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Hands off Hong Kong: The Cry Seldom Heard

Where are the self-styled anti-war activists – like Democracy Now?

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | September 4, 2019

Through the summer the world has watched as protests shook Hong Kong. As early as April they began as peaceful demonstrations which peaked in early June, with hundreds of thousands, in protest of an extradition bill. That bill would have allowed Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, to return criminals to Taiwan, mainland China or Macau for crimes committed there – after approval by multiple layers of the Hong Kong judiciary. In the wake of those enormous nonviolent demonstrations, Carrie Lam, CEO of Hong Kong, “suspended” consideration of the extradition bill, a face-saving ploy. To make sure she was understood, she declared it “dead.” The large rallies, an undeniable expression of the peaceful will of a large segment of the Hong Kong population had won an impressive victory. The unpopular extradition bill was slain.

But that was not the end of the story. A smaller segment continued the protests. (The Hong Kong police at one point estimated 4,000 hard core protesters.) pressed on with other demands, beginning with a demand that the bill be “withdrawn,” not simply “suspended.” To this writer death by “suspension” is every bit as terminal as death by “withdrawal.” As this piece is sent to press, news comes that Corrie Lam has now formally withdrawn the bill.

As the summer passed, two iconic photos presented us with two human faces that captured two crucial features of the ongoing protests; they were not shown widely in the West.

First, Fu Guohao, a reporter for the Chinese mainland newspaper, Global Times, was attacked, bound and beaten by protesters during their takeover of the Hong Kong International Airport. When police and rescuers tried to free him, the protesters blocked them and also attempted to block the ambulance that eventually bore him off to the hospital. The photos and videos of this ugly sequence were seen by netizens across the globe even though given scant attention in Western media. Where were the stalwart defenders of the press in the US as this happened? As one example, DemocracyNow! (DN!) was completely silent as was the rest of the U.S. corporate media.

Fu’s beating came after many weeks when the protesters threw up barriers to stop traffic; blocked closure of subway doors, in defiance of commuters and police, to shut down mass transit; sacked and vandalized the HK legislature building; assaulted bystanders who disagreed with them; attacked the police with Molotov cocktails; and stormed and defaced police stations. Fu’s ordeal and all these actions shown in photos on Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, a paper leaning to the side of protesters, gave the lie to the image of these “democracy activists” as young Ghandis of East Asia. (The South China Morning Post is based in Hong Kong and its readership is concentrated there so it has to have some reasonable fidelity in reporting events; otherwise it loses credibility – and circulation. Similarly, much as the New York Times abhorred Occupy Wall Street, it could not fail to report on it.)

Which brings us to the second photo, much more important to U.S. citizens, that of a “Political Counselor” at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong who in August was pictured meeting with, Joshua Long and Nathan Law, at a hotel there. The official was formerly a State Dept functionary in the Middle East – in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Beirut, Baghdad and Doha, certainly not an area lacking in imperial intrigues and regime change ops. That photo graphically contradicted the contention that there is no US “black hand,” as China calls it, in the Hong Kong riots. In fact, here the “black hand” was caught red-handed, leading Chen Weihua, a very perceptive China Daily columnist, to tweet the picture with the comment: “This is very very embarrassing. … a US diplomat in Hong Kong, was caught meeting HK protest leaders. It would be hard to imagine the US reaction if a Chinese diplomat were meeting leaders of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter or Never Trump protesters.”

And that photo with the protest leaders is just a snap shot of the ample evidence of the hand of the U.S. government and its subsidiaries in the Hong Kong events. Perhaps the best documentation of the U.S. “black hand” is to be found in Dan Cohen’s superb article of August 17 in The Greyzone entitled, “Behind a made-for-TV Hong Kong protest narrative, Washington is backing nativism and mob violence.” The article by Cohen deserves careful reading; it leaves little doubt that there is a very deep involvement of the US in the Hong Kong riots. Of special interest is the detailed role and funding, amounting to over $1.3 million, in Hong Kong alone in recent years, of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), ever on the prowl for new regime change opportunities. Perhaps most important, the leaders of the “leaderless” protests have met with major US political figures such as John Bolton, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, Nancy Pelosi and others, all of whom have heartily endorsed their efforts. This is not to deny that the protests were home grown at the outset in response to what was widely perceived as a legitimate grievance. But it would be equally absurd to deny that the U.S. is fishing in troubled Hong Kong waters to advance its anti-China crusade and regime change ambitions.

That said, where is the U.S. peace movement on the question of Hong Kong?

Let us be clear. One can sympathize with the demand of many citizens of Hong Kong to end the extradition bill or even the other four demands: an inquiry into police handling of their protests; the retraction of a government characterization of the demonstrations as riots; an amnesty for arrested protesters; and universal suffrage. (The first three all grow out of violence of the protests, be it noted.) But that is the business of the citizens of Hong Kong and all the rest of China. It is not the business of the U.S. government. Peace activists in the US should be hard at work documenting and denouncing the US government’s meddling in Hong Kong, which could set us on the road to war with China, potentially a nuclear war. And that is a mission for which we in the U.S. are uniquely suited since, at least in theory, we have some control over our government.

So, we should expect to hear the cry, “US Government, Hands Off Hong Kong”? Sadly, with a few principled exceptions it is nowhere to be heard on either the left or right.

Let’s take DemocracyNow! (DN!) as one example, a prominent one on the “progressive” end of the spectrum. From April through August 28, there have been 25 brief accounts (“headlines” as DN! calls them, each amounting to a few paragraphs) of the events in Hong Kong and 4 features, longer supposedly analytic pieces, on the same topic. Transcripts of the four features are here, here, here and here. There is not a single mention of possible US involvement or the meetings of the various leaders of the protest movement with Pompeo, Bolton, Pence, or the “Political Counselor” of the US Hong Kong consulate.

And this silence on US meddling is true not only of most progressive commentators but also most conservatives.

On the Left when someone cries “Democracy,” many forget all their pro-peace sentiment. And similarly on the Right when someone cries “Communism,” anti-interventionism too often goes down the tubes. Forgotten is John Quincy Adams’s 1823 dictum, endlessly quoted but little honored, “We do not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Where does this lapse on the part of activists come from? Is it a deep-seated loyalty to Empire, the result of endless indoctrination? Is it U.S. Exceptionalism, ingrained to the point of unconsciousness? Or is it at bottom a question of who the paymasters are?

On both sides anti-interventionism takes an especially hard hit when it comes to major competitors of the US, powers that could actually stand in the way of US global hegemony, like Russia or China. In fact on its August 12 program, DN! managed a story taking a swipe at Russia right next to the one on Hong Kong – and DN! was in the forefront of advancing the now debunked and disgraced Russiagate Conspiracy Theory. In contrast, the anti-interventionist movement is front and center when it comes to weaker nations, for example Venezuela – and quite properly so. But when one puts this advocacy for weaker nations together with the New Cold War stance on China and Russia, one must ask what is going on here. Does it betoken a sort of imperial paternalism on the part of DN and like-minded outlets? It certainly gains DN!, and others like it, considerable credibility among anti-interventionists which can help win them to a position in favor of DN!’s New Cold War stance. And the masters of Empire certainly understand how valuable such credibility can be at crucial moments when support for their adventures is needed from every quarter.

Fortunately, there are a handful of exceptions to this New Cold War attitude. For example, on the left Popular Resistance has provided a view of the events in Hong Kong and a superb interview with K.J. Noh that go beyond the line of the State Department, the mainstream media and DN! And on the libertarian Right there is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and the work of its Executive Director Dan McAdams.

We would all do well to follow the example of these organizations in rejecting a New Cold War mentality which is extremely dangerous, perhaps fatally so. A good beginning for us in the U.S. is to demand of our government, “Hands Off Hong Kong.”

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

When is the News Not the News? – #PropagandaWatch

Corbett • 09/04/2019

So when is the news not the news? When it’s simply ignored by the mockingbird media, of course. Join James for today’s exploration of yet another tool in the propagandists’ toolbox in this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch.

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / Minds.com

SHOW NOTES
A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7

Draft Report

The Myth of Journalistic Objectivity

“The News” is a Social Construct. It is Used to Program You.

“WTC 7 Did Not Collapse from Fire” – Dr. Leroy Hulsey, UAF, Sept. 6, 2017

Building 7 Study to Be Released September 3: I Need Your Help to Spread It Far and Wide

September 4, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

The Official Story of the Collapse of WTC Building 7 Lies in Ruins

By Paul Craig Roberts | September 4, 2019

A research team at the University of Alaska’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, led by Dr. Leroy Hulsey, Dr. Zhili Quan, and Professor Feng Xiao, Department of Civil Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, released yesterday for public comment their findings from a four-year study of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001. This is the first scientific investigation of the collapse of the building. Here is the conclusion:

“The principal conclusion of our study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse. The secondary conclusion of our study is that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”

Notice three things: (1) it has taken 18 years to get a real investigation of the destruction of a building blamed on Muslim terrorists, (2) the only way “near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building” can occur is through controlled demolition, and (3) this remarkable finding is not reported in the presstitute media.

In other words, the study is assigned to the Memory Hole.  This is the way The Matrix operates. This is why you need this website. The only purpose of print and TV news is to program you so that you insouciantly go along with the agendas of those who rule you.  Those who sit in front of TV news, listen to NPR, or read newspapers are programmed to be mindless automatons.

Note this resolution of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District

Whereas, the attacks of September 11, 2001, are inextricably and forever tied to the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department;

Whereas, on September 11, 2001, while operating at the World Trade Center in New York City, firefighter Thomas J. Hetzel, badge #290 of Hook and Ladder Company #1, Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department of New York, was killed in performance of his duties, along with 2,976 other emergency responders and civilians;

Whereas, members of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department were called upon to assist in the subsequent rescue and recovery operations and cleanup of the World Trade Center site, afflicting many of them with life-threatening illnesses as a result of breathing the deadly toxins present at the site;

Whereas, the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District recognizes the significant and compelling nature of the petition before the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York reporting un-prosecuted federal crimes at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and calling upon the United States Attorney to present that petition to a Special Grand Jury pursuant to the United States Constitution and 18 U.S.C. SS 3332(A);

Whereas, the overwhelming evidence presented in said petition demonstrates beyond any doubt that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries—not just airplanes and the ensuing fires—caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings, killing the vast majority of the victims who perished that day;

Whereas, the victims of 9/11, their families, the people of New York City, and our nation deserve that every crime related to the attacks of September 11, 2001, be investigated to the fullest and that every person who was responsible face justice;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District fully supports a comprehensive federal grand jury investigation and prosecution of every crime related to the attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as any and all efforts by other government entities to investigate and uncover the full truth surrounding the events of that horrible day.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 5 Comments

US imposes sanctions on Iran’s shipping network

Press TV – September 4, 2019

The United States has imposed sanctions on an Iranian shipping network – several tankers, companies and insurance firms — accusing it of supplying millions of barrels of oil to Syria.

The US Treasury Department announced the illegal sanctions on Wednesday on 16 entities, 10 people, including a former Iranian oil minister, and 11 vessels, as Washington continued its campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran and, seeking rise in tensions in the Middle East region.

The sanctions also targeted an Indian firm with an interest in the Adrian Darya 1, the Iranian tanker that has been cruising the Mediterranean since its release from detention by authorities in Gibraltar in July.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control action froze any assets in the United States of the designated entities and prohibited American citizens and companies from doing business with them.

Meanwhile, Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said on Wednesday the United States would not provide any sanctions waivers to accommodate a French proposal to extend a $15 billion credit line to Iran.

“We did sanctions today. There will be more sanctions coming. We can’t make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers,” Hook told reporters.

On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s space program. Iran’s space program and two of its research institutes have been sanctioned, according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“The United States will not allow Iran to use its space launch program as cover to advance its ballistic missile programs. Iran’s August 29 attempt to launch a space launch vehicle underscores the urgency of the threat,” claimed the former CIA chief.

Washington claims that the measure is aimed at preventing Iran from nuclear weapons. Tehran has maintained that its nuclear and space programs are merely peaceful.

On Friday, the United States blacklisted Adrian Darya 1 and sanctioned its captain. The US earlier threatened those potentially assisting the return of the tanker that had been released by Gibraltar after more than a month of detention there by Britain.

Last week, Washington expanded its anti-Iran sanctions by targeting several companies and individuals over alleged links to the Iranian government and military organizations.

The Treasury Department blacklisted two networks on August 28, accusing them of having ties with the Iranian government and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

In May last year, President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and five other countries and has re-imposed sanctions on the country, including penalties on Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The move has drawn a firestorm of rebukes for Trump and his administration.

In July, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven companies along with three individuals it claims helped procure materials for Iran’s nuclear program.

“Treasury is taking action to shut down an Iranian nuclear procurement network that leverages Chinese- and Belgium-based front companies to acquire critical nuclear,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

In June, Trump announced sanctions against Iran, targeting the Leadership of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top IRGC commanders.

Iran responded denouncing the US sanctions against Iran as a sign of weakness.

In May, Iran informed the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal – the UK, Germany, Russia, China and France – of its decision to suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the agreement, exactly one year after the United States unilaterally abandoned it.

Iran warned that in 60 days it would resume refining uranium to a higher fissile degree if Europe failed to shield its trade from US sanctions.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 4 Comments

US posts $15mn bounty for help with ‘disrupting’ finances of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps

RT | September 4, 2019

The US government has offered a reward of up to $15 million for information that helps “disrupt” the financial operations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), while slapping a new round of sanctions on Tehran.

The lavish bounty was announced on Wednesday as part of the Rewards for Justice program, run by the State Department, which offers financial incentives for information on alleged “terrorist activities” that target the US. The IRGC, an elite branch of Tehran’s military, was designated by Washington as a terrorist organization in April.

The US State Department is seeking information on any companies and individuals who allegedly help the IRGC with “evading US and international sanctions” as well as those who merely “do business” with the military unit.

Apart from issuing the bounty notice, Washington has issued a new sanctions package against an “oil-for-terror” network – as they put it – allegedly run by the IRGC. The sanctions broadside targeted 16 companies and nine individuals, allegedly involved in supplying Iranian oil to Syria in breach of US sanctions. Six oil tankers linked to such activities were also placed on the list.

The new round of sanctions and the bounty offer were lauded by top US officials, who gave themselves a pat on the back for taking action against the alleged network.

Washington will continue to impose new sanctions on the country to maintain “maximum pressure,” US special representative for Iran Brian Hook said, adding that “we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers.”

Such an approach effectively buries France’s idea to provide Tehran with a $15 billion credit line, suggested earlier by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, who explicitly said that such a deal would require sanction waivers from the US. The proposed credit arrangement would be guaranteed by Iranian oil revenues and require Tehran to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, as well as to enter negotiations on regional security.

Tehran has repeatedly urged the EU countries to actually do something to save the 2015 agreement and secure sanctions relief from the US. Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave Europe two months to do so, promising to further rollback on its commitments under the JCPOA if this doesn’t happen.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 18 Comments

UNRWA’s existence might be contested, but it is essential for Palestine refugees

By Francesca Albanes and Terry Rempel | MEMO | September 4, 2019

These are dire times for UNRWA, the UN agency established to care for refugees displaced from Palestine at the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. As the Agency approaches its seventieth anniversary, with its mandate up for renewal by the UN General Assembly in the autumn, recent allegations of misconduct and abuse of power by senior UNRWA staff have brought renewed criticisms and a volley of polemical attacks against it. This has made the task of caring for 5.5 million refugees even more difficult and hijacked the space for informed and level-headed debate on both the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Allegations of misconduct and abuse of power made worse

Pending the results of a UN headquarters investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, several European donors have suspended their contributions to UNRWA. Reports that New Zealand may soon do the same have heightened concern among refugees and others about UNRWA’s financial stability, after the US – hitherto UNRWA’s largest donor – withdrew its funding last year. Similar investigations of staff of other UN organisations have not provoked a comparable donor response. As others have rightly noted, it is the refugees who will ultimately pay the price for the current quagmire.

Vigilant against the misuse of public funds and accountable to their domestic constituencies, donors are at the same time reasonably expected to withhold judgement until the UN Secretariat has completed its investigation. Lost in the political invective is the fact that it was UNRWA’s internal oversight mechanisms that identified and reported the allegations to the UN Secretary-General in the first place. UN regulations and rules do provide means to address the situation without the need to suspend funding.

Citing the recent allegations as more evidence that UNRWA is “irredeemably flawed”, longstanding critics have redoubled their attacks against the Agency. Unsubstantiated claims of inefficiency and charges of incitement and terrorism have been recycled for more than a decade. Never is it mentioned that UNRWA staff who are found to be in violation of UN rules and regulations are dismissed immediately.

These critics claim that UNRWA perpetuates the refugee “problem” and that getting rid of the Agency will somehow solve it. Dissolving the Agency, in this misguided view, is the easiest way to rid themselves of the refugee issue. Yet, the reality is rather that only when there is a just solution to the refugee question will UNRWA no longer be required.

The need for informed and level-headed debate

Relying almost entirely on voluntary donations, the Agency’s ability to meet the needs of the growing number of Palestine refugees is further strained by humanitarian emergencies in areas where it operates, downturns in the global economy and the seven-decade-long absence of durable solutions. In the spirit of international responsibility sharing, both the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted by all 193 members of the General Assembly in 2016, and the UN Secretary-General, have called upon states to ensure that UNRWA has “sufficient, predictable and sustainable” funding pending a just and durable solution to the refugee question. While the Agency has undertaken measures to broaden its donor base, explore additional funding streams and establish new partnerships at both corporate and private levels, primary responsibility for funding UNRWA remains with UN member states.

A Palestinian man carries sacks of flour during a food aid distribution by UNRWA in Rafah, Gaza on 22 January 2017 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian man carries food aid given by UNRWA in Rafah, Gaza on 22 January 2017 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

The prospect for just and durable solutions for Palestinian refugees remains a chimera seventy years on. Israel’s adamant denial of their right of return has in turn rendered local integration in the Arab host countries and resettlement in third countries politically impracticable. The responsibility for a political solution of the refugee situation, as well as of the unresolved question of Palestinian self-determination, lies with states. There is little that UNRWA can do by itself to help the refugees out of the current impasse until political conditions allow refugees to make free and informed choices about their future. Meanwhile, UNRWA can neither be blamed for the lack of a political solution nor should be seen as a substitute for the lack of political will within the international community.

Like Palestine refugees cared for by UNRWA, about 16 million refugees worldwide (seventy-eight per cent of the global refugee population) find themselves in a “protracted refugee situation”. The similar absence of a political solution makes UNHCR’s mandate for them no less compelling. Whether UNRWA could do more within its existing mandate or whether this should explicitly include the promotion of durable solutions raises difficult and politically sensitive questions, requiring careful and objective examination.

Moving beyond uncertainty

When it considers UNRWA’s mandate in November, the General Assembly has an opportunity to better serve Palestine refugees by helping remove the uncertainty and air of perpetual crisis that surrounds them and the Agency. Discussions about how to achieve a just resolution to the refugees’ plight can no longer be postponed.

Meanwhile, UNRWA must be enabled to continue to care for the refugees, armed with a new institutional vision and strategy, one that fully involves refugees in discussions concerning their future. After decades of broken promises, it is time for the international community, through the United Nations, to translate declarations of support for the refugees into concrete action.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

How to confront Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank

By Dr Youssef Rizqa | MEMO | September 4, 2019

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing everything possible to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority is still doing everything possible to coordinate with Israel’s security agencies, suppressing every new resistance cell, most recently the one in Nablus.

If the PA can preserve the Arab nature and character of the West Bank by suppressing resistance and security coordination, then there is no reason for it to complain about Netanyahu’s annexation call. How can the PA complain about Israel to the world, while it helps Israel, facilitates its security measures and prevents its own citizens from resisting illegal settlements and the Judaisation of their land? If the PA is resorting to the outside world and complaining about Israel, why doesn’t it let its people in the West Bank help it to thwart Israel’s plans?

The PA’s policy is strange, as Abbas is fighting Israel abroad in Western countries and international forums, but not at home; nor does he allow the Palestinian factions and citizens to exercise any kind of legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation. Does he hope to liberate the West Bank of the Israeli settlements by complaining to Western countries? If that was even remotely possible, why couldn’t he prevent Israel from annexing Jerusalem or stop the US from moving its embassy to Jerusalem, even though the entire world, including Britain and France, do not recognise Israel’s annexation of the Holy City?

The correct response to the Jerusalem issue is to activate national resistance, while the appropriate response to Netanyahu’s call to annex parts of the West Bank is to activate the resistance and withdraw from security coordination. There is no other solution that can preserve the Arab nature of the West Bank and prevent illegal settlement expansion.

Abbas cannot walk down the right path — which must surely be the path of his own people — while taking the crooked path, travelling between Western and Eastern capitals and begging them to put pressure on Israel. He has forgotten that countries with specific ideologies and which believe Zionism’s Biblical myths are not influenced at all by external pressure.

Israel and its supporters have the power to exert pressure and influence over others in, for example, the US, where support for the occupation state is strong, as well as among the governing classes in France, Germany and Britain. Ideology must be tackled with ideology; myths must be disproved by established historical facts; and resistance must be used to prevent settlement expansion and Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 2 September 2019

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Imprisoned Stratfor hacker & WikiLeaks source moved to Virginia to ‘testify against Assange’

RT | September 4, 2019

Jeremy Hammond, who helped feed millions of emails from ‘private CIA’ Stratfor to WikiLeaks, has reportedly been moved to Virginia to testify before a grand jury, which he refuses to do, jeopardizing his early release from prison.

Hammond has been moved to the same Eastern District where whistleblower Chelsea Manning is currently being held for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee revealed on Tuesday in a statement. While neither Hammond nor his supporters are certain of the nature of the summons, he pled guilty to hacking Stratfor in 2013 in order to avoid giving up information on his fellow activists, including those at WikiLeaks, and has no intention of doing so now.

“Jeremy pled guilty to put an end to the case against him. He pled guilty because he had no interest in cooperating with the government.”

While Hammond received the maximum 10 year sentence in exchange for his non-cooperating guilty plea, he was granted immunity from further prosecution in all other federal courts and was due to be released in December, having received a sentence reduction for participating in the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Residential Drug Abuse Program. Transferring him from Memphis, Tennessee, where he was incarcerated, to Alexandria, Virginia, cuts short his participation in the program and guarantees he will serve at least another year in prison.

And he could be locked up much longer, given his refusal to testify, which will place him in the same legal limbo where Manning is currently entrapped. The former military analyst, imprisoned since May after having her sentence for leaking the classified military documents comprising the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs to WikiLeaks commuted by former President Barack Obama, faces up to 18 months more prison time and nearly half a million dollars in fines for refusing to testify against Assange.

“Like brave grand jury resisters before him, including Chelsea Manning, Jeremy firmly believes that grand juries are repressive tools of the government, used to investigate and intimidate activist communities and are abused by prosecutors to gain access to intelligence to which they are not entitled,” the Support Committee’s statement continues, condemning “a clear pattern of targeting, isolating, and punishing outspoken truth-tellers and activists.”

Hammond, working with the online activist group Anonymous, hacked into Stratfor’s servers in 2011 and funneled over five million emails from the self-styled “private CIA” to WikiLeaks, including thousands which revealed details of the government’s pursuit of Assange and the organization he helped found. Assange is currently imprisoned in the UK and faces potential extradition to the US – specifically, the Eastern District of Virginia, which has never failed to convict a whistleblower. He is charged with multiple violations of the Espionage Act carrying a total of 175 years in prison.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

UN calls out US, UK & France for complicity in Yemen war crimes

RT | September 4, 2019

The UN Human Rights Council slammed the US, UK and France for their complicity in alleged war crimes in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, warning that abetting such crimes by selling arms or other aid is also illegal.

“States that knowingly aid or assist parties to the conflict in Yemen in the commission of violations would be responsible for complicity in the relevant international humanitarian law violations,” the UNHRC’s Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen declared in a lengthy report published on Tuesday.

“With the number of public reports alleging and often establishing serious violations of international humanitarian law no State can claim not to be aware of such violations being perpetrated in Yemen.”

The 274-page report enumerated possible war crimes committed by both sides in the conflict, including airstrikes and shelling, landmines, “siege-like tactics,” attacks on hospitals and other vital infrastructure, arbitrary arrests and executions, torture, and forced conscription of children into combat. The writers claimed to have forwarded the names of top military and political individuals from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the Houthi movement to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The UK and France fall under special scrutiny as signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty, which bars the sale of weapons if a country believes they will be used to commit “mass atrocities.” However, even non-parties to the ATT may face “criminal responsibility for aiding and abetting war crimes” since after five years of fighting “there can no longer be any excuses made for failure to take meaningful steps to address” the humanitarian crisis and international law violations taking place in Yemen.

The UK Court of Appeal ruled in June that the government had “made no attempt” to determine whether Saudi Arabia was using its weapons to violate international law, and while Secretary of State Liam Fox said he would suspend licenses for export to the Saudi coalition, the Department for International Trade said it would appeal the ruling. A rare bipartisan-supported bill to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia by the US was vetoed in July by President Donald Trump, who complained it would “weaken America’s global competitiveness” and damage relationships with allies. And the French government hid the arms sales from its people entirely, then threatened the journalists who exposed the sales with arrest for publishing confidential information.

The UNHRC report also provided an update on the shocking scale of the humanitarian crisis, revealing that nearly a quarter of the Yemeni population was malnourished at the start of 2019, according to the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with 230 of 333 districts at risk of famine and 24.1 million people in need of assistance merely to survive.

Also on rt.com:

‘Comical & tragic’ when US officials say arms sales to Saudis are about ‘exporting human rights’

September 4, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Hostile news policy’: US-funded Arabic channel exposé unites Iraqi Sunnia & Shia v foreign meddling

RT | September 4, 2019

Iraq’s sectarian political scene is having a rare moment of unity, driven by an unlikely culprit. Recent reporting by a US-funded Middle Eastern news outlet has piqued claims of American meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs.

Alhurra, a US-based and -funded television channel that broadcasts to the Arab world, has landed in hot water with Iraq’s official media watchdog, as well as religious and political leaders, over a report alleging misuse of government funds among Sunni and Shia officials.

Rivals united in outrage

In a 12-minute documentary broadcast this weekend – titled “The Holy Persons of Sacred Corruption in Iraq” – Alhurra reported that Iraqi political figures were personally benefiting from the administration of religious sites and real estate deals involving state funds. The report also posited that Iraq’s highest religious authorities were involved in the corruption, including the Sunni Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mahdi al-Sumaidaie, as well as Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Responding to the exposé on Monday, Iraq’s media watchdog, the Communication and Media Commission (CMC), suspended Alhurra’s operations for three months, arguing the report “caused angry reactions in Iraqi public opinion, both official and popular,” and that the outlet sought to “undermine the position” of “highly respected” institutions.

The CMC also slammed Alhurra for reporting “accusations … as credible facts without corroboration from other impartial sources,” and threatened “a tougher punishment” if the “offense is repeated.”

Alhurra stood by its work in a statement on Monday, insisting the report was “fair, balanced and professional,” and added that individuals named in the report were given a chance to respond, “which they declined.”

But religious and political figures both Sunni and Shia lashed out at Alhurra, with some arguing the outlet’s reporting reflects American hostility toward Iraq.

Head of the powerful Shia militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali, said the Alhurra piece is “a dangerous indication of US foreign policy,” while the largely Shia paramilitary umbrella group Hashd al-Shaabi slammed the outlet for “a hostile news policy,” according to the Lebanese Daily Star.

Parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, who belongs to the Sunni Al-Hal political alliance, also accused the outlet of “abusing state and religious intuitions without checking for accuracy or facts,” according to the National.

Though none of the high profile figures presented any substantial factual challenge to Alhurra’s reporting, this is not the first time the outlet has come under scrutiny.

Perception mismanagement

Founded in 2004 by the US government to combat “negative images” of the United States in the Middle East, Alhurra has more often been a disaster of mismanagement than a slick propaganda outfit. A project of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), Alhurra survives on over $112 million in US government funding annually.

The USAGM – which has been described as the “US propaganda arm” – oversees a number of American-backed media projects, including several outlets intended for exclusive foreign consumption, such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and Radio y Televisión Martí, which transmits in Spanish to Cuba. Until 2013, many of those stations were forbidden from broadcasting within the United States in order to protect US citizens from government disinformation disseminated abroad.

A joint report by 60 Minutes and ProPublica in 2008 found that American taxpayers had already dropped nearly $500 million propping up Alhurra in its first four years of operation, despite the fact that the outlet’s “reporters and commentators operate with little oversight.”

Alhurra’s first president, Brian Conniff, did not speak a word of Arabic – and therefore could not understand what his own agency was broadcasting – and had no prior experience in journalism, working previously as a government auditor. Conniff was finally replaced in 2017 by former American diplomat Alberto Fernandez, who reportedly does speak the language.

Before taking the job, Fernandez slammed Alhurra for putting “radical Shi’a Islamists” on its payroll, many of them not even Iraqi, and noted the US Embassy in Baghdad complained about the outlet year after year.

The joint investigation also found that Alhurra consisted of “largely foreign staff with little knowledge of the country whose values and policies they were hired to promote,” even as the US federal government continued to pour millions into its coffers. Starting with a $67 million budget in 2004, by 2009 the outlet was taking in $112 million, which it continues to receive every year, despite ongoing mismanagement.

Whether a sophisticated media shop designed to advance US interests in the Middle East, or a poorly-functioning, over-funded wreck of a government program, Alhurra, much like the USAGM’s other foreign media projects, is stirring up trouble abroad. Perhaps it is serving its purpose after all.

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment