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This is what gloating looks like… NY Times distorts war-torn Syria

A woman and two children walk past debris in the northern Syrian city of Raqa, the former Syrian capital of the Islamic State group, on August 21, 2019. © AFP / Delil SOULEIMAN
By Finian Cunningham | RT | August 22, 2019

A supposed survey of war-torn Syria by America’s so-called “newspaper of record” was not merely shoddy journalism; it was a cynical attempt to rewrite the history of the eight-year war.

The meandering report of more than 2,700 words was headlined: “What ‘Victory’ Looks Like: A Journey Through Shattered Syria.” It would have been more accurate to have used the title, “What Gloating Looks Like.

Even the sly way the word ‘victory’ is put in quotation marks indicates, from the outset, the insidious purpose of the article. To pour scorn on how Syria and its people have in actual fact defeated a foreign-sponsored criminal war for regime change. The regime-change plot goes back to at least 2005 as this old CNN interview clumsily admits.

With mawkish words, the New York Times reporters effect to lament the rubble and grief among the Syrian population. But all the while, the implication conveyed is that President Bashar Assad “presided over the destruction.”

It would be easy to dismiss the article for the ropey, agenda-led “journalism” that it is. But since journalism is reputed to be the “first draft” of writing history, it is therefore important that the distortion presented by the NY Times is repudiated for the outright falsification that it is.

We can’t go into every erroneous, obnoxious detail. And readers would be advised to go to alternative reports by independent journalists like Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley for accurate accounts of how Syrians are dealing with the aftermath of war and what the people actually think about who caused their war-torn fate.

But suffice to say that three salient distortions or omissions can be cited to condemn the NY Times as a purveyor of propaganda. First is the staggering assertion that Syria’s lunar landscape of destruction was brought about by warplanes and artillery deployed by the state’s armed forces.

Secondly, there is not a single mention of US and other NATO states carrying out – and continuing to carry out – air strikes on Syrian infrastructure for the past five years, which have resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Probably the most infamous episode was the American obliteration of the city of Raqqa two years ago during which an estimated 1,600 people, including women and children, were buried under rubble from indiscriminate bombing.

The NY Times would have us believe that Assad callously and gratuitously inflicted a pyrrhic victory on his people, instead of telling readers that the country was targeted covertly for regime change by the US, its NATO allies, and regional partners.

A third astounding distortion is the apparent absence of terror groups in Syria’s war. Not once is it mentioned that the militants who served as proxies for their foreign sponsors were mostly composed of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists recruited for their barbaric dirty work from all over the world and infiltrated into Syria by NATO operatives. Former urban areas like eastern Aleppo and Douma held siege under a reign of terror are referred to as “rebel-held” districts. The liberation of those hell-holes by Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airpower, is not reported as “liberation” but as something sinister, in complete disregard for how the Syrian people relate the events to the smarmy NY Times journalists. The latter presume to know better about what really happened, and consequently routinely infer that “regime minders” accompanying them are coercing the civilian interviewees to mouth pro-Assad propaganda.

Imagine the feat of mental gymnastics. In a supposed in-depth survey of war-ravaged Syria, there is not one reference to the army of jihadists belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Nusra Front, Jaish Al Islam, and dozens of other alphabet soup names used to conceal the fact that all were terrorist proxies weaponized by the US and NATO military intelligence.

What we have instead is the NY Times affecting a kind of grief and condescension towards the Syrian people who have been, it is claimed, plunged into misery by their government and its Russian ally. It is inconceivable, according to this narrative, that the Syrian people and their armed forces may have perhaps won the most dramatic, heroic battle in modern times against a behemoth of US-backed enemies whose terror tactics plumbed the depths of depravity.

Rather amusingly, if it weren’t so sickening, was a separate report by the NY Times only the day before which proclaimed that, “ISIS [Islamic State] Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria”.

So, in the previous screed masquerading as a detailed survey of Syria, there is no mention of terror groups. Yet, in the second report the reader is told that the “Islamic State is on the rise again”. How is such a colossal contradiction entertained by the editors?

That other report kicks off with this laughable claim: “Five months after American-backed forces ousted the Islamic State from its last [sic] shard of territory in Syria, the terrorist group is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American and Iraqi military and intelligence officers said.”

Yes, that’s right, we are being told that US forces vanquished Syria’s terrorist tormentors from their “last shard of territory”. But now they are resurgent and “well-equipped” numbering about 18,000 fighters. We might indeed wonder how this change of good fortune happened for the militants. Could it be that powerful foreign sponsors are aiding and abetting once again? The NY Times never hints at such an obvious possibility.

The point of the article seems to be an attempt to undermine President Trump’s drawdown of US troops from Syria. The NY Times and its military intelligence sources are arguing for more American forces to be deployed in Syria and Iraq. “The resurgence [of terrorists] poses a threat to American interests and allies, as the Trump administration draws down American troops in Syria,” the report editorializes.

While the NY Times is cynically exploiting Syria for its own agenda-driven story-telling, the real task of defeating foreign-backed terror groups was continuing this week in Idlib province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian Arab Army captured the town of Khan Sheikhoun from militants affiliated to Hayat Tahrir al Sham (formerly Nusra Front, formerly Al Qaeda.) That is in spite of credible claims of armed support from NATO member Turkey whose military incursion into Syrian territory was pushed back. The US is also allegedly implicated in covertly arming the last redoubt of terror groups in Idlib.

Eight years of hideous war in Syria are coming to an end as Syrian state forces push on to claim every last inch of the nation’s territory from foreign intruders. The plain truth is that the Syrian people won a formidable victory against implacable malign powers, led by the US.

The systematic distortion and lies told by Western corporate-controlled media about Syria continues, even when victory against Washington’s infernal imperialist crimes is staring them in the face.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

World on verge of ‘uncontrolled arms race’ because of US – Russia’s UN envoy

RT | August 22, 2019

The US ambitions have put the world on the brink of a new arms race that can easily spiral out of control, warned the Russian envoy to the UN. Washington responded by blaming Moscow for the INF treaty’s collapse.

“Are you aware of the fact that all of us have found ourselves just one step away from an uncontrolled arms race, because of the US geopolitical ambitions?” Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, said at the emergency session of the Security Council that Moscow and Beijing convened on Thursday, in the wake of the US missile tests.

This a source of great concern for us, but apparently not for the US.

Washington apparently planned to leave Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty long before announcing its withdrawal from the 1987 agreement back in February, Polyanskiy added, since this is the only way it could have tested a new ground-launched cruise missile that violated the accord mere weeks after it officially expired.

The launcher used in the test was the same one installed in Aegis Ashore missile defense batteries in Romania and Poland. When the first of those systems was placed in 2016, Moscow expressed its concerns over their capability to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in violation of the INF treaty. The US assured Russia at the time the Aegis systems did not have such features.

“Now these suspicions are confirmed,” Polyanskiy said,

The Russian diplomat also rebuked US allies in Europe for their reluctance to support Moscow’s efforts in strengthening the treaty, back when it could have still been saved. In December 2018, Russia introduced a draft resolution to the UNSC that sought to enhance international support for the treaty, without any no criticism of the US. Yet, the western nations did not back it.

“Are you happy that you pressed the red button at that time?” the Russian diplomat said, addressing the European nations. Their inaction, he argued, has thrown back the security situation in Europe to the times before the INF, when short- and mid-range nuclear missiles were stationed on the continent.

Washington maintained its was Russia that “materially breached” the treaty by developing and allegedly deploying “multiple battalions” of missile systems the US allege are violating the INF. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations and even invited international inspections of the system in question – but no one took it up on the offer.

The acting US envoy to the UN, Jonathan Cohen, called the latest missile test a “prudent response” to the “aggressive strategies” pursued by Russia and China, which he blamed for the “deteriorating security environment” in the world.

After withdrawing from the INF treaty, Washington hinted it would like to re-negotiate the deal and include China into it. Beijing’s envoy to UN said it has “no interest in participating in trilateral disarmament talks” right now and insisted that the primary responsibility for the arms control rests with the powers possessing the largest nuclear arsenals.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Dr. Tim Ball wins @MichaelEMann lawsuit – Mann has to pay

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | August 22, 2019

Readers surely recall that the easily offended Dr. Michael Mann launched a court case for defamation against climate skeptic Dr. Tim Ball of Canada.

In Feburary 2018 there was a complete dismissal in the lawsuit brought against Dr. Ball by Andrew Weaver of Canada, also for “defamation”.

The Weaver defamation case involved an article Ball wrote saying that the IPCC had diverted almost all climate research funding and scientific investigation to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). This meant that there was virtually no advance in the wider understanding of climate and climate change. Ball referenced an interview with Weaver and attempts by a student to arrange a debate. Ball made some comments that were not fully substantiated, so they became the base of the defamation lawsuit.

That case was completely dismissed, you can read more here.

Now in the Mann case, which goes back to 2011, there’s also a complete dismissal. Ball wrote to me less than an hour ago, asking me to announce it here.

He writes:

Hi Anthony

Michael Mann’s case against me was dismissed this morning by the BC Supreme Court and they awarded me [court] costs.

Tim Ball

This is a developing story, I’ll add more as we know more.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 2 Comments

Is ‘hate-crime’ a media-creation?

By Renee Parsons | OffGuardian | August 22, 2019

As part of Remarks by President Trump on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio on August 5th, President Donald Trump announced that.

Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay

Normally it might have been expected that the mainstream media would run with Trump’s support of the death-penalty-for-hate-crimes as proof positive that the man is off his rocker. Instead, the statement garnered barely a flicker of public notice. Did anyone in authority bother to confirm that the shootings were indeed motivated by ‘hate?’

As the mainstream media consistently rush to judgment, speculation too often becomes fact before all the evidence is considered (ie Russiagate) as the MSM is relied on to provide factual and critical background information.

And yet since 65% of the American public believe that the MSM is peddling fake news begs the question of why should detailed reporting on these tragic events be left to a discredited media establishment or that their information on these recent shootings be considered truthful?

Why should the American public trust the MSM for what may have already been determined to be a ‘hate’ crime without providing evidence of the hate – as the Divide and Rule Game continues undeterred sowing division and conflict among the American people.

It remains unclear exactly why either tragedy is being specifically labeled a “hate” crime instead of felony murder as if there is a larger agenda to establish ‘hate’ as a bona fide.

Obviously, such barbaric mass killings are not normal behavior as the rationale for such conduct must stem from some deep emotional depravity just as the epidemic of suicides of young white males who have lost hope in American society makes no more sense.

There is an endemic crisis throughout the country and the political class are responsible. Decades after federal government elimination of grants for community mental health programs, ‘hate’ is the favorite determinant factor as the world’s most violent nation creates a generation of emotionally or mentally unstable young men, many of whom may be on mind-numbing psychiatric drugs.

Since the MSM has failed to inform the American public of advanced mind control practices; perhaps the MSM itself and the young shooters are part of widespread experiment using MK Ultra or other state-of-the-art brain manipulation techniques. How would the American public ever know which might be true?

The 21 year old El Paso shooter was immediately identified  as a right wing Trumper acting on behalf of the President’s “hate” rhetoric and that he had posted an anti-immigration racist tract entitled  An Inconvenient Truth – all of which turned out to be something less than the truth.

Decrying mass immigration as an environmental plea for population control sounds more like something John Muir might have written rather than a hate-filled racist diatribe justifying the slaughter.

Perusing the alleged politically charged manifesto included such statements:

Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country… If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.

There is, however, a problematic psychiatrist father of uncertain character in the background as the shooter drove 650 miles from his home to El Paso before committing the crime and surrendering to authorities.

On the other hand, the Dayton shooter also defies the usual partisan identity and has been acknowledged as a 24-year old member of the Democratic Socialist Party, a Bernie and Elizabeth Warren supporter and was dressed and masked as an Antifa member at the time of the shooting.  His weapons and ammo magazines appear to have been legally acquired, he had a high school history as a bully who kept a hit list and made violent threats.

Meanwhile,  the Democrats who consider themselves the responsible party on gun control, failed to restore the assault gun ban when they had the votes in 2010 as they prefer fanning the flames of more ‘hate’ by blaming Trump’s loose lips even though the once-revered ACLU does not oppose the Second Amendment.

One wonders that if the El Paso shooter can be tagged with being influenced by Trump rhetoric, did the Dayton shooter receive his inspiration from Antifa or perhaps Elizabeth Warren?   It is too much to expect any rational media voice to inquire – all of which brings us back to the President’s Remarks endorsing the death penalty.

How exactly did this ‘hate’ language make its way into Trump’s remarks as “hate” has become a preoccupation of American society and the Administration as its Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism’s very life purpose is to root out hate – not hate of all kinds but only that of the Jewish variety.

Historically, the American criminal justice system, flawed as it is, requires any jury in a criminal case to consider the Defendant’s level of conscious intent to commit a criminal act as well as the illegality of the act without specificity to the psychological issues of that intent.

Originally, hate crime laws were expected to offer special protection based on an individuals’ sexual orientation, gender, religion, disability or racial identity as perceived by the perpetrator.

In a manner that does not occur in normal criminal proceedings, defining the “hate” component of a crime requires a distinct determination that the defendant’s actions were solely motivated by thoughts of ‘hate.’

In a worse case scenario, is Trump suggesting that the death penalty may be applied to what is determined to be a hate crime even if that crime has not resulted in a death?

The reality is that hate crimes may be difficult to distinguish from a run-of-the-mill felony murder, thereby increasing the hate crime penalty makes little sense since first degree murder is already subject to the death penalty. Therefore, it appears that a redundant death penalty for a crime that would already call for the death penalty is little more than…overkill.

In other words, hate crime prosecution necessarily relies on criminalizing thoughts as the NSA claims it has already developed remote neural monitoring revealing one’s most hidden private thoughts or an iphone may be bugged with implants to reduce impulse control.

Many legal scholars would respond that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment already provides all American citizens with the guaranteed right to equal protection under the law (ie Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade) and therefore such hate laws are unnecessary and may be unconstitutional.

Since the Constitution already protects the rights of aggrieved parties, why would Congress initiate an entirely new category of duplicative Hate Crime laws unless they needed the extra legislative accomplishment to justify their existence or to satisfy prominent politically-connected constituencies or to create a nefarious political agenda.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment

U.S. To “Drown The World” In Oil

By Nick Cunningham – – August 21, 2019

The U.S. could “drown the world in oil” over the next decade, which, according to Global Witness, would “spell disaster” for the world’s attempts to address climate change.

The U.S. is set to account for 61 percent of all new oil and gas production over the next decade. A recent report from this organization says that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, “we can’t afford to drill up any oil and gas from new fields anywhere in the world.” This, of course, would quickly cause a global deficit, as the world continues to consume around 100 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil.

Global Witness notes that the industry is not slowing down in the United States, notwithstanding recent spending cuts by independent and financially-strapped oil and gas firms. If anything, the consolidation in the Permian and other shale basins, increasingly led by the oil majors, ensures that drilling will continue at a steady pace for years to come.

It isn’t as if the rest of the world is slowing down either. The global oil industry is set to greenlight $123 billion worth of new offshore oil projects this year, nearly double the $69 billion that moved forward last year, according to Rystad Energy. In fact, while shale drilling has slowed a bit over the past year amid investor skepticism and poor financial returns, offshore projects have begun to pick up pace.

But that trend might turn out to be just a blip. The U.S. is still expected to account of the bulk of new drilling and the vast majority of new production, with much of that coming from shale. Already, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas. And the pace has accelerated in recent years. In 2018, U.S. oil and gas production increased by 16 and 12 percent, respectively. According to the EIA, the U.S. surpassed Russia in terms of gas production in 2011, claiming the top spot, and it surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production last year.

Going forward, new production from the U.S. will be eight times larger than the next largest source of growth, which is Canada. In fact, the U.S. will add 1.5 times more oil and gas than the rest of the world combined, according to Global Witness.

But because so much drilling in the U.S. is concentrated in a few areas, individual U.S. states on their own tower over the rest of the world. If Texas were a country, it would account for the most new oil and gas production in the world. Between 2020 and 2029, Texas could account for 28 percent of all additional output, Global Witness says.

Canada and Pennsylvania tie for second and third with 7 percent each. Then comes New Mexico at 5 percent of the growth and North Dakota at 4 percent. Oklahoma, Brazil, Colorado, Russia and Ohio are all tied at 3 percent a piece.

In other words, 7 out of the top 10 sources of new oil and gas production globally over the next decade are U.S. states.

“If things don’t change, by the end of the next decade, new oil and gas fields in the US will produce more than twice what Saudi Arabia produces today,” Global Witness said in its report.

This presents a massive challenge. “To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, our analysis shows that global oil and gas production needs to drop by 40% over the next decade. Yet, instead of declining, US oil and gas output is set to rise by 25% over this time, fueled by expansion in new fields,” the report warned.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Petitioning Against Climate Alarmism Goes Global

By Larry Bell ~ PA Pundits – International ~ August 21, 2019

A petition being submitted by hundreds of independent climate scientists and professionals from numerous countries to heads of the European Council, Commission and Parliament declares “There is No Climate Emergency.”

Briefly summarized, the request for consideration conveys five urgent messages:

  • Climate change is real and has been occurring with nature-driven cold and warm cycles for as long as the planet has existed.
  • There should be no surprise that the Earth has been warming through natural causes since the last Little Ice Age ended around 1870. Actual temperature increases, however, are far less than predicted by theoretical climate models.
  • There is no real evidence that anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2 emissions are a major or dangerous warming influence. They instead offer great benefits to agriculture, forestry and photosynthesis that is the basis for life.
  • There is also no scientific evidence that increasing CO2 levels are causing more natural disasters. However, CO2-reduction measures do have devastating impacts on wildlife (e.g. wind turbines), land use (e.g. forest clearance), and vital energy systems.
  • Energy policies must be based on scientific and economic realities — not upon a harmful and unrealistic “2050-carbon-neutral policy” driven by unfounded climate alarm.

The petition concludes by recommending the recognition of clear difference in policies addressing the Earth’s environment through good stewardship versus Earth’s climate, the latter of which “is largely caused by a complex combination of natural phenomena we cannot control.”

This recent petition to EU leaders signed by approximately 100 Italian scientists from many prominent organizations urges recognition of the same basic realities.

The Italian petition calls attention to the fact that the planet has previously been warmer than the present period, despite lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Warming periods have been repeated about every thousand years, including “the well-known Medieval Warm Period, the Hot Roman Period, and generally warm periods during the Optimal Holocene period.”

Most recent climate warming observed since 1850 followed the Little Ice Age – the coldest period of the last 10,000 years. “Since then, solar activity, following its [previous cooling-influence] millennial cycle, has increased by heating the Earth’s surface.”

The notification advises that climate, “the most complex system on our planet,” needs to be addressed with scientific methods that are “adequate and consistent with its level of complexity.”

This system “is not sufficiently understood. And while CO2 is indisputably a greenhouse gas, “according to [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC itself, the climate sensitivity to its increase in the atmosphere is still extremely uncertain.”

The petition states that “In any case, many recent studies based on experimental data estimate that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is considerably lower than estimated by the IPCC models.” Accordingly, all evidence suggests that such models “overestimate the anthropic [human] contribution and underestimate the natural climatic variability, especially that induced by the sun, the moon, and ocean oscillations.”

Likewise, alarmist media claims that extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and cyclones, are increasing in frequency are entirely inaccurate and typically far more directly tied to natural ocean oscillation cycles.

Again, the Italian signatories from numerous universities and research organizations take strong issue against “deplorable propaganda” claiming that carbon dioxide is a pollutant rather than a molecule that is indispensable to life on our planet.

Accordingly, given “the crucial importance that fossil fuels have for the energy supply of humanity,” the petitioners urge that the EU should not adopt economically burdensome and unwarranted CO2 reduction policies under “the illusory pretense of governing the climate.”

The petitioners also emphasize that while credible facts must be based upon scientific methods, not determined by numbers of supporting theorists, there is no alleged “consensus” among specialists in many and varied climate disciplines suggesting that human-influenced climate change presents an imminent danger. They point out that many thousands of scientists have previously expressed dissent with alarmist anti- fossil energy conjecture.

More than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines signed a Global Warming Petition Project rejecting limits on greenhouse gas emissions attached to the 1977 Kyoto Protocol and similar proposals. The list of signatories included 9,021 Ph.D.s, 6,961 at the master’s level, 2,240 medical doctors, and 12,850 carrying a bachelor of science or equivalent academic degree.

A 12-page petition attachment was introduced with a cover letter issued by Fredrick Seitz, a past president of the National Academy of Sciences and former president of Rockefeller University. It read, in part:

“This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.”

The letter added, “The proposed agreement would have very negative effects upon the technology of nations around the world, especially those that are currently attempting to lift from poverty and provide opportunities to over 4 billion people in technologically undeveloped countries.”

Gratefully, an American Congress at that time listened to that sage advice and unanimously agreed. We can only fervently hope that more current legislators will continue to be equally wise.

Larry Bell contributes posts at the CFACT site. He heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

BBC Admits ‘Syrian’ Airstrike in Recent Story on Scarred Boy Turned Out to Be Turkish

Sputnik – August 22, 2019

The BBC has corrected its August 19 news story about a Syrian boy who was severely wounded in a 2018 airstrike, which the broadcasting company first said was carried out by Syrian forces but later admitted could be blamed on Turkey.

Some Twitter users posted screenshots showing that the BBC had actually redacted its text several times.

The headline of the short story, featuring a video about the life of a four-year-old Syrian boy whose face was scarred in the airstrike, originally referred to the incident as “a Syrian airstrike.” The mention of Syria was then deleted with an indication that it was “not clear who was responsible for the attack.” Now the headline refers to it as just “an airstrike,” and the article clarifies that “evidence indicates that Turkey carried out the airstrike.”

Last January, Turkish forces launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in Afrin, a city located in northern Syria, as part of a military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The boy, named Jouma, and his family were fleeing their home in Syria when an airstrike hit the bus they were on.

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, wrote on Twitter that Tolin Hassan, a close friend of the wounded boy’s family, told her that Jouma’s relatives “mentioned over and over to BBC-journo that the car was hit by a Turkish strike after escaping Afrin.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Turkey, US agree to launch 1st phase of so-called safe zone plan in northern Syria

Press TV – August 22, 2019

Turkey and the United States have reached an agreement to immediately launch the first phase of a so-called safe zone plan in northern Syria, irrespective of the Damascus government’s strong opposition that the scheme amounts to “blatant aggression” against Syria’s territorial integrity.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his US counterpart Mark Esper discussed the plan during a telephone conversation late on Wednesday, and decided to implement the measure from Thursday.

The two defense chiefs also agreed that military delegations from the two countries will meet in Ankara soon to discuss next stages of the plan.

Akar said the safe zone east of the Euphrates River in Syria should be established within the framework of the principles set out in the calendar without losing time, according to a Turkish Defense Ministry statement.

On August 7, Turkey and the US reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint operation center in the northern part of Syria, in the wake of Ankara’s threats to launch an operation against Kurdish militants from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from the Turkish border.

Turkey views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Turkey expects the creation of a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.

An unnamed source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told the official SANA news agency on August 8 that the US-Turkey agreement over the establishment of a so-called safe zone in Syria amounted to “blatant aggression” against the Arab country’s territorial integrity and was a “flagrant violation” of international law and the UN Charter.

“This agreement has very clearly exposed the US-Turkish partnership in the aggression against Syria, which serves the interest of the Israeli occupation entity and the Turkish expansionist ambitions,” the source said.

He also urged Kurdish militants to reconsider their position and stand by the Syrians in defending their country.

“Syria calls on the international community and the UN to condemn the US-Turkish flagrant aggression which constitutes a dangerous escalation and poses a threat to peace and security in the region and the world and hinders all positive efforts for finding a solution to the crisis in Syria,” he said.

Michael Lane, founder of the American Institute for Foreign Policy, told Press TV on August 13 that the US plan to set up a joint command center with Turkey to coordinate a so-called safe zone in Syria is aimed at blocking the Syrian army’s advances on the battlefield against foreign-backed militants.

“The United States is trying to disrupt the consolidation of the Syrian government over its country so that it keeps it distracted by that particular task,” and prevent it from working with its allies, namely Iran and Russia, in the battle against terrorism, he said.

“The United States purpose or vision is to keep Syria from becoming part of a triangle of Iran, Russia and Syria,” Lane commented.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Journalism faces dire situation in Kashmir

By Shahana Butt – Press TV – August 22, 2019

Kashmir – In Indian-administered Kashmir, journalists and journalism are suffering the worst work challenges in decades. There has been a complete communication gag in the region since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status.

This is not a usual gathering or a political meeting, these are the journalists gathered under one roof, working on Kashmir stories.

Kashmir’s administration has created a media center for journalists in the region following the criticism over the media dysfunction.

In the absence of communication facilities like the internet, mobile phones and landlines, this facilitation center created by government is the only source for journalists to send their reports out of Kashmir.

These four desktops and one cellular mobile phone have become lifeline for journalists working from Kashmir. From early morning till late evening, journalists wait in queues for their turn to come.

After New Delhi’s move of scrapping Kashmir’s autonomous status on August 5, Kashmir has witnessed a complete communication blackout. Not just international media outlets suffered, but local and regional news networks and journalists were hit the hardest.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, there are hundreds of journalists associated with more than a hundred news dailies and over 40 national and international media outlets, the communication blackout not only stopped local publications but pushed the entire Himalayan region to somewhere around stone age.

The local administration in Kashmir has no idea as to when this communication blockade will end. Journalists say the information blackout has furthered the fear among people and has created space for rumor-mongering and false news, adding to the already existing panic.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Epstein: The Maxwell Connection

By George Galloway | RT | August 21, 2019

As Jeffrey Epstein’s accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell appears to have fallen off the face of the Earth, it’s little remembered in the media how I fought a long war against her father Robert and the part I played in his downfall.

It would be scarcely worth recalling at this distance if it did not shed light, or rather a cloud of suspicion, over Maxwell’s favourite child Ghislaine, now at the centre of a dark and fascinating story as bizarre as any which enveloped her late father.

I first met Robert Maxwell when he was an enormously powerful and fiercely intimidating media mogul in the early 1980s. It was in the green room of the BBC’s then flagship program Question Time, hosted by Sir Robin Day – then the doyen of BBC grandees.

“Ah, Mr Galway (sic),” boomed Mr Maxwell, “the PLO man.” At which point he punched me so hard in the solar plexus I doubled over, tears in my eyes. As was the wont of the British establishment at the time, my fellow participants and Sir Robin himself averted their eyes and pretended not to see.

At the time and for nearly a decade, I was closely associated with the then-British satirical magazine Private Eye, writing regularly and providing stories and leads for others, regularly attending the legendary Private Eye lunches at the Soho waterie The Coach and Horses, presided over by the founder and editor of the magazine, Richard Ingrams.

About a year after Maxwell striking his first blow, I submitted a story to Private Eye which, embellished by others, was published and upon which he sued and fought an epic court battle with us. He won.

Although the editor Richard Ingrams spent a night in the cells for refusing to name me as the source, it was soon obvious to Maxwell that it was me and we began a war of attrition which lasted until his death.

In October of 1991, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrity journalist Seymour Hersh caused to be delivered to my home late one Saturday night a file of papers, a synopsis of a book he had written in which he made serious allegations against Maxwell. So fearsome was Maxwell’s power at the time, he had obtained pre-publication injunctions against anyone publishing any word of it, against anyone printing it, against anyone distributing it, against anyone selling it. In Britain, the Hersh book did not exist.

But I – as a member of the British Parliament – enjoyed the ancient right of legal privilege on anything I said in the Parliament or published on the Order Paper. Moreover, so could anyone else reporting fairly anything I said or wrote there. And so I did.

Inter-alia I accused Maxwell of being a thief, of stealing his own employee’s pension funds, of being an agent of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, and of betraying the whereabouts in London of the brave Israeli Jewish whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, causing him to be kidnapped, drugged, and delivered, his jaws wired like Hannibal Lector to ensure his silence, to Israel where he eventually served decades in solitary confinement and even now is not free to talk or travel.

My allegations exploded like a nuclear bomb in the life of Robert Maxwell.

He ordered his journalistic minions (whose pensions he had stolen) to “Piss all over Galloway” and micturate they promptly did.

On the front page of all SIX of his national newspapers, they called me “a jackal” of “scavenging in the dung-heap” a “friend of Arab terrorists” (“Ah, Mr Galway (sic) the PLO man”) and above all of having lied and lied about their proprietor.

Within weeks, the missing pensions were exposed, Maxwell was dead, having fallen, jumped, or been pushed off the back of his yacht – the Lady Ghislaine – off the Canary islands, and Maxwell was given a full Israeli-state funeral on the Mount of Olives presided over by the Israeli president, prime minister and no less than seven former and serving heads of the Mossad. In the eulogy, tribute was paid to the “extraordinary service” Mr Maxwell had given to Israel. The full story of which exact “services” he had provided were buried with him in Jerusalem.

The fateful yacht was called the Lady Ghislaine because his daughter was his favourite child (other daughters were available) and she was his favourite child for a reason. Of all her siblings, Ghislaine Maxwell was the one who was most like him.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s father’s body was lost to the deep and murky waters of international intrigue. Where she will turn up is as yet unknown. What “extraordinary service” she performed and for whom equally remains to be seen.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 5 Comments

Lindsey Graham’s Blank Check. Why a Defense Agreement With Israel Would Be a Disaster for Americans

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 22, 2019

Two world wars began because of unconditional pledges made by one country to come to assistance of another. On July 5, 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany pledged his country’s complete support for whatever response Austria-Hungary would choose to make against Serbia after the June 28th assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Serbian nationalist during an official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia. This fatal error went down in history as Germany’s carte blanche or “blank check,” assurance to Austria that led directly to WW I.

In September 1939, World War II began when Great Britain and France came to the assistance of Poland after the German Army invaded, fulfilling a “guarantee” made in March of that year. What was a regional war, and one that might have been resolved through diplomacy, became global.

One would think that after such commitments were assessed by historians as the immediate causes of two world wars, no one would ever consider going down that road again. But that would be reckoning without Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who has been calling for a “defense treaty” with Israel since last April. In his most recent foray, Graham announced late in July that he is seeking bipartisan support for providing “blank check” assurances to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is hoping to be able to push a complete defense treaty through the Senate by next year.

In making his several announcements on the subject, Graham has been acting as a front man for both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also for The Jewish Institute for the National Security of America (JINSA), which wrote the basic document that is being used to promote the treaty and then enlisted Graham to obtain congressional support.

Speaking to the press on a JINSA conference call, Graham said the proposed agreement would be a treaty that would protect Israel in case of an attack that constituted an “existential threat”. Citing Iran as an example, Graham said the pact would be an attempt to deter hostile neighbors like the Iranians who might use weapons of mass destruction against Israel. JINSA President Michael Makovsky elaborated on this, saying, “A mutual defense pact has a value in not only deterring but might also mitigate a retaliatory strike by an adversary of Israel, so it might mitigate an Iranian response (to an attack on its nuclear facilities).”

JINSA director of foreign policy Jonathan Ruhe added that “An Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program would not activate this pact, but a major Iranian retaliation might. – An Israeli unilateral attack is not what the treaty covers, but rather massive Iranian retaliation is what we are addressing.”

Israel has long been reluctant to enter into any actual treaty arrangement with the United States because it might limit its options and restrain its aggressive pattern of military incursions. In that regard, the Graham-JINSA proposal is particularly dangerous as it effectively permits Israel to be interventionist with a guarantee that Washington will not seek to limit Netanyahu’s “options.” And, even though the treaty is reciprocal, there is no chance that Israel will ever be called upon to do anything to defend the United States, so it is as one-sided as most arrangements with the Jewish state tend to be.

As the agreement between the two countries would be a treaty ratified by the Senate, it would be much more difficult to scrap by subsequent administrations than was the Iran nuclear deal, which was an executive action by President Obama. And clearly the statements by Graham, Makovsky and Ruhe reveal this treaty would serve as a green light for an Israeli attack on Iran, should they opt to do so, while also serving as a red light to Tehran vis-à-vis an ironclad US commitment to “defend” Israel that would serve to discourage any serious Iranian retaliation. Given that dynamic, the treaty would be little more than a one-way security guarantee from Washington to Jerusalem.

Furthermore, in outlining what circumstances would trigger US intervention on Israel’s behalf, the JINSA/Graham document cites, inter alia, “the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction.” It also allows Netanyahu to call for assistance after defining as threatening any incident or development “that gives rise to an urgent request from the Government of Israel.” It appears then that Netanyahu could demand that the US attack Iran should he only perceive a threat, however vague that threat might in reality be.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been claiming Iran is “three to five years” and “possibly weeks” away from a nuclear weapons capability since 1992 and pushing Washington to attack Iran so he obviously would welcome such a treaty for strategic reasons as well as to shore up his upcoming re-election bid. President Trump, with whom Graham has discussed how the agreement would work, has a similar interest in appearing strong for Israel to help his own campaign in 2020.

It is worth noting that in 2010 Netanyahu ordered the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to prepare to strike Iran but ‘Israel’s security chiefs refused: Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the IDF, and Meir Dagan, the head of the Mossad at the time, believed that Netanyahu and the Defense Minister Ehud Barak were trying to “steal a war” and the order was not carried out. The attacks were also rejected by two ministers, Moshe Yaalon and Yuval Steinitz, which left Netanyahu without the necessary majority to proceed.

Ashkenazi claimed in a 2012 interview about the episode that he was convinced that an attack would have been a major strategic mistake. Meir Dagan said in 2012, after leaving his role as Mossad chief, that a strike would be “a stupid thing” as the entire region would undoubtedly be destabilized, requiring repeated Israeli and American interventions.

And there are other issues arising from a “defense treaty.” Defense means just that and treaties are generally designed to protect a country within its own borders. Israel has no defined borders as it is both expansionistic and illegally occupying Palestinian land, so the United States would in effect be obligated to defend space that Israel defines as its own. That could mean almost anything. Israel is currently bombing Syria almost daily even though it is not at war with Damascus. If Syria were to strike back and Graham’s treaty were in place, Washington would technically be obligated to come to Israel’s assistance. A similar situation prevails with Lebanon and there are also reports that Israel is bombing alleged Iranian supply lines in Iraq, where the US has 5,000 troops stationed.

The real problem is that the Trump administration is obsessed with regime change in Iran, but it has so far been unable to provoke Iran into starting a conflict. Graham’s proposed treaty just might be part of a White House plan to end-run Congress and public opinion by enabling Israel to start the desired war, whereupon the US would quickly follow in to “defend Israel,” obliged by treaty to do so. What could possibly go wrong? The correct answer is “everything.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

How Israel’s Labor Engineered the Illegal Jewish Colonies in Palestine

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | August 22, 2019

Following the Israeli victory in the 1967 war, it became impossible for Zionist ideologues to mask the true nature of their state – an unwavering colonial regime with an expansionist agenda.

While Zionism was undoubtedly a colonial enterprise from the onset, many Zionists refused to perceive themselves as colonists. “Cultural Zionists”, “Reform Zionists” and Labor Zionists” advocated similar political agendas to “Revisionist” and other extreme forms of Zionism. When put to the test, the difference between left and right Zionism proved mere ideological semantics. Both groups laboured to sustain the same cognitive dissonance – victims in search of a homeland and colonists with a racist, violent agenda.

That self-serving intellectual paradigm remains effective to date, most delineated in the supposedly conflicting political discourses of the Israeli rightwing parties (Likud, and other religious and far-right nationalist parties) and the ‘left’ (Labor and others). For Palestinians, however, both political streams are two sides of the same coin.

After the decisive Israeli victory in the war of June 1967, Jewish nationalism took on a new meaning. Israel’s ‘invincible army’ was born, and even cynical Jews began to view Israel as a victorious state, which was now a regional, if not international force to be reckoned with. Equally important, it was Israel’s so-called ‘left’ and other ‘soft-Zionists’ who fully engineered that most reprehensible period in history.

The Israeli occupation of Sinai, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and the destruction of the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, thrilled most Israelis, encouraging many to develop an imperial outlook and wholly embrace a colonial project based on a conviction that their army was the strongest  in the Middle East. The same expansionist instincts helped to sanctify the Zionist principle that ‘never again should Eretz-Yisrael be divided’.

In fact, as Professor Ehud Sprinzak argued (as cited in Nur Masalha’s book “Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion”), following the Israeli victory in 1967, the concept of imperial expansion, and the rejection of the ‘division’ of Eretz-Yisrael became a “most energetic and influential tenet in modern Zionism”. Regardless of whether Israel fully anticipated such massive territorial expansion or not, the country seemed determined to quickly fortify its gains, rebuffing any call for a return to the armistice lines of 1949.

Although religious Jews were intoxicated by the idea that biblical “Judea and Samaria” ‘returned’ to its long-estranged owners, the first movement to capitalise on the territorial gains was, in fact, a secular elite organisation named the Movement for the Whole Land of Israel (WLIM).

The official founding conference of WLIM was held shortly after Israel’s victory. Although founded and dominated by Labor party activists, WLIM cut across party lines and ideological divides, united in their determination to preserve all of Palestine, as all of Israel. As for the unwanted population, those who were not expelled were to be duly subdued.

As Egypt and other Arab countries decried their ill-fated war, Palestine was completely taken over making Palestinians captives in their own land. Just as Israel celebrated its victory over official Arab armies, Israeli soldiers filmed themselves grinning and flashing victory signs at the so-called “Western Wall”, as well as in and around Arab Jerusalem’s holy sites. Palestinians still braced themselves for the worst.

Indeed, as Baruch Kimmerling writes in his bookThe Palestinian People: A History”, that “was the moment in Palestinian history most bereft of hope”, Palestinian refugees who dreamed of returning to pre-1948 Palestine faced a momentous setback, a new Nakba, indeed, for the refugee problem was now exasperated and compounded by the war and the creation of 400,000 new refugees. Israeli bulldozers promptly moved into many parts of the newly conquered Palestinian territories – as they did in other occupied Arab lands – demolishing historical realities, and constructing new ones, as it does today.

An elderly Palestinian and a child during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]

An elderly Palestinian and a child can be seen during the Nakba [Hanini/Wikipedia]

Shortly after the war, Israel sought to fortify its occupation, firstly by rejecting peace overtures made by Egypt’s new president, Anwar Sadat, starting as early as 1971, and secondly, by unleashing settlement construction throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

The early settlements had strategic military purposes, for the intent was to create sufficient facts on the ground to alter the nature of any future peace settlement; hence, the Allon plan, named after Yigal Allon, a former general and Labor party minister in the Israeli government who took on the task of drawing an Israeli vision for the newly conquered Palestinian territories.

The plan sought to annex more than 30 per cent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for “security purposes”. It stipulated the establishment of a “security corridor” along the Jordan River as well outside the “Green Line,” a one-sided Israeli demarcation of its borders with the West Bank. The plan envisioned the incorporation of the Gaza Strip into Israel and was meant to return parts of the West Bank to Jordan as a first step toward implementing the “Jordanian option” for Palestinian refugees, i.e. ethnic cleansing coupled with the creation of an ‘alternative homeland’ for Palestinians.

The plan failed, but not in entirety. Palestinian nationalists ensured that no alternative homeland was ever to be realised, but the seizure, ethnic cleansing and annexation of occupied land was a resounding success. What was also important and consequential is that the Allon plan provided an unmistakable signal that the Labor government of Israel had every intention of retaining at least large parts of the West Bank and all of Gaza, and had no intention of honouring United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

To capitalise on the government’s alluring settlement policies in the West Bank, a group of religious Jews rented a hotel in the Palestinian town of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to spend Passover at the “Cave of the Patriarchs”, and simply refused to leave. This sparked the biblical passion of orthodox religious Israelis across the country who referred to the West Bank by its biblical designation, Judea and Samaria. Their move also ignited the ire of Palestinians who watched in complete dismay as their land was conquered, renamed and later settled on by outsiders.

In 1970, to ‘diffuse’ the situation, the Israeli government constructed the Kiryat Arba settlement at the outskirt of the Arab city, which invited even more orthodox Jews to Hebron. Allon’s plan may have been intended for strategic purposes, but soon after, what was strategic and political, intermingled with what became religious and spiritual.

In the final analysis, Palestinians were losing their land at a rapid speed, a process that would lead to major Israeli population transfers, initially to occupied East Jerusalem – which was itself illegally annexed shortly after the 1967 war – and eventually, to the rest of the occupied territories. Over the years, the strategic settlement growth was complemented by the religiously motivated expansion, championed by a vibrant movement, exemplified in the founding of Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) in 1974. The movement was determined to settle the West Bank with legions of Jewish fundamentalists.

Allon’s plan also extended to include Gaza and Sinai. Allon wished to establish a “finger” of territories to serve as a buffer between Egypt and Gaza. ‘Buffer’ was in this context, a codename for illegal Jewish settlements and military outposts at the southern end of the Gaza Strip and adjacent areas of northern Sinai, a region that Israel dubbed the Rafiah Plain.

In early 1972, thousands of men, women and children, mostly Palestinian Bedouins, were driven from their homes in southern Gaza. Despite living in the area for generations, their presence was an obstacle before an Israeli army blueprint that would soon incorporate half of Gaza. They were evacuated without being permitted even to haul their possessions, however modest. The Israeli army claimed that ‘only’ 4,950 people were ethnically cleansed from the area. But the tribes’ leaders contended that more than 20,000 were forced from their homes and land.

Allon had then entrusted Ariel Sharon and other military leaders to break up the newly occupied territories into mini regions, infiltrated by strategic settlements and military bases to weaken local resistance and cement Israeli control.

“(Sharon) recounts standing on a dune (near Gaza) with cabinet ministers”, wrote Gershom Gorenberg, “explaining that along with military measures, to control the Strip, he wanted ‘fingers’ of settlement separating its cities, chopping the region in four. Another ‘finger’ would thrust through the edge of Sinai, helping create a ‘Jewish buffer zone between Gaza and Sinai to cut off the flow of weapons’ and divide the two regions in case the rest of Sinai was ever returned to Egypt.”

The rest is history. Although the demographic made up of the settlers largely shifted to the right in recent days, and their political influence on Tel Aviv increased exponentially, those settlers now numbering around 600,000 living in over 200 settlements, are the hideous creation of Israel’s ‘left’ with the full backing and support of the right, all serving the original cause of Zionism that remained true to its founding principles – a colonial movement that can only be sustained through violence and ethnic cleansing.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment