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‘Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster’: FM Zarif on Iran’s downing of Flight 752

RT | January 11, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has offered “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” over an unintentional downing of a Ukrainian civilian aircraft over Tehran, stating “human error” during a “crisis” led to the accident.

“A sad day,” the FM wrote on Twitter, adding “Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

The incident took place soon after an Iranian missile attack on American positions in Iraq, launched as a reprisal for a US kill strike on Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, seeing months of rising tensions between the two countries come to a head. All 176 passengers on board the airliner were killed in the crash.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | 12 Comments

Resistance Groups Likely to Start Imminent Missile Attack on US Positions in Region

FARS News Agency | January 10, 2020

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic resistance groups are standing on alert for likely imminent attacks on the US military positions in the region after Thursday attacks on Eastern Syria.

Sources close to the Resistance Front said the resistance groups are preparing for pending response to last night’s attack on Syria and other terrorist actions of the US government.

The local media reported on Thursday night that a strong explosion occurred near Iraq’s border with Syria in the town of al-Qaem. Reports said the blast came after the recent US airstrikes on Syria.

On Wednesday, the IRGC Aerospace Force launched heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimani.

Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude above sea level, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad had failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army’s central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.

Some 80 US army personnel were killed and nearly 200 more wounded in Iran’s Wednesday missile attacks, informed sources said.

The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of “Martyr Soleimani” reprisal operation.

All flights were cancelled at Erbil airport.

Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.

IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.

Following the attack, the IRGC issued a statement immediately after the attacks, declaring that it had fired tens of ground-to-ground missiles at “the airbase occupied by the terrorist and aggressive army of the United States known as Ein Al-Assad” in reprisal for the martyrdom of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The IRGC warned the US to avoid retaliating the Wednesday attack or else “it will face a more painful and crushing response”.

The IRGC Statement also warned “all the US allied states where the terrorist army has a base, any territory that becomes the origin of any hostile and aggressive action against the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way will be targeted”.

“We believe that the Zionist regime by no means stands aside from the criminal US regime in these crimes.”

The IRGC also called on the American nation to pressure the White House to pull their troops out of the region to avoid further damage and not allow the US rulers to endanger the lives of their military men through increasing hatred.

All Iranian underground missile towns were on alert.

The missile attack came hours before the body of General Soleimani was laid to rest.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Rare FOOTAGE shows Ukrainian Boeing crash site in Tehran after ‘site bulldozed’ claims

RT | January 10, 2020

RT’s video agency Ruptly has obtained footage of the site where a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashed after taking off in Iran. It shows what appear to be passengers’ belongings strewn about, but parts of the plane have been removed.

The still images were taken on Friday morning in Laleh Park, the site of the wreck. The site does not appear to be cordoned off any longer, and plane parts and bodies have been removed.

© RT / Ruptly

The footage appears to counter recent media reports that suggested the site had been “bulldozed” to remove physical evidence, a claim that seems designed to implicate Iran in the demise of the 176 passengers and crew who died when the plane went down early on Wednesday morning.

© RT / Ruptly

© RT / Ruptly

Iran has flatly denied claims emanating from the US and its allies that a surface-to-air missile “accidentally” took down the plane. Tehran has called for those making the claims to produce evidence.

RT

RT

An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, and Iranian officials have already requested additional help from foreign experts to work with the “damaged” black boxes of the doomed Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.

RT

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 4 Comments

Pompeo: I Lied About Soleimani ‘Imminent Attacks’

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | January 10, 2020

Trump’s neoconservative Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is a man unafraid to admit to being a liar. In fact he seems to revel in his ability to lie to the American people.

Remember just a week ago when Pompeo told us that the US absolutely HAD to send in a drone to assassinate Iran’s top general, Qassim Soleimani, while he was in Iraq on a peace mission because he was planning “imminent attacks” on US personnel and interests in the Middle East.

These claims were crafted to blunt any criticism of the blatantly illegal act of killing a top military officer of a country with which you are not at war in a third country (which forbade the attack on its soil) with which you are allied. Americans raising concerns about the murder of Soleimani were to be made to look unpatriotic if they objected: “you mean you WANT Americans die??”

That’s how propaganda works.

Then when the smoke clears, you laugh it all off and admit it was all a lie. As Pompeo did last night.

Speaking on the Laura Ingraham program, Mike Pompeo admitted that the neocon idea of “imminent ” and the normal idea of “imminent ” are two very different things.

“We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where (the attacks might take place), but it was real,” he told Ingraham.

But if you don’t know when and don’t know where (and presumably don’t know how), on what basis did Pompeo and the Trump Administration sell the idea that he had to be killed immediately lest untold numbers of Americans be killed?

And how can we believe Pompeo that Soleimani was behind the initial rocket attacks on an Iraqi base housing US troops, that a US contractor was killed by Soleimani’s forces at that base, and that Soleimani was behind the “attacks” (vandalism) on the US embassy in Baghdad?

In other words, if the central justification for the murder of Soleimani is an admitted lie, who in his right mind would believe the official version of the antecedents to the murder?

While proudly lying day and night, Pompeo professes to be a great Christian – at the same time he pushed Trump to murder the architect of the anti-ISIS counterinsurgency (Soleimani) that saved hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christian lives.

Something smells sulfurous about Pompeo…


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

Where’s Justin again

Climate Discussion Nexus | January 8, 2020

There are many reasons to think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should not have gone to Costa Rica for a leisurely two-week Christmas break. Is there nowhere suitable in Canada? Might not some international crisis require his attention? But from the point of view of this newsletter the big question is the hypocrisy concerning his carbon footprint. At least the annoying Greta Thunberg takes sailboats, albeit with people flying hither and yon to make it happen. Trudeau traveled by private jet, or possibly two as on his election campaign, while even British PM Boris Johnson flew commercial to St. Lucia. Evidently the rest of us can eat cake.

While the details of the PM’s vacations are not made public for obvious security reasons (though he seems to have been sighted in Santa Teresa, a “quintessential surf town”) odds are he’s at a fancy resort and possibly, as in the Bahamas trip, there will be jet skis for his security detail and other carbon-unfriendly features like, well, his security detail, who probably didn’t paddle-board down to join him.

If it were an isolated incident it might be considered an isolated incident. But how about the fact that Canada sent 156 people to the latest UN climate-fest in Madrid? (After sending 283 to Paris in 2015.) It’s not to get things done. Everybody knows that, as Richard Nixon said, the real work at international conferences is done ahead of time to avoid embarrassing failure. And in this era of the Interwebs and cheap long-distance phone calls, whatever must be done last-minute can be done by 100 people in their offices back home as easily, or indeed more easily, than in hotel rooms.

As for what sort of hotels they were staying in, well, as with the PM in Costa Rica, not the kind you and I stay in. Because this conference was a junket. And a hypocritical one even by the standards of junkets. According to the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, the emissions for 156 flights to Madrid and back would be about 165 tonnes, more than 40 average Canadian households emit in a year. And for what?

How can you ask? Among those in attendance was Senator Rosa Galvez, “Vice-Chair of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas and Vice President (North America) of ParlAmericas’ Parliamentary Network on Climate Change” who explained that “This was the first year that ParlAmericas’ International Secretariat has participated in the annual UN climate change conference as an official observer organization. Through the participation of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas at COP 25, we were able to engage on the most pressing issue humanity faces today.” And no amount is too high for an observer you never heard of with a 19-word title in an outfit you never heard of to engage.

Certainly Sen. Galvez couldn’t be asked to engage on climate from dreary old Ottawa. Just as obviously Elizabeth May had to crisscross the country during the election, attending events in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Saanich in the space of a single 24-hour period because otherwise her party might only have won a handful of seats. Whereas for you to heat your house or drive to work is a reckless extravagance.

In exposing the hypocrisy of delegates in Madrid munching away at Burger King, on real meat, while claiming the rest of us needed to stop eating it, Craig Rucker of CFACT also noted that those in attendance included Harrison Ford, who “bragged not long ago that he’s ‘so passionate about flying’ that he would often hop in one of his planes and ‘fly up the coast for a cheeseburger.’” Ford now claims to have given up meat. But not his private planes, of which he owns roughly 10.

The smell of cake is unmistakable, as with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and now-vegan Al Gore, both of whom frequently use private planes of which Gates owns at least one. Their work is so important that they just have to do stuff you mustn’t. “I am investing in climate change very broadly and substantial amounts of money,” says Gates, while one of Gore’s people charged with fending off pesky proles intones that “He recognizes how important these everyday choices are, while spending most of his time working to catalyze a global effort to change laws and policies.” Now go away, and no questions about his energy-gobbling mansion complete with heated outdoor pool.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Maximum Failure: Trump’s Convulsive North Korea Strategy Can’t Bring Kim to the Table

By Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter – Libertarian Institute – January 9, 2020

Through a combination of myopic diplomacy and disastrous personnel picks, President Donald Trump has wasted a chance to fundamentally remake US relations with North Korea, throwing away a “Nixon goes to China” moment in exchange for a confused “maximum pressure” campaign that’s delivered the same failures of previous administrations. Having missed Pyongyang’s year-end deadline to revive stalled talks, the defects of Trump’s North Korea strategy are on full display.

Ditching Detente

On the campaign trail in 2016, then-candidate Trump took unusually dovish stances on North Korea for a Republican nominee. From openly considering whether to withdraw some of the 30,000 American troops stationed in South Korea, to even inviting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for an unprecedented visit to the US, Trump at the very least appeared willing to talk – “an overture that would upend three decades of American diplomacy,” the Times told us.

Even after Trump took office, there were early plans for informal talks with North Korean officials, but the trend would soon die. The meetings were abruptly called off, and the president’s first Defense Secretary, James Mattis, was dispatched to Seoul to assure that no troop withdrawal would take place. Trump’s flirtation with detente was only momentary, but it panicked Washington zealots committed to endless hostility with North Korea, some of whom ended up with jobs in the new administration.

So began months of “fire and fury,” which saw the two sides trading threats, the Pentagon carrying out its regular joint war games with South Korea – rehearsing an invasion of the North – and Pyongyang responding with a variety of weapons tests. Casting aside the friendlier tack put forward on the campaign trail, Trump embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign, leveraging sanctions and tough rhetoric to push North Korea to bow to the American diktat, disarm and effectively surrender.

Freeze for Freeze

While the corporate press was focused on the war of words between Trump and Kim, however, a true believer in Korean peace was elected president in South Korea: Moon Jae-in. The new leader would serve as a counterweight to the hawks in Trump’s ear, making for a convulsive US policy which shifted erratically between open hostility and willingness to talk.

Despite the rising tension at the time, President Moon led a successful effort to see the two Koreas compete under the same flag in the 2018 Winter Olympics, a significant step away from Trump’s tweets of “war and annihilation,” and one which was at least tacitly accepted by Washington.

The symbolic victory of the Olympic games created momentum for Trump’s first summit with Pyongyang – the first ever meeting between an American and North Korean leader – held in Singapore in June 2018.

The meeting was in many ways a success, resulting in a joint statement vowing to continue dialogue on a number of issues, though the North Koreans made it clear from the outset that they would only discuss denuclearization in exchange for trust-building measures from Washington, namely sanctions relief and a security guarantee.

While the summit didn’t result in full rapprochement, it wasn’t all for naught. The North Koreans returned the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War and dismantled a missile engine facility, important small steps toward a truce. Around the same time, a ‘freeze for freeze’ status was adopted, in which Washington would halt its military exercises with South Korea in exchange for a freeze on nuclear and missile tests in the North. Moon, meanwhile, was allowed a freer hand to improve inter-Korean relations.

The Libya Model

A countervailing force would soon challenge Moon’s drive for peace. Hired on as National Security Adviser (NSA) a few months prior to the Singapore Summit, infamous mad bomber and Iraq war devotee John Bolton was instrumental in keeping Trump from making good on his campaign rhetoric, doing his best to ensure US North Korea policy remained sufficiently bloodthirsty.

Bolton is despised in North Korea. He played a role in destroying the Agreed Framework – a Clinton era nuclear agreement later wrecked by the Bush administration – and has openly called for a “preemptive” attack on the Hermit Kingdom. Not long before landing the job as NSA, he penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal making the “legal case” for a first strike.

Weeks ahead of the Singapore summit, Bolton would also invoke Libya as the model for North Korean disarmament. Pyongyang could only take that as a moral threat, all too aware of the grisly fate of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who gave up his rudimentary nuclear weapons program and was later murdered in US-led regime change plot.

By the time Singapore rolled around, however, Trump decided he could deal with Kim after all and the hawkish NSA was sidelined at the meeting, where he was seen sulking and sour-faced as diplomacy between Trump and Kim hit its peak – but it wouldn’t be Bolton’s final act.

Hawks Triumph in Hanoi

In the leadup to the next US-North Korean summit set for Hanoi in February 2019, a divide in the Trump administration deepened as hawks – led by Bolton – continued to push for the “Libya model.” Ignoring the North’s long-held position that its weapons are solely meant to deter an American invasion, Bolton pushed for rapid denuclearization as a condition for any further dialogue (the standard American poison pill), insisting Kim dismantle the country’s entire program in the space of a year. The demand set “absurd expectations” and amounted to a “deliberate attempt to sabotage all talks with North Korea,” observed Daniel Larison of the American Conservative magazine.

Despite the hawks’ push, there was a glimmer of hope that Hanoi could build on the progress of Singapore. US envoy Stephen Biegun had been put in charge of the talks at this stage, who advocated a step-by-step trust-building process that would see the US cautiously trade sanctions relief for a slow dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

The hope was short-lived. In what may have been the highlight of Bolton’s tenure on Trump’s national security team, he would steal the show in Hanoi, persuading the president to scrap Biegun’s more reasonable proposal in exchange for an offer Kim couldn’t possibly accept, once again demanding disarmament before Washington would make a single concession.

As expected, Kim rejected the “deal” outright, the summit abruptly ended and the nascent peace process cooled. The economic war against North Korea – which never ceased throughout the negotiations – marched on, prompting a few small retaliatory missile tests unrelated to Pyongyang’s nuclear program. While Trump downplayed the importance of the tests, it was a clear sign the ‘bad cop’ approach was doomed to fail.

Kim’s Deadline 

With crippling sanctions continuing to grind down the North Korean economy and populace, and the post-Hanoi peace process stagnated, Kim issued an end-of-year deadline last April to revive the talks. The ultimatum called on the US to come to the table before the end of the year, or else Pyongyang would scrap all progress made since the 2018 Olympic Games, including any freeze for freeze commitments it agreed to during that time.

Seeing the bleak prospects for talks, President Moon soon traveled to Washington to plead with his American counterpart and was once again able to grease the wheels of stalled diplomacy. Less than two months after the visit, Trump would send an unprecedented tweet inviting Kim to a historic meeting at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the physical embodiment of the intractable Korean conflict.

TRUMP TWEET – https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1144740178948493314?lang=en

Moon’s hard-fought efforts appeared to finally pay off in the summer of 2019, when all three leaders – Trump, Moon and Kim – met for the first time.

The meeting produced mostly symbolic progress – including Trump becoming the first US president to cross the DMZ into North Korea proper –  but it did end with an agreement to form teams for continued talks. Importantly, the American team would again be led by Beigun, not Bolton or Mike Pompeo, the bellicose secretary of state.

Biegun again looked to take a more flexible approach to negotiations, this time proposing a nuclear freeze deal in exchange for sanctions relief. Better yet, the renewed drive for dialogue occurred as Bolton’s influence seemed to be waning in the White House – he was exiled to Mongolia for a meeting during the DMZ-crossing – with expectations that he would soon get the pink slip.

Making Regress

While the DMZ meeting and Biegun’s new proposal appeared to put things back on track, a major obstacle was fast approaching: joint US-South Korean wargames set for August 2019, which the North had long complained were threatening and unnecessarily provocative. Though the US insisted the drills had been scaled down and were purely defensive, Pyongyang denounced them as a breach of the freeze for freeze status established in 2018, reacting with a series of short-range missile tests.

Rumors about a new round of talks swirled throughout the fall of 2019, but the North Koreans had grown increasingly doubtful of the Americans’ good faith, insisting there would only be another meeting if Washington fundamentally changed its attitude. As November rolled by with no new offer, Kim began referring to a “gift” he might send to the US for Christmas, a vague but ominous threat picked up and amplified in the establishment press.

Much of the progress made in Singapore and at the DMZ had effectively been reversed, leaving the US and North Korea close to where they began when Trump took office, returning to a familiar pattern of threats, military drills and missile tests.

A New Path

It was clear by December that the US and North Korea would not resume serious talks by Kim’s deadline. With Trump – and Washington – fully absorbed in endless impeachment drama, there was simply no time, leaving many to nervously speculate about what kind of “Christmas gift” Kim might have in store.

Jolly St. Kim didn’t even bother to deliver a lump of coal for his Christmas surprise, however, and the day came and went quietly, despite widespread press predictions of a major nuclear weapons test. In the week between Christmas and the New Year, Kim spent four days meeting with his inner circle, thinking long and hard about how to respond to Trump’s failure to meet his deadline.

With none of the theatrics anticipated in the US media, Kim soberly unveiled his “new way” for the new year, resigning himself to an immovable status quo in Washington:

“The present situation warning of long confrontation with the US urgently requires us to make it a fait accompli that we have to live under the sanctions by the hostile forces in the future,” Kim said, according to the KCNA.

Though still holding out for the possibility for a return to the freeze for freeze status, North Korea would no longer actively pursue peace talks. Kim had finally given up.

While the United States and North Korea have not yet returned to the height of enmity reached during Trump’s first year in office, it’s clear the strategy of “maximum pressure” has accomplished less than nothing, utterly failing to bring Kim to the table for a comprehensive peace deal, nor even a smaller preliminary one. Far from abandoning its arsenal, Pyongyang is now more confident than ever in its need for a nuclear deterrent – talking appears to get them nowhere. President Moon may now be the best hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula, but with forces in Washington arrayed against him, even he may not be up to the task.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 18 Comments

Iraq asks US to prepare troop pullout, send team to Baghdad

RT | January 10, 2020

Caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has asked the United States to send a delegation to Iraq to begin preparing for a troop pullout, his office said on Friday.

In a phone call late on Thursday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement parliament’s decision for the secure withdrawal of [foreign] forces from Iraq,” AFP reports.

Some 5,200 US soldiers are stationed at bases across Iraq to support local troops preventing a resurgence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). They make up the bulk of a broader US-led coalition, invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 to help combat the jihadists.

The deployment was based on an executive-to-executive agreement that was never ratified by Iraq’s parliament. On Sunday, the parliament voted in favor of rescinding the invitation and ousting all foreign troops.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

The Well-Deserved ‘Love’ for US Ambassadors Around the World

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 10.01.2020

The ambassador of any nation is not just the highest-ranking diplomatic representative of their country in a foreign state or an international organization, not simply a spokesperson of their country’s government and their interests, who is obliged to act in line with their diplomatic status. As a country representative, an ambassador is closely associated with their homeland in the eyes of foreigners. An ambassador’s conduct forms the impression of their country and its citizens, determining their level of prestige.

In recent years, international media outlets have shared countless stories about American ambassadors, who are, unfortunately, not usually praised for their humanitarian deeds. They are rather known for their true aggressive nature, which no diplomatic status can conceal.

Today, a number of circumstances contribute to the growing discontent in many parts of the world not only with Washington’s foreign policy, but with American ambassadors as well. The main reason for this is their blatant disregard for the citizens of the countries where they serve, coupled with their arrogance and unwillingness to take into account international norms of conduct, including those of diplomatic etiquette.

Thus, in South Korea, even among supporters of President Moon Jae-in, the US Ambassador Harry Harris has recently become the object of fierce hatred. As Japanese media say, ever since December 12, 2019 daily rallies against the American ambassador have been held near the US Embassy in Korea, the participants assimilating him to a ‘governor of a Japanese colony.’ Members of left-leaning political parties and civil society organizations who take part in the rallies even go as far as to stage overly extreme ‘contests’ to decapitate a stuffed puppet of the ambassador or burn his image and chant about torturing ‘him with chopsticks.’ According to reporters, Ambassador Harris is obediently pursuing his country’s political course with the straightforwardness typical for a former member of the armed forces. This is most likely the cause of the dislike South Korean political community harbors for him, the Japanese newspaper JB Press writes.

For months now, the German government and population have been openly expressing their disapproval of the actions of US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell. According to the Spiegel magazine, he has been politically isolated by Germany’s ruling elite since early 2019.

In January 2019, the German news outlet Bild published excerpts from Ambassador Richard Grenell’s notorious letters, in which he openly threatened a number of German companies with sanctions for their participation in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, demanding that Germany withdraw from the project. This interference into the country’s affairs was considered by the German Foreign Office to be unacceptable. Wolfgang Kubicki, Vice-President of the Bundestag, called on the foreign minister to expel Grenell because of his intervention into ‘the political affairs of sovereign Germany.’

On June 6, Grennell was invited to the German Foreign Office for a lecture behind closed doors on what exactly appropriate conduct entails. His expulsion was once more openly demanded by the Bundestag, in particular, by the leader of the left-wing faction Sahra Wagenknecht. She was outraged by Ambassador Grenell’s public statement of support for conservative forces in Europe, which was perceived as meddling in Germany’s political life.

In August, yet again, Ambassador Grenell found himself at the center of another scandal after relaying and sharing his personal interpretation of yet another ‘anti-German’ statement of the American President.

After Washington had imposed broad sanctions against the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, Ambassador Grenell had to face another wave of outrage on December, 22 as he declared to German media that these sanctions were allegedly adopted in the interests of Europe and in answer to the Europeans’ requests. Meanwhile, the ambassador completely ignored the German government’s official statement that the new US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and the Turkish Stream pipelines are an unacceptable intrusion into European affairs.

Even Georgia, which is trying to demonstrate its commitment to the United States, criticized the ambassador of the ‘undemocratic state’ of America. Namely, Georgia’s former State Minister for Conflict Resolution and renowned film director Georgi Khaindrava called on Western politicians to treat his homeland with the utmost respect. He also advised them to deal with problems in their own nations first before railing at the missteps of Georgian democracy. He specifically emphasized that, “The international community must respect any nation, no matter its size. Some embassies here do not defend the interests of the countries they represent in Georgia, for example, the acting US envoy to Georgia, Elizabeth Rood.”

The US was forced to recall their ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, on December, 23 after the southern African nation’s refusal to continue working with him due to his fairly active defense of members of the LGBT community. Zambia’s Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji said these actions amounted to an attack on the country’s constitution and were considered as ‘interference into Zambia’s domestic affairs.’ Earlier, Zambian President Edgar Lungu had declared the country’s citizens would not make concessions on homosexuality even in exchange for humanitarian aid: “If this is the way you wish to help, I’m afraid the West had better leave us in poverty. We’ll struggle and survive just like we used to.”

Criticism of US ambassadors is rife even within the US itself. For one, in an interview with the New York magazine on December 8, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani criticized the flawed system of political lobbying used for appointing US envoys. He said that, for example, investor George Soros used the services of the FBI to appoint four US ambassadors to Ukraine.

Even these examples show that the decidedly undiplomatic behavior of several US ambassadors forms quite a negative perception of the ‘faces of Washington’. Consequently, considering the much-criticized foreign policy of the United States, this fuels the aversion to the USA itself.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

Did Soleimani Kill 600 Americans? – Questions For Corbett

Corbett • 01/10/2020

Everyone has heard by now that Soleimani was responsible for 600 American deaths . . . but where does this oddly specific number come from? Today on “Questions For Corbett,” James finds the answer at the bottom of a barrel of neocon lies.

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube or Download the mp4

SHOW NOTES:
Interview 1506 – Ryan Cristian on the Assassination of Soleimani

State Department briefing on 600 deaths report

Iran killed more US troops in Iraq than previously known, Pentagon says

Lies About Iran Killing US Troops in Iraq Are a Ploy to Justify War

Episode 002 – WWIII Starts in Iran

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 2 Comments

US interventionist presence in region has to end as soon as possible: Iran defense chief

Press TV – January 10, 2020

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami says Washington’s “interventionist presence” in the region has to end as soon as possible for a de-escalation to take place after recent US provocations.

“Achieving de-escalation, stabilization and security in the region requires the immediate end of Washington’s occupation and interventionist presence,” Hatami said in a phone call with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Thursday.

The talks between the two defense chiefs came after Tokyo announced last month that it has sought to send a warship and a number of patrol aircraft to the Middle East region in order to ensure security amid heightening tensions.

Tokyo receives nearly 90 percent of its oil imports from the Middle East.

Speaking on Thursday, Hatami said “those who seek to assist in de-escalation and achieving regional stability have to remind the Americans, which are a source of regional insecurity, to leave the region.”

The Iranian defense chief added that Iran, being the largest country with an access to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, has always fulfilled its role in ensuring security in regional waterways.

Hatami’s call for the expulsion of US forces comes a week after Washington assassinated the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Speaking to his Japanese counterpart, Hatami called on independent countries to condemn Washington’s “state terrorism”.

He described Soleimani’s assassination as an unprecedented and major crime where a foreign government has acted to kill a senior Iranian military officer in another country.

Speaking on his part, Kono stressed that Japan’s military deployment in the region seeks to ensure regional peace and that it does not intend to take part in a so-called US-led Persian Gulf coalition, which commenced its operations last November.

According to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, Kono also gave out orders for the Japanese military deployments to begin on Friday.

Earlier last year, Washington called for the formation of the maritime coalition in response to a series of mysterious explosions targeting vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

US officials were quick to blame Iran for the incidents without providing conclusive evidence.

Iran has roundly rejected the accusations, describing the attacks as being part of “false flag operations” seeking to pressure Iran.

Following the tensions, Japan, which has sought to maintain positive ties with both Tehran and Washington, has stressed that it has opted to form its own maritime operation rather than join the US-led mission.

According to The Japan Times, the Japanese operation will operate in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden east of Saudi Arabia and will exclude the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf due to Iran’s concerns regarding the presence of the US-led initiative.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 8 Comments

How much difference do Russia’s new nuclear weapons really make?

By Padraig McGrath | January 10, 2020

Are Russia’s Avangard and Sarmat missiles really the game-changers which they’re depicted to be?

Readers may recall President Putin’s unveiling of these weapons systems on May 1st 2018. His state of the union address to the federal assembly that day could certainly be described as provocative, perhaps inadvisably so. Ever since then, both Russian and western media have discussed at length the numerous reasons why these ICBM’s render all currently existent missile-defence systems obsolete.

First and foremost, these weapons are seen as invulnerable to all currently existent missile defence systems because of their hypersonic capabilities. Avangard can fly at about 33 thousand kilometres per hour, or 27 times the speed of sound. The RS-28 Sarmat can fly in excess of 25 thousand kilometres per hour.

Missile defence systems, fundamentally, work on the basis of the premise that if an interceptor missile can detonate its own nuclear warhead within a 10-kilometre radius of the flight-path of the missile which it is attempting to intercept, then the resulting shock-wave stands a pretty good chance of bringing the target down or otherwise knocking it out of its flight-path. So, in practical terms, “intercepting” a nuclear missile means getting an interceptor to within a 10-kilometre radius of its flight-path.

However, under actual battle-conditions, the chances of intercepting ICBM’s in this way would not be particularly good to start with. Therefore, a more effective missile defence methodology is simply to “intercept” them during their boost phases – that is to say, before they launch. Hit them before they leave the ground.

Both the Avangard and the Sarmat fly far, far too fast for aerial interception to be plausible.

Furthermore, both the Avangard and the Sarmat can be re-maneuvered in mid-flight, making it extremely difficult for missile defence systems to predict their trajectories. In the case of Sarmat, an added problem for currently existent missile defence systems is that it has an extremely short boost phase, making it difficult for spy-satellites to identify the imminent threat in time, and also making it more difficult to track once it has launched.

However, there is one solid counter-argument to the idea that, strategically, these new weapons-systems change everything.

Namely, Russia already had hypersonic ICBM capability 15 years ago. The Topol-M SS27 was and is hypersonic, capable of flying at about 14 thousand kilometres per hour. It’s not quite as fast as the Sarmat or Avangard, but it’s still far too fast for any interceptor to have a realistic chance to getting within the required 10-kilometre radius of its flight-path. Furthermore, the Topol-M SS27 could be re-maneuvered in mid-flight, just as Sarmat and Avangard can, and it releases a multiplicity of different warheads, each with a different trajectory, once it nears its target. Furthermore, the Topol-M SS27 could be launched from the back of a truck, making it almost impossible to pre-empt during its boost-phase.

In short, all of NATO’s currently existent missile defence infrastructure was already obsolete 15 years ago.

Scott Ritter is a former US intelligence officer and weapons inspector who participated in formal inspections-teams at the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant, where the SS-27 and its predecessor the SS-25 were assembled. In January 2005, he argued that “to counter the SS-27 threat, the US will need to start from scratch… The US cannot afford to spend billions of dollars on a missile-defense system that will never achieve the level of defense envisioned. The Bush administration’s embrace of technology, and rejection of diplomacy, when it comes to arms control, has failed.”

Neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration ever did start from scratch. They simply pressed ahead with the installation and deployment of missile defence systems which they knew were already obsolete. The Trump administration adheres to the same obtuse path.

The desire to protect the interests of the US corporations which contract for the Aegis missile defence project is only one of the motivations which drives this policy. In addition, the presence of Aegis missile defence installations in Poland and Romania economically incentivizes local elites within those countries to propagandize their own populations, to amplify fears of the Russian bear at the local level, thereby cementing ideological loyalty within the NATO defence-apparatus.

Furthermore, it should be noted that it has never been possible to test any missile defence system under anything even realistically simulating actual battle-conditions. Missile defence systems are tested one shot at a time, which is completely unrealistic. Under actual battle-conditions, they would be required to intercept several dozen ICBM’s in simultaneous flight, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that more than a fraction of the ICBM’s would be successfully intercepted.

Therefore, we can say that the primary strategic purpose of a missile defence installation, as opposed to its economic purpose or ideological purpose, is simply to serve as a pretext for its adjoining radar-installation. Parked so close to Russia’s borders, these installations are elaborate pretexts for electronic espionage or signals-intelligence (SIGINT).

However, the Russian government is playing the same game – both sides have their own reasons for pretending that Sarmat and Avangard are “game-changers,” when in fact we know that the Topol-M SS27 was the real game-changer. While the nations within the western alliance maintain this pretense in order to justify increasingly gargantuan defence-budgets and to propagandize their own populations with Russophobic hysteria, the government of the Russian Federation does so in order to persuade Russia’s population that perpetual geo-strategic threats are being addressed. As with much content published in Russia’s media-space, the disproportionate focus on geo-strategy, external relations and external security issues occurs because these are the spheres in which the Russian government is at its most professionally competent. This disproportionate media-focus, therefore, is devised in order to detract attention from domestic issues wherein the government’s record of effective policy-implementation has not been quite so successful.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

The AngloZionist Empire vs Iran: a discussion of the recent events

The Saker | January 9, 2020

First, since we now have more reliable data about what happened, let me recap a few key points:

  1. It is has now become pretty clear that Iran took several steps to make sure that the US would know when and where the strikes would happen. Specifically, Iran warned the Iraqi government and the Swiss diplomats who represent US interests in Iran.
  2. Yet, at the same time, Iran issued the strongest threat it could possibly issue: it told the US that *any* counter-strike aimed at Iran would result in a strong Iranian attack on Israel.
  3. The US quite clearly took the decision not to retaliate and to “forget” Trump’s promise to strike at 54 Iranian targets. I want to stress here that this was the correct decision under these circumstances.
  4. It also appears that the Iranians were able to somehow retrofit some kind of terminal guidance capability on missiles which originally lacked it.
  5. The level or precision of the strikes was absolutely superb and quite amazing.
  6. Trump declared that Iran decided to stand down and that the US had prevailed. This notion is, of course, prima facie ridiculous, but not for folks getting their news from the corporate media.
  7. The Iranians declared that this specific strike was now over, but immediately added that this was only a first measure and that others would follow.

Next, I want to share a few interesting photos with you.

First, here is a photo of the base following the strikes sent to me by a friend:

Here is what my friend added:

The key idea is really simple and understandable for anybody who has thought about statistics (even in an everyday context). In number terms, it’s almost like rolling dice and getting a 6 three times in a row, because the probability of rolling a 6 with an ideal dice is 16.67% (and the probability to roll 3 sixes in a row is less than 1%) as opposed to roughly 18% probability for a hit on a building within the map area in the CNN screenshot (if we assume the missiles to be unguided within this area). To be even more precise, the probability for hitting 3 *different* buildings 3 times in a row is actually even slightly lower than 0.62%, as one would have to substract the area being hit from the total area covered by buildings (I ignored that for simplicity). A less than 1% probability for a one-off event like this means that it is really highly UNlikely – to use the British Skripal case expression in its inverted state – to have happened randomly, as we assumed in our hypothesis. Which means that the missiles were, indeed, guided, and guided very accurately, striking targets of less than ~50m size with a high degree of reliability (in this particular area 3/3, in others probably 1/1 as in the runway case, etc). Perhaps, some of them, not covered by the satellite images, missed the target, but it does not substantially change the high degree of accuracy that potential Iranian opponents within reach of these missiles will have to assume from now on. The people most interested in this were probably the Israelis, as they are probably the main potential target for this type of missile in the case of a future escalation.

Please note that neither my friend nor I are professional imagery analysts and that this is just something my friend shared with me in a private email and which I now want to share with you.

If any professional imagery analyst could either confirm/refute my friend’s conclusions, I would be most grateful.

Next, I want to share with you the following image which shows Iranian IRGC General Ali Amir Hajizadeh reviewing results of recent Iranian missile strikes on Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq during a press conference:

Clearly, the Iranians are very proud of their capability to conduct true precision strikes with an accuracy every bit as good as any Russian and/or US missile.

Finally, check out this image of the Iranian general making a press conference in front of a very interesting row of flags:

These flags include the following: The Iranian flag, the IRGC flag, the flag of IRGC’s Aerospace Force, the flag of the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah flag, the flag of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), the Palestinian Hamas, the Afghan Liwa Fatemiyoun and the Pakistani Liwa Zainebiyoun

I find this very interesting: when Trump (or any other US politician) makes a solemn pronouncement, he typically has a number of aides, advisors, generals, Congressmen or Senators, etc. This is supposed the show the determination, resolve and unity of Uncle Shmuel, especially when Uncle Shmuel does something illegal or immoral.

The Iranian show of unity does not show more Iranians, they show the unity of all the forces in the Middle-East who have now officially united and whose goal is clear and very official: kick Uncle Shmuel out of the Middle-East.

You tell me which you find more impressive!

Next, the issue of casualties. Frankly, and while this is only my best guess, I do not believe the Iranian official casualty figures. Why? Well, first the Iranians did not try to maximize casualties (more about that option below), and they informed the US by several back-channels. But even if they had not, while the performance of the Patriot missile is pretty awful, the US does have a lot of top of the line technical intelligence means which would allow them to first detect the launch of the missiles from Iran and then to calculate their ballistic trajectory. As far as I know, now I might be wrong here, Iranian missiles do not have terminal maneuvering capability (which is different from terminal guidance). I can’t image why US commanders could not announce a incoming missile alert and then get all the local personnel into shelters. Again, I might be missing something, so if any reader can correct me, I would be grateful.

So what happened, really?

Here are a few of my current working hypotheses:

1) BOTH the USA and Iran don’t want a full-scale war. But for VERY different reasons:

  • The US probably understands that it cannot win a war against Iran.
  • The Iranians definitely understand that while the US cannot “win”, it most definitely can kill Iranians by the thousands and inflict immense damage upon the Iranian society.

2) What just took place was the single most dangerous moment since 14 April 2018 when Russia and the US came very, very close to a full-scale war. In the current situation, the US and Iran also came very, very close to a full scale war. The only reason I rank this latest crisis lower than the April 14th is that in one case we risked a planetary nuclear war whereas in this case we “only” risked a regional war which, by the way, could have seen nukes used by the US and Israel.

3) There STILL is a risk of full-scale war between the US and Iran, however, and barring a major unforeseen event, I will lower it now down from 80% to a much more tolerable 50%. Why 50%? Because Israel and the Israel Lobby will continue to push for a US attack on Iran and because while I trust the Iranians to keep their anti-US operations right below the threshold of “plausible deniability”, I cannot be sure that all Iranian allies will show similar restraint. Finally, the chances of an Israeli false flag as still sky high.

4) I expect anti-US operations to continue and even expand throughout the Middle-East. I don’t expect that these operations will be executed from Iran and I don’t expect Iranian forces to be involved, at least not officially. The Iranians know that the US has lost every single counter-insurgency war it was involved in and they know that their best chance is now to engage in all forms of asymmetrical operations.

Finally, I want to spell out what we could call the new Iranian threat.

We have to assume that Iran now has terminal guidance capability on many (most?) of its ballistic and cruise missiles and that they can destroy one specific building among many more buildings.  Now, remember the Iranian reply that it had 35 US bases within missile range? Now imagine this first one:

  • Iran fires 10-12 missile on each and every one of the 35 US bases listed and targets barracks, fuel and ammo dumps, key command posts, etc. How many casualties do you think that such a strike would result in?

Next, let’s try the same thing with Israel:

  • Iran fires 2-3 missiles but carefully aims them as Israeli air force bases, personnel barracks, industrial sites (including chemical and nuclear sites, not even necessarily military ones! Dimona anybody?), the Knesset or even Bibi’s personal residence. Can you imagine the panic in Israel?

How about the KSA?

  • Iran fires a large amount of missiles aimed at *truly* crippling the Saudi oil installations, National Guard barracks, airfields, etc. We already know what the Houthis could do with their very limited resources. Just imagine what Iran could do to the KSA (or the UAE and Kuwait) if it wanted to!

I think that the bottom line is clear: Iran can inflict unacceptable damage upon any party attacking it. Furthermore, and unlike having “a few” nukes, Iran has hundreds (or even thousands) of cruise missile and ballistic missiles, and you can bet that they are well distributed and well protected, as shown by this short video released by the IRGC and posted by the FARS news agency:

and that means that a disarming first strike against Iran is not possible.

There are two basic ways to respond to an attack: denial and punishment. In the first case, you have the means to deny your enemy his attack, this is what happened when the Syrians intercepted almost all the cruise missiles fired by the US. Punishment is when you cannot prevent an enemy attack, but you do have the means to inflict unacceptable damage in retaliation.

The key notion here is “unacceptable damage”.

What do you think constitutes “unacceptable damage” to the (terminally hedonistic) Israelis?

What do you think would be “unacceptable damage” to the KSA, or the world markets (especially oil)?

What about “unacceptable damage” in terms of losses for CENTCOM?

And, finally, what do you think “unacceptable damage” means to the Iranians?

There is such a huge asymmetry in how the parties to this conflict see “unacceptable damage” that it largely compensates for the asymmetry in force. Yes, sure, the US+Israel are more powerful than Iran (well, not Israel really, but Israel hiding behind the back of the US forces) but Iran is far more capable of absorbing devastating attacks than either the US or Israel.

Finally, in my last post I offered a definition of what constitutes success or failure for Iran: “anything which makes it easier for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the Empire and anything which makes it harder for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the rest of the planet.

At this point my personal opinion is that the way the Iranians conducted their first anti-Empire operation is nothing short of brilliant: they achieved a truly phenomenal result with very little means and, most importantly, without forcing the Empire to counter-attack.

Has the US-Iran war really begun? Yes, I think so. In fact, it began in 1979, but now it has reached a qualitatively new level. The outcome of that war is absolutely evident to me. The cost, however, is not.

This war has relatively cooled down, but that is an illusion and we should most definitely not take our eyes off the situation in the Middle-East: expect the initiation of asymmetrical anti-US operations very soon.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments