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Video from outside cell during Epstein’s first ‘suicide attempt’ deleted – after being lost & found

RT | January 9, 2020

Surveillance footage from outside notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell during his first alleged suicide attempt in July has been deleted, concluding a comedy of errors that saw the video first lost, then found.

Video from outside the deceased financier’s cell, on the day he was found semi-conscious on the floor with marks on his neck, believed to have attempted suicide, has been permanently deleted by Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to a court filing. The jail allegedly saved video from the wrong tier of the facility. A backup system that should have retained the deleted footage stopped functioning in August, and the video no longer exists there either due to “technical errors,” prosecutors claimed. It is the latest in a long series of “mistakes” and anomalies surrounding the convicted sex offender’s death.

The footage had a complicated journey before its final meeting with oblivion, if media reports are to be believed. Prosecutors claimed to have “found” the video on December 19, a day after a prosecutor said it had gone missing during a hearing. When it was found, it was said to have been properly preserved by MCC staff. The footage had been requested by attorneys for Epstein’s former cellmate, a burly ex-cop named Nicholas Tartaglione, accused of killing four people in a drug deal gone bad and burying them in his backyard.

They asked to see the tape in the hope of obtaining a more lenient sentence for Tartaglione, after he claimed he had helped save Epstein’s life – only to be stonewalled for nearly five months.

Epstein allegedly attempted suicide on July 23, only to be saved by Tartaglione. Just two days later, Tartaglione’s attorneys asked to see the surveillance footage, only to be “told that it was not retained,” one lawyer recalled to CNBC. It’s not clear why this went unremarked-upon for five months or where the footage was ultimately found.

Crucially, it appears the footage was still in limbo when Epstein was found dead on the morning of August 10. His death was ruled a suicide, though a celebrity pathologist hired by his family claimed his body showed evidence of homicidal strangulation and witnesses heard “shrieking and yelling” coming from his cell that morning.
Also on Epstein autopsy photos add to murder speculation

Epstein’s death – the first ‘suicide’ inside the MCC in decades – remains shrouded in mystery. Two guards have been charged with negligence for failing to check on their infamous prisoner for hours, and surveillance video from that day was deemed “unusable.” Revelations that Epstein had compromising material on many of his powerful friends gave rise to numerous alternate theories about his death.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | 4 Comments

Timeline of US-Iran conflict: 1953 through Present

If Americans Knew | Last Updated: January 9, 2020

In the interest of understanding recent events, we have quickly put together a partial timeline of US-Iran relations, beginning in 1953 through the present. This is a quick, somewhat cursory timeline, but we feel it’s important that a general outline become available as soon as possible.

Many thousands of American families are heavily invested in the situation – according to U.S. Central Command, between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops are currently in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

 * 1800s to 1951:  Relations between the US and Iran began in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Initially, while Iran was very wary of British and Russian colonial interests, it viewed the United States as a more trustworthy great power.

During World War II Iran was invaded by Britain and the Soviet Union, both US allies, but relations with the US continued to be positive. This changed in 1953:

 * 1953: UK and US orchestrated a coup to overthrow Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh.

Mossadegh had denied the British further involvement in Iran’s oil industry. Britain then appealed to the US for help, which eventually led the CIA to orchestrate the overthrow of Mossadegh and restore power to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.

The Shah became  known for “his autocratic rule, corruption in his government, the unequal distribution of oil wealth, forced Westernization, and the activities of SAVAK (the secret police) in suppressing dissent and opposition to his rule.”

SAVAK had been formed in 1957 under the guidance of US and Israeli intelligence officers.

Today’s Iranian Supreme Leader was one of those tortured in a Savak prison.

 * In 1979 the Shah was overthrown by a popular revolution. He then traveled to the US, which had supported him.

The rebels eventually converted the form of government from a monarchy to an elected government based on a strict interpretation of Islam: The Islamic Republic of Iran. This was a backlash against the authoritarian Shah’s forced westernization and denigration of the traditional religion (more on the revolution & aftermath here and here and here).

 * The new Iranian government begins its support of Palestinian rights against Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Muslim and Christian inhabitants of what had originally been called Palestine.

 * Iran also supports Hezbollah, armed resistance groups in Lebanon against Israel’s invasions of Lebanon. 

(Israel exploited Americans in its fight against Lebanon.)

Ha’aretz : Iran’s mentoring of Hezbollah’s insurgency of the 1980s and 1990s forced Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon.

 * Israel and the pro-Israel lobby in the US – which plays a major role in US Mideast policies – has opposed Iran ever since the new Iranian government was created.

The Oded Yinon plan (“Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East) provides some information on the Israeli role through the years in destabilizing many countries in the Middle East.

* Since the Shah’s regime had tortured many dissidents, his victims wanted him to return to Iran to face justice, but the US would not extradite him. Iranian students then seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took hostage more than 50 Americans, demanding the extradition of the shah in return for the hostages’ release. Extradition was refused and the hostages were held for 444 days.

 * Washington then froze about $12 billion in Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold, and other properties. Most of those were released in 1981 as part of the Reagan release deal.

 * Some assets—Iranian officials say $10 billion, but US officials say much less—remain frozen, pending resolution of legal claims arising from the Revolution. The money that the Obama administration returned to Iran as part of the JCPOA agreement was Iran’s own money.

 * The next year, in September 1980, Iraq launched a war against Iran that lasted until 1988. The death toll was an estimated 1 million for Iran and 250,000-500,000 for Iraq. 

U.S. officials later acknowledged that American arms, technology and intelligence helped Iraq kill Iranians and avert defeat and eventually grow, with much help from the Soviet Union later, into a major regional power.

* The administrations of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous “dual-use” items, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax.

 * In 1988 a US Navy ship shot down a commercial Iranian airliner, killing 290 men, women, and children. The Pentagon at first denied it was involved, and then said it was an accident.

 * in 1992, Netanyahu told the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

 * In 1996 Israel’s Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and claimed that Iran was getting “extremely close” to getting nuclear weapons. 

Netanyahu makes this claim again and again in the coming years.

* After the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan and attacked the Taliban. Iran assisted the US in this fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, with Soleimani playing a major role.

Earlier, the U.S. had supported Islamic forces against the Soviet Union, which the Carter administration had drawn into invading Afghanistan.

 * In 2002 Israel began a campaign claiming, falsely, that Iran was developing nuclear weapons.

This campaign has continued and escalated through the years, as documented here.

 • In 2003 the US invaded Iraq based on what turned out to be a false claim that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction.”

The invasion was promoted by Israel and its partisans. As a result, 5,000 Americans died and approximately 288,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians. The unprovoked invasion and occupation, including the Abu Ghraib atrocities, destabilized the region and fueled the rise of extremism that led to ISIS.

Iran has been in the forefront of fighting ISIS. General Soleimani led this. At times, the US and Iran cooperated in this fight.

 * The US, under the influence of the Israel lobby, supports Israeli actions. Over the years, it labels resistance fighters “terrorists” and condemns Iran’s support of Palestinian rights.

The pro-Israel lobby in the US has long been working against Iran in order to improve Israel’s strategic position. In 2004 AIPAC officials stole US Defense Dept secrets, intending to channel them to the Washington Post to convince Americans that it was time for troops fighting in Iraq to pivot to Iran. (It is not rare for the Post to be used by Israel partisans.)

* In 2007, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” – meaning Israel – to “vanish from the page of time.” (As Juan Cole explains, many mistranslated his words as “wiped off the face of the map.”)

 * Israel and its partisans continue to claim (as they have since 1991) that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. US intelligence find no evidence for the claim.

* Between 2010 and 2012 Israel murdered four young Iranian scientists.

One was the 32 year old deputy head of Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. He was in his car on his way to work when he was blown up by a magnetic bomb attached to his car door. He was married with a young son. He wasn’t armed, or anywhere near a battlefield.

Another was a 35-year-old electronics expert shot dead outside his daughter’s nursery.It appears that another had been murdered in 2007. A US Senator, Rick Santorum, called the murders “a wonderful thing.”

* February 2015 Supreme Leader Khamenei condemns ISIS beheading Christians, tweeting: “We don’t forget how much Iranian #Christians have taken pains to render services & some of them have martyred in Saddam’s war against #Iran.” He advised Muslims to help Christians in need while extolling what he said was the Islamic Republic of Iran’s equal treatment of people of different faiths.

* In January 2015 Khamenei publishes “Letter to Western Youth” on his official website. It is major news in Iran. In November he publishes a second one. They  include the statement:

“… The pain of any human being anywhere in the world causes sorrow for a fellow human being. The sight of a child losing his life in the presence of his loved ones, a mother whose joy for her family turns into mourning…… Anyone who has benefited from affection and humanity is affected and disturbed by witnessing these scenes- whether it occurs in France or in Palestine or Iraq or Lebanon or Syria…. The issue, however, is that if today’s pain is not used to build a better and safer future, then it will just turn into bitter and fruitless memories…

U.S. media ignore the letters.

  * In July 2015, the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” a detailed, 159-page agreement is reached by Iran and the P5+1 (China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) aimed at halting Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program.

Nevertheless, Iran signs the agreement, giving up many rights in an attempt to diminish US-Israeli sanctions.

 * Both Democrats and Republicans repeat the Israel-promoted false claim that Iran is the top sponsor of “terror.”

Recent events

Much of the following is excerpted from an Al Jazeera timeline, with a number of additions from diverse other sources (sources are provided in embedded links):

 * Trump makes good on an election campaign promise, announcing on May 8, 2018 that the US is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).

Trump’s action is influenced by pro-Israel multi-billionaire campaign donors Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus.

Adelson once said he regretted that he had served in the US army instead of in the Israeli military.

 * In response, Iran calls this “unacceptable” and says it will bypass Washington and negotiate with the deal’s other remaining signatories: France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China.

 * May 21 Trump administration makes 12 demands, which Iran rejects.

 * US on August 7 reimposes the first round of sanctions on Iran, originally lifted as part of the nuclear deal. They prohibit trade with a number of business sectors – from aviation and carpets to pistachios and gold.

 * On November 5, the US announces a new round of sanctions, this time specifically targeting the key oil and banking sectors.


 * In March the US Treasury Department, under Israel partisan Steven Mnuchin, blacklisted 25 Iranian businesses and individuals.

[The individual under Mnuchin in charge of US actions regarding Iran is an Israeli citizen.]

Pro-Israel organizations had lobbied for the creation of this branch of the Treasury.

* On April 2, Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said: “I can announce today, based on declassified US military reports, that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of US personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”

Navy Commander Sean Robertson followed up with an email to media outlets pushing that same line. When author Gareth Porter asked Robertson for further clarification of the origins of that figure, however, Robertson “acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn’t have any study, documentation, or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure.”

 * On April 8, Trump announces he is designating a powerful arm of the Iranian military, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization.

It is the first time Washington has formally labelled another country’s military a “terrorist group.” The designation imposes wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on the IRGC that will go into effect on April 15.

 * Responding to the move, Iran immediately declares the US a “state sponsor of terrorism” and calls Washington’s forces in the region “terrorist groups.”

* On May 5,  Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton announces the US is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings”.

 * On May 8, Iran says it is preparing to increase enriched uranium and heavy water production as part of its decision to stop certain commitments made under the nuclear deal. (Iran continues to emphasize that it is NOT developing nuclear weapons, which are banned by a religious edict from its Supreme Leader.)

 * Trump announces new measures against Iran’s steel and mining sectors.

 * On May 12, the United Arab Emirates says four commercial ships off the coast of Fujairah, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs, “were subjected to sabotage operations”.  

The UAE did not name a suspect and there were no claims of responsibility. Unnamed US officials identified Iran as a prime suspect. But the officials offered no proof to back the claim.

Iranian officials expressed concern, saying the alleged attacks could have been carried out by third parties to stir up conflict between Washington and Tehran during the heightened tensions.

The US’s “maximum pressure” campaign had triggered an economic crisis in Iran.

 * Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are locked in a long-running war with a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition, launch drone attacks on Saudi Arabia on May 14, striking a major oil pipeline and taking it out of service.

 * Two days later, Riyadh, a key US ally, blames Iran for the attack.

 * The US and Saudi Arabia accuse Iran of arming the Houthis.

 * Tehran denies the claim.

 * On May 19, a rocket lands near the US embassy in Baghdad. No one is harmed.

It is not clear who is behind the attack, but Trump tweets: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif responds by tweeting that Trump had been “goaded” into “genocidal taunts”.

 * After meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who offers to broker dialogue between Washington and Tehran, Trump says on May 27 the US is “not looking for regime change” in Iran.

* On June 12, Abe arrives in Tehran in a bid to mediate between the US and Iran.

 * Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refuses to meet with him, saying: “I don’t consider Trump as a person worthy of exchanging messages with. I have no response for him and will not answer him.”

 * On June 13, with Abe still in Iran, a Japanese and a Norwegian tanker come under “attack” in the Gulf of Oman, according to the Norwegian maritime authority and the Japanese shipowner.

Iran speaks initially of “accidents” and says it rescued 44 crew. Zarif calls tanker “attacks” during Abe’s visit “suspicious”.

 * On June 17, the Pentagon authorizes the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East.

 * On the same date, Iran says it is 10 days away from surpassing the limits set by the nuclear deal on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

 * Iran says it can reverse the move if the deal’s European signatories step in and make an effort to circumvent US sanctions. 

 * On June 20, Iranian forces shoot down a US military drone.

Both countries confirm the incident but offer diverging accounts about the location of the aircraft.

The US says it was flying above international waters, while Iran says the drone was flying in Iranian airspace.

 * On June 21, Trump says he called off a military strike on Iran the night before, which was intended as retaliation against Tehran for the downing of the unmanned US drone.

Trump says he did so 10 minutes before the planned attack because of potential casualties, saying it was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone”.

Trump says a US strike could have killed 150 people, and signals he is open to talks with Tehran.

 * On June 22, Iran says it is ready to respond firmly to any US threat against it. 

“We will not allow any violation against Iran’s borders. Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America,” Abbas Mousavi, foreign ministry spokesman, says.

 * On the same day, Iran orders the execution of a “defence ministry contractor” convicted of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency,

 * The US vows to impose fresh sanctions, adding that military action was still “on the table.”

 * On June 25, Trump signs an order targeting Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, and associates with additional financial sanctions 

“Sanctions imposed through the executive order … will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support,” the US president says.

 * Responding to the announcement, Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, tweets that hawkish politicians close to Trump were thirsty for war rather than diplomacy.

Rouhani dismisses the sanctions as “outrageous and idiotic”, adding that Tehran’s “strategic patience” should not be mistaken for fear.

 * On June 29, the US Air Forces Central Command says in a statement that F-22 Raptor stealth fighters are being deployed in the region “to defend American forces and interests”.

 * On July 1, Iran exceeds the limit on the amount of enriched uranium in its stockpile set out in the nuclear deal.

Zarif says the accumulation of more enriched uranium than permitted under the deal is not a violation of the pact.

 * On July 4, British Royal Marines, police and customs agents in Gibraltar seize a supertanker accused of carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.

The Grace 1 vessel was boarded on Thursday when it slowed down in a designated area used by shipping agencies to ferry goods to ships in the UK territory along Spain’s southern coast.

 * On July 8, Iran passes the uranium enrichment cap set in the nuclear deal, the second time in a week that it makes good on a promise to reduce compliance with the accord.

 * On July 12, police in Gilbraltar arrest the captain and chief officer of an Iranian tanker that was seized by British forces the previous week.

 * On July 19, the IRGC says its forces have seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Stena Impero tanker “was confiscated by the Revolutionary Guards at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules”, the force says in its official website.

 * On July 25, the UK announces the country’s warships will escort all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a change in policy that takes place amid rising tensions in the Gulf. 

 * On August 1, the US imposes sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Ali Khamenei.

“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says in a statement.

 * Zarif brushes off the move on Twitter, saying it indicates Washington saw him as a “threat”.

“It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interest outside of Iran,” he says.

 * On August 23, Rouhani inducts a locally built air-defence system into the country’s missile defense network at an unveiling ceremony in Tehran.

Iran began production after the purchase of Russia’s S-300 system was suspended in 2010 due to international sanctions that have barred it from importing many weapons.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rouhani says the mobile surface-to-air system was “better than S-300 and close to [more advanced] S-400”.

 * On August 26, Iran’s top diplomat holds talks with France’s President Emmanuel Macron at the sidelines of a G7 summit following a surprise invite to the gathering in Biarritz.

“Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues,” Zarif says. “Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.”

On the same day, Iran says it has sold 2.1m barrels of crude oil on board the tanker that was seized in Gibraltar the previous month, adding that the vessel’s new owner will decide on its next destination.

 * On August 30, the UN says Iran is still exceeding limitations set by its nuclear deal with world powers, increasing its stock of enriched uranium and refining it to a greater purity than allowed in the agreement.

The quarterly report from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency confirms Iran is progressively backing out of the pact in retaliation for the US’s withdrawal from the accord and the subsequent renewal of sanctions that have hit Iranian oil sales.

 * On September 3, the US imposes sanctions on Iran’s civilian space agency and two research organizations, saying they were being used to advance Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

The measures imposed by the US Department of the Treasury target the Iran Space Agency, Iran Space Research Center and the Astronautics Research Institute.

 * On September 4, the US turns up the economic pressure on Iran, blacklisting an oil shipping network that Washington alleges is directed by the IRGC.

The blacklisted group of firms, ships and individuals stands accused by the US Treasury of breaching sanctions by supplying Syria with oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

 * The Trump administration, meanwhile, says it will not accommodate a proposal by France to throw a financial lifeline to Tehran.

 * The US offers several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department confirms.

The Financial Times reports on September 5 that Brian Hook, the State Department point man on Iran, [who spoke at the 2019 AIPAC conference and the American Jewish Committee conference] has sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which he offered “good news” of millions in US cash to live comfortably if he steered the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as Grace 1, to a country where it could be seized. (Captain Kumar rejected the offer.)

 * On September 7, Iran starts injecting gas into advanced centrifuges to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium and warns time is running out for the nuclear deal’s other signatories to save the landmark pact.

Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi says Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation has started up advanced centrifuges at the enrichment facility in Natanz, the third step by Tehran in scaling back its commitments under the crumbling pact following Washington’s withdrawal.

 * Trump on September 10 announces via Twitter that he has fired Bolton, his national security adviser, saying he has “strongly disagreed” with many of his hawkish positions.

Bolton’s sacking is reportedly linked to a fundamental disagreement over the possible easing of US sanctions on Iran.

 * On September 14, Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim responsibility for drone attacks on two major Saudi Aramco oil facilities:  Abqaiq – the world’s largest oil processing plant – and the Khurais oilfield, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The pre-dawn strikes knock out more than half of crude output from the world’s top exporter.

 * Pompeo swiftly blames Iran, saying it “has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”.

 * Iran dismisses the “meaningless” US allegations, saying they were meant to justify actions against the country.

 * Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Trump on September 24 lashes out at Iran and calls countries around the world to tighten the economic noose around it.

“One of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations today is the repressive regime in Iran,” he says.

  * Human Rights Watch finds that US sanctions are threatening Iranians’ health.

* In October Trump called the Iraq war “the single worst mistake this country has ever made” and said: “These wars, they never end. And we have to bring our great soldiers back from the never-ending wars.”

 * The US on November 4 imposed new sanctions on the inner circle of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including one of his sons. 

The US Treasury said that the nine people sanctioned included Khamenei’s chief of staff, the head of the judiciary and senior military figures. It said it also blacklisted Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff.

 * Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the sanctions as “a sign of the desperation and inability of this regime in benefiting from a diplomatic and logical approach” to important international issues, according to the official IRNA news agency.

 * Iran on November 6, began the process of injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at the underground Fordow facility.

 * A US-led naval coalition officially launched operations in Bahrain on November 7 to protect shipping in the troubled waters of the Gulf, following a string of attacks that Washington and its allies blamed on Iran.

 * Iran, which denied any responsibility for the mystery attacks, put forward its own proposals for boosting Gulf security that pointedly excluded outside powers.

 * Iran’s state news agency IRNA says air defence forces shot down an “unknown” drone on November 8. 

 * The United States Central Command released a statement later that Friday saying that the downed drone was not one of theirs, and that all military drones were accounted for.

 * Unrest in Iran erupted on November 15 after the government abruptly raised fuel prices by as much as 300 percent. 

Iranian forces reportedly kill several hundred protestors. Iran denies this.

 * The US on November 22 imposed sanctions on Iran’s communications minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi for his role in “widespread censorship”.

 * Addressing thousands of demonstrators in the capital, General Hossein Salami on November 25 accused the US, the United Kingdom, Iraq and Saudi Arabia of stoking unrest in the country.

 * The official news agency IRNA reported on November 27 that Iranian security agents arrested at least eight people linked to the CIA during deadly unrest over petrol price increases.

 * The Pentagon on December 4 denied a report that the US was weighing sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East to confront a perceived threat from Iran.

 * A US Navy warship seized advanced missile parts on December 4 believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea. 

 * In a rare act of cooperation, Iran and the US on December 7 exchanged prisoners.

Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born US citizen held in Iran since 2016, was exchanged for Massoud Soleimani, an Iranian scientist detained in the US.

 * On December 11, the US Treasury imposed new sanctions on Iran’s biggest airline and its shipping industry, accusing them of transporting lethal aid to Yemen.

 * On December 19, the US announced that it would restrict visas for Iranian officials for their alleged roles in suppressing peaceful protests and imposed sanctions on two Iranian judges. 

The sanctions imposed by the Treasury froze any assets the two judges have in the US, and barred US citizens from dealing with them.

 * On December 27, a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk killed a US contractor and wounded several US service members and Iraqi personnel.

In its statement confirming the attack, the US-led coalition against ISIL (the ISIS group) did not specify who might be responsible, but US officials later blamed Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia, for the attack.

 * Two days later – on December 29 – the US military carried out “defensive strikes” on sites in Iraq and Syria belonging to Kataib Hezbollah that Washington said were in retaliation for the killing of the US contractor. 

* Iraqi security and militia sources said at least 25 fighters were killed and 55 others wounded following the air attacks in Iraq on Sunday.

 * Iran strongly condemned the attacks, with a government spokesman saying: “America has shown its firm support for terrorism and its neglect for the independence and sovereignty of countries and it must accept consequences for its illegal act.”

 * On December 31, enraged members and supporters of pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq broke into the heavily fortified US embassy compound in Baghdad, smashing a main door and setting parts of its perimeter on fire.

 * On January 2, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said there were “some indications” that Iran or groups it supports “may be planning additional attacks” on US interests in the Middle East. 

 * On January 3, in a predawn air raid at Iraq’s Baghdad airport, the US struck and killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, or PMF.

According to Iraq’s prime minister, Soleimani had arrived to ease tensions in the region, after Trump had asked the prime minister to help mediate.

Trump notified Israel ahead of time, but did not notify the US Congress. … Israeli security officials had recommended the assassination of Suleimani last year.

Former top US intelligence officials point out that Israel is the country that most benefits from hostilities between Iran and the US. Others, also, feel Israel was connected to why Trump, who had a few months ago opposed Mideast wars, authorized the assassination.

Pompeo said Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on Americans, but did not supply the evidence for this.

 * The Iraqi prime minister and parliament condemn the attack and demand the US forces leave Iraq.

Trump threatens major sanctions against Iraq if that occurs. (Previous US sanctions against Iraq had cost the lives of a million Iraqis, half of them children.)

* On January 5th, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared that the assassination of Soleimani was a “turning point in the history of the region,” and that the US would receive a “just punishment” for the crime. He specified that the target would not be American citizens, but the military.

*Iran threatens retaliation.

Soleimani had been widely respected throughout Iran; a million mourners turn out. Analysts around the world are concerned that this escalation will result in major violence.

President Trump tweets that if Iran harms any Americans, he will attack Iranian cultural sites.

While Secretary of State Pompeo had claimed the action would make Americans “safer,” on January 4th the government issued a security alert.

*On January 8 more than a dozen missiles hit two US bases in Iraq.

This reportedly marks the first time that today’s Iranian government has directly struck U.S. military or other state targets and acknowledged doing so.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of U.N. Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.”

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Baghdad revived deal to buy Russian S-300 following US strikes – Iraq’s Security & Defense Committee chairman

RT | January 9, 2020

Baghdad has reached out to Moscow again after it suffered American bombings on its soil, a high-ranked lawmaker revealed, saying the resumed deal focuses on the time-tested S-300 air defense systems.

The US attacks on Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, prompted the Iraqi government “to resume negotiations regarding the S-300 deal,” Mohammad Ridha, chairman of Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, told Sputnik on Thursday.

The US military have launched the air strikes against the PMU units in late December, blaming them for an attack that killed an American civilian contractor. The Shia militia force, backed by Iran, later said it lost 25 fighters.

It started a vicious chain of events, beginning with fiery anti-American demonstrations near the US Embassy in Baghdad. Though no one from the US diplomatic staff was hurt, the Pentagon responded with brute force, killing a top Iranian general, who they said masterminded the unrest, and ratcheting up tensions around Iran.

Now, Ridha said he’s unaware of the stage the talks are currently in, but mentioned the deal was greenlighted by Iraqi leadership. In his view, the prospective purchase won’t sit well with the Americans: “We await US opposition on this issue.”

Washington has piled enormous pressure on nations that have bought Russian-made air defense systems, or considering buying them. Turkey has been targeted with an array of US penalties for procuring the S-400, while India, another prospective operator of the system, faces similar ramifications.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

IRGC Aerospace Force Commander: Iran Missile Strike Eradicated US Horror Formula Imposed since WWII

Al-Manar | January 9, 2020

IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh Thursday briefed the media outlets on the Iranian missile strike on US military base in Iraq, stressing that it managed to undermine US awe.

General Hajizadeh stressed that since WWII there has not been any attack on a US target that keeps unanswered, adding that Iran managed to eradicate this horror formula.

General Hajizadeh pointed out that the Iranian forces fired 13 missiles at Ain Al-Asad base and had been able to fire hundreds of others had the US forces responded.

The Iranian missiles hit the command chamber and positions used to prepare the combat helicopters at the US base, according to General Hajizadeh, who added that Iran decided to strike the US base in Iraq that is the largest and the farthest from the Iranian border.

“Unlike the Americans, we are not criminals; we could have struck the dormitory areas of the US troops at Ain Al-Asad base and killed 500 of them had we decided that.”

General Hajizadeh stressed that the missile strike left US human losses, adding that nine jets moved the injured US soldiers to the Zionist entity.

General Hajizadeh emphasized that the US existence in the region is in danger, calling on Washington to learn from what happened and start a voluntarily withdrawal.

General Hajizadeh addressed the Gulf countries, reiterating that the US forces may never protect them.

“The Iranian forces planned to strike the US bases in the Gulf countries.”

General Hajizadeh stressed that the assassination of General Suleimani will cause a tsunami that will expel the US forces from the region.

On January 3, a US drone attack targeted a vehicular convoy for the head of the IRGC Al-Quds Force General Qassem Suleimani and the deputy chief of Hasd Shaabi Committee Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, claiming both of them in addition to a number of their companions.

On January 8, the Iranian rocketry forces responded by firing 13 ballistic missiles at the US military base of Ain Al-Asad in Iraq’s Anbar, causing heavy losses upon it.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iraqi Foreign Minister stresses need for withdrawal of foreign troops

Press TV – January 9, 2020

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim has stressed the need for US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq as a backlash grows over the recent American assassination of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.

The top Iraqi diplomat made the appeal during a joint press briefing with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Baghdad on Thursday.

Hakim and Cavusoglu strongly condemned the US assassination of Iran’s Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both key figures in the fight against Daesh and other Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.

“Iraq insists on maintaining its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the complete withdrawal of foreign forces,” the top Iraqi diplomat said.

He added that talks with his Turkish counterpart focused on the need to respect Iraq’s sovereignty from all sides.

“Iraq condemns the attacks on Iraqi land, which harms the sovereignty of our country as well the security of Iraqi people. They are against the international law,” the Iraqi minister said.

Hakim added, “”We have discussed with the minister that Iraq wants all foreign forces are removed out of the country through dialogue. We also discussed with the minister on cooperation areas. We have agreed to alleviate the Iran-US tension in the region.”

The two sides also discussed bilateral relations at all levels, including cooperation on fighting terrorism, al-Hakim said.

The top Iraqi diplomat said any escalation of tensions in the region could result in the re-emergence of Takiri terrorist groups.

The Turkish foreign minister, for his part, said Ankara does not want Iraq to become a battleground for foreign forces.

Cavusoglu added that Iraq was not alone and Turkey was there to overcome difficult days together.

Turkish foreign minister also spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif Wednesday after Tehran fired dozens of missiles at two military bases hosting US troops in Iraq. The missiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad base in Anbar province and another base in Erbil.

PMU leader denies role in rocket attacks

In another development, Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, a subdivision of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, known by its Arabic name as Hashd al-Sha’abi, denied any involvement in the recent firing of rockets at Baghdad’s Green Zone where the US embassy is located.

Two Katyusha rockets struck Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Wednesday, landing near the US embassy but causing no casualties, according to the Iraqi military.

Al-Khazali also said it was time for an Iraqi response to the recent US assassination, adding the reaction will be “no less in size” than Tehran’s missile strikes on two American bases in Iraq.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called the US airstrike “a political assassination”. He also underlined the need for a timetable to withdraw all foreign troops “for the sake of our national sovereignty.”

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

The Kerfuffle War – Trump’s Iran De-escalation Succeeds

By Joaquin Flores | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 9, 2020

Just like that, it was over. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it ‘a kerfuffle’. A letter was sent to their Iraqi peers that the U.S was repositioning troops out of Iraq in accordance with legislation from Iraq ending the U.S military presence in the war-torn country, and suddenly then it was retracted by higher-ups. Running interference, Mark Esper backed Milley and said it was ‘an honest mistake’. It all went down within a day of the irrational assassination of Iran’s Soleimani.

The immediate termination of Chewning and Sweeney, at the same time as the assassination of Soleimani and Iran’s response raises some big questions. In the near future it will be of critical importance to get to the bottom of any possible relationship that Esper and his subordinates Chewning and Sweeney – who both served as Defense Secretary Esper’s Chiefs of Staff – had to the assassination of Soleimani. The assassination and any number of possible Iranian responses, can push the U.S into a broad and open military conflict with Iran. Such a war would also be Trump’s undoing.

We might otherwise be led to believe that Chewning and Sweeney’s sudden departure has something to do with Ukraine and the recent release of unredacted emails relating to L3Harris Technologies and funding in Ukraine. These of course also relate to the case against Trump and any possible impeachment. But the timing and symbolism of these as concurrent with the provocation against Iran and the blowback, as well as Esper’s backing of the ‘Kerfuffle theory’, lends strong credence to an Iran connection.

The connection to impeachment cannot be denied, but the necessity of uncovering its potential relation to Iran is tremendously important because it directly relates to larger constitutional and practical questions of the president’s ability to have a Department of Defense that works either for or against U.S strategy as formulated and executed by its democratically elected leadership, as opposed to its permanent bureaucratic administration. This is what Trump and his supporters quite rightfully refer to as the ‘Deep State’.

Were elements in the defense department working towards a heightened brinksmanship that the president did not really want? It would be far from the first time in history that such was the case.

Because the proverbial excrement rolls down-hill, was Esper involved in ordering Soleimani’s assassination which Trump was not informed of until it was too late, or until after? Chewning and Sweeney’s fate may be understood here. The ‘kerfuffle’ which was the withdrawal statement would then be a simple ruse to distract from the actual reasons that Chewning and Sweeney were terminated – acting without orders, insubordination, and even treason.

Trump’s Balancing Policy on Iran and America’s leadership crisis

One undeniable point is that a war with Iran works entirely against Trump’s middle-east policy and his prospects for re-election.

What the Trump administration seeks most now is a de-escalation with Iran. Given that Trump has fueled a rumor mill including the possible ending of sanctions if Iran doesn’t respond, or that there will be no further attacks if Iran’s response is ‘reasonable’, all exists in the unspoken framework that Trump inherently recognizes the ‘guilt’ of the U.S in its irrational act, while it is nevertheless politically impossible to frame it overtly as such.

Impeachment against Trump has now been used several times to push him to act aggressively in the middle-east, contrary to his policy and self-interest. On all the ‘impeachment threat – then strike’ occasions, Trump ordered strikes on predictable targets – targets so predictable and oddly executed, that Syrian and Iranian forces barely felt them. There appears to be at the very least an ‘unspoken communication’ at play, where strikes are made to assuage political needs but not to inflict serious damage. If Trump really wanted an excuse to strike Iran, he’s had it before.

There was precisely such an opportunity when subversives in government hatched a plan to push Trump into a war with Iran, when two planes were sent to violate Iranian airspace – one manned, the other unmanned – flying in close proximity. This created the chance that Iran’s downing of either plane could be used as a pretext for a major war-creating strike on Iran.

Despite Trump’s acting reasonably, government actors and media attempted to create a sensation where Trump was ridiculed for ‘calling off’ a planned retaliation in the aftermath of the downed drone. The same liberal media and Democratic Party establishment that attacked Trump’s de-escalation then from a hawkish perspective, today manifest as doves who suddenly oppose Trump’s reckless hawkishness.

Here, in the aftermath of the drone incident, a Trump policy was formulated – and it’s a policy that figures prominently in de-escalation in the aftermath of the assassination of Soleimani and Iran’s measured response.

The policy is this – if Iran kills Americans, then the U.S escalates. If the U.S does something provocative, then Iran is actually allowed to respond militarily, so long as American personnel are not killed.

Iran’s striking of the al-Asad airbase was predictable. That Trump has decided to officially declare that there were no U.S casualties has indicated his real stance. In all reality, the predictability of the target was such that American soldiers would have been repositioned out of that base, so that Iran could assuage its own popular-democratic needs in terms of legitimacy, without forcing the U.S. to respond again further.

Between an AIPAC rock and an Anti-War Hard-spot

A war with Iran would push the anti-war sentiments of independent voters away from Trump, and towards a more revitalized and mobilized Democrat Party anti-war base. Trump needs an anti-war base to be re-elected, and war with Iran pushes that base towards nearly any Democrat candidate.

At the same time, Trump also needs the continued support from America’s Christian Zionist evangelical ‘Israel Firsters’, as well as the infamous AIPAC, not only to be re-elected, but to maintain the support in the senate against impeachment.

That conflict between Trump’s two greatest populist strengths – between Trump’s anti-war base and his Christian Zionist base – largely defines his weakest political spot. That’s why it’s the best place to attack him.

Trump for his part, has a frenemy relationship with AIPAC, and has worked hard to build his profile with Christian Zionist voters even to the extent that this might limit AIPAC’s influence on them. He has purchased a lot of AIPAC support along the way by tearing up the JCPOA and recognizing the Golan Heights and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This is capital he will have to spend to maintain support in the Senate.

All together this means that while Trump may or may not have personally sought the assassination of Soleimani, he must take credit for it for any number of reasons. In brief, these relate again to the Zionist base and AIPAC, as well as needing to appear in control of the very country that he is nominally the president of. When Trump refused to go to war over the downing of the un-manned drone, the liberal media monopoly accused him of being soft on Iran and indecisive.

Israel for its part is not tremendously happy with either of the two competing U.S policies. They have been pushing a ‘bomb Iran’ line for years, so that Israel’s conquest of Iraq may come to be. They are also not happy that the U.S presence in the region will come to an end. Trump may or may not have green-lit Soleimani’s assassination, but in either event its result will be the purchase of political capital that he can use towards ending the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq. The reality is that the U.S is being pushed out either way. Soleimani’s assassination has only strengthened that resolve.

Simultaneously, the anti-war sentiment in the U.S. is one that both led to Trump’s election and can lead to Trump’s undoing. Americans love sabre rattling and posturing. They also hate war.

To wit, in the immediate aftermath of the Soleimani assassination, the well-known American communist group – the PSL – and its anti-war front organization ‘ANSWER’ have already received incredible donations from deep-pocketed Democrat Party sponsors at the local party level, to stage the first significant anti-war demonstration since the Bush presidency. While PSL/ANSWER members and activists have been laudable in their consistent opposition to all American wars for capital and empire, they only seem to magically receive the funds for permits, advertising, organizing, and staging anti-war marches when a Republican is president. The secondary slogan of these mobilizations was ‘Dump Trump’. ‘Dump Obama’ was never a slogan seen at the non-existent mass mobilizations against the Libyan, Ukrainian, and Syrian wars.  Trump’s refusal to take the Democrat-laid war bait, means he can pull off an end-run around the Democrat and deep-state plot.

Democrats also don’t want war with Iran, they only want that Trump loses the anti-war vote. They can force him into these compromised positions by coordinating with the ‘permanent administrative military-intelligence bureaucracy’, by coordinating with AIPAC. The Democrat’s plan is therefore pretty simple: use impeachment to force him to strike at Iran (or get Trump to take credit for a strike that the deep-state pulled off), and then use that entanglement to tank his re-election prospects. Then Democrats ride in on an anti-war ticket, restart JCPOA, and move towards integrating Iranian elites into the EU economy. Israel could ultimately guarantee its piece of Iraq and its Greek pipeline deal in due course, with a reformed and EU friendly Iran, ready to make major compromises with Israel. Maybe this is what Biden means by ‘restorationist’ – restoring the traditional left/right political divide which has empowered the Atlanticist status quo.

A Backroom deal? Iran’s Measured Response and Trump’s face-saving

The successful attack on the US’s al-Asad airbase in Iraq was characterized by Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has characterized as a ‘slap’.

Interestingly, Khamenei’s language used is strategic, and uses a sleight of hand to take the steam from possible opponents. It is clear that Khamenei has said today that while the attack on the airbase is just a slap, and that Iran’s full response will come in the future, he has in fact set up that the solution will be political and diplomatic. He did so in a creative way which appeals to hardliners, saying that any solution could not simply be political and diplomatic, but rather more than this. This sort of double-speak does not reflect any moral lapsus, but is necessary for Iran’s greater geopolitical aims and serves the greater good.

De-escalation requires that both parties save face, and can come away with tangible minor victories and agree that the real underlying dispute is resolved in the future.

This reluctance to engage militarily is beyond the mere politics of justifying American casualties, but points to broader considerations of U.S power projection in the region in the aftermath of the failure of the Obama administration policy of overthrowing the government of Syria.

To understand the events at play requires a multi-dimensional and realist understanding of motivations and relationships, and how relationships work at the level of statecraft. And so in a way that would be popularly understood – as in Game of Thrones – just because you’re invited to the banquet or receive a high-honored appointment, doesn’t mean that are you indispensable or even a friend. Trump’s ‘GoT’ relationship with Israel and even his own cabinet, needless to say any number of Pentagon bosses, is precisely this. Bolton and Pompeo are such frenemies, as have been any number of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ members of the Trump administration, more or less foisted and forced upon the chief executive by Trump’s opponents in the permanent administration and his partisan opposition, and within the Republican Party itself.

Did Trump make a backroom deal with Iran? Probably not – there was a high public dimension to Trump’s offers, and a recent history where an unspoken language was developed. Iran has demonstrated a high level of intelligence, restraint, intuition, and strategic thinking in its several thousand year-old civilization. There is no reason to think that they wouldn’t have understood and inferred everything explained in this article, and much more, without needing a direct conversation with Trump which no doubt would have led to yet another impeachment fandango.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shell-shocked pundits come crawling back to Hillary over Trump’s Iran belligerence… forgetting she’d have started war sooner

If you squint really hard, it’s ALMOST like she’s in the Oval Office…
RT | January 8, 2020

Social media sang praises of would-be US President Hillary Clinton as actual President Donald Trump seemed headed for all-out war with Iran – even though Clinton had been a much more enthusiastic participant in US wars.

After Iranian missiles struck several US bases Tuesday night, #Resistance twitter wasted no time disavowing the administration they blamed for the hostilities, running into the arms of his arch-rival with the #IVotedforHillaryClinton hashtag.

But claiming Clinton was the less warlike of the two candidates, or would have steered the country away from war with Iran, requires a serious divergence from history. The former Secretary of State once told an interviewer that “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran.”

That was during her 2008 campaign, and in the middle of a discussion about Iran possibly attacking Israel. Perhaps her stance on the Islamic republic had softened a bit by 2016, enough to justify viewing her as the lesser of two Iran hawks?

Nope. The months leading up to that election saw her parroting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s decades-old talking points about Iran “racing toward a nuclear capability,” expanding “secret facilities,” and “defying their international obligations” before she swept in with the nuclear deal and solved all the problems.

Except the deal was negotiated after she was replaced as the top US diplomat by John Kerry. Clinton was on the same side as Trump, demanding ever more sanctions even as the nuclear deal took effect, this time as punishment for Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Beyond interventionist Democrats, she was courted by a bevy of neocons who couldn’t stomach Trump’s anti-interventionist rhetoric. Inveterate warmongers like Robert Kagan and Richard Armitage swooned over the ex-First Lady.

In short order, the infamous clip of Clinton mocking the brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi – “we came, we saw, he died” – resurfaced on twitter. The so-called “humanitarian” intervention in Libya was largely a creation of Clinton’s State Department, complete with risible wartime propaganda about Gaddafi handing out Viagra so his soldiers could better commit mass rapes, and the continued chaos in that once-advanced state remains a testament to what the region (or world) might look like under her watch.

She wanted a repeat performance in Syria, calling for – and thankfully not getting – a no-fly zone, even while admitting it would “kill a lot of Syrians.”

While Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton, he handily beat her in the Electoral College, which ultimately decides who occupies the White House. Despite her massive advantage in political experience, his promises to bring US troops home attracted significant support. Nearly four years later, however, the US is poised on the brink of a catastrophic expansion of its Forever War.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Figures on Left and Right Come Out in Support of Unpopular Anti-Iran Antagonism

By Eric Striker | National Justice | January 6, 2020

A number of figures in the alt-media and extreme-left movement have surprised their audiences by rationalizing the Trump administration’s Israeli-directed push towards war with Iran.

The consensus between high profile voices on the Zionist “far-right” and anarcho-neocon “far-left” in America and Britain reflect the party line in Israel, where even Amir Peretz of the ostensibly left-wing “opposition” Labor party hailed the Pentagon’s decision to assassinate Maj. General Qassem Soleimani by luring him to Iraq under the false pretense of peace negotiations.

Spencer Sunshine, a self-proclaimed anarchist and prominent voice in the American “antifa” scene who has been accused of Zionist entryism in the past, took to twitter to reiterate Sean Hannity’s script on the killing: that the Iranians brought it upon themselves by “antagonizing” America and “meddling” in Iraq. It speaks to the state of the modern co-opted left that somebody like Sunshine can express the Israeli government’s line and still survive the scrutiny of his peers. Sunshine is very suspicious of anti-war sentiment due to the fact that Jews like Sheldon Adelson and Jared Kushner are responsible for our over-the-top Iran policy. He has spent much of his career fighting what he calls “left-wing anti-Semitism” (principled anti-Zionism).

Caroline Orr, another fanatical Jewish supporter of “antifa,” chastised “fellow” leftists for ignoring Soleimani’s supposed “slaughter” of Syrians during the fight to save the country from ISIS. After some pushback, Orr is backpedaling, but her initial approval shows the Jewish nexus between the virulent anti-white forces on the left and the appetite for war against Iran on the so-called right. She also has made a name for herself for promoting fake news about “Russiagate” and attacking anti-war presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.

While a branch of the left led by “tankies” (Workers World Party and Revolutionary Communist Party) behind the ANSWER coalition are adamantly against imperialism, many anarchists and “democratic socialists” support the CIA-led protest groups we have seen in recent months in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, which have largely subsided but were intended to purge pro-Iran political factions. These groups are meant to incite a civil war, so these left-wing voices basically support regime change as well, just not by a full US ground invasion.

The ANSWER coalition’s anti-war protests that erupted across America were small, showing that the left is not passionate about opposing this conflict. Figures like AOC and high ranking advisors in the Bernie Sanders campaign all attended the Zionist Dov Hikind’s march against black “anti-Semitism” yesterday, but not any of the anti-war rallies.

On the other side of the coin, Anne Marie Waters of the “For Britain” group has fully embraced an invasion of Iran. Waters, a remnant of the largely Jewish funded “counter-jihad” movement, does not bother to articulate what the West stands to gain from such a conflict. Her only argument is a neo-liberal desire to impose gay plutocracy on the unwilling Iranians so that Israel can safely continue its expansionist foreign policy.

Mike Cernovich, who made a name for himself in 2016 in part for his non-interventionist views on Syria, has been reduced to an Iraq-war era Toby Keith style jingo. He got so much push back that he too was forced to “clarify” his opposition to war overnight.

Alex Jones of InfoWars has released a new conspiracy theory claiming that the Jews who control Donald Trump’s government had to set off a chain-reaction that will lead to a regional conflagration in order to prevent World War III. According to Jones, the Obama administration is responsible for tensions with Iran by engaging with diplomacy with the country instead of attacking it. His audience isn’t buying it. Over half of the reactions on his Bitchute video on the topic are negative.

Nick Fuentes of the Youtube show “America First” has also come under fire for recent statements on Telegram. While he prefaces his statements by saying he technically opposes a full war with Iran, he followed this by cheerleading threats by Zionists in Washington to bomb ancient Persian cultural sites, calls Iran a “degenerate Muslim shithole,” celebrates “America bullying ppl and throwing around missiles”, and comes to the defense of the “American-led” globalist military order, which Trump himself repeatedly criticized throughout his life and, as Tucker Carlson has said, won the presidency in large part by running against it.

The mealy-mouthed Charlie Kirk of TPUSA, a libertarian-Zionist think-tank Trump has recently adopted to engage in outreach for his 2020 campaign, tepidly approved of Washington’s hit on Soleimani, but has also come out in support of full military withdrawal from Iraq.

Any military entanglement with Iran polls very poorly in America.

The latest opinion research finds that almost 70% of Americans believe heightened tensions with Iran are entirely the fault of the Trump administration. Even after Trump and Mike Pompeo accused Iran of attacking the oil fields of “ally” Saudi Arabia on September 14th, 75% of Americans responded that a war with Iran was completely unwarranted.

While a vocal minority of people are eager to see explosions and dead Arabs at any cost, the majority of Americans understand that a war with Iran will not be like Afghanistan or Iraq. Public support is also not anywhere near where it was for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Such a conflict will be felt at home, either through Iranian sleeper cells attacking US targets, large numbers of dead American soldiers in the Middle East, or exploding food and gas prices. The argument that killing Soleimani has made Americans safer was widely mocked after the State Department put out a subsequent statement telling US citizens to get out of Iraq immediately.

White workers have no stake in this Israeli-dictated war. The current failure of the left and right to hold a full-throated line against the coming catastrophe is why a third position is needed now more than ever.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Interpol Activates Arrest Warrant Against Morales at Bolivia’s Request – Interior Minister

Sputnik – 09.01.2020

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has activated an international arrest warrant for former Bolivian President Evo Morales per the Bolivian government’s request, according to the country’s interior minister, Arturo Murillo.

“I have given the order at 6:00 [10:00 GMT on Wednesday] to Interpol to activate the international order [against Morales]”, Bolivian President Evo Murillo said during a press conference on Wednesday, as quoted by the state Agencia Boliviana de Informacion.

He added that it was important for Morales be held to account for his actions in his own country.

In December, the Bolivian authorities issued an arrest order for ousted Morales, accusing him of sedition, terrorism, and sponsoring terrorism. Morales claimed he was not afraid of the warrant, calling it illegal and unconstitutional.

Late last year, Bolivia experienced a change in leadership following mass protests against the results of the October general election. Morales stepped down as president on November 10 and fled to Mexico. Most of Bolivia’s senior officials resigned in his wake. This resulted in the senate’s second vice speaker, opposition lawmaker Jeanine Anez, declaring herself interim president. Morales has characterized the situation as a coup.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

MAS Can Get Over 40 Percent of Vote Even Without Morales as Its Candidate – Bolivian Journalist

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 09.01.2020

Bolivia’s highest electoral body has set the date for the country’s general vote. Although Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) was eventually allowed to participate, the chances of the de facto government committing fraud to upend a MAS victory are high, says Alberto Echazu, a journalist from the media platform La Resistencia Bolivia.

On Sunday, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia declared that the country would hold a general vote on 3 May 2020 with the candidates having to be submitted to the electoral authority by 3 February.

The de facto government in La Paz, meanwhile, continues to crack down on Evo Morales’ supporters and leftist media sources.

Alberto Echazu, a journalist with the left-wing media outlet La Resistencia Bolivia, which has recently been subjected to arrests and intimidation, has described the unfolding situation as the country braces for new general elections.

Sputnik: The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Bolivia announced on 31 December that Evo Morales’ MAS will be able to participate in the 2020 general elections. Why did the de facto interim government request TSE to decide the fate of MAS? Did they hope to somehow weaken MAS’ positions or expel the party from the election race? What are MAS’ chances in the upcoming May 2020 elections and what obstacles could the party face, in your opinion?

Alberto Echazu: The de facto regime is trying to block and nullify MAS’ legal status as a national party so that it cannot be an electoral option in the upcoming elections. Using the false idea that MAS is the party of a government that committed fraud, the regime is trying to criminalise it and expel it from the election race. This is all because they are very aware of MAS’ strength, it being the only party that can obtain a vote higher than 40 percent even without Evo Morales as its candidate.

Some media sources have performed surveys of how residents intend to vote, and despite MAS’ candidate not having been decided yet, the party is leading in the polls against a group of right-wing candidates such as Fernando Camacho, Carlos Mesa, and others.

MAS has every chance of winning the elections as it is still the biggest and strongest party nationwide, however, the chances of the regime actually committing fraud in order to avoid a MAS victory are fairly high. The regime has not held back from using every resource at hand, regularly violating constitutional rights and even international treaties and international human rights.

Sputnik: Who are the most likely MAS presidential candidates to take part in the 2020 general elections? What’s your take on the candidacy of Andronico Rodriguez, named by some media outlets as Morales political heir? Is he charismatic enough to unify the Left?

Alberto Echazu: The most likely MAS’ pairing is Luis Arce as presidential candidate and Andronico Rodriguez as vice president. Luis Arce was Evo Morales’ minister of economy and is seen as the one responsible for the country’s economic stability and success in the last 14 years.

The economic model, labelled Modelo Económico Social Comunitario Productivo (Social Communal Productive Economic Model) was one of the most important reasons behind Bolivia’s economic miracle, giving Arce a great reputation and prestige among the urban middle class, him being the main thinker behind it. He is also highly respected among MAS’ supporters as he was not only a technical cadre in Morales’ government but also very committed politically, having been a member of the Socialist Party before joining Morales’ government.

Andronico Rodriguez has great charisma among MAS’ supporters as he was named Morales’ successor and is seen as an important young cadre. Because of his age he is not expected to be the presidential candidate (he is 30 years old).

This pairing has great acceptance among MAS’ supporters and could receive a large number of votes, both of them being very respected figures and having Morales’ trust and blessing.

Sputnik: Could you please shed light on the political persecution of leftist journalists, in particular, La Resistencia Bolivia, that provided the coverage of the Bolivian coup. Have any international human rights organisations or entities protecting journalists paid attention to these incidents so far?

Alberto Echazu: Political persecution against members of the alternative media platform La Resistencia Bolivia, of which I am a member, is due to our work broadcasting and informing about the coup in our country and all of the assassinations and violations of human rights during the coup and the de facto government.

The regime silenced the rest of the media that tried to inform with some kind of impartiality as soon as it took power and forced to halt the broadcast of any media outlet that refused to comply with the regime’s policies of legitimising the coup and the de facto government.

Two members of La Resistencia Bolivia were arrested on New Year’s Eve. The charges are “sedition” and “misuse of state assets”, even though the police have no evidence. They have been unjustly detained for a week and spent New Year in judicial cells. It is all clearly for political reasons.

The timing of the detentions was strategically planned so that there was not any social protest or support against this injustice, but in spite of that there has been a lot of support on social media, and as people go back to normality after the festive period the denouncing of this abuse has increased, given that La Resistencia has gained a lot of respect and followers for being almost the only media outlet left that informs about what is going on in Bolivia.

In that regard, different human rights organisations have expressed their solidarity towards our detained members and the persecution against the platform like Defensoría del Pueblo (People’s Defence), and Asociación de Madres de Plaza de Mayo from Argentina, but the police intimidation of society in general has stopped people from protesting, as happened in other cases of abuse and arrests as well.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Iran’s Strikes Against the U.S. Demonstrate the Unipolar System Is Truly Over

By Paul Antonopoulos | January 9, 2020

When U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, he certainly had not expected that Iran would respond in the way it did by bombarding two U.S. military bases in Iraqi territory. It is likely that his advisers had convinced him that no country in the world had the courage to attack the U.S. so blatantly as no one else had since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. The Iranians did of course, as was expected by those who understand the ideology of the Islamic Republic that has a deeply ingrained martyrdom complex that stretches back to 680AD when Imam Ali Ibn al-Husayn was killed in Karbala, Iraq.

Trump has claimed that there were no American casualties while Iran has claimed there were at least 80. With the Erbil and Ain al-Assad bases bombarded and several U.S. aircraft, drones and helicopters destroyed, it is unlikely that there were no U.S. casualties – however there is no way in knowing at this time whether there were 80. We can expect Washington to keep the true number of casualties a secret, in complete opposition to Iran who openly celebrate their martyrs.

The Ain al-Assad military base is the largest and most equipped U.S. base in the region, and one of a few U.S. special bases around the world, at the size of about half of Lebanon. The fact that the Americans have deployed their most sophisticated radar systems in Iraq, many of which have been destroyed, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the Patriot missile defense system. This was despite U.S. forces in the region being put on high alert. This will only be in Russia’s favor as it continues to offer the S-400 system to potential buyers.

Not only did the attack on the Ain al-Assad military base expose the ineffectiveness of the Patriot system, Iran also targeted the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan. This base was a center to try and encourage the Iraqi Kurds to rebel against the central government in order to put pressure on the central Iraqi government. The attack on the Erbil base was a warning that even a U.S. withdrawal into Kurdistan does not make them  safe.

It was expected by most commentators that Iran’s retaliation for the martyrdom of Soleimani would be in the form of utilizing its regional paramilitary allies on U.S. positions. By directly attacking U.S. forces brazenly and openly, Tehran has demonstrated that the U.S. are not safe in any part of the region. However, Iran had no choice but to retaliate as not doing so would demonstrate the country’s leadership only had empty rhetoric in defending itself. The U.S. would certainly be more inclined to carry out further attacks against Iran and its allies if Tehran did not respond.

If there is a war going on in Iraq between the U.S. and Iran, it probably will not be limited to one country and will engulf the whole region, and potentially, across the world. Washington cannot be counted on to abide by international laws and regulations. The countries in the region, particularly the Gulf States, should also bear in mind that the presence of U.S. bases on their land will not only fail to provide security, but will also endanger their national security as all states who assist the U.S. in any aggression against Iran will become legitimate targets, as Tehran has already warned.

Rather, the murder of Soleimani has only united Iranians, including those who have been protesting across the country since November, blaming the government for the increased fuel prices and difficult economic situation, ignoring the crippling U.S. enforced sanctions. The major demands of the Iranian people are now for the expulsion of the U.S. military from the region, something that the Islamic Republic’s leadership has loudly and clearly demanded as well.

Since Iran has made its first response to the U.S. so directly, Trump for now is refusing to respond militarily and will impose greater sanctions against Iran. However, Iran has already made the demand that the U.S. withdraw from the region. To achieve this without directly provoking Trump again, Iran is likely to employ the militias it backs in Syria and Iraq to target U.S. military installations. With any Israeli involvement in this war effort, Iran can use Hezbollah and various Palestinian militias to pressure the Jewish state internally and externally.

Therefore, since Iran has already promised to expel the U.S. from the region, the next phase of the anti-U.S. war effort will be asymmetrical warfare by Iran. If Iran engages in asymmetrical warfare, the return of dead and wounded American soldiers will severely hamper Trump’s re-election campaign this year as he originally ran on the ticket of criticizing wars in West Asia when he was competing for the presidency against Hillary Clinton years earlier. The Iranian leadership are now in control of the future of the West Asia and have demonstrated they are willing to retaliate against the U.S. who is seeking to maintain the unipolar hegemonic world order that emerged with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Iran has once again shown that the 21st century is not one of unipolarity that Washington hopes to maintain, but rather multipolar with several strong middle and Great Powers.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Twitter Shutters Dozens of Venezuelan Government-Linked Accounts

By Morgan Artyukhina | Sputnik | 08.01.2020

Dozens of Twitter accounts for figures and institutions related to the Venezuelan government, including military branches, political leaders and journalists, were suddenly suspended without explanation on Tuesday, a day after Washington condemned the National Assembly for failing to re-elect presidential claimant Juan Guaido.

The social media giant has suspended the accounts of numerous Venezuelan government institutions, including the country’s Army, Navy, National Guard, Air Force, Central Bank, Finance Ministry, Oil Ministry, National Center for Information Technology (CNTI) and National Commission for Information Technology.

The accounts of government figures like Victor Clark, the governor of Venezuela’s Falcon state; former Bolivarian National Army Forces General Commander Jesus Suarez; and Freddy Bernal, the coordinator of the country’s subsidized food distribution program, the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP), were also shut down.

Still other accounts shuttered include Red Radio Venezuela, the presidential press office and the press office for the mayor of Caracas.

According to TeleSur, no explanation has been given for the suspensions, just a notice that the accounts had ostensibly violated Twitter’s terms of use.

While a few of the accounts have since been unlocked, such as Bernal’s and the Finance Ministry’s, most remain locked.

Toeing the State Department Line

TeleSur noted that according to Twitter’s rules, an account can be closed if it’s being used for spam, has been hacked, participates in abusive or bellicose behavior or impersonates another account – but the closed accounts haven’t violated any of these rules.

The crackdown mirrors one by the social media giant in September that targeted numerous Cuban news outlets and journalists. As Sputnik reported, dozens of Cuban accounts were shut down just moments before Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel addressed the nation about a chronic fuel shortage caused by US sanctions and collective methods of coping with the shortages.

Twitter has steadily treaded closer to the US State Department’s line in recent years, adopting the same bellicose stance against accounts associated with governments targeted by Washington, including those of Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China. Under the guise of combating disinformation, Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, have closed down accounts spreading information and news that run counter to the US government’s official line on events such as the Guaido’s declaration of his own interim presidency and the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. However, in the recent crackdowns on Cuban and Venezuelan accounts, Twitter has not even attempted to offer a veil of justification.

Washington Decries Guaido’s Ouster

On Sunday, Guaido failed to secure re-election as the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, a post he received in January 2019 amid rotating leadership of the legislature by the country’s opposition parties. Instead, 81 of the 150 lawmakers chose Luis Parra, an independent opposition member representing Yaracuy State.

Parra recently left the centrist opposition party Primero Justicia, the party of Henrique Capriles, who challenged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the 2013 presidential election.

Unsure if he would win re-election, Guaido postured as if he had been barred entry to the legislature, attempting to scale the fences outside on Sunday. However, there’s no evidence Guaido was actually prevented from entering the building in a normal way, especially since Guaido loyalists like William Davila entered without trouble.

Video footage later emerged showing Guaido refusing to enter unless in the company of several lawmakers whose parliamentary immunity has been revoked for alleged criminal offenses, Venezuelanalysis noted.

After opposition members failed to convince Guaido to enter, he and they later met at the headquarters of anti-government newspaper El Nacional, declaring the parliament’s vote void and re-electing Guaido as speaker, with several figures standing in for legislators who had left the country.

Washington quickly denounced the events in the National Assembly, with US Vice President Mike Pence declaring Guaido the country’s “only legitimate president” and US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams promising new sanctions against Maduro.

Guaido’s claim to be interim president is recognized by roughly 50 countries, mostly European and US-allied nations, while Maduro, who won reelection in 2018, remains recognized as the president of Venezuela by roughly 75% of the world’s nations. Since January 23, 2019, Guaido has launched four attempted coups d’etat, each of which has gained less traction than the last.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment