Aletho News


Israel Mulls Response to Alleged Iranian Cyber Attack That Breaks ‘All the Codes of War’ – Report

Sputnik – May 9, 2020

Tel Aviv has accused Tehran of targeting Israel in cyber attacks “on a daily basis”, despite Iran denying the accusations and insisting that the country “does not engage in cyber warfare”.

The Israeli “high-level security cabinet” has reportedly condemned an “Iranian cyber attack” on Tel Aviv’s civil water infrastructure, according to the Times of Israel. The participants of the meeting were reportedly forced to sign confidentiality forms.

The alleged attack in question that reportedly took place in late April was described by one of Israeli officials as a “significant escalation” by Iran that “crossed a red line” as it targeted civil facilities. Officials note that the attack did little damage, despite minor problems reported in local councils.

“This is an attack that goes against all the codes of war. Even from the Iranians we didn’t expect something like this”, the official said, quoted by the report.

According to the report, Tel Aviv is currently mulling responses.

The alleged attack took place in late April and was first reported by Fox News, after the Water Authority and the Israel National Cyber Directorate announced an “attempted cyber breach on water command and control systems”. Reports allege that Iran used American servers for the cyber breach – something that was never acknowledged by the US.

Tehran has denied responsibility for the attack.

“The Iranian government does not engage in cyberwarfare,” said Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu often accuses Iran of cyber attacks, claiming that hacks are made on a “daily basis” and that Tel Aviv “monitors and prevents it every day”, which Iran has repeatedly denied.

In January, the Israeli Energy Minister claimed that the country had neutralized “a very serious” cyber attack targeting one of the nation’s main power stations.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 5 Comments

CNN calls OAN ‘more state-run propaganda network than a credible news organization’

By Sophia Narwitz | RT | May 9, 2020

CNN botched the ‘death’ of Kim Jong-un, covered up for Chris Cuomo after he broke quarantine, and published lies about Elon Musk, and that’s just in the past month, but now it’s here to tell you which news networks are credible!

This week Vanity Fair kicked up a flurry of controversy when after citing those pesky ‘anonymous sources,’ it claimed Donald Trump Jr secretly bought a stake in the right-leaning One America News Network. The owner of the network, Charles Herring, quickly jumped in to quash the claims and denied any such deal had gone through, as well as demanding that a retraction be made.

As of now, no retraction has yet been published, but CNN – ever the opportunist willing to engage in partisan shenanigans – jumped in to create even more controversy. In an article titled ‘Meet OAN, the little-watched right-wing news channel that Trump keeps promoting,’ the cable network boldly claims that OAN “arguably has more in common with a state-run propaganda network than a credible news organization.”

Without being too up to date with OAN’s brand of news and unable to speak on the quality of their reporting, one thing I do know for certain is that CNN is in absolutely no position to call another news agency ‘propaganda,’ or to question its credibility.

In 2017, three journalists resigned after a story falsely claimed Anthony Scaramucci was linked to a Russian investment fund. That same year, CNN pushed the narrative that Trump Jr received early access to WikiLeaks documents only for it to turn out they had the email dates wrong. Once again, keeping busy in 2017 it seems, the network stated the GOP was making rape pre-existing conditions in its healthcare alterations. A blatant falsehood that even fact-checking sites acknowledge as such.

None of that even begins to touch on the many such incidents before or since, let alone the ones at the top of this article. Let us also not forget Russiagate, the biggest conspiracy theory of our time, and something the network threw all its weight behind. Yet audaciously they write that two of OAN’s prominent personalities are “far-right agitators who have a history dabbling in conspiracy theories.”

Uh huh.

On the topic of ‘agitators,’ CNN’s Don Lemon showed his true colors when in January he broke into uncontrollable fits of laughter as panelists on his show mocked not just Trump, but a stereotypical southern bumpkin whom they see as the president’s voter base. They implied such people hate reading, spelling, and geography, all while Mr Lemon spilled his juice and snorted and chuckled along.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to most people reading this, but CNN is a hypocritical, bulls**t-spewing blight on the entire medium of news media as a whole. That it is considered the powerhouse that it is goes a long way towards showing that the average news watcher either doesn’t care about facts, or they’re too tied up in their own political biases to notice the snake oil being squirted into their eyes.

Speaking of looks, CNN took pettiness to a new level when it criticized OAN’s visual style, saying “it doesn’t even offer viewers compelling television with professional graphics.”

I guess they just expect everyone to have 3D holographic airplanes to pull out whenever a Malaysian flight goes missing. But at that point it’s not news, it’s just fancy and mindlessly hollow television. Something CNN excels at.

Sophia Narwitz is a writer and journalist from the US. Outside of her work on RT, she is a primary writer for Colin Moriarty’s Side Quest content, and she manages her own YouTube channel. Follow her on Twitter @SophNar0747

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 8 Comments

Fifth Circuit Throws Out Challenge to Texas Ban on Boycotting Israel

By Cameron Langford  | Courthouse News | April 27, 2020

In litigation challenging a Texas law blocking state agencies from hiring companies boycotting Israel, the Fifth Circuit ordered dismissal of the case Monday but declined to decide if the law is constitutional.

Bahia Amawi, a Palestinian U.S. citizen, had worked for the Pflugerville Independent School District for nearly a decade as a speech therapist for kindergarteners when the school district offered to renew her contract for the 2018-2019 school year.

She refused due to a new clause in the contract requiring her to certify that she does not boycott Israel nor would she do so while working for the school district.

Texas joined 25 other states with similar legislation when lawmakers passed House Bill 89 and Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed it in 2017.

The so-called “No Boycott of Israel” bill’s sponsor, Representative Phil King, R-Weatherford, told news outlets in 2017 he introduced the legislation because as a Christian he felt his religious heritage is linked to Israel and the Jewish people, America’s national security depends on having Israel as an ally in the Middle East, and Texas has a large Jewish population and does a lot of business with Israel.

Amawi sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Pflugerville ISD in Austin federal court in May 2018, claiming HB 89 violates her First Amendment free speech rights.

She said in court filings she refuses to buy Sabra brand hummus due to its connections with Israel and only buys Palestinian olive oil. Sabra is owned by the Israeli company Strauss, which has publicly stated it donates food to the Israeli Defense Forces.

Amawi testified she is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, based on South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, in support of her family living in Palestine, who she claims is subject to curfews imposed by the Israeli government that last for weeks and prevent Palestinians from buying groceries and going to doctor’s appointments and block their children from attending school.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee, granted an injunction after consolidating Amawi’s case in January 2019 with a parallel challenge brought by four men, two of whom are of Middle Eastern descent and claim two Texas school districts denied them work as debate coaches because they refused to agree not to boycott Israel.

John Pluecker, an Arabic translator who joined the BDS movement in support of his Palestinian friends, said the University of Houston refused to pay him for translating an essay after he crossed out the anti-boycott clause in the contract. He sued the University of Houston Board of Regents.

His co-plaintiff George Hale said in court filings he came to sympathize with the Palestinian people’s plight while living with them in Bethlehem from 2008 to 2016.

Hale sued the Texas A&M University System’s board of regents, alleging a school official threatened to fire him from his job as a public radio journalist at Texas A&M University-Commerce if he did not sign the pro-Israel clause in his contract.

After Paxton, the school districts and the board of regents appealed to the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans asking it to vacate Pitman’s injunction in spring 2019, Governor Abbott signed an amendment of HB 89. House Bill 793 modified the law so it no longer applies to sole proprietorships, only to businesses worth more than $100,000 with 10 or more employees.

Though the challengers argue the amendment did not moot their claims because Texas school districts continue to enforce the anti-boycott clause, the Fifth Circuit disagreed Monday.

“We have decided that this appeal is moot because, twelve days after the district court’s ruling, Texas enacted final legislation that exempts sole proprietors from the ‘No Boycott of Israel’ certification requirement,” Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Grady Jolly wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

He continued: “The plaintiffs are all sole proprietors. Because they are no longer affected by the legislation, they lack a personal stake in the outcome of this litigation.”

Jolly, a Reagan appointee, declined to weigh in on the merits of the challengers’ constitutional claims.

The panel vacated Pitman’s order and remanded the case to him to enter a judgment dismissing the lawsuits.

Edgar Saldivar, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, represented Pluecker, the Arabic translator. He said the litigation was successful despite the dismissal order.

“The Fifth Circuit ruling today simply affirms that the legislature’s retreat means Mr. Pluecker, the other plaintiffs, and other Texans whose livelihood is dependent on government contracts can no longer be forced to disavow their First Amendment right to boycott,” he said. “The government cannot impose ideological litmus tests or tell Texans what issues they may or may not support as a condition of hiring.”

One of lead plaintiff Amawi’s attorneys, Gadeir Abbas with the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., indicated another challenge of the Texas law could be coming.

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision means the Texas legislature’s efforts to avoid an inevitable judicial reckoning about these illegal anti-BDS laws that punish people for exercising their First Amendment rights succeeded – for the moment. But these laws invite challenges, and we expect to see more litigation of this anti-BDS law,” he said.

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond Monday afternoon to a request for comment on the order.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

American Bungling Destroyed Pan Am Flight 103

Tales of the American Empire • May 7, 2020

The biggest news story of 1988 was the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people. The US government falsely informed the world that Libya was responsible for an act of terrorism. It was later proven that Iran funded the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in retaliation for the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655 by a US Navy warship five months earlier. The US government knew that Iran was responsible but blaming Iran for an eye-for-an-eye retaliation would demonstrate that a regional power can hit back at a superpower.


“Sea of Lies”; Newsweek ; July 13, 1989.; revealed that the USS Vincennes was not under attack when it shot down an Iranian airliner;

“The Maltese Double Cross”; a 1994 documentary about Pan Am 103 that was banned in the UK and USA;…

“Secret CIA testimony identifies real Lockerbie mastermind”; a 2013 documentary aired by the popular British Channel 4 News that reveals Libya was not responsible;…

Despite the fact Scottish courts freed the accused Libyans, the official story remains that Libya was responsible, as evidenced by Wikipedia placing well-documented alternative theories in a separate section as “conspiracy theories.”;…

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

Did Obama Defense Deputy Lie To Protect Her Fraudulent Russiagate Sources?

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | May 9, 2020

Newly declassified congressional transcripts from the Russia investigation include testimony from former Obama administration defense official, Evelyn Farkas, who testified under oath that she lied in an MSNBC interview when she claimed to have evidence of “the Trump staff dealing with Russians,” and said that the Obama administration was “trying to also get information to the hill” because the incoming Trump administration would try to hide the (nonexistent) evidence.

During closed-door testimony on June 26, 2017, however, Farkas – who was the Clinton campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser – admitted she had nothing.

In an exchange with former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Farkas is pressed on why she said ‘we’ when she said ‘if they found out how we knew what we knew about their staff dealing with Russians.’

Farkas’ response: I didn’t know anything.

In fact, Farkas – who is currently running for a Housee seat in the 17th congressional district of New York – shouldn’t have known anything, because she resigned from the Obama administration in September 2015.

… how did this non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, gain knowledge of intelligence regarding members of Trump’s team and their relations with Russia, when she was the senior foreign policy advisor for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?

Farkas was the prime driver behind the anti-Russia phobia inside the Pentagon during the Obama years — shilling hard for the Ukraine — requesting that the President send them anti-tank missiles — which, essentially, would mean outright war with Russia. – iBankCoin

Given all we now know, Occam’s razor suggests that Farkas, while working for the Clinton campaign, was fully aware of the work of Christopher Steele – the former UK spy paid by the Clinton campaign (through their lawyers and Fusion GPS) to fabricate the infamous dossier used by US intelligence to paint Donald Trump as an agent of Russia.

That said, who exactly did she mean by “we” during that interview? And who was scrambling to leak evidence to the hill?

Based on the MSNBC interview, Farkas obviously knew something. But instead of going down that particular rabbit hole during congressional testimony, she thought the best option was to simply say she lied.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | 3 Comments

Study suggests medical errors are third-leading cause of death in U.S.

By Vanessa McMains | Johns Hopkins University | May 3, 2016

Analyzing medical death rate data over an eight-year period, Johns Hopkins patient safety experts have calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. Their figure, published May 3 in The BMJ, surpasses the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s third leading cause of death—respiratory disease, which kills close to 150,000 people per year.

The Johns Hopkins team says the CDC’s way of collecting national health statistics fails to classify medical errors separately on the death certificate. The researchers are advocating for updated criteria for classifying deaths on death certificates.

“Incidence rates for deaths directly attributable to medical care gone awry haven’t been recognized in any standardized method for collecting national statistics,” says Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an authority on health reform. “The medical coding system was designed to maximize billing for physician services, not to collect national health statistics, as it is currently being used.”

In 1949, Makary says, the U.S. adopted an international form that used International Classification of Diseases billing codes to tally causes of death.

“At that time, it was under-recognized that diagnostic errors, medical mistakes, and the absence of safety nets could result in someone’s death,” says Makary, “and because of that, medical errors were unintentionally excluded from national health statistics.”

In their study, the researchers examined four separate studies that analyzed medical death rate data from 2000 to 2008. Then, using hospital admission rates from 2013, they extrapolated that based on a total of 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths stemmed from a medical error, which the researchers say now translates to 9.5 percent of all deaths each year in the U.S.

According to the CDC, in 2013, 611,105 people died of heart disease, 584,881 died of cancer, and 149,205 died of chronic respiratory disease—the top three causes of death in the U.S. The newly calculated figure for medical errors puts this cause of death behind cancer but ahead of respiratory disease.

“Top-ranked causes of death as reported by the CDC inform our country’s research funding and public health priorities,” Makary says. “Right now, cancer and heart disease get a ton of attention, but since medical errors don’t appear on the list, the problem doesn’t get the funding and attention it deserves.”

The researchers caution that most medical errors aren’t due to inherently bad doctors, and that reporting these errors shouldn’t be addressed by punishment or legal action. Rather, they say, most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability.

“Unwarranted variation is endemic in health care,” Makary says. “Developing consensus protocols that streamline the delivery of medicine and reduce variability can improve quality and lower costs in health care. More research on preventing medical errors from occurring is needed to address the problem.”

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

US to recognise Israel’s annexation of 30% of West Bank area

MEMO | May 9, 2020

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has confirmed that the US is ready to recognise 30 per cent of Israel’s annexation of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Israel Hayom reported.

In an interview published on Friday, Friedman announced that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must negotiate with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas over the establishment of a Palestinian state in 70 per cent of the occupied West Bank, and the US will recognise Israel’s annexation of the other 30 per cent.

“There’s really three things left that have to get done,” Friedman expressed, stating that: “The mapping has to get done. The [Israeli] government has to agree to the freeze on half of Area C, and most importantly, the government of Israel has to declare sovereignty.”

He stressed: “We are not declaring sovereignty – the government of Israel has to declare sovereignty. And then we’re prepared to recognise it… So, you have to go first.”

Regarding the reason as to why Israel has to take the lead, he explained: “The primary task belongs to the Israeli side because they’re the ones that have to come up with what’s best for the state of Israel.”

On the issue of timing, he added: “We’re talking and listening, and everyone understands that come July, certainly, people on the Israeli side, want to be ready to go on 1 July.”

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

US lowers threat perception on Iran

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi won vote of confidence in the parliament in Baghdad on May 7, 2020
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | May 9, 2020

The drawdown of US military presence in the Middle East, especially from Saudi Arabia, may not be an automatic open sesame — to borrow the magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”— leading to the hidden treasure of regional peace and stability, but it does open up a tantalising vista that is seamless in its possibilities.

Speculations are galore about the Pentagon announcement Thursday that the US military will withdraw two Patriot batteries, which have been deployed to protect Saudi oil facilities, along with two jet fighter squadrons.

US President Donald Trump added an ambiguous explanation: “We’re making a lot of moves in the Middle East and elsewhere. We do a lot of things all over the world, militarily we’ve been taken advantage of all over the world… This has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia.” Trump seems to suggest there is a ‘big picture’.

Nonetheless, the move is seen as a showdown between the US and Saudi Arabia, where Washington says to Riyadh that if you do not follow our oil advice, we will throw you under the bus. The fluctuations in the oil market have put strains on the ties binding the two staunch allies and the US oil industry has been hit doubly hard, since even after the recent OPEC+ deal, oil prices continue to fluctuate at the expense of American producers even as Saudi oil tankers reach the US, selling their commodity at lower prices to American buyers, which Washington’s oil industry cannot possibly compete with.

With the storage capacity in the US industry dwindling, the highest ever number of Saudi oil tankers in years are on their way to American shores. Riyadh appears to be flooding the market to drown the shale industry. The mood in Washington has turned ugly, as Trump’s allies in the Congress whose states have been hurt by the price crash, sought a mitigation measure — the Strained Partnership Act — which threatened to punish the Saudis by way of pulling troops and reducing other military commitments unless Riyadh reduced its oil output.

Without doubt, the American oil crash in the wake of the pandemic has taken its toll on US-Saudi relations. But, having said that, Trump cannot be unaware that any US-Saudi friction at this juncture can only work to Iran’s advantage insofar as the coronavirus pandemic is providing an opening to challenge the US presence in Iraq and other places in the Middle East. Top Iranian military officials have openly said in recent weeks that they see the US at its weakest in a while.

Tehran seems to settle for a ‘wait-and-see’ approach until the November election in the US is over, refraining from escalating tensions. Tehran can afford to wait, since the US’ Gulf allies — the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar — are no longer pushing the US into a confrontationist policy but instead engaging with Iran. There is growing disenchantment in the region regarding the consistency of the US policies.

What lends enchantment to the view is that some easing of US-Iran confrontation is also discernible. Most certainly, the establishment of a new government in Baghdad under Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi harks back to a priori history of tacit US-Iranian co-habitation in Iraq.

Al-Kadhimi is a secular-minded figure who does not belong to any of the Shi’ite political parties and yet he won with the votes of the Fateh Coalition, the second largest in the Parliament, made up of Shiite political parties that have close ties to Iran.

He briefly lived in Iran as a dissident but moved on to life in exile in UK and the US — and yet, he’s an acceptable choice to Tehran. He is close to the Washington establishment, which is open to making deals with him, and also enjoys personal rapport with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but Tehran is unperturbed and seems to estimate that he is both pragmatic and can also be tough with the US in a way that no Iranian-backed candidate can be.

Above all, Al-Kadhimi is smart enough know Iran’s support is vital if his government is to perform effectively. The hugely sensitive post of Interior Minister in his cabinet has gone to Othman Ali Farhood Musheer Al Ghanimi, an ally of Iran, while the key post of Finance Minister will be held by Ali Allawi, a pro-western figure and nephew of late Ahmed Chalabi. (Chalabi helped the Bush administration to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.)

Significantly, no sooner than Al-Kadhimi’s government got parliamentary approval on May 7, Washington announced yet another waiver of sanctions against Tehran by allowing Iraq to continue to buy electricity from Iran. Now, unlike previous monthly waivers, Washington has given a 120-day waiver up to September. Tehran is sure to take note.

And this has happened while Washington and Tehran are working out arrangements for another ‘win-win’ prisoner swap. There are four Americans imprisoned in Iran, while Tehran claims “around 20” Iranians are in US custody. Then, there is also the case of a fifth American often thought to be imprisoned in Iran — Robert Levinson, a former FBI and CIA contractor.

Prisoner swaps are a low-cost way of easing tension and Trump places high priority on winning the freedom of Americans imprisoned abroad, and is quick to boast that he is doing better than Barack Obama.

Clearly, neither the US nor Iran is spoiling for a fight. Tensions will spike if the US presses ahead to get the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran beyond October (failing which to invoke the ‘snapback’ clause of the 2015 nuclear deal to reimpose UN sanctions against Iran.)

But then, for want of support from the EU or UK, Britain and Germany — and Russia and China’s opposition — Washington may not press ahead. Trump may discuss Iran with Russian President Vladimir Putin, if the frequency of their phone conversations — six times in as many weeks already — is kept up and the range of topics broadens.

Moscow is counselling Tehran to show strategic patience in the face of US provocations. In the final lap of Trump’s term, Russia is keenly seeking an improvement of relations with the US and a showdown over Iran would spoil the climate.

Thus, there is a lull in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. A pause is noticeable in militia attacks on US troops in Iraq in recent weeks. Talks are due in June in Baghdad between Pentagon and Iraqi government regarding US deployments. Israeli officials speak of signs of an Iranian retrenchment in Syria.

Some US officials have also openly acknowledged that Tehran no longer poses an immediate threat to US strategic interests. In this backdrop, the partial drawdown of US forces in Saudi Arabia can also be regarded as a trimming of the US belligerence toward Iran.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

From Overstretch to Collapse

By Daniel Lazare | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 9, 2020

In less than three decades, a mere blink of the eye in historical terms, the United States has gone from the world’s sole superpower to a massive foundering wreck that is helpless before the coronavirus and intent on blaming the rest of the world for its own shortcomings. As the journalist Fintan O’Toole noted recently in the Irish Times :

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.”

Quite right. But how and why did this pitiable condition come about? Is it all Donald Trump’s fault as so many now assume? Or did the process begin earlier?

The answer for any serious student of imperial politics is the latter. Indeed, a fascinating email suggests that the tipping point occurred in early to mid-2014, long before Trump set foot in the Oval Office.

Sent from U.S. General Wesley Clark to Philip Breedlove, Clark’s successor as NATO commander in Europe, the email is dated Apr. 12, 2014, and concerns events in the Ukraine that had recently begun spinning out of control. A few weeks earlier, the Obama administration had been on top of the world thanks to a nationalist insurrection in Kiev that had chased out a mildly pro-Russian president named Viktor Yanukovych. Champagne glasses were no doubt clinking in Washington now that the Ukraine was solidly in the western camp. But then everything went awry. First, Vladimir Putin seized control of the Crimean Peninsula, site of an all-important Russian naval base at Sevastopol. Then a pro-Russian insurgency took off in Donetsk and Luhansk, two Russian-speaking provinces in the Ukraine’s far east. Suddenly, the country was coming apart at the seams, and the U.S. didn’t know what to do.

It was at that moment that Clark dashed off his note. Already, he informed Breedlove, “Putin has read U.S. inaction in Georgia and Syria as U.S. ‘weakness.’” But now, thanks to the alarming turn of events in the Ukraine, others were doing the same. As he put it:

“China is watching closely. China will have four aircraft carriers and airspace dominance in the Western Pacific, within 5 years, if current trends continue. And if we let Ukraine slide away, it definitely raises the risks of conflict in the Pacific. For, China will ask would the U.S. then assert itself for Japan, Korea, Taiwan the Philippines the South China Sea?… [I]f Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back.… Neither the Baltics nor the Balkans will easily resist the political disruptions empowered by a resurgent Russia and what good is a NATO ‘security guarantee’ against internal subversion?…. And then the U.S. will find a much stronger Russia, a crumbling NATO and [a] major challenge in the Western Pacific. Far easier to [hold] the line now in Ukraine than elsewhere later”.

The email speaks volumes about the mentality of those in charge. Conceivably, the Obama administration still had time to turn things around – if, that is, it had shown a bit of flexibility, a willingness to compromise, and a willingness as well to stand up to the ultra-nationalists who had led the anti-Yanukovych upsurge and opposed anything smacking of an even-handed settlement.

But instead it did the opposite. Back in the 1960s, cold warriors had argued that if Vietnam “fell” to the Communists, then Thailand, Burma, and even India would follow suit. But the proposition that Clark now advanced was even more extreme, a super-Domino Theory holding that a minor ethnic uprising in a part of the world that few people in Washington could find on the map was intolerable because it could cause the entire international structure to unravel. NATO, U.S. control of the western Pacific, victory over the Soviets – all would be lost because a few thousand people insisted on speaking their native Russian.

Why such rigidity? The real problem was not so much a confrontation mindset as a phenomenon that the historian Paul Kennedy had identified in the late 1980s: “imperial overstretch.” Like other empires before it, the U.S. had allowed itself to become so over-extended after twenty-five years of “unipolarity” that strategists had their hands full keeping an increasingly rickety structure together. Nerves were on edge, which is why an ethnic uprising that might have been accommodated at an earlier stage of U.S. imperial development was no longer tolerable. Because the rebels had run afoul of U.S. imperial priorities, they constituted a fundamental threat and therefore had to be bulldozed out of the way.

Except for one thing: the structure was so weak that each new bulldoze operation only made matters worse. Insurgents continued to hold their ground in Donetsk and Luhansk thanks to Russian backing while the government grew more and more corrupt and unstable back in Kiev. In the Middle East, the situation was so confused that U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar were channeling money and arms to ISIS as it rampaged through eastern Syria and northern Iraq and advanced on Baghdad. Thanks to the turmoil that U.S. policies were unleashing, millions of desperate refugees would soon make their way to Europe where they would spark a powerful nativist reaction that continues to this day. U.S. hegemony was turning into a nightmare.

It was no different in an America shaken by Wahhabist terrorism and dismayed by wars in the Middle East that went nowhere yet never seemed to end. Donald Trump rode a wave of discontent into the White House by promising to “drain the swamp” and bring the troops home. Conceivably, he could have done just that once he was in office – if, that is, he had been serious about downsizing U.S. imperialism and was capable of standing up to the CIA. But the “intelligence community” struck back by launching a classic destabilization campaign based on the theme of Russian collusion while Trump’s foreign-policy ideas turned out to be even more of a mess than Obama’s.

So the collapse intensified, which is why America is now such a helpless giant. A crazy man is at the helm, yet the best Democrats can do is put up a candidate suffering from the early stages of senile dementia, who may be a rapist to boot. No one knows how things will play out from this point on. But two things are clear. One is that the process did not start under Trump, while the other is that it will undoubtedly continue regardless of who wins in November. Once collapse sets in, it’s impossible to stop.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia’s Public Companies Are Being Dismantled, Morales Says

teleSUR | May 8, 2020

Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales denounced that the coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez is dismantling state-owned companies such as Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), Bolivian Airlines (BoA), and Bolivian Telecommunications (Entel).​​​​​

“Jeanine Áñez’s trusted men, Herland Soliz and Elio Montes, embezzled from the Bolivian Oil Company and the Bolivian Telecommunications enterprises… A similar fate awaits to Bolivian Aviation Company (BOA)” Morales tweeted.

In February, the Entel director Elio Montes was arrested at a U.S. airport because he was carrying a high amount of money. Under his management, the Bolivian authorities investigated unjustified expenses in the telecommunications company.

“The Bolivian people fought for their natural resources and against plundering and privatization. In 2006, we nationalized the petroleum industry… Today it is at risk because of mismanagement and corruption,” the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate Luis Arce tweeted.​​​​​​​

“We, Bolivians, along with our social organizations, have the duty to defend strategic companies,” Morales said and warned that “if we don’t protect them, it will be tough to get out of the crisis.”

In late 2019, the Santa Cruz’s Parliamentary Group president Erick Moran denounced that the Añez regime had appointed private entrepreneurs as managers of the aviation company.

Even though the self-proclaimed president said that the capital of this company would increase, its financial sustainability has worsened.

“The de facto government is destroying what Bolivians had a hard time recovering,” Morales added.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela’s Guaido says US mercenary contract is fake, even after own allies give full doc to US media

RT | May 9, 2020

Opposition leader Juan Guaido continues to deny any link to a failed armed incursion into Venezuela, despite his own allies handing over a lengthy contract to American media naming him as the commander of the operation.

The opposition figurehead and self-declared “interim president” of Venezuela denied again on Friday that he had anything to do with the ill-fated mission, which by most accounts was set up by a Florida-based security company, Silvercorp USA, and its American CEO, Jordan Goudreau.

“We reiterate once again that the interim government has no link, commitment or responsibility to Silvercorp or its actions, as well as deny that President Guaido has signed an assumption contract with [the company],” Guaido’s office said in a statement.

Earlier this week, however, the Washington Post published a 41-page document it alleged to be the full multi-million-dollar contract between Silvercorp and Guaido, even noting the document was “provided by Venezuelan opposition officials on the condition that one of the attachments be redacted.” Among its many revelations, the leaked contract clearly lists Guaido as the operation’s “commander in chief,” directly at odds with his repeated claims to the contrary.

While the complete contract does not contain Guaido’s signature, top adviser Juan Rendon has admitted to Reuters that he negotiated the deal, and his name does appear on the contract alongside other senior opposition members. Guaido did apparently sign a shorter “general services agreement,” though that document does not specify what the deal was for.

The failed mission, launched on May 3, saw several dozen armed mercenaries attempt to storm the Venezuelan coast from Colombia in speedboats. The operation fell apart before it could get off the ground, with security forces intercepting the boats and killing eight of the fighters before arresting some 13 more – two of them US citizens and employees of Silvercorp. One of those Americans, Luke Denman, has since stated the mission sought to capture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and bring him back to the US, where he is wanted on “narco-terrorism” charges.

Guaido has offered a very different version of events, however, insisting Maduro fabricated the entire story while calling the leaked contract a fake, meant to generate a “false positive” justification to “kidnap and arrest” members of the opposition. The alternative account, if true, would mean the Washington Post is either working hand-in-glove with Maduro, or was fooled by his operatives posing as opposition figures. Goudreau and Rendon – Guaido’s own adviser – would also have to be in on the conspiracy, as both have corroborated that there was, in fact, a deal with Silvercorp.

US President Donald Trump has rejected claims of American involvement in the incursion plot, stating he would have sent in the military had he wanted to carry out such a mission, though Maduro has repeatedly accused Washington of ordering the operation. Other critics have also voiced suspicions about the timing of the attempted mercenary raid, which came only weeks after the US indicted Maduro on drug trafficking and launched a militarized anti-narcotics mission in the Caribbean Sea – on Venezuela’s doorstep.

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment