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The Newest US Anti-Iran Sanctions: Null Effect in Political-Economic Terms, But Revealing Hidden Messages

By Ivan Kesić • Unz Review • August 29, 2019

The US anti-Iran sanctions strike again. Not counting the renewed sanctions that came back in force following the US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), US officials have also imposed a number of new ones in recent weeks. In late 2018, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United States to stop the sanctions, as judges in The Hague unanimously ruled that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 friendship treaty between Iran and the US. Trump’s administration yet cares very little about international law and agreements. In response to the ICJ decision, United States withdrew from the mentioned bilateral agreement, as well as from the optional protocol under the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations. Shortly afterwards, new wave of anti-Iran sanctions followed.

First, at the end of March, the US Treasury imposed new sanctions on a network of banks, companies and individuals spanning across Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, claiming they all belong to the IRGC’s support network. Two weeks later, Tehran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US Department of State. The move is understandable given the IRGC’s counter-terrorism role in the region and the US pervasive frustration with the defeat of their mercenaries, the true terrorist butchers. The anti-IRGC sanctions themselves are quite ridiculous considering that it is a respectable self-sufficient organization with indigenous weapons, independent of foreign imports or cooperation, as is the case with Saudi Arabia and similar US puppets. Less than ten days after the official designation, the US administration granted important exemptions to new sanctions on IRGC, watering down the effects of the measures.

At the end of June, only four days after IRGC shot down a US RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone in Iran’s airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions. This sanctions are aimed at denying Iran’s leadership access to financial resources, blocking them from using the United States financial system or having access to any assets in the United States. Taking into account that none of targeted individuals has financial resources or assets there, sanctions are merely symbolic, a pathetic act of revenge for shoot-down of a spy drone. In American propaganda fairy-tales, the Iranian leader may own billions, but in reality he is widely known for a modest life and there’s no trace of anything which could prove otherwise.

Finally, in early August Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, also found himself under the attack of sanctions. “It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran, thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda,” Zarif tweeted. He further explained that earlier in New York he had been invited to meet Trump in the White House, but turned down the offer despite the threat of sanctions because he didn’t want to participate in Trump’s dishonest public performances. The US explanation for sanctions against Zarif is equally laughable: “Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world,” Treasury Secretary said in a statement. “The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s primary spokesperson around the world, is the truth really that painful?” Zarif responded.

Of particular interest here is that the US regime chose to treat Khamenei and Zarif equally, regardless of their different political views. And without any doubt, these differences in political approaches are result of two different life paths. Khamenei was one of the key figures in the 1979 Islamic revolution and thereafter actively participated in the fight against Iraqi-American aggression. In the same time, 17-year-old Zarif moved to New York within several weeks in the midst of the 1979 revolution, and during the 1980s he attended the US schools and universities, earning PhD in international law and policy. Both his daughter and son were born in the United States.

A nonpartisan politician, never affiliated with any political party in Iran, Zarif belongs to what is popularly called “moderate” in the Western media. These are Iranians who believe that sustainable cooperation with the US is possible and that anti-Iranian hostilities are the responsibility of older individual governments. Even though the US did not make any goodwill gesture at the time, Zarif remained committed to improving ties. He was closely linked with developing the so-called Grand bargain, a plan to resolve outstanding issues between two countries, and in the 2000s he held private meetings with a number of US politicians, including then-Senators. In the mid-2010s, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Rouhani’s government, has made tremendous efforts in negotiations with the six great powers to achieve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After the nuclear deal was signed in July 2015, Zarif enthusiastically called it as “a remarkable and historic.”

In contrast to Zarif, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei was much more balanced: “The Americans say that they want to negotiate with Iran. Well, it has been several years that they say they want to negotiate with us. But I am not optimistic, because experience has proved that Americans are unreliable, unreasonable and dishonest when they approach us. I do not trust these negotiations and I am not optimistic about them. However, if they want to negotiate, they can do it”, Khamenei said in November 2013.

One month before the nuclear deal had been reached, Khamenei held his prophetic speech: “Despite the fact that I was not optimistic about negotiating with the US, I did not express my opposition to these specific negotiations and I supported the team of negotiators wholeheartedly. The other side – which is an obstinate and deceitful side, which goes back on its promises, is into the habit of backstabbing and has a tendency to do such evil things – may want to confine our country, our people, and our negotiators inside a circle on the details of the issue. I have never been optimistic about negotiations with the US. This pessimism is not based on an illusion – rather, it is based on experience. We have experienced it. If one day you have access to the details of these events and do the writings about these days, you will definitely see how we gained this experience. We have experienced it. Do not trust them. This is because when they have crossed the bridge, they will turn around and make you a laughingstock.”

With the Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018, everything Khamenei said proved to be correct. Khamenei’s stances on the agreement hardly fit into the American narrative about “autocrat” that controls all segments of Iran’s political life. He did not believe in the success of the agreement from the beginning and expressed his disagreement in many of his speeches, but still he left the final decision to Iran’s Parliament. In theory, Khamenei has a veto power, but in practice it’s hard to find an example when he used it.

Regarding Zarif, he and other “moderates,” celebrated as pragmatists in the Western media, must have experienced a bitter awakening. On the other hand, those who were referred by the same media as “irrational hardliners,” proved to be realists. The idea that America would change its stance on Iran and sustainable bilateral relationship could be developed, proved to be a pure utopia. Regardless of political stance or position, the US sanctions indicate that Washington will treat all Iranians equally. Supreme Leader Khamenei, Western-educated Zarif, stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani, or Iranian child cancer patient, doesn’t make a difference. The same principle applies to the IRGC elite army or Setad, a humanitarian organization which was among the most active ones in saving victims of the recent Iran floods, and participates in developing rare pharmaceutical products. Those who thought that Iranians should change their stance on America are naive, in fact, Americans should go a long way to change their stance on Iran.

Ivan Kesić is a Croatia-based freelance writer and open-source data analyst. He worked as a writer at the Cultural Center of Iran in Zagreb from 2010 to 2016.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Film ‘Official Secrets’ is the Tip of a Mammoth Iceberg

By Sam Husseini • Consortium News • August 29, 2019

Two-time Oscar nominee Keira Knightley is known for being in “period pieces” such as “Pride and Prejudice,” so her playing the lead in the new film “Official Secrets,” scheduled to be released in the U.S. on Friday, may seem odd at first. That is until one considers that the time span being depicted — the early 2003 run-up to the invasion of Iraq — is one of the most dramatic and consequential periods of modern human history.

It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. Having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date–“to date” because the wider story still isn’t over.

Katharine Gun worked as an analyst for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British equivalent of the secretive U.S. National Security Agency. She tried to stop the impending invasion of Iraq in early 2003 by exposing the deceit of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in their claims about that country. For doing that she was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act — a juiced up version of the U.S. Espionage Act, which in recent years has been used repeatedly by the Obama administration against whistleblowers and now by the Trump administration against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Gun was charged for exposing— around the time of Colin Powell’s infamous testimony to the UN about Iraq’s alleged WMDs – a top secret U.S. government memo showing it was mounting an illegal spying “surge” against other U.N. Security Council delegations in an effort to manipulate them into voting for an Iraq invasion resolution. The U.S. and Britain had successfully forced through a trumped up resolution, 1441 in November 2002. In early 2003, they were poised to threaten, bribe or blackmail their way to get formal United Nations authorization for the invasion. [See recent interview with Gun.]

Katherine Gun

The leaked memo, published by the British Observer, was big news in parts of the world, especially the targeted countries on the Security Council, and helped prevent Bush and Blair from getting the second UN Security Council resolution they said they wanted. Veto powers Russia, China and France were opposed as well as U.S. ally Germany.

Washington invaded anyway of course — without Security Council authorization — by telling the UN weapons inspectors to leave Iraq and issuing a unilateral demand that Saddam Hussein leave Iraq in 48 hours— and then saying the invasion would commence regardless.

‘Most Courageous Leak’

It was the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work (accuracy.org), Norman Solomon, as well as Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg who in the U.S. most immediately saw the importance of what Gun had done. Ellsberg would later comment: “No one else — including myself — has ever done what Katharine Gun did: Tell secret truths at personal risk, before an imminent war, in time, possibly, to avert it. Hers was the most important — and courageous — leak I’ve ever seen, more timely and potentially more effective than the Pentagon Papers.”

Of course, no one knew her name at the time. After the Observer broke the story on March 1, 2003, accuracy.org put out a series of news releases on it and organized a sadly, sparsely attended news conference with Ellsberg on March 11, 2003 at the National Press Club, focusing on Gun’s revelations. Ellsberg called for more such truth telling to stop the impending invasion, just nine days away.

Though I’ve followed this case for years, I didn’t realize until recently that accuray.org’s work helped compel Gun to expose the document. At a recent D.C. showing of “Official Secrets” that Gun attended, she revealed that she had read a book co-authored by Solomon, published in January 2003 that included material from accuracy.org as well as the media watch group FAIR debunking many of the falsehoods for war.

Gun said: “I went to the local bookshop, and I went into the political section. I found two books, which had apparently been rushed into publication, one was by Norman Solomon and Reese Erlich, and it was called Target Iraq. And the other one was by Milan Rai. It was called War Plan Iraq. And I bought both of them. And I read them cover to cover that weekend, and it basically convinced me that there was no real evidence for this war. So I think from that point onward, I was very critical and scrutinizing everything that was being said in the media.”

Thus, we see Gun in “Official Secrets” shouting at the TV to Tony Blair that he’s not entitled to make up facts. The film may be jarring to some consumers of major media who might think that Donald Trump invented lying in 2017.

Gun’s immediate action after reading critiques of U.S. policy and media coverage makes a strong case for trying to reach government workers by handing out fliers and books and putting up billboards outside government offices to encourage them to be more critically minded.

Solomon and Ellsberg had debunked Bush administration propaganda in real time. But Gun’s revelation showed that the U.S. and British governments were not only lying to invade Iraq, they were violating international law to blackmail whole nations to get in line.

Mainstream reviews of “Official Secrets” still seem to not fully grasp the importance of what they just saw. The trendy AV Club review leads: “Virtually everyone now agrees that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a colossal mistake based on faulty (at best) or fabricated (at worst) intelligence.” “Mistake” is a serious understatement even with “colossal” attached to it when the movie details the diabolical, illegal lengths to which the U.S. and British governments went to get other governments to go along with it.

Gun’s revelations showed before the invasion that people on the inside, whose livelihood depends on following the party line, were willing to risk jail time to out the lies and threats.

Portrayal of The Observer

Other than Gun herself, the film focuses on a dramatization of what happened at her work; as well as her relationship with her husband, a Kurd from Turkey who the British government attempted to have deported to get at Gun. The film also portrays the work of her lawyers who helped get the Official Secrets charge against her dropped, as well as the drama at The Observer, which published the NSA document after much internal debate.

Observer reporter Martin Bright, whose strong work on the original Gun story was strangely followed by an ill-fated stint at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, has recently noted that very little additional work has been done on Gun’s case. We know virtually nothing about the apparent author of the NSA document that she leaked — one “Frank Koza.” Other questions persist, such as how prevalent is this sort of U.S. blackmail of foreign governments to get UN votes or for other purposes? How is it leveraged? Does it fit in with allegations made by former NSA analyst Russ Tice about the NSA having massive files on political people?

Observer reporter Ed Vulliamy is energetically depicted getting tips from former CIA man Mel Goodman. There do seem to be subtle but potentially serious deviations from reality in the film. Vulliamy is depicted as actually speaking with “Frank Koza,” but that’s not what he originally reported:

“The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza’s office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told ‘You have reached the wrong number’. On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza’s extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up.”

There must doubtlessly be many aspects of the film that have been simplified or altered regarding Gun’s personal experience. A compelling part of the film — apparently fictitious or exaggerated — is a GCHQ apparatchik questioning Gun to see if she was the source.

Little is known about the reaction inside the governments of Security Council members that the U.S. spied on. After the invasion, Mexican Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser spoke in blunt terms about U.S. bullying — saying it viewed Mexico as its patio trasero, or back yard — and Zinser was compelled to resign by President Vicente Fox. He then, in 2004, gave details about some aspects of U.S. surveillance sabotaging the efforts of the other members of the Security Council to hammer out a compromise to avert the invasion of Iraq, saying the U.S. was “violating the U.N. headquarters covenant.” In 2005, he tragically died in a car crash.

“Official Secrets” director Gavin Hood is perhaps more right than he realizes when he says that his depiction of the Gun case is like the “tip of an iceberg,” pointing to other deceits surrounding the Iraq war. His record with political films has been uneven until now. Peace activist David Swanson, for instance, derided his film on drones, “Eye in the Sky.” At a D.C. showing of “Official Secrets,” Hood depicted those who backed the Iraq war as being discredited. But that’s simply untrue.

Keira Knightley appears as Katherine Gun in Official Secrets (Courtesy of Sundance Institute.)

Leading presidential candidate Joe Biden — who not only voted for the Iraq invasion, but presided over rigged hearings on in 2002 – has recently falsified his record repeatedly on Iraq at presidential debates with hardly a murmur. Nor is he alone. Those refusing to be held accountable for their Iraq war lies include not just Bush and Cheney, but John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi.

Biden has actually faulted Bush for not doing enough to get United Nations approval for the Iraq invasion. But as the Gun case helps show, there was no legitimate case for invasion and the Bush administration had done virtually everything, both legal and illegal, to get UN authorization.

Many who supported the invasion try to distance themselves from it. But the repercussions of that illegal act are enormous: It led directly or indirectly to the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Iraq and the war in Syria. Journalists who pushed for the Iraq invasion are prosperous and atop major news organizations, such as Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. The editor who argued most strongly against publication of the NSA document at The Observer, Kamal Ahmed, is now editorial director of BBC News.

The British government — unlike the U.S.– did ultimately produce a study ostensibly around the decision-making leading to the invasion of Iraq, the Chilcot Report of 2016. But that report — called “devastating” by the The New York Times made no mention of the Gun case. [See accuracy.org release from 2016: “Chilcot Report Avoids Smoking Gun.”]

After Gun’s identity became known, the Institute for Public Accuracy brought on Jeff Cohen, the founder of FAIR, to work with Hollie Ainbinder to get prominent individuals to support Gun. The film — quite plausibly — depicts the charges being dropped against Gun for the simple reason that the British government feared that a high profile proceeding would effectively put the war on trial, which to them would be have been a nightmare.

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist, senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org. Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Who is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution? Oceanographer or defense contractor?

R/V Neil Armstrong arrives at Woods Hole Oceanographic … collectspace.com
By Richard Hugus | August 28, 2019

WHOI is the acronym for the ‘Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’, based on Cape Cod, Town of Falmouth, village of Woods Hole, Massachusettts. On August 2, 2019 WHOI applied to the town of Falmouth for the clearing of 2.7 acres of woodland and the construction of a 3 story, 50,000 square foot building on what it calls its Quissett Campus, about a mile north of Woods Hole village. Woods Hole residents, the town of Falmouth, and a regulating authority called the Cape Cod Commission are now in the position of having to evaluate the proposed project and decide on approving it. Documentation and promotion of the project provided by WHOI to the Falmouth Planning Department, and summarized by the Falmouth Enterprise, says its new building — the New Quissett Facility — “is proposed as a ‘technology accelerator . . . by creating this facility the NQF will become the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation at WHOI and around the world and could lead to a net increase in regional economic activity.”

Mention of “autonomous vehicle and sensor technology” brings up the question of military research into and use of underwater drone and warfare technology and WHOI’s role in developing that technology.  Though operating for years in the midst of a pleasant residential and tourist area, few people are aware that WHOI is a defense contractor. The Institution was created in 1930 and  was devoted solely to defense work during World War II.  In all available documents submitted to the Cape Cod Commission for its recent building projects, and in all currently available representations of its activities to the public, WHOI describes itself as a scientific and educational institution dedicated solely to studying the ocean. In its documentation for the Quissett project, WHOI calls itself “the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to ocean research.” The omission by WHOI of its significant military research and development amounts to deception. WHOI receives major funding from the Office of Naval Research, which  “coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.” These programs are highly unlikely to be peaceful and benevolent. The US Navy and Marines are, afterall, in the business of war.

Source: slideplayer.com (C4ISR-Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)

A July 20, 2018 Department of Defense listing of Navy/Office of Naval Research contracts states: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded a $7,719,478 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and demonstration of advanced ocean battlespace capabilities . . . This contract was competitively procured . . . for science and technology projects for advancement and improvement of Navy and Marine Corps operations, including Ocean Battlespace Sensing . . . The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity . . .”

Ocean Battlespace Sensing has to do with submarine and mine warfare. There is no information on WHOI’s web site about this nearly $8 million grant, or about what it is doing in the area of ocean battlespace sensing and submarine warfare. On April 7, 2016 when the new research vessel Neil Armstrong first arrived in Woods Hole, Dr. Frank Herr, head of the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing department (so-called “code 32” above), was among the notables addressing a gathered crowd. WHOI Director Mark Abbott also spoke, telling him and others, “We’re very proud to have been selected by the Office of Naval Research to operate the Neil Armstrong.” Navy-owned ships and advanced ocean battlespace work are not what we normally associate with a “non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education”  — WHOI’s stated activities. Defense-related activities are clearly a part of WHOI’s operations, but they are consistently edited out of the public image WHOI promotes.

The Next Level – Drone Wars,  breakfornews.com

As another example: according to an April 22, 2019 report by the DoD Defense Logistics Agency: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded an $8,421,581 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research effort entitled, “Project Sundance.” Except for the announcement of this contract, there is no information available anywhere on the web, or at WHOI’s own web site,  about what Project Sundance is, leaving one to wonder if the project is classified — i.e., something the public is not entitled to know about.

Finally, in 1985, WHOI achieved fame when one of its scientists, Robert Ballard, discovered the wreckage of the Titanic. It wasn’t until years later that we got the full story. According to The National Geographic (November 21, 2017), the Titanic discovery only happened by the way in what was actually a top secret military operation to find two wrecked US Navy nuclear submarines. Remote sensing technology and an underwater submersible vehicle developed in Woods Hole and used aboard the WHOI research vessel, Knorr, was used in the discovery. National Geographic tells us the Knorr’s true mission: “the military wanted to know the fate of the nuclear reactors that powered the ships . . . this knowledge was to help determine the environmental safety of disposing of additional nuclear materials in the oceans.”

Ballard held the rank of Commander in the US Navy and was working as a liason to WHOI from the Office of Naval Research at the time of the discovery. Research on disposal of nuclear waste in the ocean is hardly in keeping with WHOI’s stated mission, “to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment.” Moreover, by making it look like this was just a fun adventure undertaken by WHOI to solve the mystery of the Titanic, a hoax was perpetrated on the public.

WHOI, the proponent of this new building project, is not being fully honest in the descriptions it gives of its mission and operations in Woods Hole. This calls WHOI’s credibility and full disclosure into question, and prompts further questions about the military-related role of the proposed new facility — “the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation.” The mentioned technology may well have uses in oceanographic research, but it may equally well have to do with “ocean battlespace sensing” — i.e., marine warfare. WHOI advertises itself as a humanitarian scientific institution without mentioning the clearly relevant fact that a significant part of its funding and research is from and for the US Department of Defense. It is not possible to fully evaluate a building proposal from an institution that is involved in secret projects because Cape Cod residents have no way of knowing if they are being given all the facts. Indeed, they have good reason to believe they are not being given all the facts,

The US military and its supporting contractors are the main source of wars of aggression and misery in the world today. It would be unethical to support expensive new facilities, paid for with our tax dollars and with what is left of our open space, for one of those contractors on Cape Cod. Yet war and militarization are so normalized in the American landscape, it is as if this is not even an issue.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

India begins sending Russia money for S-400s despite pressure from US

RT | August 29, 2019

New Delhi started paying for the state-of-the-art Russian S-400 air defense missile systems it ordered, as Washington failed to pressure the country into scrapping the major arms deal with Moscow.

Moscow has received an advanced payment for the weapon systems, the spokesperson for the FSVTS, the government agency responsible for coordinating arms trades, confirmed on Thursday.Russia and India sealed the $5.4bn deal in October after lengthy talks. Moscow is now due to ship five batteries of the S-400s by 2023.

The contract is a headache for the US, which has tried to pressure India into scrapping the sale. Officials in New Delhi, however, maintain that the S-400 is essential for national defense and have decided to stick with the purchase, despite the risk of violating US sanctions on Russia.

Similarly, Washington tried to dissuade its NATO ally, Turkey from buying S-400s from Moscow. Ankara also refused to budge, insisting it is free to choose the countries it purchases weapons from. Turkey began receiving components of the S-400s last month.

India has also ordered 21 new MiG-29 jet fighters from Russia and, on Wednesday, signed an agreement to upgrade the MiGs it already has.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Offer from Biarritz not good enough for Iran

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (L) held talks in Biarritz on Sunday Aug. 25, 2019 with France’s President Macron (R) and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 29, 2019

From all accounts, Tehran is struggling to cope with the startling news in the weekend from the G7 summit at Biarritz that a meeting between the presidents of the US and Iran is to be expected in the “coming weeks”.

The cautiously optimistic tone struck by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the conspicuously positive attitude adopted by President Trump along with the fact that the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was actually present at Biarritz (with the prior knowledge and tacit concurrence of POTUS) — all these signalled that France’s back-to-back peace initiatives in the recent weeks with Washington and Tehran have come to a defining moment.

From Biarritz, Zarif took off for Tehran ostensibly to change planes for an onward journey to China as part of a previously scheduled Asian tour. Presumably, he briefed Rouhani on what transpired at Biarritz. Zarif is still on the Asian tour — China, Japan, Malaysia, etc., which are, interestingly, major buyers of Iranian oil.

If the Biarritz formula gains traction, these Asian countries have a key role to play in generating income for Iran out of oil sales, which apparently would incentivise Tehran to get into negotiations with the US.

En route to Beijing, Zarif tweeted, “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.” China’s foreign minister Wang Yi also spoke to Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron, by telephone on Monday. Bonne said France wanted to coordinate and cooperate with China to ease tensions over Iran and to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a report by official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The initial reaction from Tehran at the level of Rouhani also suggested that he may be open to the idea of meeting Trump. Notably, Rouhani said on Monday, “I believe we should use any tool to protect our country’s national interests. If I think that meeting someone helps solve the people’s problems, I will not hesitate. The principle is our national interests.”

Two days later, however, Rouhani’s Chief of Staff and key aide Mahmoud Vaezi, who is an influential figure in the foreign policy establishment, conspicuously moderated what the president had said. Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, Vaezi said any meeting with the US officials will solve no problem and the US must come back to the P5+1 negotiation table and respect its commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Vaezi didn’t altogether reject the idea of a Rouhani-Trump meeting, but added a template that the negotiations must also involve other guarantor states — E3, Russia and China. On the other hand, an Iranian economic delegation is proceeding to France next week. It could be that Tehran is strengthening its bargaining chip as well as insulating itself from the risk of engaging an interlocutor such as Trump who is fickle-minded, lacks consistency and has no coherent policies — and, above all, is surrounded by a team that includes notorious anti-Iran hawks, especially the National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Meanwhile, we see a significant hardening of Tehran’s stance in an interview with the state TV given by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi. Araqchi simply ruled out any negotiations with Washington so long as the sanctions remained in place.

In his words, “We are only talking with the European countries over our specific 11 demands (based on the JCPOA) and we will not negotiate with the US.” Vaezi’s remarks must be taken seriously, as he was one of the key negotiators of the 2015 nuclear deal and is an authoritative voice. Vaezi underlined that that no country would accept to enter negotiations while being under “maximum pressure” because doing so would mean “surrender”.

The offer held out in Biarritz appears to be simply not good enough for Tehran. Why should Tehran “surrender” after successfully countering the US’ regime change agenda and “maximum pressure” strategy and while the US has failed to reach the objectives behind its unilateral move to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal?

On Wednesday, Iran’s top military commander Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri pointedly reminded everyone that it has been the country’s deterrence power that effectively stopped the US from going ahead with its plans to wage a war against Iran.

Quite obviously, a lot of churning has been going on within the top echelons of the Iranian establishment, which involve multiple agencies at an institutional level and even factions that would have congruent political interests or different priorities at any given time. The influential Majlis has not voiced an opinion. The bottom line is that all power centres would be waiting for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to speak publicly.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Australia Furthers Its Cooperation With NATO

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 29, 2019

In 2001, Australia became involved in the US “war on terror”, coined by former US President George W Bush as the pretext for invading Afghanistan. The rationale behind Australia’s decision was the ANZUS Treaty – a non-binding security between Australia, New Zealand and the US purportedly in line with the principles of the UN Charter.

Despite the treaty relating to possible attacks on either party in the Pacific, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked Article VI to justify Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, which states, “This treaty does not affect and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Charter of the United Nations or the responsibility of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Since 2001, Australia has maintained a presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adopting US rhetoric on security and terrorism, the Australian Defence Ministry described its presence in Afghanistan thus: “Our fundamental objective in Afghanistan is to combat a clear threat from international terrorism to both international security and our own national security. Australia cannot afford, and Australians cannot afford, to let Afghanistan once again become a safe haven and training ground for terrorist organisations.”

Needless to say, the war on terror accomplished a continuation of the terrorism fomented by the US in its plans to permanently destabilise the region. Following its involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia has also cooperated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) since 2005, thus prioritising security discourse at a national level.

In 2012, the Australia-NATO Joint Political Declaration established the foundations for cooperation and strategy – in other words, the prolongation of intervention abroad upon pretexts of security. The document recognises Australia as “one of the leading contributors to the NATO-led ISA mission in Afghanistan, which works under a UN Security Council mandate.”

Additionally, the declaration whitewashes foreign intervention through security concerns: “We understand the need to manage effectively risks and threats to our mutual interest, such as political instability from failed states, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and cyber-attacks.” This statement has been reflected in the recent partnership agreement signed by NATO and Australia earlier this month.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Australia’s role as “helping us to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.” Days later, US President Donald Trump spoke about US presence in Afghanistan as a purported deterrent to prevent the country from becoming “a laboratory for terror.”

Far from deterring terrorism, international involvement in Afghanistan has created networks of terror which cannot be dissociated from foreign intervention. Dismantling terrorism in a failed state created by foreign intervention is the pretext for prolonged international presence.

Australia’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as a non-NATO member has been one of the most prominent and reportedly in relation to training missions, although it was also involved in capturing and detaining alleged terror suspects.

As early as 2003 while working in close cooperation with the US, Australia not only was knowledgeable about the torture and abuse meted out at Abu Ghraib in Iraq – it was also a participant. Documents reveal that Australia’s representative at Abu Ghraib, officer and military lawyer George O’Kane, blocked the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detainees undergoing torture sessions. The Australian Government’s response to the revelations refuted responsibility, stating that the techniques applied against detainees were in concordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Australia was also one of the countries, among them NATO members and allies, participating in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) extraordinary rendition program, which involved the transfer of individuals suspected of terrorism to secret US detention and torture centres.

Speaking about the recently agreed framework, Stoltenberg highlighted Australia’s cooperation with NATO as focusing on preventing terrorism. “Training local forces is the best thing we can do in fighting terrorism; helping countries to stabilise their own countries.”

False premises instigated the war on terror. Maintaining it requires the regurgitation of past, dangerous lies. The West’s appropriation of what constitutes “individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” has fomented perpetual war and subjugation to imperialist powers.

In the words of Australian Defence Minister as to the level of involvement of Australia in the region, “what we’re doing at the moment is assessing the ask from the United States, assessing what other allies are doing and how they’re considering this.” A simple statement that shows the Australian government has no consideration for the countries invaded by NATO, the mutating violence, dispossession of people and permanent instability. Neither, for that matter, will Australia assess its own involvement in terms of the human rights violations it helped to propagate. Dropping bombs in Iraq? Australia seems to have no problem with furthering an oppressive legacy.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lying for Israel: Why Nearly Everyone in Washington Does It

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 29, 2019

It is not often that one hears anything like the truth in today’s Washington, a city where the art of dissimulation has reached new heights among both Democrats and Republicans. Everyone who has not been asleep like Rip Van Winkle for the past twenty years knows that the most powerful foreign lobby operating in the United States is that of the state of Israel. Indeed, by some measures it just might be the most powerful lobby period, given the fact that it has now succeeded in extending its tentacles into state and local levels with its largely successful campaigns to punish criticism or boycotting of Israel while also infiltrating boards of education to require Holocaust education and textbooks that reflect favorably on the Jewish state.

Occasionally, however, the light does shine in darkness. The efforts by Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to challenge the power of the Israel Lobby are commendable and it is worth noting that the two women are being subjected to harassment by their own Democratic Party in an effort to make them be silent. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has attempted to make them the face of the Democrats, calling them “Jew haters” and “anti-Semites” while also further claiming that they despise the United States just as they condemn Israel. This has developed into a Trump diatribe claiming that American Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal.” By disloyal he meant disloyal to Israel, in a sense ironically confirming that in the president’s mind Jews have dual loyalty, which, of course, at least some of them do.

And Trump has further exercised his claim to the Jewish vote by accepting the sobriquet “King of Israel” bestowed by a demented talk radio host. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already asserted that Trump’s election victory was the result of divine intervention to “save Israel from Iran,” the kingship is presumably an inevitable progression. One can only imagine what will come next.

One Democratic congressman who has apparently become fatigued by all that bipartisan pandering to Israel is Ted Lieu of California. Last Thursday Lieu rebuked Trump’s US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over his support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to allow Tlaib and Omar to visit the West Bank where Tlaib’s grandmother lives under Israeli occupation. Friedman had issued a statement saying that the United States “respects and supports” the Israeli action. He went on to elaborate “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not free speech. Rather, it is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish state. [Israel] has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.”

As Friedman was describing two thirty-something nonviolent first term congresswomen as nothing less than armed attackers about to be unleashed against the Jewish state because they support a peaceful boycott movement, Lieu apparently felt compelled to courageously respond to the ambassador, tweeting “Dear @USAmbIsrael: You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.”

Later that day, on CNN, Lieu explained his objection to Friedman’s actions, saying “Actually, I think he should resign because he doesn’t see to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power. He should be defending the right of Americans to go abroad to other countries and to visit their relatives.”

The outrage from the mighty host of friends of Israel came immediately, with accusations that Lieu was accusing Friedman of “dual loyalty,” that greatly feared derogatory label that is somewhat akin to “anti-Semitism” or “Holocaust denial” in the battery of verbal munitions used to silence critics of the Jewish state. Indeed, Lieu was accused of employing nothing less than a “classic anti-Semitic” trope.

Under considerable pressure, Lieu deleted the tweet and then issued something of an apology, “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.”

But the reality is, of course, that Friedman does not have dual loyalty. He has real loyalty only to Israel, which he demonstrates repeatedly by uncritically supporting everything the kleptocratic Netanyahu regime does with nary a pause to consider actual American interests. He has supported the weekly slaughter of unarmed Gazan civilians by Israeli sharpshooters, praised the bombing of Syria, pushed for the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, applauded the recognition by Washington of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and is an active supporter of and contributor to the illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank. He has even pressured the State Department into ceasing its use of the word “occupation” when describing the situation on the West Bank. It is now “disputed.” So, it is no surprise that David Friedman, formerly a bankruptcy lawyer before he became ambassador, lines up with Netanyahu rather than with two American Congresswomen who, apart from anything else, have good reasons to travel to a country that is the largest US aid recipient in order to see conditions on the ground. To put it mildly, Friedman is a disgrace and a reflection of the character or lack thereof of the man who appointed him. If he had any decency, he would resign.

There is no benefit for the United States when an American Ambassador excuses the brutality of a foreign government, quite the contrary as it makes Washington an accomplice in what are often undeniably war crimes. Even though Congressman Lieu was clearly read the riot act and made to fly right by his own party’s leadership, it took considerable courage to speak up against both Israel and an American ambassador who clearly is more in love with the country he is posted to than the country he is supposed to represent. Of course, in never-any-accountability Washington a buffoon posing as an ambassador as Friedman does will get away with just about anything and, as the subject is Israel, there will hardly be a word of rebuke coming from anyone, to include the mainstream media. But the tweet by Lieu is nevertheless significant. Hopefully he will be among the first of many congressmen willing to put at risk their careers at times to speak the truth.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

The Saker interviews Max van der Werff about the MH-17 conspiracy

The Saker | August 28, 2019

Introduction: MH17 is to Novorussia, what the Markale (also see here) has been to Bosnia and Racak (also see here) has been to Kosovo: a typical false flag operation which pursued two goals: first, of course, to justify a military aggression and, second, to force everybody to chose one of two options: first, either pretend to believe the official narrative or, second, be vilified and discredited. From this perspective, the MH17 false flag has been a tremendous success, mostly due to the extremely successful lobotomy inflicted by the legacy Ziomedia on the western public opinion (I would argue that the Skripal fairy tale is even more self-evidently ridiculous than the MH17 fairy tale, and yet that was also swallowed hook line and sinker by most western “experts”). But then, we live in a post-9/11 world, in which neither facts nor logic matter much anymore, except for a rather small amount of people, including Max van der Werff who has proven to be one of the most tenacious and courageous investigative journalists. I am most grateful for his time and answers!

——

The Saker: First, a question about yourself: why and how did you get involved in this topic of MH17? What did were you doing before you got involved in this topic?

Max van der Werff : The very moment the news of the shoot down of the Malaysian Boeing broke on July 17th 2014, I immediately realized this tragedy would have long term geopolitical implications. What further struck me was the fact most passengers were citizens of my country, The Netherlands.

Since childhood I have an interest in geopolitics and history. The fact my father was an immigrant from Indonesia surely contributed and as a teenager I read a lot about Dutch colonial history.

After Japan surrendered and World War II ended 150,000 Dutch troops were sent to restore Pax Hollandia in the old colony and the main motive was to restore the exploitation of the ‘wingewest’ (area for profit) as soon as possible. The Dutch elite had the opinion that the Japanese rule over the Dutch Indies was merely a short interruption and that Dutch colonial rule would be reinstated for generations to come. This fatally wrong perception of reality led to the Indonesian war of independence lasting from 1945 to end 1949 causing hundreds of thousands casualties.

Prior to my MH17 investigations I spent a lot of time in archives and on the ground in Indonesia searching for evidence of Dutch war crimes. There’s a documentary about my work: https://vimeo.com/288088492

The Saker: Now, let’s immediately jump into the core question: after having researched and analyzed the topic of MH17, what personal conclusion did you come to?

What do you believe really happened that day?

Max van der Werff : Having spent thousands of hours researching the case and being interviewed by the official Joint Investigation Team more than once my answer to your core question might be disappointing for some: I don’t know what happened.

Let me elaborate. Depending on political preferences all kinds of ‘experts’ claim to know for sure what happened exactly. One camp is sure it was a false flag, executed by Ukraine. The opposing camp is sure Russia is responsible. There are many variants as to who is an accomplice. On social media you see claims Ukraine was just a proxy for the CIA or Mossad. On the other side Russia just supplied the weapon and rebels shot down the airliner.

Then there are more exotic claims flight MH17 was shot down by a drone, a modernized Georgian SU-25 or by Israeli Python-5 missile(s) fired from the air or from the ground.

I have not encountered any credible evidence supporting any of the theories. This specifically includes the official version. Too many things simply do not add up. I’ve written a lot about the questionable evidence the official investigators have presented to the public so far and was one of the producers of a documentary that already has more than 200,000 views on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkDWwYk4-Ho

The Saker: I outlined my personal guesstimate here where I wrote that in my opinion the Ukronazis used the radar of a Buk battery to guide a Su-25 withing 8 clicks of the MH-17 at which point the Su-25 fired a R-60 IR missile which hit one of the engines which caused the Boeing to go into a sharp turn and lose altitude – the Su-25 easily caught up and finished the Boeing with its 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-2 autocannon (I explain my reasons in details here: https://thesaker.is/mh-17-one-year-later/). Do you have any elements of proof which would undermine/negate my guesstimate? Specifically, do you consider it as admitted by all sides now that a Buk missile did strike MH-17?

Max van der Werff : President Putin recently said: “We have our own version, we presented it, unfortunately, no one wants to listen to us. And until there is a real dialogue, we will not find the right answer to those questions that are still open

Link: https://sputniknews.com/world/201906201075985579-russia-has-its-own-version-on-mh17-crash/

For five years I am asking: What exactly is the Russian official version of events?

To my knowlegde the Russian Federation has never claimed the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by a buk missile. You have to be very precise here. Over the years Russian media have presented all kinds of versions about what happened. One version even more exotic than the other.

As most of your readers will know Almaz Antey, the company producing the missile system, gave a press conference and conducted a life experiment detonating a buk missile https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r63cskl08o

During the press conference the Almaz Antey spokesman explained that the observed damage patterns in the hull of the Boeing could not have been caused by a buk missile fired from the location near Snizhne as claimed by the MH17 Joint Investigation Team. If a buk missile caused the damage, it must have been fired from an area southeast of the village Zaroshenskoye. Notice the little word “IF” in the sentence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsohFzbJ-vs

Concerning your assessment a Su-25 fired a R-60 IR missile. You do get some support for your theory from Zahar Omarov, chief researcher at the Central Research Institute of the Air Force of the Russian Ministry of Defense:

I can say that our results disprove the conclusion that the plane was shot down by a missile from a Buk-type anti-aircraft missile system. Most likely, it was an air-to-air missile with a mass of high-explosive fragmentation warheads not exceeding 33 kg (the mass of the warhead of the Buk missile is 70 kg).

Link https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2720372

Omarov repeatedly attended meetings of Russian delegations with members of the Dutch Safety Board. Here’s a very interesting segment of what he experienced during one of those meetings:

–QUOTE–

During the first meeting, in which I had to take part, and this was in February 2015, the Dutch reported that the plane, in their opinion, was shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile. Moreover, a definite modification of this missile was indicated, and, moreover, even the area from where it was launched was indicated.

I will not hide, we were very surprised. After all, before this, fragments of the aircraft with holes were examined, and there was not a single fragment with cut out sections that would indicate the conduct of any laboratory research.

I want to draw attention to such a dialogue that I had with a speaking expert.

–I asked a question: “Excuse me, did you investigate combat damage on fragments of an airplane?”

–Answer: “No. We are only planning to do this.”

–Question: “But how did you establish that the plane was shot down by Buk missile launcher?”

–Answer: “We found out from the Internet that the aircraft could have been hit either by a GSh-23 type air gun, or a R-60 type air missile, or a Buk anti-aircraft missile. One of the steel pieces found in the wreckage of the aircraft, in our opinion, is somewhat reminiscent of the shape of a “butterfly”. And we know that the warhead of one of the modifications of the Buk missile has damaging elements in the form of a “butterfly”. Therefore, of the three versions, the last was chosen.”

Logic, as they say, is iron. Something reminds me of our school exam. Dutch experts, apparently, have a good university education. However, for such work, education alone is not enough. Of course, experience is necessary, but even this is not the main thing. It is necessary to know, or, in extreme cases, at least conceptually understand the methodology for investigating such aviation events.

–UNQUOTE–

Now back to the type of air-to-air missile allegedly used. Omarov claims:

The warhead was equipped with compact striking elements in an amount of not more than 4000 pieces. The missile most likely had a matrix-type thermal imaging homing head or passive radar. I note that missiles with similar characteristics are not in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces and never have been.”

Source http://www.aviapanorama.ru/2016/02/rejs-mn-17-v-cnii-vvs-minoborony-rossii-oprovergnuty-vyvody-gollandskoj-komissii/

The Saker: Russia and Malaysia were denied the right to participate to the investigation. Can you outline what the legalities are to decide which countries do or do not get the chance to participate? Do Russia and Malaysia not have any legal instruments to invoke to challenge the absolutely ridiculous way the official inquiry was formed and, even more so, the way this commission of inquiry operated (such as using social media sites, but not official Russian data)? Russia is an IATA member, so is Malaysia. Can they not sue?

Max van der Werff : This is a question for legal experts, but I’m quite certain Malaysia would have a strong case. ICAO Annex 13 describes in detail how the composition of an air disaster investigation must be. For sure the country of the operator (in this case Malaysia Airlines) has to be part of the investigation from the very beginning, which we all know was not the case. Malaysia only was a llowed to become MH17 JIT member four months after the shoot down.

Russia could argue that Ukraine as a potential suspect of the crime is a member of the official investigation and to compensate this obvious anomaly the Russian Federation should be part of the investigative team too.

Connected to this issue Lawyer and expert international criminal law Geert-Jan Knoops argues:

In my view, the OM made a wrong choice by first setting up a trial model with the JIT team, with the Netherlands and The Hague District Court as the place of trial, then presenting the report with the suspects and then expecting Russia to cooperates.

and

I think Russia might have been more cooperative if there had been trial in a neutral country, a non-JIT country.“

Source https://nos.nl/artikel/2289762-knoops-nederland-maakte-strategische-fout-bij-juridische-aanpak-mh17.html

The Saker: What is going on in Russia? First, they strongly hinted that some Ukie aircraft had shot MH17, then they declared that it was a Buk owned by the Ukronazis. So did they actually change their working hypothesis and ditched the Su-25 hypothesis to the (much less credible, at least in my opinion) Buk missile scenario?

Max van der Werff : Information management of the Russian Federation is of very low quality, to put it mildly. It took Russia four days to present its version of events and claimed a (most probably) Su-25 appeared on radar as it broke the 5,000 meter altitude. Russia also claimed it had deleted its radar data only to find a copy a few days before the official JIT press conference. And on those radar data a Russian expert explained there was no fighter jet visible. How credible is all this and how could it fail to explain why on one set of radar data a fighter jet is visible and on the other there is not?

Another criticism is Russia reacts when new accusations are disseminated by the official investigators, but fails to take the initiative and to communicate its own version of events in a simple, complete and credible narrative. More about this in two radio interviews with patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire en Chris Cook of Gorilla Radio.

https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/07/17/interview-max-van-der-werff-discusses-new-mh17-documentary-film/

http://www.gorilla-radio.com/2019/07/26/gorilla-radio-chris-cook-max-van-der-werff-july-25th-2019/

The Saker: If the quasi official hypothesis now is that a Buk was shot (by somebody, nevermind for the time being how did it)? In spite of the fact that a HUGE plume should have been seen and in spite of the fact that any such Buk launch was absolutely certain to be tracked and recorded by all sides? Does it not strike you that the Buk hypothesis is just not credible at all? To ask the question a little differently: do you think that challenging the Buk hypothesis is still a viable strategy or should I (and a few others) give up on our Su-25 hypothesis and accept the Buk theory as established beyond reasonable doubt (or even by a preponderance of evidence)?

Max van der Werff: The narrative of a buk missile fired from rebel held territory was the first narrative that circulated in western media and after five years it is unchanged and still the dominant narrative. It is now also the official version of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team.

To your question if challenging the Buk hypothesis is still a viable strategy the answer depends very much on who is questioning this hypothesis. For sure the Russian Federation knows a lot more than what it is sharing with the public.

The tragedy happened merely thirty kilometers from the Russian border. For me it is unthinkable Russia does not know exactly what happened on July 17th 2014. What facts and information does it hide after even five years and for what reasons? If a buk missile was not the murder weapon, why not explain this to the world with irrefutable evidence?

The Saker: Finally, do you believe that the full truth about MH17 will eventually come out and, if yes, roughly how and when?

Max van der Werff : For sure at some point in time the truth will come out. However, I am not sure we will be living long enough to witness this event.

The Saker: thank you so much for your time and replies!
——-
Afterword by The Saker:

During my years as an strategic intel analyst I had the chance to personally witness how the airspace over Europe is controlled in peacetime: not a single aircraft can take off without immediately being detected by numerous and redundant reconnaissance capabilities of many different actors including NATO, but also the various member states and even some neutral countries. I can only begin to image the degree, the concentration, of intelligence/reconnaissance means deployed by ALL SIDES of the conflict in the Donbass. There is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that both the Russians and the Empire have very detailed radar tracks, signal logs and God knows what else which gives them a 20/20 vision of everything which took place on that day (and before and after too, of course). This brings me to three different questions:

  1. Why are the Russians not releasing to the world the full and irrefutable evidence of what took place that day? I could understand why the Russians remained silent about 9/11, but in this case I really don’t get it!
  2. How are the various NATO states justifying that they are not simply showing the general public the full picture of what took place that day? Has nobody asked them point blank?
  3. How is it that journalists with a lot of contacts (say a Seymour Hersh or a Robert Fisk) not get at least ONE (even anonymous) source to give them the full picture? There must be HUNDREDS of people between all the US and EU intel agencies who know exactly what has taken place and most of those probably do not sympathize with the Ukronazi regime in Kiev). Why this deafening silence?

I think that MH-17 will go the way of the Kennedy assassination or the way of 9/11: everybody will know that the official version is a load of bull, everybody will have his/her version of what really might have taken place, and we will probably never know for sure.

Unless one of the hundreds of people of actually do know know the truth steps forward.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Inventing ‘2nd Skripal case’? Moscow rejects any link to asylum-seeker assassination in Germany

RT | August 28, 2019

Russia denies “any links” to the death of a Chechen man who was gunned down in Berlin last week. The German press, meanwhile, said the incident may end up being a “second Skripal case.”

“This case has nothing to do with the Russian state, the [Russian] authorities,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said on Wednesday.

“I categorically reject any links between… this murder and official Russia.”

His comments came in response to speculation that Moscow may have been somehow involved in the assassination of a man in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in central Berlin on Friday. German media identified the victim as 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national of Chechen origin who had fought against the Russian troops during the war in Chechnya. Public broadcaster Deutsche Welle cited a 2017 letter by a local NGO to the migration services, saying that Khangoshvili served under infamous warlords Shamil Basayev and Abu al-Walid, who coordinated terrorist attacks on Russian soil and were killed by Russian security forces.

Khangoshvili is said to have fled Georgia in 2016 after surviving an assassination attempt. He sought asylum in Germany but this was rejected. The German authorities had also reportedly considered him an Islamist threat at some point. Other reports said that Khangoshvili had ties with the Georgian security services and assisted in anti-terrorism operations.

The suspect in Khangoshvili’s murder was quickly apprehended by police. He was identified as 49-year-old Vadim S., a Russian national who recently traveled to Berlin from Moscow via Paris.

The story has caused a stir in the German press. The victim’s brother, Zurab Khangoshvili, claimed that Russian agents committed the crime but provided no evidence. Security sources told Der Spiegel the investigation could potentially be a “second Skripal case” in terms of its “consequences,” if the alleged involvement of Russia is proven.

Last year, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, UK. The British authorities quickly pinned the blame on Moscow. This led to London and its allies expelling a number of Russian diplomats and imposing new sanctions on Russia. Moscow has strongly denied any involvement in the incident.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Alabama GOP Approve Resolution on Expulsion of Ilhan Omar From US Congress – Report

Sputnik – August 28, 2019

Ilhan Omar, one of two Muslim lawmakers in the US Congress, gained notoriety following a series of statements in which she alleged that Jewish organisations bribed US lawmakers for their support of Israel and downplayed the 9/11 terror attacks by describing them as “some people did something”.

Alabama Republicans supported the resolution calling for the exclusion of Rep. Ilhan Omar from the US Congress, over the weekend, according to AI.com.

The resolution was introduced by state Rep. Tommy Hanes and calls on Alabama’s congressional delegation to “proceed with the expulsion process in accordance to Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution.”

The resolution condemned Omar’s “rhetoric that explicitly runs counter to American values and patriotism,” noting that she falsely accused “U.S. armed forces of committing war crimes while on mission to liberate her home country of Somalia.”

Another paragraph of the document states that “Omar has a disturbing record of using anti-Semitic language that includes alleging Jewish money is used to buy American influence regarding its policy toward Israel.”

The resolution also suggests that the Democratic Representative “dismissed the 9/11 terror attacks” and “sympathized with a convicted terrorist” by advocating for “sentencing leniency,” apparently referring to a private speech by Omar to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) she delivered earlier this year.

In particular, Omar has called on US Muslims to “make people uncomfortable” and “raise hell” in protest over what she describes as the second-class treatment of Muslims in America.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | | 1 Comment

Mainstream media cries foul over conservatives turning their smear-tactic culture war against them

By Helen Buyniski | RT | August 28, 2019

Conservatives are digging through reporters’ social media histories to find “potentially embarrassing” posts that could be used to discredit their employers, MSM has discovered to its horror – only they are allowed to do that!

“A loose network of conservative operatives” is sifting through journalists’ social media histories, looking for inflammatory nuggets that can be used to discredit the organizations they work for, the New York Times warned earlier this week, noting that this band of marauding internet sleuths has already exposed sensitive information about reporters from CNN, the Washington Post, and the Times itself.

Much of it, they claim, “has been professionally harmful to its targets.”

Who are these right-wing information terrorists, and why are they doing such a terrible thing? It’s a “response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to [US President Donald] Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects,” of course.

That the New York Times is pearl-clutching about politically-motivated smear campaigns – Washington’s bread and butter since the dawn of time – is ridiculous on its face. But their feigned moral outrage becomes actively insulting when it becomes clear it isn’t the social media-mining smear campaigns the outlet has a problem with – it’s the “conservative” part of it.

The Trump supporters’ campaign is designed to highlight mainstream media’s hypocrisy in constantly calling the president a racist, sexist, homophobe, and other identity-politics mortal sins while being racist themselves, former Trump aide Sam Nunberg – a friend of campaign ringleader Arthur Schwartz – explained.

“Two can play at this game … The media has long targeted Republicans with deep dives into their social media, looking to caricature all conservatives and Trump voters as racists.”

Schwartz, a conservative political consultant, is described as a friend to Donald Trump Jr. and an erstwhile colleague of Steve Bannon. While the White House denies Schwartz’s operation receives government funding, the Times does its best to play up the connection between the muckraker and the Bad Orange Man, declaring that “the campaign is consistent with Mr. Trump’s long-running effort to delegitimize critical reporting and brand the news media as an ‘enemy of the people.’”

Schwartz is portrayed as a mustache-twirling menace, threatening to “expose a few of [the Times’ ] other bigots” in a tweet after dredging up a handful of racist tweets from politics section editor Tom Wright-Piersanti last week and “known for badgering and threatening reporters and others he believes have wronged the Trumps.”

But the Times turns a blind eye toward similar campaigns by mainstream media allies. CNN’s Oliver Darcy, for example, infamously trawled through a decade of Alex Jones’ tweets in order to produce evidence that he ought to be deplatformed from Twitter. And the Daily Beast’s Will Sommer dug through Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies’ tweets as soon as he went public, finding enough controversial material to scare most media outlets away from interviewing someone whose leaks they had been perfectly happy to report on before they knew who he was.

The #Resistance even has a big-budget smear operation of its own: former Clinton strategist David Brock’s infamous Media Matters, devoted to the same kind of social-media sleuthing (Rudy Giuliani retweeted a QAnon account!) and guilt-by-association smears (a Fox Sports clip was replayed on Infowars!) that the Times finds so odious in Schwartz’s group. Except Media Matters gets a pass from the Times, which praises the organization for pioneering the public records deep-dive and accuses conservative operatives like Schwartz and Project Veritas’ James O’Keeffe of “twisting” its business model to “undercut the credibility” of the supposedly liberal media.CNN warned that smear merchants who “threaten and retaliate against reporters as a means of suppression” represent “a clear abandonment of democracy for something very dangerous.” Is this the same CNN who threatened to dox a Reddit user for animating an image showing the CNN logo on the receiving end of a pro-wrestling smackdown?

Apparently such extortion is only bad for democracy if it’s done on behalf of Trump.

And none of the outlets clutching their pearls about Schwartz’s call-out operation seem to understand their part in creating the culture that made such things possible. Wright-Piersanti’s tweets, while racially insensitive, are not the sort of thing that would have warranted a second look 10 years ago, let alone imperiled one’s professional position. Liberals have only themselves to blame for creating the hyper-PC media bubble in which they ply their trade. None of the apology ballet Wright-Piersanti has performed after Breitbart republished his youthful tweets would have been necessary in a pre-identity politics era – and it wasn’t conservatives who stretched these rhetorical tripwires across every sensitive area of American life in the hope of ensnaring someone who could be pilloried for their insensitivity.

It’s no surprise that the New York Times and its mainstream media peers are not enjoying being on the receiving end of the public-history smear their peers pioneered so long ago. Perhaps they even regret giving their own “side’s” black-PR artists space to ply their trade, allowing the tactics to fall into enemy hands. But it’s too late to do anything about it now – mainstream journalists have spent the last three years disingenuously attacking Trump and his allies, and rarely for their genuine transgressions (wasn’t he supposed to end some wars, or something?). They’ve made their bed, and now they must lie in it. When you start a culture war, don’t expect to come out unscathed.

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment