Aletho News


Cut Overseas Police Training Programs

Photograph Source: Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States – CC BY-SA 2.0
By Jeremy Kuzmarov | CounterPunch | June 15, 2020

The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has ignited protests across the United States and calls to demilitarize and defund the police.

A similar demand should be made to cut overseas police training programs including in Afghanistan.

The U.S. government has long adopted overseas police training as a cornerstone of nation building and counterinsurgency programs.

The idea is that American police will instill professional and democratic standards, including a respect for civil liberties among foreign counterparts and help stabilize violence prone countries.

The Floyd killing has exposed, however, that American police lack professional and humane standards and need to be retrained and reformed. They are ill suited to improve other countries’ police.

In Afghanistan, where the U.S. has spent an estimated $87 billion dollars over nineteen years training security forces, the police are notorious for corruption, sectarianism, incompetence and brutality.

In an interview quoted in the Afghanistan Papers, Thomas Johnson, a Navy official who served as a counterinsurgency adviser in Kandahar province, said that Afghans viewed the police as predatory bandits, calling them “the most hated institution” in Afghanistan.

This latter outcome resulted in part from the militarized tactics promoted by American advisers and their importation of police technologies which could be used for repressive ends.

In Honduras, where the U.S. expanded police aid following a 2009 coup d’états that ousted the mildly progressive José Manuel Zelaya, American trained units have been implicated in torture and drug related corruption, and carried out predawn raids of activists involved in protesting contested elections.

These units were trained under an initiative promoted by President Obama and extended by Trump that provided hundreds of millions of dollars for law enforcement training and assistance, mostly under the War on Drugs.

In the early 1960s, the Kennedy administration created the United States Agency for International Development’s infamous Office of Public Safety (OPS), to modernize the police forces in countries considered vulnerable to communist subversion.

Headed by CIA agent Byron Engle, who combined a deep commitment to civilian police work with an appreciation for the darker areas of political police intelligence, the OPS initially employed liberal reformers.

As political policing gained primacy, however, OPS agents became contemptuous of human rights and imported policing technologies that were used to hunt down dissidents and violently quell protests.

Charles Maechling Jr., staff director of the Special Group on Counterinsurgency under Kennedy, acknowledged that in failing to “insist on even rudimentary standards of criminal justice and civil rights, the United States provided regimes having only a façade of constitutional safeguards with up-dated law enforcement machinery readily adaptable to political intimidation and state terrorism. Record keeping in particular was immediately put to use tracking down student radicals and union organizers.”

By 1973, the OPS was abolished by Congress because of its connection to torture carried out by U.S. trained police forces in South Vietnam and Brazil.

Many OPS veterans subsequently returned to work for police forces back in the U.S., where some continued to promote tactics that encouraged police abuse, including in the suppression of urban riots.

Unfortunately, there is a long pattern of abuse in American police forces, that overseas police programs have helped to compound.

As momentum grows for a transformation of the police, activists should be demanding an end to the practice of exporting police repression and a change to the American approach towards foreign policy more broadly.

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018) and Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting for the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 23 Comments

Iran warns IAEA against taking Israeli intelligence report about Tehran violating nuke deal at face value

RT | June 15, 2020

Tehran called on the international nuclear watchdog to maintain neutrality and refrain from “unconstructive” decisions based on a biased Israeli intelligence report that claims Iran may be violating its international nuclear deal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met on Monday to discuss a report alleging that Tehran is violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by continuing to enrich uranium beyond the agreed level. Iran claims that the data was supplied by Mossad.

Should the IAEA Board of Governors be taken in by “Israeli fabrications” underlying a recent report that claimed Iran was violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, it would “complicate Iran’s cooperation with the agency,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during a press briefing on Monday as reported by Tasnim, hinting at a “proportionate reaction.”

“They can probably guess what Iran’s reaction will be.”

Mousavi called on the IAEA to maintain neutrality instead of acting on “allegations made by the Zionist regime,” citing Israel’s long history of producing unsubstantiated claims about Iran’s nuclear activities and warning the agency against issuing any resolution against Iran in reaction to the report.

The report claimed Iran has “for months blocked inspections at two sites where nuclear activity may have occurred in the past,” continued to build up its uranium stockpile, and upped enrichment levels past the limits set out by the JCPOA nuclear deal. Israel demanded “paralyzing sanctions” be levied on the country in response.

However, Iran only began exceeding the terms of the JCPOA a year after the US unilaterally pulled out and reimposed crippling sanctions in 2018 despite what was at the time full compliance from Iran, and the other signatories have refused to cross the US in order to hold up their ends of the deal.

Iran has rejected all allegations of non-compliance with the IAEA, and Mousavi on Monday called on the agency to base its actions on legal facts rather than the claims of obviously-biased international actors.
Also on Iran slams Washington’s ‘unlawful’ nuclear moves in letter to IAEA officials

Mousavi pointed out that caving in to US and Israeli “pressure” and punishing Iran based on the report’s claims amounts to reopening a probe into “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program that was resolved in the country’s favor in 2015. The IAEA at the time concluded Iran had never diverted its peaceful nuclear activities, despite spurious allegations to the contrary.

The spokesman also slammed US threats to extend an arms embargo due to expire in October, pointing out that Washington was no longer a signatory to the JCPOA nuclear deal and thus has no legal standing to extend the prohibition. An extension of the embargo would be a “red line,” he warned.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

TSA to take mug shots of domestic air travelers

By Edward Hasbrouck | Papers, please! | June 8, 2020

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has officially although quietly announced that, as it has planned for years, its deployment of mug-shot machines at airport checkpoints will move from pilot projects to the new normal for domestic air travelers.

According to a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) released last week, the TSA plans to integrate facial recognition into the Secure Flight profiling, scoring, and control system used by the TSA and other linked agencies to decide who is, and who is not, “allowed” to pass through TSA checkpoints to exercise their right to travel by airline common carrier.

Cameras to photograph would-be travelers’ faces will be added to each of the stations at airport checkpoints where TSA employees and contractors currently scan would-be passengers’ travel documents (boarding passes and, if they present ID, ID documents).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in collaboration with airlines and airport operators, already collects photos of many international travelers. CBP has been moving in fits and starts toward making mug shots mandatory even for U.S. citizens traveling internationally. As of now, mug shots are still officially “voluntary” for U.S. citizen international travelers, although many U.S. citizens have reported not being allowed to opt out. But last month, as we noted in an earlier blog post, the CBP official in charge of deployment of facial recognition said CBP plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for mandatory facial recognition of international travelers before the end of this year.

We expect that, consistent with the TSA’s “biometrics vision for all commercial aviation travelers”, deployment of facial recognition at TSA checkpoints for domestic air travelers will follow the same steps as have been followed by CBP in rolling out facial recognition for international air travelers: first pilot projects, then universal deployment of “optional” mug-shot cameras at airports (on an allegedly “opt-out” basis), then increasingly adverse treatment (delay, more intrusuive and in time of pandemic dangerous groping, etc.) of those who opt out, and eventually — if most travelers “voluntarily” submit to mug shots — denial of travel to those who don’t. The PIA doesn’t say how soon any of this will happen.

The time to say “no” is now, while you still can. Don’t consent to being photographed at TSA checkpoints or airline check-in counters or kiosks. For your own safety as well the protection of your civil liberties, don’t remove your mask! TSA checkpoints, check-in counters, and all kinds of kiosks are among the places at airports where transmission of contagious diseases is most likely. We are very interested in hearing from any traveler who is ordered to remove a face mask.

The TSA claims that domestic air travelers will be allowed to “opt out” of facial imaging, but it will be up to you to spot the cameras and stay out of their field of view. Notably, the TSA’s Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) doesn’t say what, if any, notices will be posted for travelers to see before they come into range of the mug-shot cameras.

The required notices are dictated by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and the Privacy Act, but the TSA has ignored both of these Federal laws in its facial recognition plans.

Even if a “collection of information” (including biometric information) by a Federal agency such as the TSA is voluntary, the PRA requires that it be approved in advance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned an OMB control number. That OMB control number and other notices specified by the PRA must be provided to  all individuals from whom information is to be collected.

Pursuant to the PRA, no penalties may be imposed for failure or refusal to provide information unless these approval and notice requirements are complied with.

The PIA for facial imaging at TSA checkpoints doesn’t cite an OMB control number, and so far as we can tell, there is none. If TSA checkpoint staff ask you to take off your face mask so that they can take your mug shot, ask for the OMB control number for this information collection and a copy of the applicable Paperwork Reduction Act Notice.

The TSA says that facial images collected by the TSA “will be retained for no longer than 24 hours after the flight departure time.“ But regardless of how long this data is retained, any retention of personal identified information such as mug shots is prohibited by the Privacy Act unless the agency has previously published an applicable System Of Records Notice (SORN) in the Federal Register.  Operation of a system of records without proper notice is a crime on the part of the responsible agency officials.

The new PIA for the TSA’s facial recognition scheme for air travelers claims that the data collected would be covered by the Secure Flight SORN promulgated in 2015. But facial images collected at checkpoints are not among the categories of information listed in the SORN as included in that system of records.

The bottom line is that the TSA facial recognition scheme described in the latest PIA would violate both the PRA and the Privacy Act. To the extent that it would require or induce travelers to remove their face masks, it would exacerbate the pandemic hazards of travel to the health of travelers and airline, airport, and TSA staff and contractors.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | 1 Comment

Police Killings are a Political Tactic

By Rob Urie | CounterPunch | June 15, 2020

As the spark that lit a fire, the murder of George Floyd was horrifyingly, sickeningly ordinary. According to the scant data on police killing of citizens that is available, about three people are killed by the police in the U.S. every day. And despite the protest movements Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, this number has remained about constant in recent years through Democratic and Republican administrations. This persistence stands in contrast to the political ‘branding’ of the mainstream political parties where difference is claimed, but little is evident.

The place of Mr. Floyd’s murder in the ordinary working of American governance makes it the catalyst, not the cause, of current protests. The background circumstances of economic calamity suggest that political tensions will continue to rise as unemployment and economic desperation exert a toll on social stability. The horror of Mr. Floyd’s murder should get outraged citizens into the streets regardless of broader circumstances. But with history as a guide, it is these broader factors that are creating the political moment. This highlights the urgency of acting while there is an opening.

Graph: according to this credible— because it is unofficial, source, the total number of citizens killed by police per year has held steady at about 1,100 over the last decade. Ironically, given the scale and scope of the current rebellion, the number of blacks killed by the police has been falling over the last few years— meaning that the killing of whites has been rising. Illustrated here is the trend in blacks killed by the police by year. Source:

The disproportionate targeting of blacks by the police is given needed context when the data is organized by economic class. Poor and working-class whites are arrested and incarcerated at about the same rate as poor and working-class blacks. By its nature, this data says nothing about history. But it does offer structural and political insights. To the prior, history informs the present, it doesn’t define it. To the latter, 1) the frame of race divides people who otherwise have shared class interests and 2) poor and working class ‘allies’ are struggling for their own freedom from police violence, whatever their intentions.

What this arithmetic of disparity implies is that a larger proportion of blacks than whites are poor and working class. One interpretation is that race defines economic opportunity, which is overly generous to how capitalism works. Whatever people’s sentiments, slavery, convict leasing and Jim Crow had economic explanations. Some people, call them capitalists, make themselves rich by making and keeping other people poor. Here is a dry, academic and partial explanation of how poor people are kept poor in the present.

The current focus on police violence is roughly analogous to explaining foreign entanglements like wars through the actions of foot soldiers and technicians rather than through the strategic and tactical goals of state leaders. And explanations of police power like police unions and white supremacy ignore modern history at the peril of their purveyors. The film 13th offers key insights into this history from a black liberal perspective. Richard Nixon created the carceral state to imprison the political enemies of capital.

As writer Dan Baum reported in Harper’s in 2016, Mr. Nixon created the ‘war on drugs’ to give state and local police a state-sanctioned (‘legitimate’) reason to arrest and imprison the counterculture left and blacks. Whatever Mr. Nixon’s sentiments regarding race, his goal was straightforwardly political— to use state power to arrest and imprison his political enemies. And his strategy worked. Through the war on drugs, the U.S. created the largest gulag system to imprison real and potential opponents of official state policy in human history.

This ‘political’ explanation of the carceral-police state strains the brains of Democrats who spent four decades arming, militarizing and supporting the police to combat ‘crime.’ That it is overwhelmingly poor and working people in prison who were sent there on drug charges supports Mr. Baum’s claim. As his source, Nixon aide John Ehrlichman, added, Mr. Nixon clearly understood that 1) ‘crime’ related to drugs was a political designation intended to 2) put the entire counter culture— which at the time included a large black nationalist movement, in prison.

The political question related to ‘crime’ wasn’t: what socially destructive behavior should be punished? It was: what laws can be enacted that will specifically target the political enemies of establishment interests to prevent them from mounting effective political challenges to it? To state the obvious, some of the most dangerous and socially destructive drugs (alcohol and tobacco) were kept legal to be distributed at a profit. And as ‘conspiracy theory’ as the charge still reads, decades of evidence place the CIA as the distribution center of the American narcotics trade.

What Mr. Nixon accomplished was twofold: he created the largest gulag system in world history and he gave a federal purpose to otherwise disparate and locally funded police departments. This is where Bill Clinton picked up. Through the liberal frame, Mr. Clinton’s deregulation of the banks, cutting of social spending and build out of the carceral state were unrelated acts. But even within a neoliberal frame, these are related as a carrot and stick approach to force people to adhere to the emerging neoliberal order. The requirement to work or starve was intended to recover the Dickensian conditions of early capitalism in ways that Ronald Reagan only dreamed of.

Another way to understand deregulation is as reducing the number, scale and scope of laws that constrain corporate behavior. Capital was freed by Bill Clinton as he used the class-proxy of ‘crime’ to increase violent state repression of poor and working people. By giving the police immunity for their actions, Mr. Clinton made violent crime a state-sponsored enterprise. Within the range of available options, he reduced social spending in poor neighborhoods, choosing instead to criminalize poverty. The Democrats have been the party of Wall Street ever since.

As with race in an earlier era, incarceration was made the marker that defines a super-exploitable class. The incarcerated— overwhelmingly from the poor and working class, were made to pay for their incarceration, often by working for private corporations at below-market wages; were the last hired and the first fired after being released from prison, and they were excluded from political participation through prohibitions on felon voting. These practices tie in history to convict leasing and Jim Crow— and liberal Democrats supported them.

Furthermore, what bearing would police reforms have on the political purpose of the carceral system? This purpose is determined by oligarchs and the agents of capital, not cops. Reforms will only be adopted and kept in place as long as to the broader political and economic goals of the oligarchs are met. For instance, the New Deal was jettisoned the moment it could be plausibly argued that it constrained capital. As for the Voting Rights Act, after blacks were given the right to vote, capital took over the electoral system.

Back to the film 13th for a moment. After presenting the half-baked assertion that Bill Clinton was forced by the political zeitgeist to take up Richard Nixon’s program of (re) racializing policing and the carceral system, it was clearly and accurately stated that Mr. Clinton was directly, and almost singularly, responsible for the willful destruction of millions of black and brown lives through his buildout of the carceral and police states. Mr. Clinton’s defense— that violent crime was a real problem, ignores the role that his patrons played in neighborhood destruction and the resulting social carnage that led to this outcome.

The film (13th) also provides a string of dim, thuggish, prattle from Donald Trump where he incites violence against ‘outsiders’ at his political rallies in his proto-fascist manner. This ties to his Nixonian threat to use the U.S. military to ‘dominate’ protests and protesters through violent repression. This in turn led to a rash of ‘Reichstag fire’ type analogies that treat Mr. Trump’s threats as facts while reducing the actual history of liberal Democrats building the largest gulag system in world history to a momentary lapse in judgment.

This public exploration of the liberal id was followed by well-placed editorials in the establishment press arguing that ‘Donald Trump is no Nixon— he is much worse.’ Here is Richard Nixon discussing with Nelson Rockefeller how to murder as much of the captive population of Attica prison, including prison guards, as was logistically possible just before Mr. Rockefeller did so. In addition to creating the American gulag system to imprison his political opponents, Mr. Nixon expanded the U.S. war in Vietnam to Laos and Cambodia, gratuitously slaughtering untold innocents in a war known to have been lost a full decade earlier.

That the Clintonite architect of the modern police and carceral states, Joe Biden, is the establishment Democrat’s candidate for president demonstrates their commitment to their neoliberal program. Joe Biden wrote key parts of the 1994 Crime Bill and the Patriot Act, and he dedicated his career to empowering the police while exempting them from accountability for their actions. After Bill Clinton, Joe Biden is the national political figure most responsible for the police practices that led to the murder of George Floyd.

In terms of emerging political alliances, the distance between words and actions is a political strategy. By analogy, the actions of white liberal Democrat Amy Cooper in using the NYPD for social leverage in her dispute with black birdwatcher Christian Cooper are instructional. By Ms. Cooper’s own words, she isn’t racist. Her use of race was transactional— race (and gender) are social levers, she wanted social leverage in her confrontation with Mr. Cooper, so she used them. The police were the social device at her disposal.

This is corporate logic— Ms. Cooper was a financial executive before she was publicly exposed for abusing Christian Cooper. It is also the mode of operational logic that dominates the Democrat’s political culture. The national Democrats who conceived and promoted the 1994 Crime Bill used its racial subtext for political leverage much as Ms. Cooper did. Ms. Cooper was careful to use politically correct terminology to demonstrate that while she was using race and gender to her advantage, she isn’t racist. #Resistance liberals used ‘Russia’ and ‘Putin’ in similar fashion to discredit their political opponents.

With regard to the current alliance of convenience between protesters, the establishment press and national Democrats, it was only a few weeks ago that the latter were lauding the American political police— the FBI, as the saviors of freedom and democracy in the Russiagate fraud. That the FBI was behind the scenes in the murders of Black Panther Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, suggests that protecting freedom and democracy isn’t precisely its mandate. Through its Cointelpro program, the FBI worked with Richard Nixon— and subsequent administrations, to disrupt, thwart and otherwise destroy organized opposition to state policy.

Closer to home, the FBI was ‘deeply involved’ in the vicious police repression that was used to shut Occupy Wall Street down in an organized multi-state operation. To bring this back to Mr. Nixon’s service to capital in creating the modern carceral-police state, the FBI coordinated with the large Wall Street banks that the Obama administration was still in the process of bailing out when its assault on the peaceful protesters of OWS took place. For those who may have forgotten, Wall Street bank J.P. Morgan made a $4.6 billion contribution to the NYPD pension fund as OWS gained political strength.

Events have moved past the murder of George Floyd as establishment hacks try to extinguish the flames with ham-fisted theatrics. I had a hard time not vomiting at the sight of craven Democrats dressed in kante garb kneeling in Kaepernick fashion to show solidarity with the people they have dedicated their careers to selling out to the highest bidder. Given that ‘we’ were in a similar place in 2015, with near daily high-profile murders of unarmed youth at the hands of the police that they had empowered, and they did nothing. To save the suspense, they engage in theatrics in place of taking meaningful action, not in addition to it.

With capitalism in its deepest crisis since 2009, and possibly since the 1930s, the current political moment is fraught. As was demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the existing powers are incapable of governing. What they are capable of is massive transfers of social wealth to the already rich and political repression. If capital is perceived to be threatened, look for self-preservation to come in the form of political violence no matter which party holds the White House. One might ask what happened to Bernie Sander’s ‘coalition,’ which I supported for tactical reasons (to head off environmental calamity [?!?] ). Bernie Sanders is a Democrat. That is what happened.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , | Leave a comment

“Putin’s Gonna Get Me”

By Craig Murray | June 15, 2020

Shakespeare’s heirs at the BBC produced this deathless and entirely convincing line as the climax of the first episode of “The Salisbury Poisonings”, a three part piece of state propaganda on the Skripal saga, of which I watched Part 1 as it was broadcast last night. The other two parts are to be broadcast today and tomorrow, which unusual scheduling reflects the importance our masters place on this stirring tale of the resilience of the great British nation under attack by devilish foreigners. You can watch all three episodes now on BBC iPlayer, but personally I suffer from overactive antibodies to bullshit and need a break.

The line about Putin was delivered by salty, ex-British military Ross Cassidy, so of course was entirely convincing. It may have been more so had he ever said it in public before this week, but there you are.

To judge by social media, an extraordinary proportion of the public find the official narrative entirely convincing. I find myself unable to pretend that does not fill me with despair at the future of democracy. That anybody could listen to the following dialogue without doubling up in laughter is completely beyond me. I do not quite understand how the actors managed to speak it.

Porton Down Man: “And it’s one of the deadliest synthetic substances on earth. It’s so toxic that a spoonful, with the right delivery mechanism, could kill thousands”.
Heroic Public Health Lady: “But if it’s so toxic, how come the Skripals are still alive?”
Porton Down Man: “The paramedics assumed that they had overdosed on fentanyl so they gave them a shot of Naloxone, which happens to combat nerve agent toxicity. Plus, it was cold, further inhibiting the speed with which the substance took effect.”

Aah yes, it was cold. A factor those pesky Russians had overlooked, because of course it is never cold in Russia. And everybody knows it is minus 40 inside Zizzis and inside the Bishops Mill pub. Once the nerve agent has entered the body, only in the most extreme conditions could exterior temperature have any kind of effect at all. Neither Sergei nor Yulia was anyway outdoors for any significant period after supposedly being poisoned by their door handle.

Many wildly improbable stories have been produced by the security services over the last three years to explain why this ultra deadly nerve agent did not kill the Skripals. Interestingly enough, the BBC drama left out a detail which the Daily Mail alleged came from a security service briefing, that:

“Completely by chance, doctors with specialist chemical weapons training were on duty at the hospital when the victims were admitted. They treated Sergei and Yulia Skripal with an atropine (antidote) and other medicines approved by scientists from Porton Down, the government’s top secret scientific research laboratory”

Which is very believable, I suppose, because it is no more of a coincidence than the Chief Nurse of the British Army being right there when they first collapsed on a bench.

Yet in all the multiple attempts to explain the non-deadly deadly nerve agent, “it was cold” appears to be a new one. It must have official approval, because all purpose security service shill, warmonger and chemical weapons expert, Lt Col Hamish De Bretton Gordon was listed in the credits as “military advisor” to this BBC production.

Let me offer you this tiny smidgeon of wisdom, for nothing: when the state broadcaster starts to make propaganda videos that credit a “military advisor”, you are well on the way to fascism.

Perhaps wisely, Part One at least of the BBC Drama made no attempt at all to portray how the alleged poisoning happened. How the Skripals went out that morning, caught widely on CCTV, to the cemetery according to this version, and then returned home without being caught coming back. How while they were back in their house two Russian agents walked up and, at midday in broad daylight on a very open estate, applied deadly nerve agent to the Skripals’ door handle, apparently without the benefit of personal protective equipment, and without being seen by anybody. How the Skripals then left again and contrived for both of them to touch the exterior door handle in closing the door. How, with this incredibly toxic nerve agent on them, they were out for three and a half hours, fed the ducks, went to the pub and went to Zizzis, eating heartily, before both collapsing on a park bench. How despite being different ages, sexes, body shapes and metabolisms they both collapsed, after this three hour plus delay, at exactly the same moment, so neither could call for help.

The BBC simply could not make a drama showing the purported actions that morning of the Skripals without it being blindingly obvious that the story is impossible. Luckily for them, we live in such a haze of British Nationalist fervor that much of the population, especially the mainstream media journalists and the Blairite warmongers, will simply overlook that. The omission of the actual “poisoning” from “The Salisbury Poisonings” is apparently just an artistic decision.

All those events happened before the timeline of this BBC Drama started. The BBC version started the moment people came to help the Skripals on the bench. However it omitted that the very first person to see them and come to help was, by an incredible coincidence, the Chief Nurse of the British Army. That the chief military nurse was on hand is such an amazing coincidence you would have thought the BBC would want to include it in their “drama”. Apparently not. Evidently another artistic decision.

The time from touching the door handle to the Skripals being attended by paramedics was about four hours. That Naloxone is effective four hours after contact with an ultra deadly nerve agent is remarkable.

I do not want to under-represent the personal suffering of policeman Nick Bailey nor his family. But he was shown in the drama as rubbing this “deadliest synthetic substance” directly into the soft tissues around his eye, but then not getting seriously ill for at least another 24 hours. Plainly all could not be what it seems.

The actual poisoning event, the specialist team coincidentally at the hospital and the Army Chief Nurse were not the only conspicuous omissions. Also missing was Skripal’s MI6 handler and Salisbury neighbour Pablo Miller, who did not rate so much as a mention. The other strange thing is that the drama constantly cut to newsreel coverage of actual events, but omitted the BBC’s own flagship news items on the Skripal event in those first three days, which were all presented by BBC Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban.

Now Mark Urban happens to have been in the Royal Tank Regiment with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. Not distantly, but joining the regiment together at the same rank in the same officer intake on the same day. I do love a lot of good coincidences in a plot. Mark Urban had also met frequently with Sergei Skripal in the year before his death, to “research a book”. Yet when Urban fronted the BBC’s Skripal coverage those first few days, he kept both those highly pertinent facts hidden from the public. In fact he kept them hidden for four full months. I wonder why Mark Urban’s lead BBC coverage was not included in the newsreel footage of this BBC re-enactment?

There is much, much more that is wildly improbable about this gross propaganda product and I must save some scorn and some facts for the next two episodes. Do read this quick refresher in the meantime. How many of these ten questions has the BBC Drama addressed convincingly, and how many has it dodged or skated over?

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

Japan halts plans to deploy Aegis Ashore missile shield, citing costs & technical issues

RT | June 15, 2020

Tokyo has stopped bringing the US-made Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense sites online on Japanese soil, one month after it suspended plans to deploy an installation in the country’s east following opposition from locals.

The Japanese Defense Ministry has suspended the deployment of the Aegis Ashore systems in Japan, Defense Minister Taro Kono announced on Monday, according to the Kyodo news agency. Without going into detail, Kono attributed the U-turn to overwhelming costs and unspecified “technical problems.”

Kono did not say how long the plans would stay on the backburner. Japan’s military was planning to activate two Aegis Ashore sites, in the Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures, by the year 2023.

The two locations would cover the country’s airspace from both east and west, according to the news agency.

However, residents and local politicians in Akita rebelled against hosting the compound on their lands. They insisted that Aegis operations would take a toll on locals’ health and protested that it would likely become a high-priority target were an armed conflict to break out around Japan

The missile defense systems, designed by a number of American companies including Lockheed and Raytheon, were sold to Japan along with other defense equipment back in January 2019, with the deal totaling an estimated $2.15 billion.

Japan has been one of a few nations tapped to host Aegis Ashore. Far away from the Pacific, one such site has already entered service in Romania, while another is under construction in Poland – right on Russia’s doorstep.

Moscow considered the Aegis deployment an immediate threat to its security, with defense experts claiming the system’s launchers – officially defensive in nature – could easily be converted to fire offensive munitions like Tomahawk cruise missiles.

It also voiced concern over the Japanese deployment plans, saying that placing Aegis Ashore in Japan would “adversely affect the Russian strategic containment arsenal.”

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

A View From Afar

By Auslander for The Saker Blog | June 15, 2020

It is interesting to watch a full blown coup come to life. The responsibility for this coup can be laid directly at the feet of President Donald John Trump for having the absolute gall to defeat Hillary Diane Rodham in an open and free election in 2016. Of course the falsely defeated Rodham, ringed by her ever more strident and blindly faithful minions including the world wide media, immediately began to strike back even as the final vote counting was at hand. The rallying cry? “Impeach Trump!!!” This ‘impeach’ movement was ongoing for months before Donald Trump took the oath of office in 2017, but for me it was a head scratcher, how could he have done anything to warrant impeachment before he was even sworn in as President? Somehow no one in the feckless media had the brains to ask that question, ergo they have all been bought and paid for.

But scream they did, every day and all day, but behind the scenes they were planning and planning well. When they finally did manage to get an impeachment article against the president through Congress it didn’t fly, but that didn’t matter, the plans were well afoot and ready for one spark to go national and global. That ‘spark’ was the death of one man in police custody, actually in the process of being put in police custody, and his death became the cause for the coup to spring to life. As planned. It matters not what the spark was or who, if anyone, died, the fact is the well planned and financed coup grew exponentially in hours.

So, just as US was coming off the ‘Chinese pandemic’ and the country was in shut down with severe financial and cultural repercussions, the country exploded. As was planned. Having watched months of the debacle in Kiev in late ’13 through early ’14, I instantly recognized the tactics and organizations, just as I recognized them at the Krim Rada Riot on, if memory serves, 24 February ’14 when the orcs tried to take Rada. The same well organized units, readily identifiable ranks and easily identifiable units with various tasks. While the actors have morphed from ‘banderites’ to ‘antifa’, it’s the same tactics now well honed after the trial runs on the left coast two years ago. The media is in lock step with the coup participants and screaming bloody murder all day every day and now, as planned, the chaos has expanded to west Europe, albeit nothing like what is happening in US.

Make no mistake, this is an organized, violent and bloody coup d’etat against the sitting President of the United States of America. President Trump is being artfully hemmed in by ever increasing and ever more violent events and is to the point, if one listens to the ever patriotic media, damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Case in point, the little area in Seattle which is now ‘liberated territory’. Liberated from what no one knows, but the mayor of Seattle and the governor of Washington State both seem to be in favor of this little dab of US territory owned by openly self identified fascists and devolving by the minute into ever deeper chaos and anarchy. No President can allow or condone these actions by armed insurgents, so President Trump will have to act. The problem is there are some problems in the upper echelon ranks of the US Armed Forces, a couple of whom don’t seem to remember who is the CiC of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and also seem to have forgotten their oath to defend USA from all attacks both foreign and domestic. So be it. A very few, read one or two, senior officers have openly disavowed their oaths and have turned against the President. This is not good, it will bring confusion and hesitation in the Field Grade and Company Grade officers if and when they are issued orders to quash this open and blatant attack in the Sovereign States of the United States of America. As planned. Any coup will find spineless upper echelon officers who can be bought or blackmailed, comes with the events.

As such, again make no mistake, the rank and file and company grade officers and NCO’s, the actual fighters, will stand with the President. The take down of that little spit of land in Seattle, and the other quasi ‘liberated’ areas in other states, will be violent and bloody. As planned. The political party in opposition to President Trump would rather bring civil war, real civil war with all it’s resultant death and destruction, to the United States of America rather than see President Trump win another election. This is typical of the ‘liberal’ and ‘woke’ echelons who consider themselves the elite and proper guiders of our country rather than what the voters will decide. It will not work and when the dust settles and the blood in the streets is washed down the gutters, the country we knew will be changed forever. I do not know that the ‘new’ United States of America will be, but I can assure I’m standing here in a peaceful and quiet community watching this organized and chaotic coup run it’s course with mouth agape. One can only hope the bloodshed will not be ‘too’ serious, but every life is precious and many more innocents, either misguided fools or true innocents, will die. As someone once said, damn their eyes, damn their souls, back to their lord Satan where they belong.

Auslander –

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 2 Comments

Russian court finds ex-US marine Paul Whelan guilty of espionage, sentences him to 16 years in prison

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | June 15, 2020

Eighteen months after he was arrested in a Moscow hotel room and accusing of spying, a Russian court has handed down a 16 year jail term to Paul Whelan, a national of four western countries: Canada, Ireland, the US and the UK.

The 50-year-old defendant, who has described the trial, partly held behind closed doors, as a “sham,” protested his innocence throughout the process. After Monday morning’s verdict, he immediately stated that he intends to appeal. There have been suggestions that Whelan could be returned to the US in a prisoner swap.

His lawyer has named Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko – two Russians jailed in the US – as potential candidates. Bout, who Russia considers a ‘political prisoner,’ is serving a 25-year term for arms dealing. Meanwhile, Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 in what the Russian Foreign Ministry described as a “kidnapping” and brought to the US. He had never set foot in the country before. Russian authorities have repeatedly complained about the harsh conditions and lack of medical care he has received in US prison.

In December 2018, former US marine Whelan was detained in the Russian capital’s five-star Metropol Hotel after he accepted a USB device from an undercover FSB officer. Prosecutors said the flash drive included information related to active-duty members of Russia’s secret service. Whelan’s defense said he was the victim of a sting.

His legal team insisted Whelan believed he was receiving a flash drive containing photos of a joint event he set up with a Russian friend, rather than highly classified information.

Whelan has been a frequent visitor to Russia since the mid-2000s, and he reportedly appeared on the security service’s radar as a possible intelligence threat several years before his arrest.

His family have rubbished claims he’s involved in espionage, describing him as a travel enthusiast and visited Moscow for a wedding. Whelan maintained an account on Russian Facebook-clone VKontakte where in January 2019, according to ABC News, his 55 “friends” were almost exclusively young men, most of whom seemed to have some sort of connection to the armed forces posted on their page. Only three were women.

Following the illegal American and British-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Whelan served in the US Marine Corps Reserve for five years, holding the rank of staff sergeant. In January 2008, he was court-martialled for “larceny” and later given a “bad conduct” discharge. Until 2016, he was senior manager of global security and operations at Kelly Services, an American office staffing company. Whelan has also worked as a police officer in the US. Born in Canada, he was living in Michigan before his arrest in Russia.

The US Ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan spoke outside the court building. “The United States demands that US citizen Paul Whelan be released immediately,” he said. “His conviction is a mockery of justice, the world is watching.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov indicated on Monday that Moscow might be open to a prisoner swap deal. “We have repeatedly proposed options where it would be possible for those US citizens who are serving sentences in Russia to be exchanged for Russian citizens who are serving sentences on far-fetched and unlawful charges (in the US),” he told Ria Novosti. “I have no reason to speculate on what may happen next, these ideas have been offered to the Americans many times.”

Sullivan said that the US was not looking for an exchange, but rather “justice” for Whelan.

A notable feature of the saga has been restrained reporting from the US press, which typically would give a case of this nature massive coverage. For example, at lunchtime on Monday, the New York Times buried the story in its “other news” section under the neutral headline “Russian Court Sentences Paul Whelan, an American, to 16 Years on Spy Charges.” This has raised eyebrows in Moscow media circles.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

America’s Supernational Sovereignty

Iran and Syria again on the receiving end of sanctions

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 15, 2020

One of the most disturbing aspects of American foreign policy since 9/11 has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world, best exemplified by President George W. Bush’s warning that “there was a new sheriff in town.” Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other, nor has any government sought to punish foreigners using sanctions with the cynical arrogance demonstrated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The United States uniquely seeks to penalize other sovereign countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the U.S. and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington. At the same time, it demonstrates its own hypocrisy by claiming sovereign immunity whenever foreigners or even American citizens seek to use the courts to hold it accountable for its many crimes.

The conceit by the United States that it is the acknowledged judge, jury and executioner in policing the international community began in the post-World War 2 environment, when hubristic American presidents began referring to themselves as “leaders of the free world.” This pretense received legislative and judicial backing with passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 (ATA) as amended in 1992 plus subsequent related legislation, to include the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act of 2016 (JASTA). The body of legislation can be used to obtain civil judgments against alleged terrorists for attacks carried out anywhere in the world and can be employed to punish governments, international organizations and even corporations that are perceived to be supportive of terrorists, even indirectly or unknowingly. Plaintiffs are able to sue for injuries to their “person, property, or business” and have ten years to bring a claim.

Sometimes the connections and level of proof required by a U.S. court to take action are tenuous, and that is being polite. Suits currently can claim secondary liability for third parties, including banks and large corporations, under “material support” of terrorism statutes. This includes “aiding and abetting” liability as well as providing “services” to any group that the United States considers to be terrorist, even if the terrorist label is dubious and/or if that support is inadvertent.

The ability to sue in American courts for redress of either real or imaginary crimes has led to the creation of a lawfare culture in which lawyers representing a particular cause seek to bankrupt an opponent through both legal expenses and damages. To no one’s surprise, Israel is a major litigator against entities that it disapproves of. The Israeli government has even created and supports an organization called Shurat HaDin, which describes on its website how it uses the law to bankrupt opponents.

The Federal Court for the Southern District of Manhattan has become the clearing house for suing the pants off of any number of foreign governments and individuals with virtually no requirement that the suit have any merit beyond claims of “terrorism.” In February 2015, a lawsuit initiated by Shurat HaDin led to the conviction of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization of liability for terrorist attacks in Israel between 2000 and 2004. The New York Federal jury awarded damages of $218.5 million, but under a special feature of the Anti-Terrorism Act the award was automatically tripled to $655.5 million. Shurat HaDin claimed sanctimoniously that it was “bankrupting terror.”

The most recent legal victory for Israel and its friends occurred in a federal district court in the District of Columbia on June 1st, where Syria and Iran were held to be liable for the killing of American citizens in Palestinian terrorist attacks that have taken place in Israel. Judge Randolph D. Moss ruled that Americans wounded and killed in seven attacks carried out by Palestinians inside the Jewish state were eligible for damages from Iran and Syria because they provided “material support” to militant groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The court will at a future date determine the amount of the actual damages.

It should be observed that the alleged crime took place in a foreign country, Israel, and the attribution of blame came from Israeli official sources. Also, there was no actual evidence that Syria and Iran were in any way actively involved in planning or directly enabling the claimed attacks, which is why the expression “material support,” which is extremely elastic, was used. In this case, both Damascus and Tehran are definitely guilty as charged in recognizing and having contact with the Palestinian resistance organizations though it has never been credibly asserted that they have any influence over their actions. Syria and Iran were, in fact, not represented in the proceedings, a normal practice as neither country has diplomatic representation in the U.S. and the chances of a fair hearing given the existing legislation have proven to be remote.

And one might well ask if the legislation can be used against Israel, with American citizens killed by the Israelis (Rachel Corrie, Furkan Dogan) being able to sue the Jewish state’s government for compensation and damages. Nope. U.S. courts have ruled in similar cases that Israel’s army and police are not terrorist organizations, nor do they materially support terrorists, so the United States’ judicial system has no jurisdiction to try them. That result should surprise no one as the legislation was designed to specifically target Muslims and Muslim groups.

In any event, the current court ruling which might total hundreds of millions of dollars could prove to be difficult to collect due to the fact that both Syria and Iran have little in the way of remaining assets in the U.S. In previous similar suits, most notably in June 2017, a jury deliberated for one day before delivering a guilty verdict against two Iranian foundations for violation of U.S. sanctions, allowing a federal court to authorize the U.S. government seizure of a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. It was the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in United States history. The presiding judge decided to distribute proceeds from the building’s sale, nearly $1 billion, to the families of victims of terrorism, including the September 11th attacks. The court ruled that Iran had some culpability for the 9/11 attacks solely based on its status as a State Department listed state sponsor of terrorism, even though the court could not demonstrate that Iran was in any way directly involved.

A second court case involved Syria, ruling that Damascus was liable for the targeting and killing of an American journalist who was in an active war zone covering the shelling of a rebel held area of Homs in 2012. The court awarded $302.5 million to the family of the journalist, Marie Colvin. In her ruling, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cited “Syria’s longstanding policy of violence” seeking “to intimidate journalists” and “suppress dissent.” A so-called human rights group funded by the U.S. and other governments called the Center for Justice and Accountability based its argument, as in the case of Iran, on relying on the designation of Damascus as a state sponsor of terrorism. The judge believed that the evidence presented was “credible and convincing.”

Another American gift to international jurisprudence has been the Magnitsky Act of 2012, a product of the feel-good enthusiasm of the Barack Obama Administration. It was based on a narrative regarding what went on in Russia under the clueless Boris Yeltsin and his nationalist successor Vladimir Putin that was peddled by one Bill Browder, who many believe to have been a major player in the looting of the former Soviet Union. It was claimed by Browder and his accomplices in the media that the Russian government had been complicit in the arrest, torture and killing of one Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant turned whistleblower working for Browder. Almost every aspect of the story has been challenged, but it was completely bought into by the Congress and White House and led to sanctions on the Russians who were allegedly involved despite Moscow’s complaints that the U.S. had no legal right to interfere in its internal affairs relating to a Russian citizen.

Worse still, the Magnitsky Act has been broadened and is now the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2017. It is being used to sanction and otherwise punish alleged “human rights abusers” in other countries and has a very low bar for establishing credibility. It was most recently used in the Jamal Khashoggi case, in which the U.S. sanctioned the alleged killers of the Saudi dissident journalist even though no one had actually been arrested or convicted of any crime.

The long-established principle that Washington should respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal or foreign policies has effectively been abandoned. And, as if things were not bad enough, some recent legislation virtually guarantees that in the near future the United States will be doing still more to interfere in and destabilize much of the world. Congress passed and President Trump has signed the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, which seeks to improve Washington’s response to mass killings. The prevention of genocide and mass murder is now a part of American national security agenda. There will be a Mass Atrocity Task Force and State Department officers will receive training to sensitize them to impending genocide, though presumably the new program will not apply to the Palestinians as the law’s namesake never was troubled by their suppression and killing by the state of Israel.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment