Aletho News


Tulsi Gabbard Savages Trump Over Pushing US ‘Closer to Brink of Nuclear Catastrophe’ at Dem Debate

Sputnik – August 1, 2019

2020 presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has skyrocketed to No. 1 in Google Trends after blasting the current US administration’s “warmongering” foreign policy during the second Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday.

Democratic House Representative for Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard has blasted the Trump administration for pushing the United States closer to the “brink of nuclear catastrophe” since relations with a number of nuclear armed countries have dramatically escalated in the past few months.

“Donald Trump and warmongering politicians in Washington have failed us. They continue to escalate tensions with other nuclear armed countries like Russia and China, and North Korea, starting a new Cold War, pushing us closer and closer to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Now as we stand here tonight, there are thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us… As president, I will end this insanity”, she added.

Following her speech, Gabbard took the number one spot in Google Trends, becoming the most searched Democratic candidate on the platform.

‘Trump Betrayed US on Afghanistan Pullout’

Speaking at the second Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, she also accused the US president of betraying the American people by failing to deliver on his promise to quickly withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Gabbard pledged to pull out all American forces from Afghanistan if elected president next year and end the 18-year war in the country:

“The leadership I will bring to do the right thing to bring our troops home within the first year in office. We have to do the right thing and end the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home. Every single month we are spending $4 billion on a continuing war in Afghanistan, $4 billion dollars every single month, rather than ending that war, bringing our troops home and using those precious resources into serving the needs of the people here in this country.”

The Iraq War veteran cited the example of the 2003 conflict, which broke out after the George W. Bush administration falsely claimed that Baghdad produced weapons of mass destruction.

“We were all lied to. This is the betrayal. The problem is that this current president continues to betray us”, she added.

Gabbard’s comments follow an interview by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Economic Club of Washington President David Rubenstein in which he emphasised that President Trump had ordered to “end the endless wars, draw down, reduce” the number of US troops stationed in Afghanistan before the 2020 elections.

Pompeo as well noted that he was hoping for a positive outcome of US negotiations with the Taliban, an Islamic insurgent movement, the Afghan government and opposition groups inside the country that will result in a peace agreement to put an end to the 18-year war.

President Trump has long expressed a desire to pull out American troops from Afghanistan, saying that the future reductions in US forces would be tied to progress in peace talks. In June POTUS indicated that the US was “doing fine” there and will soon see its soldiers halved to 8,000.

“As you know in Afghanistan, when I got there, it was 16,000 people. It’s now 9,000 people. And some good things are happening there frankly. No, I’d like to get out of the Middle East, we should have never been in the Middle East. We should have never been there, and I’d like to get out”, he told Time magazine.

Back in February, The New York Times reported that a Defence Department proposal for the peace talks with the Taliban stipulated that all American troops – an estimated 14,000 – be withdrawn in the next three to five years along with the rest of the international forces in the country.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil and overthrew the Taliban, which seized power in the Central Asian country in 1996. At the time, Washington said that Kabul had become a safe haven for al-Qaeda while the Taliban was in power.

Most US troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but a relatively small contingent has continued to support the Afghan Armed Forces in combating terrorism.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 4 Comments

UK Army Cyberwarfare Operations on Social Media

‘War of Tweets?’

Sputnik – August 1, 2019

London, along with the US and other western states, has repeatedly accused Moscow of using social media platforms to sow discord and division in the West, while presenting no proof to substantiate the claims. Russia has denied these accusations on multiple occasions.

The British Army has decided to assemble experts in cyberwarfare and intelligence to form a 14,500-strong 6th Division that will focus on countering Russia’s alleged “malign activity” online, as well as cyber threats coming from groups like Daesh, The Telegraph reported.

According to Commander of the Field Army Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, cited by the newspaper, the new force will be engaging in “information warfare” in a bid to influence not only British adversaries, but also public opinion. Jones brought up recent scandals involving a UK contingent in Croatia as a justification for the move. According to Croatian media reports some British servicemen had unsuccessfully attempted to abduct a minor and were confronted by local residents.

“What happened was that a handful of incidents that happened after the exercise, regrettable stories of soldiers accused of vandalism or urinating in public, were exaggerated online locally and began to appear in local media. We need people on the ground from the new 6th Div who can quickly counter that”, Jones said.

The 6th Division will not just be reacting to “attacks” against the UK on social media, but conducting its own “proactive” offensives, The Telegraph noted. The media outlet cited unnamed army sources, who claimed that deliberate disinformation campaigns, which were organised on Daesh-controlled territories in the past, yielded “great effect” in damaging the terrorist organisation’s positions, but failed to give any specifics.

Jones stated that the new army formation would operate “above and below the threshold of conventional conflict”, as, according to him, the boundaries between conventional and unconventional warfare have become barely distinguishable.

UK Allegations Against Russian Media

The UK, along with many other western states, have repeatedly accused Russia of organising disinformation campaigns on social and regular media platforms, although Moscow has repeatedly denied doing so, pointing out that no credible proof was presented to substantiate such claims. London, in particular, claimed that Moscow had used internet trolls to affect the outcome of the Brexit referendum.

The investigation of these claims, however, yielded no proof with then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying that no signs were found that Russia meddled in the 2016 vote. Furthermore, internal probes by both Facebook and Twitter also didn’t reveal any organised campaign to affect the Brexit referendum’s outcome.

The latest move against the Russian media involved the UK Foreign Office denying accreditation to Sputnik and RT for the Global Conference for Media Freedom over allegedly “spreading disinformation”. Moscow slammed the decision arguing that it’s impossible to conduct a conference on media freedom, while banning journalists from it at the same time.

In a separate incident, British broadcast regulator Ofcom imposed a fine on Russia-based RT for allegedly breaking the rules by “failing to preserve due impartiality” in its news programmes.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Iran’s Zarif drives Trump to insanity

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 1, 2019

At a time when the Trump administration has no problem negotiating with the secretary of the Russian national security council Nikolai Patrushev, who is technically under US sanctions since April 2018, the cut and thrust of Washington’s move to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif needs to be understood properly.

How did US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo try to explain the dispatch of Zarif to perdition? Pompeo’s statement on Wednesday attributed to Zarif a singular sin: a) Zarif “acted on behalf of the Supreme Leader”; b) Zarif took “direction from the Supreme Leader and his office”; c) Zarif was “a key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies throughout the region and around the world”; d) and, Zarif has been “a senior regime official and apologist” of Iranian government and has “for years now been complicit in these (Iran’s) malign activities”.

Basically, Pompeo’s grouse narrows down to this: Zarif is a disciplined dutiful, loyal Iranian public servant who abided by the Iranian system of government founded in the concept of velāyat-e faqīh (‘guardianship of the Islamic jurist’.)

Does that become a sin? Any foreign minister has his job cut out for him — even Pompeo himself. Pompeo has no pretensions that he is holding the job entirely at the pleasure and discretion of his supreme leader President Trump. Trump, in fact, is an unforgiving stickler for loyalty. Ask James Mattis or Rex Tillerson.

The US establishment knows very well how the concept velāyat-e faqīh operates, how the alchemy of political power is formed in Iran, and how the decision-making process is reached. Even Trump would know it. Which is why he even tried to get through to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (and was duly snubbed.) So, where is the beef?

Simply put, Zarif per se is the problem. The Trump administration is desperately keen to put an end to Zarif’s contacts with the American elite. Zarif lived and worked for several years in America from the age of 17 — as a high school student, university student, and career diplomat, ending up as Iran’s representative at the UN from 2002 to 2007. He also kept closely in touch with the US academia and intellectual circles in his capacity as a professor and editor of scholarly journals in Tehran who has written copiously on disarmament, human rights, international law, and regional conflicts.

Indeed, what rankles the Trump administration is that Zarif has extensively networked with American intellectuals, politicians, think tankers and media persons — figures as diverse as Joseph Biden, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Hagel, Nicholas Kristof, Thomas Pickering, James Dobbins and Christian Amanpour.

Zarif took his job seriously and being a fluent English speaker, he could tweet and debate and spar with any American with delectable ease. Zarif outclassed the mediocre American foreign and security policy team.

Zarif’s periodical visits to New York (ostensibly to attend the UN events) increasingly became a nightmare for the Trump administration as he cast his net wide and ably put across Iran’s narrative. Trump singled out more than once that Zarif had meetings with Kerry, former state secretary who negotiated the 2015 Iran deal.

This is the crux of the matter. By imposing sanctions on Zarif, the US can deny visa to him and render unlawful (and liable to prosecution under law) any contact between him and any American national. Effectively, Trump instructed Pompeo to make sure that Zarif doesn’t come to New York between now and the 2020 November election so that his detractors and critics cannot hear from the horse’s mouth the Iranian narrative.

Trump feels exasperated that Iran is winning the information war. And he is worried that between now and November 2020, his re-election campaign may get booby-trapped. For any longtime observer of the US-Iran standoff, it is obvious that a sea change has appeared in the American discourses on Iran. There is an influential and ever growing body of opinion in the US today, which disagrees with Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ strategy. This constituency rationally argues that Trump shouldn’t have dumped the 2015 deal.

Equally, there is a far better understanding today in the informed American opinion regarding Iran and its policies, and the zen of dealing with Persian nationalism beneath the veneer of Islamism. The surprising part is that such an awakening has happened despite the Herculean efforts by the Israeli Lobby to demonise Iran and to stymie all contrarian views in the media, think tanks and campuses — and the Hill.

Will Trump’s ploy work? Unlikely. The point is, Zarif is irrepressible. He will continue to tease, taunt, disparage, humiliate and expose and run down Trump’s Iran policies. Worse still, Zarif has driven a knife into the heart of the ‘B Team’ driving the US administration’s Iran policies currently. 

Trump’s sanctions against Zarif will not set an example for any other country which has diplomatic relations with Iran. In the final analysis, Trump will have to deal with Zarif, whether he likes him or not.

The best way to counter Zarif would have been to handpick an intellectually resourceful, dynamic state secretary. A mediocrity like Pompeo stands no chance with Zarif. This is a dumb thing Trump has done. He should have known better.

In 2001, Zarif was Iran’s main representative at the Bonn Conference, which brought together regional players in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan and the ousting of the Taliban. His American counterpart at the event, James Dobbins — who was later named as the Obama Administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan — wrote a memorable essay titled Negotiating with Iran: Reflections from Personal Experience in the Washington Quarterly about Zarif’s erudition, wit and charm — and his pragmatism, which helped the two gifted diplomats to thrash out “over morning coffee and cakes” a deal that led to the replacement of the Northern Alliance government in Kabul with a US-backed interim set-up under Hamid Karzai. (Burhanuddin Rabbani remarked bitterly at that time he hoped that would be the last time a foreign power ever dictated to Afghans.)

Washington has now sanctioned the man who played a pivotal role in that fateful transition in Kabul leading to the installation of the US’ client regime in the Hindu Kush. Some gratitude!

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 4 Comments

‘Clear and Decisive Win’: Why Netanyahu Needs a War on Gaza More Than Ever Before

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | August 1, 2019

Media reports of an impending Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip are now a regular occurrence. The frequency of these reports fluctuates based on Israel’s own political landscape.

Empirical experience has taught us that when Israeli leaders are in trouble, they wage a war on Gaza. Now that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing the greatest challenge in his political career, Gaza is bracing for another Israeli war.

The war rumors are no longer just that. Rightwing Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post recently reported that Israel’s military chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, “has already approved operational combat plans and recently set up an administrative unit to handle the formation of a list of potential targets in the coastal enclave for when the next war breaks out.”

The Post’s own military correspondent, Anna Ahronheim concurs, that, indeed, war on Gaza “is not far away.” But unlike previous wars, the upcoming war must “have a clear and decisive win” by Israel so that “the other side will think twice about going to war in the future.”

The fallacy in Ahronheim’s analysis is obvious. Israel always approaches its wars in Gaza with the aim of having a “clear and decisive win”, aims that are often thwarted by strong Palestinian resistance in the besieged and impoverished Strip.

Second, Gaza never initiates wars. The Strip has no army or military strategy beyond self-defense tactics carried out by organized resistance factions, including Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and various PLO groups. However, if Israel thinks that a ‘decisive win’ would eradicate Palestinian resistance, it will be greatly disappointed. Gaza’s resistance, in all of its forms, against Israel and Israeli occupation goes back to the late 1940s. No amount of firepower will ever end this kind of determined resistance.

However, it is likely that Israel measures the decisiveness of its ‘victory’ based on the amount of destruction it is able to inflict on Palestinians.

Marvel at these numbers from the last major Israeli war on Gaza, in 2014, to understand the real target of Israeli wars on the Strip:

According to United Nations figures, more than 2,300 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s so-called “Operation Protective Edge”. The causalities, most of whom were civilians, included 551 children. Moreover, 11,231 were also wounded, and more than 20,000 homes were destroyed. The massive destruction was also aimed at the already ailing infrastructure of impoverished Gaza, reaching schools, hospitals, mosques and even UN shelters.

How more “decisive” must the next Israeli war be so that Israel’s warmongers may feel satisfied that their war achieved its intended objectives?

Israel wants Palestinians to accept their perpetual besiegement, embrace their fate as an occupied nation with no rights, subject to the whims of Israel and its racist, deadly policies.

However, Israeli leaders are now driven by a second objective: winning the upcoming elections.

There is much at stake for Netanyahu and his prospective coalition of rightwing ideologues and religious zealots. Israel has never held two national elections in one year, but this year is an exception.

The April 9 elections failed to achieve a decisive victory for either camp. After weeks of attempting to form a coalition government, Netanyahu accepted the inevitable: another election, which is set for September 17.

But Netanyahu is not only politically embattled. He, along with his family and close aides have been embroiled in a series of corruption charges that could potentially end his political career.

On June 6, Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit rejected Netanyahu’s bid to postpone for the second time the pre-indictment hearing in the several corruption cases concerning his misconduct while in office.

However, Netanyahu hopes to secure his position at the helm of Israeli politics a while longer, to evade corruption charges, and to eventually strike a deal to drop the charges altogether.

He is desperate to remain a prime minister. For that to happen, he will do whatever it takes to appeal to the most powerful constituency in Israel: the right wing and their religious allies.

For Israel’s right, a war is a normal state of affairs. They seem to acquire their sense of collective safety when Palestinians suffer. And, for months, Israeli rightwing voices calling for war against Gaza have massively amplified.

Even the supposedly sensible political center has joined the chorus, knowing that an anti-war stance in Israel is a losing strategy.

Head of the Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, who remains Netanyahu’s strongest opponent said in an interview released last May with Channel 13: “We must strike hard, in an uncompromising manner … We must restore the deterrence that has been eroded catastrophically for more than a year.”

Of course, there will be a next war on Gaza. It will be as “decisive” and deadly as Israeli leaders need it to be, to serve their political calculations.

But they must also be aware that wars on Gaza are no longer the cakewalks of the past. The resistance in that small, but unbreakable region, is tougher than it has ever been in the past, a natural outcome of 12 years of a relentless siege, interrupted by massively destructive and lethal military onslaughts.

A war on Gaza will also come with a price for Israel. Are Netanyahu and his government willing to endure the political fallout of another failed war? It all depends on how truly desperate the corrupt Netanyahu is to remain in power and out of prison, at least for a while longer.

 – Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London).

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel summons 8-year-old Palestinian girl for interrogation

Israeli forces summoned an eight-year-old Palestinian girl, Malak Sadr for interrogation in the West Bank city of Hebron

MEMO | August 1, 2019

Israeli authorities yesterday summoned an eight-year-old Palestinian girl from the occupied West Bank city of Hebron for interrogation, making her the third minor to be called in for questioning this week.

According to sources who informed the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli soldiers raided the home of Hebron resident Shadi Sadr last night and gave him a summons for his eight-year-old daughter Malak to appear at an interrogation centre. Her crime, the father was told, was allegedly harassing the military-backed Israeli settlers.

The incident comes amid a recent spate of summons and interrogations of extremely young Palestinian children this past week for a number of alleged crimes including throwing cartons at occupation forces and “harassing” settlers and settlement projects. The first arrest was that of four-year-old Muhammad Rabi’ Elayyan on Tuesday and the second was issued to the father of six-year-old Qais Firas Obaid yesterday, both of whom were residents of the same east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya.

According to the Palestine branch of the rights group Defence for Children International, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system since 2000.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Prince Harry in Overpopulation ‘Doomsday Cult’

Sputnik – August 1, 2019

Prince Harry, who became a father this year, prompted a Twitter storm after he professed a desire to only have two children in order to help save the planet. After mouthy UK journalist Piers Morgan mocked him over the statement, his colleague Julia Hartley-Brewer also weighed in with a critical remark.

“TalkRADIO” host Julia Hartley-Brewer has insisted that there is no evidence of looming overpopulation when she discussed Prince Harry’s pledge to father only two children for the planet’s sake with Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones.

“In what way do we think there is any evidence to claim that this planet can’t sustain the population we’ve got right now? Or indeed a bigger population with predictions of it hitting nine or ten billion before it plateaus out in the next, say, 50 years?” the journalist asked.

She also showed some bewilderment over the overpopulation alarmists, apparently including the prince, who, with his wife Meghan, became a parent of a baby boy only recently. The journalist said that she cannot perceive how it might feel “to go through life basically as part of a doomsday cult, thinking the world is in such a terrible position”.

“I understand being concerned about renewable energy and replacing fossil fuels and clean the air and polluting the sea and all that. Absolutely that all makes sense to me but I find this idea that this view that human beings are effectively parasites on the planet, I find it such a depressing thought… I am really glad that I have a much more positive view of life”, she noted.

Co-host of Good Morning Britain Piers Morgan earlier also mocked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, referring to rumours about the then-pregnant Meghan Markle flying back home to Prince Harry on board a private jet after a baby shower in a plush New York hotel.

“Is this the same Harry who uses helicopters to go from London to Birmingham & whose wife uses celebrity mates’ private jets to cross the Atlantic?” Morgan tweeted, while some commenters supported his stance, branding the prince’s remarks “hypocrisy at its finest”.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 3 Comments

The Spy Game: It Ain’t What It Used to Be

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 1, 2019

The Tehran government has announced the arrest of seventeen Iranian citizens caught spying for America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Some of those arrested have already been sentenced to death. It is the third major roll-up of CIA agents in Iran that I have been aware of, the first occurring in 1991 involved 20 American agents. The second episode in 2011 led to the arrest of 30 spies. The earlier arrests reportedly eliminated what were presumed to be the entire networks of American agents operating inside Iran and it is to be presumed that the recent arrests will have the same impact.

The Iranians presented a considerable quantity of evidence, including photos and business cards of US government officials, to back up their claim of American spying but President Trump dismissed the report as “totally false” and “just more lies and propaganda” — while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they’ve taken.”

Iran’s press release on the arrests together with a briefing by an intelligence official supplemented by local media coverage provided some of the details. The seventeen reportedly had “sophisticated training” but those who had sabotage missions did not succeed. Other objectives included “collecting information at the facilities they worked at, carrying out technical and intelligence activities and transferring and installing monitoring devices.”

Some of the agents had reportedly been recruited by falling into what is referred to as a “visa trap” set by the CIA for Iranians seeking to travel to the US. This has long been the preferred tool for recruiting Iranian agents. The intelligence official handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged CIA case officer speaking to an Iranian target, which was presumably recorded secretly. The video shows a blonde woman who speaks Persian with an American accent. The disc also included names of several US embassy staff in Dubai, Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were involved in the recruitment and training of the Iranian spies.

How exactly did the recruitments take place as there is no US Embassy in Tehran and few Americans resident in the country? Many of the Iranians were targeted when they walked into an American Embassy in a country to which they are free to travel, which includes Turkey and Dubai. In the words of the Iranian intelligence official, “Some were approached when they were applying for a visa, while others had visas from before and were pressured by the CIA in order to renew them.”

Others were targeted and recruited as spies while attending scientific conferences around the world. Those recruited received promises of money, eventual resettlement and a job in the US or medical assistance. To maintain contact with its agents inside Iran, the CIA would reportedly conceal spyware and instructions in containers that look like rocks, which would be planted in city parks or in rural areas. The Iranian agents would then recover the material, which might include false identification documents. It should be observed that fake rocks are a standard espionage tool. They are hollowed out to conceal spy-gear and communications. After they are in place, a signal is made to alert the agent that there is something ready to be picked-up. In the trade they are referred to as “dead drops.”

Why does the United States continue to spy on Iran with such ferocity? The Mullahs became a major intelligence target for Washington in the wake of the 1979 US Embassy hostage crisis, in which fifty-two American diplomats and intelligence officers were held for 444 days. The CIA mounted a major intelligence operation run from Europe that collected a wide range of information on the Iranian government and, increasingly, on its technical capabilities, including a suspected nuclear development program. In 2015 the CIA under President Barack Obama and Director John Brennan ramped up collection efforts against Iran as part of the verification process for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). More recently, Mike Pompeo, when CIA Director, further increased efforts against Iran when the Trump Administration withdrew from that agreement in the belief that Iran represented a rogue nation and a threat to United States interests and allies. In reality, of course, there is no real American vital interest relating to Iran and Trump has been acting on behalf of Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of whom are hostile to Iran as a regional rival.

But running intelligence operations in a country without a US Embassy to serve as a base for spies proved difficult. Many spies have been caught, by one Iranian estimate, 290 agents arrested in recent years. Most often the exposure of the spies has been due to human error or technical problems in communications. Iran has benefited by boasting of those arrests and has long promoted its capacity to uncover American spy rings in the country. As the New York Times reports, Iran has recently aired a documentary featuring efforts to expose and rid the country of the CIA agents working there.

A recently produced and very popular Iranian fictional television series called “Gando” has also introduced the narrative of a perpetual fight against American spies into the country’s popular culture. The show features brave Iranian intelligence officials in pursuit of an American spy posing as a journalist.

According to a Yahoo News investigation, Iran was in 2009 enraged by reports that the CIA had possibly penetrated its nuclear program and its counter-intelligence agents immediately went on the hunt for moles. By 2011, Iranian officials had uncovered and arrested a network of 30 CIA sources, a fact that US officials later confirmed. Some of the accused informants were executed. The Iranian government was able to find the operatives because of failures in the systems and techniques that the CIA agents used to communicate with the agents. Once a flaw in communications is detected, it is possible to exploit that so one can sit back and wait and watch for all those linked to the network to reveal themselves.

One might observe that the continued massive American “maximum pressure” spying effort directed against Iran is a bit of an anachronism. It is agreed by nearly all observers that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and is unlikely to start one. The sanctions put in place against the country unilaterally by the US cannot produce a popular uprising that will bring down the regime, but they have indeed hurt the country’s economy badly and the people are suffering. Iran’s military cannot stand up against its neighbors, much less against the United States, and its ability to meddle in the affairs of its neighbors is extremely limited.

So, it is probably just as well that Iran has again rolled up most of the American spies in the country, though it will be a tragedy for the men and women involved. Many critics of the Agency have argued that the CIA has forgotten how to spy in an age of drones and electronic surveillance, which may be true. Certainly, the CIA record regarding Iran is nothing to brag about.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Let them sail yachts: Why Greta Thunberg and the environmental elite hate you

By Graham Dockery | RT | July 31, 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will sail across the Atlantic by boat to attend two climate conferences. But the teenager’s carbon-neutral odyssey reveals the disregard – even contempt – the elite have for the rest of us.

Thunberg shot to fame for organizing school walkouts against climate change last year. A series of talks lamenting her generation’s impending doom have since made her the poster child for a strange, apocalyptic brand of environmentalism, with British lawmakers nodding along to her declaration that “we probably don’t even have a future anymore” in April, and the world’s power-brokers listening intently to her exhortation that they should “feel the fear I feel every day,” made at the World Economic Forum in Davos several months earlier.

She offers only one path to salvation: an immediate halt to all carbon emissions – there can be no compromise.

Thunberg practices what she preaches, though, and eschews all forms of internal combustion while she treks from climate conference to parliamentary speech. Rather than fly to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York next month, Thunberg will sail, a journey expected to take two weeks.

However, the young proselytizer will not cobble together a boat from upcycled oil drums and driftwood. Instead she’ll be traveling on the Malizia II, a 60-foot racing yacht. The Malizia II is loaded with eco-friendly innovations, like a lightened hull and an array of solar panels powering a backup turbine.

Its crew are also a far cry from the ragtag band of crusties you might imagine. The Malizia II will be captained by renowned yachtsman Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, grandson of Monaco’s late Prince Ranier III and actress Grace Kelly. The boat, too, was once named the Edmond de Rothschild, after the financial baron and founder of a fleet of racing yachts. Its construction cost upwards of €4 million.

Despite the cheers of bourgeois bugmen, Greta’s trip of a lifetime reveals the feckless elitism at the heart of her activism. Sailing across the Atlantic on a multimillion dollar racing yacht is a wonderful stand against climate change when you’re Greta Thunberg. But to dock in New York and demand the miserable masses give up car and air travel is the ultimate in anti-humanitarianism.

Us common folk don’t have access to vessels like the Malizia II. In Thunberg’s utopia, we’d have to row. And even if we did, how many of us can take two weeks’ annual vacation just to get to America to see our friends? Or hire actual Monegasque royalty to get us there in one piece?

The airplane and the automobile have democratized travel, and Thunberg wants to take that away from us. Troublingly, Thunberg is not a lone crusader. As she addressed the British parliament in April, the streets of London were thronged with ‘Extinction Rebellion’ climate protesters. Holding placards demanding an end to fossil fuels, meat eating and, seemingly, modernity itself, these activists visibly and forcefully demanded the government strong-arm them into being green. “Please tread on me,” they may as well have cried.

In the US, 104 members of Congress have co-sponsored the ‘Green New Deal,’ an ambitious piece of legislation that calls for a complete abolition of fossil fuel consumption by 2050, alongside government-mandated wealth redistribution programs. An earlier draft of the Green New Deal also called for the immediate elimination of air travel and “farting cows,” and for the dismantling of industry.

The green fervor preached by Thunberg et al. has two potential outcomes. In one scenario, the political elite will listen to her sermons, clap politely, pose for selfies and then go back to doing nothing: case in point, her meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, who rode to power promising environmental reforms, but found his cities almost razed by protesters when he tried so much as a fuel tax hike last year.

The second, more terrifying outcome, is that Thunberg’s pontification will become policy. And, if the world’s governments decide to commit civilizational hara-kiri like this, they already have a propaganda department working overtime to bludgeon the masses with their message.

The elite don’t just want to regulate how you travel and how you heat your home. They want to control what you eat and how you breed, too. Open the pages of any mainstream magazine; turn on your television; scroll through any mainstream news site and you’ll see headlines like “To feed the world, why not eat bugs?,” “Eating insects is good for you – and the planet!,” “To Confront Climate Change, the Modern Automobile Must Die,” and “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.”

Thunberg, her elite backers, and their court scribes – if they’re to be taken at their word – want you alone, immobile and, literally, eating insects in the name of environmentalism.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 4 Comments

Tulsi Gabbard vs Google Goliath

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | July 31, 2019


The Tulsi Gabbard presidential campaign has filed a major law suit against Google. This article outlines the main points of the law suit and evidence the the social media giant Google has quietly acquired enormous influence on public perceptions and has been actively censoring alternative viewpoints.

Tulsi Now vs Google

Tulsi Now, Inc vs Google, LLC was filed on July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys demand a jury trial and seek compensation and punitive damages of “no less than $50 million”. Major points and allegations in the 36 page complaint include:

* Google has monopolistic control of online searches and related advertising.

“Google creates, operates, and controls its platform and services, including but not limited to Google Search, Google Ads, and Gmail as a public forum or its functional equivalent by intentionally and openly dedicating its platform for public use and public benefit, inviting the public to utilize Google as a forum for free speech. Google serves as a state actor by performing an exclusively and traditionally public function by regulating free speech within a public forum and helping to run elections.” (p. 22)

“Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p. 2)

* At a critical moment Google undercut the Tulsi Gabbard campaign.

“On June 28, 2019 – at the height of Gabbard’s popularity among internet researchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period… Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.” (p. 3)

* Google has failed to provide a credible explanation.

The Tulsi campaign quickly sought to restore the account but “In response, the Campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google… To this day, Google has not provided a straight answer – let alone a credible one – as to why Tulsi’s political speech was silence right when millions of people wanted to hear from her.” (p. 4)

Google started by falsely claiming “problems with billing”. Later, as reported in the NY Times story  a Google spokesperson claimed, “Google has automated systems that flag unusual activity on advertiser accounts – including large spending changes – to prevent fraud…. In this case, ‘our system triggered a suspension.’ ”

* Google has a corporate profit motive to oppose Tulsi Gabbard.

“Google has sought to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate who has vocally called for greater regulation and oversight of (you guessed it) Google.” (p. 5)

“During her career in Congress, Gabbard has moved to limit the powers of big tech companies like Google and has fought to keep the internet open and available to all. Gabbard has co-sponsored legislation that prohibits multi-tiered pricing agreements for the privileged few, and she has spoken in favor of reinstating and expanding net neutrality to apply to Internet firms like Google.” (p. 8)

* Google’s Actions have caused significant harm to the Gabbard campaign and violate the U.S. and California constitutions and California business law.

“Through its illegal actions targeting Tulsi Gabbard, Google has caused the Campaign significant harm, both monetary (including potentially millions of dollars in forgone donations) and nonmonetary (the ability to provide Tulsi’s important message with Americans looking to hear it).” (p. 6)

“Google engages in a pattern and practice of intentional discrimination in the provision of its services, including discriminating and censoring the Campaign’s speech based not on the content of the censored speech but on the Campaign’s political identity and viewpoint.” (p. 27)

* The public has an interest in this case.

“Unless the court issues an appropriate injunction, Google’s illegal and unconstitutional behavior will continue, harming both the Campaign and the general public, which has an overwhelming interest in a fair, unmanipulated 2020 United States Election cycle. (p. 34)

Google Explanation is Not Credible

The Tulsi Gabbard Google Ads account was abruptly suspended at a crucial time. The question is why. Was it the result of “unusual activity” triggering an “automatic suspension” as claimed by Google? Or was it because someone at Google changed the software or otherwise intervened to undermine the Tulsi campaign?

Google’s explanation of an “automatic suspension” from “unusual activity” is dubious. First, the timing does not make sense. The sudden rise in searches on “Tulsi Gabbard” began the day before the suspension. Gabbard participated in the first debate, on June 26. Her presence and performance sparked interest among many viewers. Next morning, June 27, media reported that, “Tulsi Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google after the Democratic debate in Miami“. The second debate took place in the evening of June 27. With discussion of the Democratic candidates continuing, Tulsi Gabbard continued to attract much interest. Around 9:30 pm (ET) on June 27 the Google Ads account was suddenly suspended. If the cause was “unusual activity”, the “automatic trigger” should have occurred long before.

Second, Google was fully aware of the “unusual activity”. In fact, Google was the source of the news reports on the morning of June 27. Reports said:

According to Google Trends, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the most searched candidate heading into the debate… After the debate, Gabbard vaulted into first.

Third, it is hard to believe that Google does not have any human or more sophisticated review before suspending a major Ads account on a politically intense night. It should have been obvious that the cause of increased interest in Gabbard was the nationally televised Democratic candidates debate and media coverage.

Fourth, the changing explanation for the sudden suspension, starting with a false claim that there were “problems with billing”, raises questions about the integrity of Google’s response.

Google Secretly Manipulates  Public Opinion

Unknown to most of the public, there is compelling evidence that Google has been secretly manipulating search results to steer public perception and election voting for years.

Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been studying and reporting on this for the past six years. Recently, on June 16, 2019 he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution. His testimony is titled “Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy, and How to End That Threat”.

Epstein has published 15 books and over 300 scientific and mainstream media articles on artificial intelligence and related topics. “Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.”

As shown by Dr. Epstein, Google uses several techniques to manipulate public opinion. The results of an online search are biased. Search “suggestions” are skewed. Messages such as “Go Vote” are sent to some people but not to others.

Epstein’s written testimony to Congress includes links to over sixty articles documenting his research published in sites ranging from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Huffington Post. Epstein’s testimony describes “disturbing findings” including:

“In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton”. (Epstein notes that he supported Clinton.)

“On Election Day in 2018, the ‘Go Vote’ reminder Google displayed on its home page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it gave the other party.”

“My recent research demonstrates that Google’s ‘autocomplete’ search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people’s awareness.”

“Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015. This is because many races are very close and because Google’s persuasive technologies are very powerful.”

Google is Censoring Alternative Media  

In August 2017 TruePublica reported their experience and predictions in an article titled The Truth War is Being Lost to a Global Censorship Apparatus Called Google“. The article says:

60 percent of people now get their news from search engines, not traditional human editors in the media. It is here where the new information war takes place – the algorithm. Google now takes 81.2 percent of all search engine market share globally…. Google has the ability to drive demand and set the narrative, create bias and swing opinion.

In 2017, the World Socialist Web Site ( reported that:

In April, under the guise of combating ‘fake news’, Google introduced new procedures that give extraordinary powers to unnamed ‘evaluators’ to demote web pages and websites. These procedures have been used to exclude the WSWS and other anti-war and oppositional sites. Over the past three months, traffic originating from Google to the WSWS has fallen by approximately 70%…. In key searches relevant to a wide range of topics the WSWS regularly covers – including the U.S. military operations and the threat of war, social conditions, inequality and even socialism – the number of search impressions … has fallen dramatically.

In essence, Google has “de-ranked” and is screening searchers from seeing alternative and progressive websites such as truepublica, globalresearch, consortiumnews, commondreams, Wikileaks, truth-out and many more. WSWS reported numerous specific examples such as this one: “Searches for the term ‘Korean war’ produced 20,932 impressions in May. In July, searches using the same words produced zero WSWS impressions.”

“The policy guiding these actions is made absolutely clear in the April 25, 2017 blog post by Google’s Vice President for Engineering, Ben Gomes, and the updated ‘Search Quality Rater Guidelines’ published at the same time. The post refers to the need to flag and demote ‘unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and conspiracy theories’ – broad and amorphous language used to exclude any oppositional content…. “The ‘lowest’ rating is also to be given to a website that ‘presents unsubstantiated conspiracy theories or hoaxes as if the information were factual.’”

Tulsi Gabbard has not only called for much stricter regulations on high tech and social media giants. She has also challenged the Democratic Party and foreign policy establishment.  In late February 2016 she resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee to support candidate Bernie Sanders against the establishment favorite, Hillary Clinton. Gabbard has issued sharp criticisms of US foreign policy.  Recently she said:

We hear a lot of politicians say the same argument that we’ve got to stay engaged in the world otherwise we’ll be isolationists as though the only way the United States can engage with other countries is by blowing them up or strangling them with economic sanctions by smashing them and trying to overthrow their governments. This is exactly what’s wrong with this whole premise and the whole view in which too many politicians, too many leaders in this country are viewing the United States role in the world.


Did Google take the next step from silently censoring websites the corporation does not like to undercutting a presidential candidate the corporation does not like?

This is a David vs Goliath story. Google/Alphabet is the 37th largest corporation in the world with enormous political influence in Washington. Whether or not the law suit succeeds, it may serve the public interest by exposing Google’s immense monopolistic power and illustrate the need for much more regulation, transparency and accountability. It may also generate more interest in Gabbard’s message and campaign in the face of efforts to silence her.

Investigative Journalist Rick Sterling can be reached at

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments