entranced by what they were seeing and hearing. And don’t worry if you are among those who missed the event. It will probably be replayed in a few months under a different name and with a slightly different cast of characters.

The most visible Israeli tool for generating contacts with Americans that might prove useful is the all- expenses-paid VIP junkets that are arranged for Congressmen. New Congressmen routinely travel to Israel for a dog-and-pony show within months of their taking office. One of Congress’s leading cheerleaders for Israel, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer has visited the Jewish state many times and can be relied on to pressure freshman congressmen to make the trip. Other Americans who might be influential in the future are also feted by the Israeli hospitality machine. American military cadets from the service academies and colleges are now being brought to Israel to learn a fictional version of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Undoubtedly, some of them are set up for intelligence approaches after they are commissioned.

Which brings us to the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein story and how it is being handled by government and covered in the media since the story exploded two weeks ago. No one outside the alternative media seems to be interested in the possibility, or rather likelihood, that Epstein was working for a foreign intelligence service, which would most likely be Israel. In the media the Epstein story died almost immediately, submerged in the tale of Donald Trump telling several congresswomen to go back where they came from.

It is unlikely that the spying aspect of Epstein’s alleged crimes will even be investigated both because it involves the Jewish state and also because it appears to include participation by leading politicians from both parties and other public figures. The Deep State will make the story die, which just might also be what happens to Epstein in jail.

The evidence that Epstein was involved in intelligence work most likely bribing or blackmailing prominent individuals to act on behalf of Israel, derives both from the statement made by former U.S. Attorney for Miami Alexander Acosta that “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone” and from other external evidence. Epstein was making videos of his guests having sex with his young girls, which is a version of a classic intelligence entrapment technique referred to as a “honey trap” that is employed by every major spy agency worldwide. And the Acosta quote – will it ever be fully investigated? Who told him that Epstein was “intelligence” and what were the circumstances?

Jeffrey’s sources of income have also been questioned. Epstein’s sole identified business connection was Ohio billionaire Les Wexner, who maintained very close ties to the upper echelons of the Israeli diplomatic and intelligence establishment. Epstein served as Wexner’s trustee when the latter was forming the Mega Group, created by Wexner and Edgar Bronfman to generate positive views of Israel as a cover for Israeli propaganda dissemination in America.

Epstein’s lack of an identifiable income stream rather suggests that he might have been supported by a government agency of some kind. He had hidden in his Manhattan house a great deal of cash, diamonds and an Austrian passport. The diamonds might have represented payment in kind from Israel, which is capital of the world diamond trade, and the existence of the passport is intriguing. It has been described in the media as “fake” but that can mean anything. The passport, dating from the 1980s, was apparently authentic with a photo of Epstein and a fake name inserted in it, but it might plausibly be the product of a government document forgery lab. Why Austria? Because Austria was at the time politically neutral and the passport would be a good one for traveling anywhere. It would be much preferred by spy agencies or by agents who wanted to travel anonymously.

That Epstein would be linked to Israel rather than to some other intelligence service is due to his relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell, whose father Robert, a Czech Jew who became a naturalized British citizen, was believed by C.I.A. and other intelligence services to be a long-time agent of Mossad. After he died under mysterious circumstances, he was given a state funeral in Israel that was attended by every current and former head of the Jewish state’s intelligence service as well as by the country’s prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Ghislaine was reportedly Epstein’s close friend and a procurer of his young girl victims.

As most of Israel’s agents of influence are now on Martha’s Vineyard where they gather in July and August, it would be wonderful to cut off all transportation and communication with the island and leave them there, but that would be unfair to the genuine year-round residents. Alternatively, I would be happy just to see Israel’s dire influence over the United States exposed by the media and discussed in public fora by the more than 20 Democratic Party presidential wannabes. As that is not likely to happen, I would settle for a real honest-to-God investigation of Epstein and what he was doing coupled with a move by the Treasury and Justice departments against all the hundreds of pro-Israel groups that have never registered under FARA. It’s a big job to uncover Israeli subversion, but somebody needs to start doing it.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine on the cusp of change

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 23, 2019

The thumping victory by the Ukraine President Vladimir Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, securing an absolute majority of 253 seats in the 450 member parliament, can be viewed as a tectonic shift in the geopolitical landscape of Eurasia. The next big party in the parliament will be the pro-Russia Platform – For Life, which secured 44 seats. The stunning rout of the pro-western forces symbolised by former President Poroshenko’s Solidarity party (24 seats).

The West must see the writing on the wall that the tide of opinion in Ukraine is overwhelmingly favouring the country’s reconciliation with Russia — a total negation, in other words, of the “regime change” through a US-sponsored colour revolution in 2014. The pro-western forces had let loose a campaign that the July 21 election was about Renewal (pro-west regime change in 2014) versus Revanche (rapprochement with Russia). The latter has won resoundingly. (See a commentary in the US government controlled Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty titled Renewal Or ‘Revanche’? Buzzwords Of Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections Forecast Tension Following Vote.)

In effective terms, the control of parliament consolidates Zelenskiy’s gip on political power and enables him to accelerate three things: one, the purge of the Poroshenko era personnel from the top echelons of the government most of whom are western nominees or proxies; two, a parliament that will cooperate with his legislative and reform agenda; and, three, robust efforts forthwith to bring the war in Donbas to an end and an improvement in relations with Russia.    

Moscow has every reason to be quietly pleased with the outcome of the July 21parliamentary poll in Ukraine. Did Moscow anticipate the election results? Possibly so — even if the scale of Zelensky’s victory might have surpassed expectations. President Putin voiced optimism on the eve of the poll saying that the two countries will mend ties. As he put it, “We [Russia and Ukraine] have many things in common, we can use this as our competitive advantage during some form of integration. Rapprochement is inevitable.”

In fact, Moscow has already begun sensing that the Ukrainian government is no longer taking a hostile attitude toward Russia. The Kremlin noted last week that Kiev’s newly-appointed representatives in the contact group working on Donbas are taking a cooperative and constructive attitude, eschewing the negativism of the Poroshenko era. Besides, Zelensky has also signalled readiness to release from detention the editor-in-chief of the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti, Kirill Vyshinsky.

Zelensky can be expected to push for a radical fresh start in the policies, domestic and foreign. He has made it clear that he disowned the legacy of the Poroshenko presidency. He will now push through parliament his plan to extend a current ban preventing officials from the Yanukovych era (prior to 2014 regime change) from working in the public service to Poroshenko and his team. Legal prosecutions also seem possible, especially as Zelensky seeks to abolish the general immunity enjoyed by parliamentarians. These are hugely popular moves — and they will seriously debilitate the pro-western forces.

Zelensky’s projection of himself as a president for peace echoes the deep yearning of a big majority of Ukrainians for an end to the war in Donbas. “We are prepared to do everything required by the Minsk agreements,” he recently said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. He seems willing to make concessions to the separatists, as envisaged under the Minsk agreements — such as a measure of regional autonomy, a say in the foreign and security policies, the use of Russian language and so on. If he moves in that direction, a sea change in the climate of relations between Ukraine and Russia is possible.

However, the complexity of the Donbas question should not be underestimated. The conflict is multi-dimensional and external powers — Russia as well as western powers — are deeply involved in Ukraine. The regime change in Ukraine in 2014 is at the root of it. Will the West let Ukraine slip out of its hands? Will Zelensky be allowed by the West to plough an independent furrow toward the east? These are key questions today. The Russian attitudes will be largely conditional on that. For the moment, it does appear, though, that Ukraine is on the cusp of change. See a recent research paper by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs titled The Donbas Conflict: Opposing Interests and Narratives, Difficult Peace Process.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment