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A Brief Compendium of Nonsense About Putin

By Patrick Armstrong | December 21, 2015

Brief? I had to force myself to stop at vampire rumours.

I mean, what’s next? Darth Vader (AARGHH! He is).

If there is an upper limit to Putin Derangement Syndrome, no one has found it yet.

Health and psychology

Putin spends a lot of time…

Finally, after work…

And then to bed

Where does he find the time to do all this?

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | 6 Comments

US policy against Lebanon not to weaken but strengthen Hezbollah: Nasrallah

Press TV – July 7, 2020

The Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has censured the US interference in the country’s internal affairs, saying Washington’s hostile policy against Lebanon will not weaken the popular movement but will strengthen it.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks during a televised speech broadcast by the Arabic-language al-Manar satellite television station in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.

Nasrallah blasted the US ambassador to Lebanon for “openly” meddling in the country’s domestic affairs and called on the Lebanese government to stand up against US provocations.

“The US ambassador to Lebanon has been openly interfering in our internal affairs. The US meddling in Lebanon is rejected and the Lebanese state must move in this regard,” the Hezbollah chief said.

“Your policy in Lebanon won’t weaken Hezbollah but will strengthen it and that blockade on Lebanon is futile, my advice is to abandon this policy,” Nasrallah underlined.

Moreover, the Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement lashed out at the US ambassador and said, “Don’t give lectures on human rights especially that your country is the great violator of human rights worldwide,” adding that, “Your country has funded terrorism in the region.”

In an interview with Saudi-owned al-Hadath television news network last week, US Ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea said Washington has “great concerns” over Hezbollah’s role in the Lebanese government.

The US has labeled the entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization and levied several rounds of sanctions on the Lebanese resistance movement as well as its top officials.

Hezbollah’s growing popularity in the Arab and Muslim world after the resistance movement shattered the Israeli military’s myth of invincibility during the 33-day military offensive on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 has been a matter of serious concern for the Tel Aviv regime and its Western allies.

The resistance movement’s heroic defense as well as its vehement opposition to any foreign intervention in Lebanon’s domestic affairs has turned the group into a major stakeholder in the country’s political and military domains.

‘Why are you afraid of Iran?’

During the televised speech on Tuesday, Nasrallah also dismissed accusations that Hezbollah wants to turn Lebanon into another Iran and said, “Iran is a self-sufficient model, why are you afraid of this model?”

The Hezbollah chief stressed that the hard living conditions and the economic crisis Lebanon has been witnessing require a national approach and exerting united efforts by all Lebanese parties.

Since October, Lebanon has been in a financial crisis that has seen businesses close and prices and unemployment soar. The Lebanese pound has also continued to plummet against the US dollar.

Lebanese protesters have resumed demonstrations, demanding early Parliamentary elections and tougher measures to fight corruption and the return of looted state funds.

Nasrallah went on to say on Tuesday that the movement could use all its capabilities in agricultural and industrial sectors to help overcome the country’s current economic crisis.

“As Lebanese people, we have to unite efforts in agriculture and in finding markets for our crops. And the same thing applies to the industry,” he said, adding, “We in Hezbollah, we call on the Lebanese to revive the agricultural and industrial sectors as one of the major factors of steadfastness.”

The Hezbollah leader concluded his speech by condemning the Israeli plan to annex significant portions of the occupied West Bank, saying, “Lebanon’s current crisis must not divert us from supporting the Palestinian cause especially now as the Zionist regime is planning to annex areas of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.”

The contentious plan — which would allow Tel Aviv to annex about 30 percent of the West Bank — is in accordance with a Middle East scheme drawn up by the administration of US President Donald Trump and unveiled in January on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The scheme — which Trump calls the deal of the century — largely gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

The US-backed annexation scheme has drawn international criticism and triggered waves of protest rallies around the globe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date for starting the annexation plan’s implementation, but the move faced delays amid internal rifts and as Tel Aviv awaits a green light from Washington.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Pattern’ of Abuse by Colombian Soldiers Raises Questions Over US’ Continued Funding for Forces

Sputnik – July 7, 2020

The rapes of two young, Indigenous girls by soldiers in rural Colombia have shed light on the role that the US plays in expanding and training the Colombian military, two activists told Sputnik.

Nathalie Hrizi, an educator, a political activist and the editor of Breaking the Chains, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear on Tuesday that the sexual assaults of the two minors highlight a continued pattern of abuse at the hands of Colombian service members.

“Essentially, these two rapes have raised attention to what is a pattern in Colombia and a pattern associated with the human rights abuses and violations of the Colombian military,” Hrizi told show host Nicole Roussell.

“And so there have been protests … really, the Indengenous community are those that have been organizing.”

One of the assaults involved an 11-year-old girl from Colombia’s Embera tribe and has since seen seven soldiers from an army garrison in western Colombia arrested after admitting to the minor’s abduction and rape.

The second case was revealed in recent weeks by the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, a Colombian think tank, which detailed the September 2019 abduction and repeated rape of a 15-year-old from the country’s Nukak Maku tribe. Both assaults have led to widespread protests across Colombia.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear on Tuesday, Hrizi explained that the Embera tribe is located in an autonomous territory near a military station.

“That rape has been really, in the eyes of the public, connected to another rape that happened in September to another Indigenous girl in a different area. She’s a 15-year-old girl in the Guaviare area,” Hrizi explained.

“On September 8, soldiers abducted her, and they kept her for five days … they raped her and denied her food and water … that has not really received any real widespread acknowledgment until more recently because of the way the Colombian military is organized,” Hrizi added.

Since 2016, at least 118 members of the Colombian army have been investigated over accusations that they sexually abused minors, Colombian General Eduardo Zapateiro revealed on July 1, Reuters reported. The Colombian army, which has battled for decades against leftist guerilla forces, as well as criminal gangs formed by former members of right-wing paramilitary groups, has long been accused of human rights violations.

It’s important to note “the power of this Indigenous protest movement and the really important ways in which that movement is drawing connections between violence against women and broader abuses of power, whether at the hands of the military, police, rich people or otherwise, and that very much includes the role of the US in expanding and training the Colombian military,” Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, told Sputnik.

According to a report by Defense News, the US military has helped train Colombia’s soldiers for decades, despite widespread condemnation of human rights abuses by the Colombian military.

“In 1999, the US aid to Colombia jumped from $3 billion to $7.5 billion, and civic and human rights organizations in Colombia have been documenting cases of sexual violence against Indigenous women for the past 12 years,” Dickinson explained.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

US Army Genocide in the Philippines

Tales of the American Empire | August 30, 2019

The American conquest of the Philippines occurred throughout 1900 as American troops gradually defeated the Philippine Army. Remnants of this army continued the fight as guerrillas in rural areas while the US Army deployed over 70,000 troops to occupy and run this new American colony. This led to armed attacks on American occupiers. The well-trained and better equipped American soldiers rarely had trouble dealing with local insurgents, but in several cases large groups of Filipinos inflicted heavy casualties. This resulted in negative newspaper stories back home since uprisings did not match rhetoric that Filipinos had been liberated. Attacks angered American Generals who implemented genocide tactics used back home against Indian tribes. The exact number of civilians massacred by US troops will never be known, but Filipino historians believe it was around 50,000 killed from 1900-1902. A much larger number died from the resulting famine and disease.

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Related Tale: “The American Conquest of the Philippines in 1899” erases the myth that the United States liberated the Philippines from Spanish rule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg2B_…

A great book with lots of photos is free and on-line: Philippine-American War, 1899-1902. https://www.filipinoamericanwar.com/

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

On Israel’s bizarre definitions: The West Bank is already annexed

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | July 7, 2020

Wednesday, July 1, was meant to be the day on which the Israeli government officially annexed 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and the Jordan Valley. This date, however, came and went and annexation was never actualized.

“I don’t know if there will be a declaration of sovereignty today,” said Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, with reference to the self-imposed deadline declared earlier by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. An alternative date was not immediately announced.

But does it really matter?

Whether Israel’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian land takes place with massive media fanfare and a declaration of sovereignty, or whether it happens incrementally over the course of the coming days, weeks, and months, Israel has, in reality, already annexed the West Bank – not just 30% of it but, in fact, the whole area.

It is critical that we understand such terms as ‘annexation’, ‘illegal’, ‘military occupation’, and so on, in their proper contexts.

For example, international law deems that all of Israel’s Jewish settlements, constructed anywhere on Palestinian land occupied during the 1967 war, are illegal.

Interestingly, Israel, too, uses the term ‘illegal’ with reference to settlements, but only to ‘outposts’ that have been erected in the occupied territories without the permission of the Israeli government.

In other words, while in the Israeli lexicon the vast majority of all settlement activities in occupied Palestine are ‘legal’, the rest can only be legalized through official channels. Indeed, many of today’s ‘legal’ 132 settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, housing over half a million Israeli Jewish settlers, began as ‘illegal outposts’.

Though this logic may satisfy the need of the Israeli government to ensure its relentless colonial project in Palestine follows a centralized blueprint, none of this matters in international law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions states that “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive”, adding that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Israel has violated its commitment to international law as an ‘Occupying Power’ on numerous occasions, rendering its very ‘occupation’ of Palestine, itself, a violation of how military occupations are conducted – which are meant to be temporary, anyway.

Military occupation is different from annexation. The former is a temporary transition, at the end of which the ‘Occupying Power’ is expected, in fact, demanded, to relinquish its military hold on the occupied territory after a fixed length of time. Annexation, on the other hand, is a stark violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations. It is tantamount to a war crime, for the occupier is strictly prohibited from proclaiming unilateral sovereignty over occupied land.

The international uproar generated by Netanyahu’s plan to annex a third of the West Bank is fully understandable. But the bigger issue at stake is that, in practice, Israel’s violations of the terms of occupation have granted it a de facto annexation of the whole of the West Bank.

So when the European Union, for example, demands that Israel abandon its annexation plans, it is merely asking Israel to re-embrace the status quo ante, that of de facto annexation. Both abhorring scenarios should be rejected.

Israel began utilizing the occupied territories as if they are contiguous and permanent parts of so-called Israel proper, immediately following the June 1967 war. Within a few years, it erected illegal settlements, now thriving cities, eventually moving hundreds of thousands of its own citizens to populate the newly acquired areas.

This exploitation became more sophisticated with time, as Palestinians were subjected to slow, but irreversible, ethnic cleansing. As Palestinian homes were destroyed, farms confiscated, and entire regions depopulated, Jewish settlers moved in to take their place. The post-1967 scenario was a repeat of the post-1948 history, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine.

Moshe Dayan, who served as Israel’s Defense Minister during the 1967 war, explained the Israeli logic best in a historical address at Israel’s Technion University in March 1969. “We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here,” he said.

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there, either … There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population,” he added.

The same colonial approach was applied to East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the war. While East Jerusalem was formally annexed in 1980, the West Bank was annexed in practice, but not through a clear legal Israeli proclamation. Why? In one word: demographics.

When Israel first occupied East Jerusalem, it went on a population transfer frenzy: moving its own population to the Palestinian city, strategically expanding the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include as many Jews and as few Palestinians as possible, slowly reducing the Palestinian population of Al Quds through numerous tactics, including the revocation of residency and outright ethnic cleansing.

And, thus, Jerusalem’s Palestinian population, which once constituted the absolute majority, has now been reduced to a dwindling minority.

The same process was initiated in parts of the West Bank, but due to the relatively large size of the area and population, it was not possible to follow a similar annexation stratagem without jeopardizing Israel’s drive to maintain Jewish majority.

Dividing the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C as a result of the disastrous Oslo accords, has given Israel a lifeline, for this allowed it to increase settlement activities in Area C – nearly 60% of the West Bank – without stressing too much about demographic imbalances. Area C, where the current annexation plan is set to take place, is ideal for Israeli colonialism, for it includes Palestine’s most arable, resource-rich, and sparsely populated lands.

It matters little whether the annexation will have a set date or will take place progressively through Israel’s declarations of sovereignty over smaller chunks of the West Bank in the future. The fact is, annexation is not a new Israeli political agenda dictated by political circumstances in Tel Aviv and Washington. Rather, annexation has been the ultimate Israeli colonial objective from the very onset.

Let us not get entangled in Israel’s bizarre definitions. The truth is that Israel rarely behaves as an ‘Occupying Power’, but as a sovereign in a country where racial discrimination and apartheid are not only tolerated or acceptable but are, in fact, ‘legal’ as well.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

The PA is a willing accomplice in the international subjugation of Palestine

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 7, 2020

From seemingly defiant rhetoric to the expected capitulation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has offered nothing in terms of a unified Palestinian stance against US President Donald Trump’s deal of the century. Going back to a compromised international community, ready to negotiate additional losses for Palestinians which will ultimately fail to prevent Israel’s annexation of their land, is not a counter-proposal, as the PA wishes us to believe. A more honest approach would have been a clear statement that the PA’s role is dependent upon donor funding and hence only capable of delivering upon compromised political agendas.

In a call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, Abbas announced his willingness to restart negotiations based upon UN resolutions and the Middle East Quartet demands. In light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to postpone — not abandon — the annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank, the two-state paradigm will once again be touted as “the only solution”. The reality is that the only solution is to dismantle the Zionist colonial enterprise in its entirety.

While it was expected that Abbas would renege on his rhetorical threats, his approach towards the international community, which also appeases Israel, confirms the political game that pitted the two-state hypothesis against the deal of the century; in other words, the international community against Trump. This was a shallow, despicable manoeuvre that ties Palestinian politics perpetually to international demands, because the PA functions as a security apparatus for Israel and a hierarchy presiding over a symbolically recognised, yet non-existent, state.

With Abbas’s decision, Israel boosts its upper hand. The settler-colonial entity considers itself above international law and, in fact, holds it in contempt. Diplomatic negotiations, therefore, present no obstacle to its annexation plans. It is highly likely that if annexation takes place, the international community will take its time but will, inevitably, normalise the violation of international law, while setting the scene to negotiate a non-existent two-state travesty, this being nothing less than legitimising the deal of the century.

International donors fund the illusion of Palestinian state building; they also fund the PA’s security coordination with Israel because, ultimately, the PA does not relish the possibility of Palestinians rising up against the imposed status quo which elevates its status, albeit only within the parameters decided upon by the international community and Israel. Abbas also knows that stopping security coordination will contribute to a complete collapse of its institutions.

As for international opposition to Israel’s annexation, which is already weak and not intended to seek a confrontation with the Zionist state, a scenario can unfold in which not even the most cosmetic of stances opposing annexation will be followed through. The international community’s diplomacy, after all, is based entirely upon the two-state compromise. Abbas may have no choice indeed, unless he is ready to base his politics upon Palestinian demands, which would trigger a complete change in terms of diplomacy.

However, the PA’s repeated excuse that the Palestinian cause has been marginalised by the international community only tells one part of the story. The PA has supported this marginalisation, but it just prefers not to speak about its role in altering the Palestinian political demands of land and refugees’ legitimate right of return, into a global project supporting Israel’s colonial demands. It is a willing accomplice in the international subjugation of the Palestinians.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 17 Comments

Venezuela: Arrest Warrants Issued for Guaido’s Foreign Commissioner & US, UK Reps

By Paul Dobson | Venezuelanalysis | July 6, 2020

Mérida – Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab issued arrest warrants for eleven members of Guaido’s inner circle on Friday, including his US and UK representatives.

The citizens were targeted following their reported involvement in the “plunder” of 31 tonnes of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England (BoE) and follows a contested London court ruling blocking the government’s efforts to regain control over the assets.

Guaido’s representatives in London and Washington, Vanessa Neumann and Carlos Vecchio, have both been accused of treason, usurpation of office and criminal association, as has his appointed “special commissioner for foreign relations” Julio Borges, who is based in Colombia.

Warrants on the same charges were also issued for Ricardo Villasmil, Giacoma Cortesia, Manuel Rodriguez, Nelson Lugo and Carlos Suarez, who make up Guaido’s ad-hoc Central Bank (BCV) board, which will now attempt to access the US $1.2 billion assets, and Jose Hernandez, Irene de Lourdes and Geraldine Afiuni from Guaido’s Special Attorney’s office.

In addition to the warrants, Saab announced that any local assets belonging to the citizens are to be frozen, and that his office is considering appealing to international policing bodies to assist in their capture. All of the eleven citizens currently live abroad.

“These criminals have acted in favour of foreign power’s interests, concocting to make the Venezuelan people suffer from food, medicine and fuel shortages so as to enrich themselves at the expense of the country,” the attorney general argued, before going on to describe Borges, Neumann and Vecchio as “false representatives” of the country.

Friday’s charges are just the latest in a number of criminal accusations against Guaido’s team, including embezzlement, corruption, and association with Colombian paramilitaries and US mercenaries.

Both Vecchio and Borges have pre-existing arrest warrants open against them in Venezuela following their alleged roles in failed attempts to overthrow the Maduro government. Borges has been previously linked to the 2018 drone assassination attempt against the president.

For her part, Neumann has been accused of looking to bargain off Venezuela’s historical claim to the oil-rich and disputed Essequibo Strip to the neighbouring Cooperative Republic of Guyana in exchange for diplomatic recognition from London. The US-Venezuelan citizen was additionally accused by the government of “working with paramilitary groups in Colombia in 2009 and 2010” and “being a US government agent” last week.

In response to Saab’s announcement, Guaido’s “Commission for Foreign Relations” described the charges as “repression,” while the opposition leader defended his team’s efforts to “protect Venezuelan gold in the UK.”

Last Thursday, a UK High Court ruling blocked Maduro’s efforts to regain control over the gold, with Judge Nigel Teare arguing that the court was “bound” by 10 Downing Street’s “unequivocal recognition [of] opposition leader Juan Guaido as president.” While the assets remain blocked, Guaido’s ad-hoc BCV board is expected to file for control in the near future.

In response, the Venezuelan Central Bank pledged to appeal the “outrageous” decision. Government lawyers also claim that it fails to recognise the “reality of the situation on the ground,” in which the Maduro government is “in complete control of Venezuela and its administrative institutions.”

The gold was initially frozen by BoE authorities in November 2018 citing “standard” anti-money-laundering measures.

Following Guaido’s self-declaration as “interim president” in January 2019, gaining immediate recognition from Washington and London, the UK foreign office has since supported a number of regime change attempts and formed a special government-run “Venezuela Reconstruction Unit.”

Similarly, the UK followed the European Union in strengthening its sanctions regime against the country last month, applying asset freezes and travel bans on a number of Venezuelan officials in addition to previous measures. Despite its recognition of Guaido, the UK maintains dual diplomatic relations with both his representative and Maduro’s ambassador to the island, Rocio Maneiro.

After previous attempts to repatriate the reserves, Caracas looked to force the BoE to release the gold in May. Under the proposed resolution deal, the gold was to be sold and the funds directly channelled through the United Nations Development Program to acquire food and medicine to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite registering far fewer cases than neighbouring countries, the coronavirus is increasingly taking hold in the sanction-hit Latin American nation. On Sunday, a record 419 coronavirus cases were identified by authorities, taking the total to 7,169, of which 2,100 have recovered and 65 have passed away. With a rapid increase in recent weeks, the country returned to a “strict” nationwide quarantine this week as part of the week-on-week-off lockdown program which Maduro claimed will be in place “until a vaccine appears.”

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | 1 Comment

Russia-Baiting Is the Only Game in Town

Washington again becomes hysterical

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 7, 2020

There is particular danger at the moment that powerful political alignments in the United States are pushing strongly to exacerbate the developing crisis with Russia. The New York Times, which broke the story that the Kremlin had been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers, has been particularly assiduous in promoting the tale of perfidious Moscow. Initial Times coverage, which claimed that the activity had been confirmed by both intelligence sources and money tracking, was supplemented by delusional nonsense from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who asks “Why does Trump put Russia first?” before calling for a “swift and significant U.S. response.” Rice, who is being mentioned as a possible Biden choice for Vice President, certainly knows about swift and significant as she was one of the architects of the destruction of Libya and the escalation of U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against a non-threatening Syria.

The Times is also titillating with the tale of a low level drug smuggling Pashto businessman who seemed to have a lot of cash in dollars lying around, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan is awash with dollars and has been for years. Many of the dollars come from drug deals, as Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of opium and its byproducts.

The cash must be Russian sourced, per the NYT, because a couple of low level Taliban types, who were likely tortured by the Afghan police, have said that it is so. The Times also cites anonymous sources which allege that there were money transfers from an account managed by the Kremlin’s GRU military intelligence to an account opened by the Taliban. Note the “alleged” and consider for a minute that it would be stupid for any intelligence agency to make bank-to-bank transfers, which could be identified and tracked by the clever lads at the U.S. Treasury and NSA. Also try to recall how not so long ago we heard fabricated tales about threatening WMDs to justify war. Perhaps the story would be more convincing if a chain of custody could be established that included checks drawn on the Moscow-Narodny Bank and there just might be a crafty neocon hidden somewhere in the U.S. intelligence community who is right now faking up that sort of evidence.

Other reliably Democratic Party leaning news outlets, to include CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post all jumped on the bounty story, adding details from their presumably inexhaustible supply of anonymous sources. As Scott Horton observed the media was reporting a “fact” that there was a rumor.

Inevitably the Democratic Party leadership abandoned its Ghanaian kente cloth scarves, got up off their knees, and hopped immediately on to their favorite horse, which is to claim loudly and in unison that when in doubt Russia did it. Joe Biden in particular is “disgusted” by a “betrayal” of American troops due to Trump’s insistence on maintaining “an embarrassing campaign of deferring and debasing himself before Putin.”

The Dems were joined in their outrage by some Republican lawmakers who were equally incensed but are advocating delaying punishing Russia until all the facts are known. Meanwhile, the “circumstantial details” are being invented to make the original tale more credible, including crediting the Afghan operation to a secret Russian GRU Army intelligence unit that allegedly was also behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury England in 2018.

Reportedly the Pentagon is looking into the circumstances around the deaths of three American soldiers by roadside bomb on April 8, 2019 to determine a possible connection to the NYT report. There are also concerns relating to several deaths in training where Afghan Army recruits turned on their instructors. As the Taliban would hardly need an incentive to kill Americans and as only seventeen U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2019 as a result of hostile action, the year that the intelligence allegedly relates to, one might well describe any joint Taliban-Russian initiative as a bit of a failure since nearly all of those deaths have been attributed to kinetic activity initiated by U.S. forces.

The actual game that is in play is, of course, all about Donald Trump and the November election. It is being claimed that the president was briefed on the intelligence but did nothing. Trump denied being verbally briefed due to the fact that the information had not been verified. For once America’s Chief Executive spoke the truth, confirmed by the “intelligence community,” but that did not stop the media from implying that the disconnect had been caused by Trump himself. He reportedly does not read the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), where such a speculative piece might indeed appear on a back page, and is uninterested in intelligence assessments that contradict what he chooses to believe. The Democrats are suggesting that Trump is too stupid and even too disinterested to be president of the United States so they are seeking to replace him with a corrupt 78-year-old man who may be suffering from dementia.

The Democratic Party cannot let Russia go because they see it as their key to future success and also as an explanation for their dramatic failure in 2016 which in no way holds them responsible for their ineptness. One does not expect the House Intelligence Committee, currently headed by the wily Adam Schiff, to actually know anything about intelligence and how it is collected and analyzed, but the politicization of the product is certainly something that Schiff and his colleagues know full well how to manipulate. One only has to recall the Russiagate Mueller Commission investigation and Schiff’s later role in cooking the witnesses that were produced in the subsequent Trump impeachment hearings.

Schiff predictably opened up on Trump in the wake of the NYT report, saying “I find it inexplicable in light of these very public allegations that the president hasn’t come before the country and assured the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russia is putting bounties on American troops and that he will do everything in his power to make sure that we protect American troops.”

Schiff and company should know, but clearly do not, that at the ground floor level there is a lot of lying, cheating and stealing around intelligence collection. Most foreign agents do it for the money and quickly learn that embroidering the information that is being provided to their case officer might ultimately produce more cash. Every day the U.S. intelligence community produces thousands of intelligence reports from those presumed “sources with access,” which then have to be assessed by analysts. Much of the information reported is either completely false or cleverly fabricated to mix actual verified intelligence with speculation and out and out lies to make the package more attractive. The tale of the Russian payment of bribes to the Taliban for killing Americans is precisely the kind of information that stinks to high heaven because it doesn’t even make any political or tactical sense, except to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and the New York Times. For what it’s worth, a number of former genuine intelligence officers including Paul Pillar, John Kiriakou, Scott Ritter, and Ray McGovern have looked at the evidence so far presented and have walked away unimpressed. The National Security Agency (NSA) has also declined to confirm the story, meaning that there is no electronic trail to validate it.

Finally, there is more than a bit of the old hypocrisy at work in the damnation of the Russians even if they have actually been involved in an improbable operation with the Taliban. One recalls that in the 1970s and 1980s the United States supported the mujahideen rebels fighting against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The assistance consisted of weapons, training, political support and intelligence used to locate, target and kill Soviet soldiers. Stinger missiles were provided to bring down helicopters carrying the Russian troops. The support was pretty much provided openly and was even boasted about, unlike what is currently being alleged about the Russian assistance. The Soviets were fighting to maintain a secular regime that was closely allied to Moscow while the mujahideen later morphed into al-Qaeda and the Islamist militant Taliban subsequently took over the country, meaning that the U.S. effort was delusional from the start.

So, what is a leaked almost certainly faux story about the Russian bounties on American soldiers intended to accomplish? It is probably intended to keep a “defensive” U.S. presence in Afghanistan, much desired by the neocons, a majority in Congress and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), and it will further be played and replayed to emphasize the demonstrated incompetence of Donald Trump. The end result could be to secure the election of a pliable Establishment flunky Joe Biden as president of the United States. How that will turn out is unpredictable, but America’s experience of its presidents since 9/11 has not been very encouraging.

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 https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment