Aletho News


Pentagon Grants Earth Another 20 Year Reprieve

By Tony Heller | Real Climate Science | October 24, 2019

The Pentagon says the world could end in 20 years because of global warming.

U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned By Pentagon Says – VICE

This is good news, because in 2004 they said the world would end in 2020.

Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us | Environment | The Guardian

And the new date is 65 years after the CIA said global cooling was going to kill us.

Daily News – Google News Archive Search

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Banning ‘sexist’ language won’t make sexism disappear, any more than banning racial slurs killed racism

RT | October 23, 2019

A Massachusetts congressman wants to end sexism by punishing sexist language – specifically the word “b***h” – with fines and even jail. But policing speech doesn’t kill the underlying sentiment – that requires real social change.

Massachusetts Democrat Daniel Hunt’s bill to ban the “b-word,” fining offenders $150 on the first offense and $200 or six months in prison if they can’t stop saying it, sounds like the kind of joke conservatives might make to poke fun at the uber-liberal Bay State. But the bill – titled ‘An act regarding the use of offensive words’ – is real. Worse, any witness to the use of the word can complain.

A person who uses the word ‘bitch’ directed at another person to accost, annoy, degrade or demean the other person shall be considered to be a disorderly person.

Hunt’s bill, which he insists was submitted at the request of a constituent, is far from the only example of the Democratic Party clutching its pearls over speech while giving the sentiment beneath that speech a pass. A vocal segment of the Left has become notorious as America’s “speech police,” calling out offenses real and imagined on social media and inciting outrage mobs to force apologies out of celebrities and businesses, sometimes sincere but often perfunctory and defensive.

Criminalizing “sexist” language to curb sexism reverses cause and effect. Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t have gotten very far during the Civil Rights era had he merely strove to end the use of racial slurs in order to achieve equality for the races. Such words are no longer acceptable to use because of significant organizing, marching, and other forms of protest from sit-ins to boycotts. Social change comes first – language is just a reflection of societal norms.

Yet liberals seem to have forgotten even that. College students and professors at the University of Connecticut turned out in protest earlier this week, demanding the arrest of two students who were overheard calling each other racial slurs in a vulgar word game. The mob didn’t stop to realize that the slur – once a commonplace insult directed at black people – is now considered an obscenity thanks to the strides American society has made toward equality. The students were using it to shock – rather like someone yelling “b***h” in a public place.

Politicians should have a better grasp of history than college students, but this is not always the case. Earlier this week, Democratic congressman Al Green pounced on President Donald Trump for comparing his impeachment probe to a “lynching.” Green, who is black, excoriated the president for appropriating his racial history – even though the word simply means an extrajudicial execution by a mob, and Democrats used it to defend their own president Bill Clinton during his impeachment in 1999.

Green’s histrionics allowed Congress to avoid addressing the president’s point – that his impeachment investigation was proceeding at record speed, with little regard for legal precedent, and that it put future presidents in jeopardy. This is the usual outcome of speech-policing: bringing down an outrage mob on the head of whoever used the forbidden word, while utterly obscuring the context and negating any point they may have been making.

It’s not that there isn’t room for improvement in the US with regard to gender and racial equality. Congress – should it desire – could pass laws to help reduce the racial disparities in criminal convictions and sentencing, instead of demanding (in California, at least) that felons be referred to as “justice-involved persons” so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.

It could mandate paid maternity leave like the rest of the developed world, giving women more opportunities to advance in the workplace without penalizing them for giving birth; instead, some states (California again) mandate “de-gendering” of job titles like postman, policeman, and fireman. But playing speech-police is the easy way to signal virtue, while changing social norms is difficult.

Massachusetts’ ‘b***h bill’ is clearly unconstitutional, civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate told the Herald, and fortunately Hunt is getting some pushback from his fellow legislators. Given the current state of affairs, though, it’s only a matter of time before the speech police strike again.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 2 Comments

Survey claims Americans want government-imposed press restrictions & curbs on free speech

© Reuters / Michael Dadler
RT | October 24, 2019

Some Americans are having second thoughts about the First Amendment, a new survey has found. Over half are calling for it to be rewritten, and some 61 percent believe there should be limits on freedom of speech.

The First Amendment, which guarantees Americans freedom of speech, should be overhauled to reflect current cultural norms, according to 51 percent of the respondents to a survey published on Wednesday by the Campaign for Free Speech. The campaign is hoping to call attention to the dire state of Americans’ preeminent civil right with the poll, which breaks down opposition along gender, race, class, and educational lines.

The younger respondents were, the more they supported overhauling the law to restrict speech. However, college graduates were the least likely of all educational groupings to support the restrictions, indicating that the increasingly regulated speech environment at American universities may be backfiring in some cases and producing adults who cherish their rights because they know what it’s like to be deprived of them.

Over half of millennials believe “hate speech” should be against the law, though no definition of “hate speech” was given (and indeed the definition tends to vary given the time and place). Most of those who want a ban on such speech consider jail time an appropriate penalty – though female respondents were the least supportive of such draconian sentencing.

And it isn’t just ordinary speech that Americans want restricted – 57 percent support government action against “newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory, or false,” with nearly half of those agreeing such offenses should carry a jail sentence. The media is not particularly well-liked in 2019, with the average American trusting the press less even than lawyers and members of Congress, and people over 65 years-old were the only group in which the majority opposed punitive government regulation.

Alternative media were the only outlets that escaped the scorn of the majority – just 36 percent agreed that the government should review online content. Even Facebook, hardly expected to be a bastion of openness, saw just 49 percent agree that the platform should censor “offensive speech.” Interestingly, millennials and Generation Z were the most supportive of a censor-free Facebook, with some 47 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds telling CEO Mark Zuckerberg to get his hands off their content.

The survey did some digging into what people believe constitutes the kind of hate speech that the government should regulate, and the results were illuminating. “Racists” were the least popular group, with 52 percent calling for a government crackdown on their utterances, followed closely by neo-Nazis, who were loathed by half the respondents. Radical Islamists were not a priority for anyone but the middle class and those with just a high school education. Holocaust deniers rankled just 35 percent, while anti-vaccine advocates and climate-change deniers were an issue for a fifth or less of the population. Some 37 percent of respondents didn’t think any of those groups should be banned from speaking – a figure that climbed to 42 percent among college graduates.

The 1,004 respondents were not categorized politically, though that might have provided an explanation for some of the more intriguing statistics that suggested college graduates oppose restrictions on so-called hate speech.

College conservatives are crying foul at what they believe are the stifling speech restrictions enacted on modern campuses. In Connecticut, a coalition of Republicans at 22 schools is demanding political ideology be added to the list of protected attributes in schools’ discrimination codes after two allegedly racist incidents at the University of Connecticut sparked calls for stricter ‘hate speech’ codes on campus.

Meanwhile, state schools in Idaho, Michigan and Tennessee are urging professors not to grade writing on its quality, lest they somehow impose “white language supremacy” on their students. Controversial speakers have sparked riots at the University of California at Berkeley, while Evergreen College’s notorious “no whites on campus” day has made headlines two years in a row. The drive to avoid racial hate has inadvertently given rise to its own form of hate, in which any view that deviates from social justice orthodoxy is demonized.

“Hate speech” has also become a cudgel for internet platforms to censor political views they dislike, from slamming criticism of mass immigration as racism to attacking critics of the Israeli government as anti-Semites. YouTube recently enraged its users by proclaiming its devotion to hosting unpopular opinions at the same time it kicked a number of popular but controversial creators off its platform.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

It’s ‘unthinkable & absurd’ to jail Catalan pro-independence leaders, former UN special rapporteur tells RT

A protest in solidarity with the Catalan pro-independence politicians in Barcelona, Spain, October 20, 2019. © Jon Nazca / Reuters
RT | October 24, 2019

The prosecution of Catalan pro-independence politicians by Spain violates European law and is simply “absurd,” a former high-ranking democracy and human rights expert at the UN has told RT.

“Political prisoners in Spain… It’s absolutely unthinkable!” Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, who served as the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, said in an interview with Rafael Correa on RT Spanish.

He branded the jailing of the leaders of the Catalan independence movement “absurd,” especially since the “Catalans have been protesting for many years in a peaceful, democratic fashion.”

Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia voted in favor of independence in October 2017. Madrid called the vote illegal and sent in a massive police force to disrupt the referendum.

Chaotic scenes from the ground with officers in full riot gear beating civilians for merely voting, storming polling stations and snatching ballot boxes made the headlines back then, triggering widespread condemnation from international humanitarian organizations.

Following the voting-day crackdown, Spanish authorities detained a group of prominent Catalan politicians who had been involved in staging the referendum. Former Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras and eight others were sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison earlier this month.

Spain is now demanding the extradition of former regional president Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium shortly after the failed independence bid.

“Both Puigdemont and Junqueras were elected with a mandate to carry out this [exact] referendum,” de Zayas stressed.

“So, criminally prosecuting someone for actions that were legitimized through a democratic election is … beyond all reason.”

“It violates Article 2 of the [EU’s] Treaty of Lisbon, which says that such issues must be brought up before the European Commission. Yet, I don’t see any complaints coming from Berlin, Brussels or Copenhagen that declare: ‘Things like that shouldn’t happen in Europe.’”

The lengthy prison sentences for pro-independence politicians sparked peaceful protests in Barcelona, which has been marred by night-time rioting and clashes with police. The mass protests raged for several days in a row, culminating in a general strike last Friday, which attracted at least half a million supporters of independence.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Prison-State USA


By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 24.10.2019

Washington is incessantly trying to inspire the whole world with this myth that the United States is the most democratic country on the planet, and that only Americans, the chosen nation, have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and establish their own preferred forms of governance there. Unfortunately however, this “American-style democracy” is the cause of growing resentment on many issues.

Let’s take a look at just one of the many reasons why people find this American exceptionalism so outrageous. There are currently more than 2.3 million people behind bars in the United States, which means the US holds more people in prison than any other country in the world. This is a quarter of all the world’s prisoners! When you consider the fact that there are more than 750 prisoners for every 100,000 US nationals, this makes the United States the world’s largest prison state. If we also add the number of Americans who have been released on probation and on parole to the overall sum of prisoners, it turns out that there is actually a total of 7.3 million people in the US prison system! That is, roughly one out of every forty people living in this “democratic country” is under some form of correctional supervision, or one out of every twenty adults!

American prisons are now overcrowded — the number of inmates is at about 200 percent of capacity. In October 2007 for example, there were 170,600 people incarcerated in California prisons with a capacity of 83,000. This has resulted in a large category of so-called “domestic inmates” living outside prisons (and this is about 5 million people), i.e. people living under house arrest, waiting for a bunk to be freed up in prison cell. Their “home confinement” is controlled by an electronic bracelet worn around the ankle, which keeps track of the prisoner’s movements, who have to keep within a 30-meter radius of the house. There is no fixed waiting time for prisoners doing time “at home”.

There are more prisoners than there are students in a number of federal states, and the “Champions” in this category include the states of California, Florida and Arizona. The American media have highlighted that there are now more prisons in the US than schools (there are over 5,000 prisons). More than 2.7 million children in the United States have a parent in prison, and the prison population has quadrupled nationwide since 1980.

The government spends a total of over $ 70 billion per year on the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Every second American convict returns to prison within three years of their release. This is a very depressing figure. According to a 2017 report, having done time in a prison, which seeks to profit from inmate labor, increases the risk of incarceration by nearly 20 percent.

This situation with prisoners in the United States has long been more than just a law enforcement problem, there are inherent social and even racial problems. For example, although African Americans make up only 13% of the US population, they make up 40% of US prisoners, and 42% of those on death row. African Americans are sentenced to an average of one year more than white Americans for violent crimes.

Raw Story has previously explicitly stated that the US prison system is clear proof of the existence of institutionalized racism in the country, and has reinforced this argument with a number of examples. To put this in context, there are now more black prisoners than there were black male slaves in the southern states before the start of the Civil War. An African-American man has a 32% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his life, while white men only have a 6% chance. Due to felony convictions, 2.2 million African Americans have had their right to vote taken away from them, i.e. 7.7% of this adult population has been deprived of suffrage, deprived of civil rights, and in three states (Florida, Kentucky and Virginia), one in five African Americans falls into this category.

But the US prison system is also a form of perpetuated “prison slavery” in this country. Believe it or not, this practice is actually legal, given that the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which outlawed forced labor, contains a loophole: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Forced Labor Camp, Georgia, 1930s

American researcher Vicky Peláez writes about the business of “prison slavery”, which usually occurs when state prisons hire out prisoners to private companies to perform labor. This type of business “partnership” does indeed have obvious benefits for private corporations: they pay “hired out” slaves the minimum legal wage set by the state where the labor is performed. And in some places they are even paid below the minimum wage. In the state of Colorado for example, prisoners are paid about $2 per hour, which is significantly lower than the minimum wage. “Prison slaves” are actively exploited by leading American corporations such as IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores and many others. The popularity of this form of exploitation can be measured by the profits generated from inmate labor, which increased from $392 million to $1.031 billion between just 1980 and 1994.

At some point, the American authorities realized that the federal prison system could no longer cope with its overflowing number of prisoners, and turned to services offered by private firms. It turned out that private firms are able to turn a considerable profit by exploiting this labor force, which they are willing to do for the extra profits, just like what people used to do back in the bad old days of slavery. As a result, private prisons began appearing in the United States in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, and then state prisons continued to be privatized under presidents George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton.

The idea of a cost-effective prison is nothing new — the state of Louisiana turned one of its prisons into a business back in 1844. This “industry” began to develop rapidly in the years that followed.

Private prisons are a multibillion-dollar industry, and it is growing. For instance, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), the largest owner of for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities in the United States, has seen its revenue increase by over 500 percent in less than 20 years, from about $280 million in 2000 to $1.77 billion in 2017. The three main private prison companies in the US — CoreCivic, the GEO Group and MTC — generate about $5 billion in revenue each year.

By 2018, the combined turnover of these three key business for-profit prisons along with several smaller prison corporations exceeded $7.4 billion. About 10 percent of the estimated 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States are in private prisons. Private prisons receive a fixed sum from the state for each prisoner, regardless of the real incarceration costs. Thus, the prison business aims to cut costs by organizing a system and security regime that requires a minimal amount of work to be performed by guards. In one of CoreCivic’s ultra-modern prisons, there are only five employees guarding 750 prisoners.

It has come to light that there is a very high rate of profit in the US prison industry. This has not gone unnoticed, transnational corporations (TNCs) have reduced and even scrapped the incentive to transfer their production from the United States to less economically developed countries. The prison industry is one of the fastest growing industries, supported by investors on Wall Street.

Private prisons certainly make a bigger profit when they have more inmates, so they inevitably try to lobby policymakers in their own interest to legislate for longer sentences, such as the 1994 “three strikes laws”, which prescribe mandatory life sentences for anyone who is convicted of a severe violent felony and two other previous convictions. It therefore comes as no surprise that between 1992 and 2003, the number of people serving life sentences shop up by more than 80 percent. When President Trump was elected in 2016, the stock prices of private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO soared. And in 2018, private prison companies donated $1.6 million to campaign committees in the midterm elections.

This private prison lobbying, donating money to political campaigns to push for legislation that would allow the prisons to receive more prisoners with longer sentences and squeeze as many taxpayer dollars as possible, is a clear perversion of the American judicial system. Apart from this, we must not forget that the system is often abused in terms of the collusion that goes on between the administration of state prisons and private companies, as production labor is organized by the prison authorities, and prisoners produce products on the basis of contracts with private companies for a price that is usually far lower than that of the regular labor market. It is difficult to determine exactly how many prisoners are employed indirectly by private companies in the United States. That is what makes this underground economy, the prison industry, a “shady business”.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 2 Comments

US Renews Chevron License as European Refiner Cuts Venezuela Ties over Sanctions

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | October 23, 2019

The US Treasury Department has allowed Chevron to continue its operations in Venezuela for a further 90 days.

One of the few remaining US petroleum companies still in Venezuela, Chevron currently produces around 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) in several joint ventures with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. The California-based energy giant had its Treasury-issued sanctions waiver extended on Monday.

The Trump administration imposed an oil embargo in January, barring dealings with Venezuela’s oil sector, including US imports of Veneuzelan crude, which then stood at 586,000 bpd. At the time, Chevron was issued a six-month license to wind down its Venezuela operations, which was renewed in a last-minute late July decision after months of lobbying. Other beneficiaries of the renewal are Haliburton, Schlumberger, GE’s Baker Hughes, and Weatherford International.

The license does not cover sales of diluents to PDVSA, which were outlawed by the Treasury Department in June. Venezuela relies on imports of diluents to blend its heavy crude into exportable grades, as well as produce gasoline and diesel for internal consumption.

Venezuela’s oil production has plummeted over the past two years since the US began imposing economic sanctions. According to OPEC secondary sources, output fell to just 644,000 bpd in September, down from an average of 1.911 and 1.354 million bpd in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Caracas has scrambled to find new crude buyers, reportedly selling shipments to Russian state energy company Rosneft which then reroutes them to other customers. PDVSA has also moved to convert its heavy petroleum upgraders into blending facilities so as to produce lighter Merey grade crude favored by Asian markets.

In August, Washington upgraded its sanctions regime to a general embargo, prohibiting all US dealings with the Venezuelan state and its associated entities as well as authorizing secondary sanctions against third party actors.

The Trump administration has been reluctant to renew Venezuela operating licences, insisting on the need to deprive the Maduro government of export revenues in the hope of removing it from power. Venezuela depends on oil sales for over ninety percent of its hard currency earnings, which it uses for vital imports of food, medicine, and all classes of inputs.

Despite opting to greenlight Chevron’s operations for three additional months, the Treasury Department moved last week to modify the license of a European refining company prohibiting new purchases of Venezuelan crude.

Jointly owned by PDVSA and Finland’s Neste Oil, Nynas AB operates speciality refineries in Sweden, Germany, and the UK geared mainly towards asphalt production.

Under the terms of the new license, Nynas is authorized to sell Venezuelan oil or petroleum products already in inventory but is barred from making new purchases.

Nynas is one of only two remaining buyers of PDVSA’s lighter, Western-sourced crudes following Washington’s ratcheting up of sanctions this year, which have led most cash-paying customers to cut ties with the Venezuelan state oil firm.

Reuters reports that the move could lead Petrozamora, a Venezuelan-Russian joint venture in the western border state of Zulia, to cut production by 50,000 bpd in order to avoid overflowing oil stocks.

With additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Caracas.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

Trump seeks grand bargain with Erdogan

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | October 24, 2019

The morning after a summit meeting often holds surprises. Turkey lost no time to follow up on President Recep Erdogan’s hugely successful but “difficult” talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Tuesday.

On Wednesday itself, Ankara formally conveyed to Washington Erdogan’s decision that the Turkish military is stopping combat and is ending the offensive in Syria, codenamed Peace Spring, and making the ceasefire agreed with the United States last week during the visit by Vice-President Mike Pence to be permanent.

President Trump promptly reciprocated by lifting the US sanctions against Turkey imposed on October 14 in response to Peace Spring. Trump, characteristically enough, claimed credit for “an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, no other nation.”

The Turkish intimation comes handy for Trump to scatter critics who predicted apocalypse now in Syria. Trump sounded confident that the ceasefire will hold.

Enter General Mazloum. Trump disclosed that he spoke to the general who is  the military supremo of the YPG (Syrian Kurdish militia), before making his announcement on the lifting of sanctions against Turkey.

Trump hailed the Kurdish chieftain’s “understanding and for his great strength and for his incredible words today to me.” The optics works just perfect for Trump to push back at critics who allege that he’s thrown the Kurds under the bus.

But Trump also disclosed that he is on to something bigger. One, that Gen. Mazloum has assured him that “ISIS is under very, very strict lock and key, and the detention facilities are being strongly maintained.” The Kurdish-held regions have detention camps holding thousands of ISIS cadres and their families.

Two, Trump recalled, “We also expect Turkey to abide by its commitment regarding ISIS.  As a backup to the Kurds watching over them, should something happen, Turkey is there to grab them.” Interestingly, Trump also called on European countries to accept the ISIS prisoners.

In the infamous “undiplomatic” letter to Erdogan a few days ago, Trump had voiced an audacious idea that Gen. Mazloum could be a potential negotiator with Erdogan. To quote Trump, “General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you (Erdogan), and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.”

Yet, General Mazloum is Turkey’s most wanted terrorist who worked in the ranks of the separatist PKK for nearly 3 decades and it is necessary to connect some dots at this point.

Looking back, when Erdogan came to power as prime minister in 2003, he had unfolded a bold vision on the Kurdish problem via a negotiated political reconciliation. His approach was encouraged by the US. But he ran into headwinds and eventually lost his sense of direction.

To recap further, in late 2012 Erdogan went public with a dramatic announcement that top Turkish officials had begun negotiations with the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan who was captured in 1998 and is undergoing life imprisonment on Imrali island in the Sea of Marmara off Istanbul.

Öcalan responded in March 2013 to Erdogan’s overture by calling for a cease-fire, and PKK guerrillas actually began to withdraw from Turkey. As peace talks faltered, however, the cease-fire collapsed in July 2015.

But, significantly, Öcalan has continued to advocate for a negotiated agreement to bring about Kurdish autonomy within Turkey. Now, isn’t it an interesting coincidence that Gen. Mazloum, Trump’s interlocutor among the Syrian Kurdish leadership, also happens to be the adopted son of Öcalan?

Gen. Mazloum is likely to visit Washington in a near future; so is Erdogan. Trump is promoting Kurdish reconciliation with Turkey. The last fortnight’s developments on the diplomatic front have removed the single biggest source of tension in the US-Turkey relations — US’ alliance with YPG and the presence of Kurdish fighters along Syria’s border with Turkey.

Curiously, Trump also said in his announcement yesterday, “We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil.  And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

Most of Syria’s oil comes from Eastern Syria, which is now under the control of the US-backed Kurdish militia or YPG. (Before the war, Syria produced 387,000 barrels per day of which 140,000 bpd were exported.)

In February last year, Syrian forces backed by Russian mercenaries made a serious incursion in the area but retreated in disarray after suffering heavy casualties following merciless US air strikes. Relative calm prevailed in the region since then.

Evidently, in the geopolitics of Syrian oil, US, Turkey and the Kurds can have “win-win” partnership, which in turn can also provide underpinning for an enduring political reconciliation between Turks and Kurds.

Trump said Washington is mulling over Syria’s oil reserves. Meanwhile, he’s put across a tantalising proposition for Erdogan to ponder over. It demands a leap of faith on Erdogan’s part, but it could be rewarding.

Erdogan has allowed Öcalan access to his family and lawyers and even to relay messages to Kurdish activists. Erdogan knows that if ever he is to solve the 30-year-long conflict with the PKK, he may have to do so with the involvement of Öcalan.

In December 2017, Erdogan had deputed Turkey’s spy chief and trusted aide Hakan Fidan to Imrali island for talks with Öcalan. Two Kurdish MPs were also allowed to visit the PKK leader.

No doubt, Öcalan is a bridge between the Kurds and Turks. And in today’s circumstances, Öcalan can as well become a bridge between his adopted son Gen.  Mazloum and Erdogan.

While accompanying Pence to Ankara last week, state secretary Mike Pompeo had hinted that the US is looking for an expanded regional partnership with Turkey and if Erdogan works “alongside” Trump, it “will benefit Turkey a great deal.”

Countering Iran’s influence / presence in Syria and Iraq is the US policy. The decision to transfer the US troops from Syria to Iraq and the continued stationing of troops in Al-Tanf base highlights that cutting off Iran’s land route to Syria and Lebanon continues to be a priority.

Broadly, many challenges lie ahead in Syria and the US realises that Turkey is irreplaceable as regional partner. Trump always thought of Erdogan as someone he can do business with.

Ankara will welcome a grand bargain between Erdogan and Trump and regards the US’ backing for a Turkey-led “safe zone” on Syrian territory as a step in the right direction. In the final analysis, however, for all of this to happen, one way or another, Turkey’s tensions with Kurds should ease.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kurdish-led SDF militant group thanks Russia for defusing Turkey’s Syria incursion

Press TV – October 24, 2019

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group has thanked Moscow for striking a deal with Ankara, which ended a Turkish offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, welcoming the deployment of Russian and Syrian troops to the border regions as part of the agreement.

During talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov via video-link on Wednesday, SDF head Mazloum Abdi said Moscow had saved the Kurds from the “scourge” of war through the recent agreement with Ankara.

According to a SDF statement, Abdi “expressed his thanks to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their keenness on defusing the war in our region and sparing civilians its scourge.”

“Currently, units of the Russian military police and regular Syrian troops are being deployed into many locations. We are providing them with all kind of help and assistance,” Abdi said.

Abdi, however, expressed “reservations about some points of the agreement,” which he said need to be put to further discussions.

The Ankara-Moscow deal put an end to the Turkish offensive, which had been launched on October 9 with the aim of cleansing the regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militias — whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants — and establishing a “safe zone” there.

The 10-point memorandum of understanding was unveiled following lengthy talks between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

Under the deal, which took effect at noon on Wednesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards entered the northern border regions to facilitate the removal of YPG militants and their weapons to a depth of 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Syria’s frontier with Turkey.

Once the process is complete, within 150 hours, Turkish and Russian soldiers will begin joint patrols of the entire border area to a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) with the exception of the border city of Qamishli in Hasakah Province.

The Turkish invasion of Syria came with the green light of the US, which was once a staunch supporter of the Kurdish militants. Prior to the incursion, Washington abruptly pulled its forces out of Syria’s northern regions, effectively moving aside for NATO ally Ankara to attack the Kurds.

Feeling betrayed by the US, the Kurdish militants turned to Damascus for help, inking a Russia-brokered deal with the Syrian government, under which the Kurds allowed army troops to deploy along the Turkish border to stave off Ankara’s offensive.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment