Aletho News


UK Claims Russia Used Reddit to Meddle in 2019 Vote But Has No Proof of ‘Broad Spectrum Campaign’

Sputnik – 16.07.2020

The announcement comes just hours after Britain’s parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee promised to release its own report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 general election.

Unnamed “Russian actors” almost certainly tried to meddle in the December 2019 general election, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced Thursday, citing an “extensive analysis” on the matter.

“It is almost certain that Russian actors sought to interfere in the 2019 General Election through online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked Government documents,” Raab said, speaking before parliament and referring to leaked documents on a controversial planned US-UK free trade deal whose existence was revealed during the race.

“Sensitive government documents relating to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement were illicitly acquired before the 2019 General Election and disseminated online via the social media platform Reddit,” he added.

At the same time, Raab noted that there was no evidence at this time of a “broad spectrum” Russian attempt to meddle in the 2019 vote.

“Whilst there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the General Election, any attempt to interfere in our democratic process is completely unacceptable. It is, and will always will be, an absolute priority to protect our democracy and elections,” he stressed.

A criminal investigation into the matter is ongoing, Raab noted, saying it would be “inappropriate to say anything further” except that London reserves the right to respond.

In November 2019, then-Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed details of a 451-page secret Tory plan which he said would effectively “sell” the National Health Service to the United States as part of negotiations on a UK-US trade deal. The documents had apparently been uploaded to Reddit a month earlier. Boris Johnson dismissed the documents’ authenticity and accused Labour of making “pure Bermuda Triangle”-style claims.

In the weeks that followed, Reddit said that the leaked documents may have been “part of a campaign that has been reported as originated from Russia.” Corbyn called Reddit’s statement “nonsense” and continued to suggest that the documents “were real,” while refusing to reveal his sources.

Raab’s comments came just hours after the UK’s parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee announced that the ‘Russia Report’ on alleged Kremlin meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 UK general elections would be released before parliament rises for the summer recess on July 22.

UK officials and media have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in British elections in recent years, claiming that Russian social media trolls have sought to carry out “weaponized information” campaigns to influence potential voters. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations, pointing to a lack of evidence to back them up. Last year, after a lengthy probe, Facebook concluded that there was “absolutely no evidence” that Russia swayed the 2016 Brexit vote using the platform, or even tried to do so in any “significant” way. Earlier, in 2018, Twitter similarly concluded that there was no proof of Russian interference.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Inconclusive investigations and psychological trauma cultivate Israel’s impunity

Palestinian protesters hold banners to show solidarity with the martyr Iyad Hallaq a disabled Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli police in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 2 June 2020 [Abedalrahman Hassan/ApaImages]

Protesters hold banners in solidarity with the martyr Iyad Hallaq an autistic Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli police in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 2 June 2020 [Abedalrahman Hassan/ApaImages]
By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 16, 2020

In May, Israeli security forces killed Eyad Al-Hallaq, a 32-year-old Palestinian man with special needs, on suspicion that he had a weapon. He was on his way to the special school in Jerusalem which he attended, when he was chased by Israeli security forces, cornered and shot, despite being accompanied by his teacher who repeatedly called out to the aggressors that he was autistic. No weapon was discovered on Hallaq after this unwarranted extrajudicial killing.

Less than two months after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz issued a perfunctory, patronising apology in which he stated, “I am sure this subject will be investigated swiftly and conclusions will be reached,” recent reports attest to how rapidly Israel invokes its own impunity to cover up its crimes.

Eyad Al-Hallaq was killed in a heavily securitised area in Jerusalem’s Old City; security cameras monitoring the indigenous population are everywhere. However, Israel’s Justice Ministry has confirmed that there is no CCTV footage of the killing. It went on to assert that, despite the presence of cameras where the shooting took place, the cameras “were not connected at the relevant time and didn’t document” the incident.

This lacks even a shard of credibility, yet it is not unusual in Israel, which goes to great lengths to safeguard its own institutions and uniformed criminals from scrutiny and prosecution. The Hallaq family is now left with no recourse for justice, because Israel has created its own travesty of justice that is concerned solely with manufacturing impunity for those responsible for the 32-year-old’s death. The investigation is close to reaching a conclusion, according to a Haaretz report, and there is no doubt that the bereaved family will be left to face a multitude of questions on its own, with the additional psychological trauma of knowing that the exact circumstances of their son’s murder are unresolved and the perpetrators still roam free. In Israel’s typical style, it will be an inconclusive end to a concluded investigation. The family’s lawyer, meanwhile, is requesting an in-depth investigation because there is a “very strong suspicion” that the police are concealing evidence in this case.

This is not the first time that Israel has refused to release evidence that would provide both context and corroboration. A case that springs to mind is that of Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah, a double amputee killed by a shot to the head in December 2017 during the Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip. Israeli investigations concluded there was no evidence that one of its snipers had directly targeted Thurayyah while he was in his wheelchair.

Concealing evidence is a clear indication of culpability. For Israel, however, the practice is dissociative and is reflective of how colonial violence against Palestinians sustains itself. There is no need to deny culpability if action is taken to prevent any discussion of the crime. Indeed, in this case it is easier for Israeli government officials to exploit the victim and the grieving family, since the evidence of the events leading up to Eyad Al-Hallaq’s killing has been eliminated.

For the Hallaq family, as it was for other families whose relatives have been murdered by Israeli occupation forces, the killing and subsequent cover-up is a personal rupture. Politically, Israel is replicating the impunity generated since the Nakba on a different scale, relying upon separate episodes of inflicted trauma to prevent a collective Palestinian narrative from emerging as a unified front against its colonial violence.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Biden will seek to extend the narrative that Israel is being ‘singled out’

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | July 16, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may try to sustain the fable that he is an alternative to current US President Donald Trump, but for the Palestinians a Biden presidency will most probably normalise the human rights violations that have attracted wider endorsement as a result of US support for Israel. Any political differences from those promoted by the Trump administration that Biden might have will definitely not include a reversal of the Zionist colonial project.

Indeed, US support for Israel, according to Biden, is a “longstanding, moral commitment”. The former vice president has also criticised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) for “singling out Israel”, a slogan made popular during Nikki Haley’s stint as US Ambassador to the UN, and he will almost certainly stick to it. According to his foreign policy adviser, Tony Blinken, Biden “opposes any effort to delegitimise or unfairly single out Israel, whether it’s at the United Nations or through the BDS movement.”

While it is worth pointing out the blindingly obvious yet again that there is no anti-Israel bias at an international level whatsoever, the “singling out Israel” narrative will undoubtedly resonate further given that Trump has embarked on a series of unilateral political decisions that legitimise Israel’s colonial violence and normalises its actions within the international community. Without a reversal of Trump’s decisions, however, a pro-Israel stance from [would-be] President Biden would inevitably increase the likelihood of the international community widening the scope of Israel’s ability to act with total impunity.

The concept of “singling out Israel” is unfounded and has nothing to do with advocacy and activism for Palestine at an international level. Time and again, these actions have met with definite limitations, due to the international community’s complicity in Israel’s colonial project. Activism for Palestine is recognised as a right in terms of free speech and human rights, but these criteria will not be sustained politically at an international level to any meaningful degree, and definitely not enough to change the pro-Israel bias at the UN. The international body is, bizarrely, content to sit back and watch as its own resolutions are treated with contempt and broken routinely by the Zionist state.

As annexation remains pending, the US-Israeli propaganda regarding “anti-Israel” allegations might take a different turn. The international community has played along with the distorted scenario that pits the deal of the century against the two-state compromise. If Biden is elected president and fails to reverse Trump’s decisions or take harsh actions against Israel if it goes ahead and formalises its colonisation of additional Palestinian territory, any opposition from the international community will continue to be framed as being “anti-Israel” and, in the current twisted logic of colonialism, “anti-Semitic”.

However, since 2019 the UN has been more vocal about blaming Palestinians for any Israeli violations. If the narrative that Israel is being singled out is allowed a platform at a time when Palestinians are being rendered invisible at an international level, Palestine risks further oblivion.

However, Israel is not at all concerned about Palestinians gaining a recognised platform, because the fake narrative that it has promoted with help from the US only seeks to extend its impunity. It knows that regardless of whether the periodic international criticism of Israel continues or not, Palestinians are not gaining any additional attention that can alter their political standing. This is what Biden is vying for. As long as the focus remains on Israel, the rogue state will be given every opportunity to normalise its human rights violations and colonisation at an international level.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel creates list of officials to prevent arrests for war crimes

MEMO | July 16, 2020

Israel is preparing a secret list of hundreds of its officials who are liable to be tried in The Hague on war crimes charges, it has been revealed. The government is warning them not to travel in case they are arrested.

According to Haaretz, the list has the names of between 200 and 300 military and intelligence officials who could be arrested and put on trial for war crimes committed against civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The report comes amid news of the International Criminal Court (ICC) possibly opening an investigation into war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas, starting from the Israeli military offensive on Gaza in 2014, known as “Operation Protective Edge”. The request for the trial was made by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

The list was supposed to be kept secret due to the danger it could pose to the officials whose names it contains. It could also be viewed by the ICC as an admission of guilt. Those on the list include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Defence Ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett; former Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, and current Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, as well as the former and current heads of the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman respectively.

It is suspected that the remainder could be more junior officers and officials, including those who approved the building of Jewish-only settlements within the occupied West Bank. Such settlements are illegal under international law and are one of the subjects of the ICC investigation.

The future of the investigation is to be decided by Judges Peter Kovacs of Hungary, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France and Reine Adelaide Sophie Alapini-Gansou of Benin. It will also depend on whether the court has jurisdiction over the areas where the war crimes were committed, which include the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel insists that the ICC has no such authority or jurisdiction in those areas, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not a sovereign state.

This has led many observers to predict that Israel will refuse to cooperate with the ICC, which could result in the court ordering secret detention orders and warrants against the Israeli officials. This would limit their ability to travel and keep Israel unaware of the court proceedings.

If an investigation into alleged war crimes is opened, Israel’s illegal annexation plans for the West Bank could also have a serious impact on any defence that it might mount. Bensouda has included this factor in her preliminary investigation.

The threat of an ICC investigation into Israel’s and America’s alleged war crimes has been criticised by both countries. US President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on the court last month, a move praised by Israel. Nevertheless, the ICC has received further complaints about alleged Israeli and US war crimes over the past month, strengthening the case for a formal investigation.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Report: Lebanon turns to China to end financial crisis

MEMO | July 16, 2020

Lebanon has turned east, seeking to secure investments from China in a bid to overcome its financial crisis, the Associated Press reported.

The agency said in a report published yesterday that Lebanon which has long been a site where rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia have played out, is now becoming a focus of escalating tensions between China and the West.

According to the report, the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab is currently seeking help from China after talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout have faltered, and international donors have refused to pay $11 billion pledged in 2018, pending major economic reforms and anti-corruption measures.

The agency quoted an unnamed ministerial official as saying that China has offered to help end Lebanon’s decades-long electricity crisis through its state companies, an offer the government is considering.

AP reported: “In addition, Beijing has offered to build power stations, a tunnel that cuts through the mountains to shorten the trip between Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, and a railway along Lebanon’s coast, according to the official and an economist.”

Economist Hasan Moukalled said the projects that China has offered to work on are worth $12.5 billion.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Way Fair Questions Need to Be Asked

Amazing Polly • July 14, 2020

I know the W@yf@ir story is not bait. I know it isn’t a Leftist ruse. How? I tell you in this video. I go over some of what researchers have dug up on this story and give a tour through the elite trafficking swamp to show the way the media & celebrities have helped these criminals to hide their crimes. more…

To contribute to my work, or say thanks for the work I’ve done, please donate through paypal here: or you can send something through the mail to my PO Box listed here:….

THANK YOU so much everyone!

References: Craigslist story NYT :…

Wayfair how to sell page:…

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Wayfair owns the trademark for WFX and more: WP story re Saville:…

Fortune HT is big biz (Cindy McCain):…

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FATF report on trafficking…

Cynthia McKinney re dyncorp trafficking vaccines: :…

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Hillary State Department:…

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Arizona Official baby selling:…

Amazing Polly Video about child trafficking:…

NXIVM 80 people sue:…

Newsweek re Raniere NXIVM Mexico:…

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 2 Comments

Israeli duplicity about 2014 invasion ‘Operation Brothers Keeper’

Operation Brothers Keeper, an Israeli initiative supposedly launched to rescue three Jewish Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped.
By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | July 15, 2020

“Operation Brothers Keeper” has a nice ring to it, but the name represents months of duplicity by Israeli leaders, not only toward their own people, but toward the world, in order to perpetrate injustices on the people of Palestine.

The summer of 2014, when Operation Brothers Keeper emerged, was an exceptionally violent season in a decades-long stretch of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories – a conflict defined by the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and against confiscation of their land; a conflict that has consistently seen many times more Palestinian casualties than Israelis.

Palestinians took to the streets that summer for much the same reason they always had: to struggle against oppression. The Israeli military came out to defend Israel’s status as oppressors.

Some context

Operation Brothers Keeper (OBK) was an invasion of the Palestinian West Bank, launched after the kidnapping of three Jewish Israeli teenagers. (This presaged its massive July invasion of Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge.”)

Perhaps, in the Israeli consciousness, the West Bank invasion was an isolated event – but for Palestinians, OBK was another in a long line of oppressive tactics within a framework of illegal occupation and injustice.

Maps show Palestinian loss of land from Israel’s 1948 creation through the present

In the early 20th century, massive Jewish immigration had caused concern among the indigenous Palestinians in the land; by 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes and land, most to never return as it became part of a new Jewish state. 1967 saw the occupation of all remaining Palestinian territories; 2008-9 had witnessed Israel’s devastating invasion of Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians (and 9 Israelis). In between these events, Israel had kept the Palestinian people under constant oppression – and the Palestinian people had resisted.

In late 2012, Israel had invaded the Palestinian Gaza Strip in a conflict that lasted 8 days before a ceasefire was put in place.

At that time, Israel promised to end its attacks on Gaza by land, sea, and air, stop assassinations of Gazan officials, and lift its blockade of Gaza, then in its 5th year; Hamas leaders in Gaza vowed to end rocket fire toward Israel (rockets that had killed 21 Israelis in 12 years).

Gaza held up its end of the deal: throughout 2013, rockets from Gaza were few and far between, and just one Israeli was killed in the vicinity. (5 more Israelis were killed elsewhere.)

Israel did not keep its promises: its military invaded Gaza and shot at Palestinian farmers and fishermen; the blockade remained in place, keeping food, medicine, and other staples out of the hands of those who needed them desperately.  (Read here about the “period of calm” during the first 3 months after the 2012 ceasefire, during which Israelis experienced calm, but Palestinians were attacked on a daily basis.)

Nine Gazans were killed in 2013, over 30 other Palestinians were killed elsewhere. In the first 5 months of 2014 – before the Israeli teens were kidnapped – dozens of Palestinians, some of them teens, and 2 Israelis, were killed.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza remained in place (it is still in place today).


On June 12th, the three Israelis, aged 16 – 19, were kidnapped while hitchhiking.

All three were yeshiva (Jewish religious school) students, and would have almost certainly become soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Israel practices universal conscription of both males and females at age 18 – although it is possible to delay or even avoid military service by continuing religious education after high school, as was likely the case with the older kidnapping victim. (Go here to read about religious extremism in some Israeli yeshivot.)

One of the teens called an emergency number for help. Along with his voice, the call also recorded shouting in Arabic and several gunshots.

Several hours later, parents of one of the boys reported him missing, at which point the police began to make the connection with the emergency call, which they originally believed to be a prank.

Netanyahu at press conference with DM Moshe Ya’alon during Operation Brothers Keeper (AFP)

Deception and brutality

The Forward reports that the Israeli government “had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.”

The prime suspects, Palestinians, were identified within hours of the incident, and known to be rogue, with “a reputation for attacking Israeli civilian targets” and regularly acting “counter to the policies being advocated by [Hamas].” Their family disclosed within a day of the kidnapping that the men had disappeared.

Instead of broadcasting photos of the suspects and preparing the country for the inevitable locating of bodies rather than hostages, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu immediately imposed a gag order on the media.

Even the parents of the kidnapped teens were led to believe that the boys were still alive.

Publicly, Netanyahu consistently claimed that he knew “for a fact” that Hamas was behind the kidnapping – in fact, at no point did any evidence point to Hamas’ participation in the incident; its leaders consistently denied involvement.

Meanwhile, ironically, the Israeli police cautioned the public against “spreading rumors on social media.”

On June 15th, Netanyahu launched Operation Brothers Keeper, characterizing it as a “hostage rescue operation.” Behind the scenes, however, he commissioned 2,500 Israeli soldiers, plus special forces, on a rampage through the West Bank in search not of hostages, but of Hamas members. According to The Nation :

Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings.

The operation kept 300,000 Palestinians under curfew; movement was restricted for another 600,000 – a form of illegal collective punishment.

A Palestinian woman cries in her home after a raid by Israeli troops as part of Operation Brothers Keeper, Sunday, June 22,2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

As far as Israeli citizens knew, the killers could be anyone, anywhere; the vast majority were therefore supportive of whatever measures their leaders chose to take. All over Israel, and in Jewish communities around the world, rallies and prayer meetings sought – in vain – the boys’ safe return – even while the Israeli government knew they were already dead.

In Gaza – where Hamas is the duly elected governing party – Hamas leaders watched as Israel used them as a pretext for the spate of arrests. Hamas had restrained itself and other resistance factions since the end of the 2012 conflict, waiting for Israel to fulfill its promise to end the blockade. But now, Israel was blaming Hamas for the kidnappings, re-arresting Hamas prisoners who had been freed, and maintaining the blockade. Hamas began allowing rockets to fly out of Gaza again.

United Nations

On June 17th, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, spoke to the Security Council. In his speech, he blamed Hamas for the kidnapping (without proof) and demanded international pressure on Hamas to release the boys. Prosor displayed the hashtag that Israel and its partisans all over the world were using to draw attention to the fabricated crisis: #BringBackOurBoys.

On June 21st, Netanyahu repeated his canard to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “the information in Israel’s hands unequivocally indicates that Hamas is responsible for the abduction of the youths”; Netanyahu went on to falsely link the Palestinian resistance with ISIS when he said “we are witnessing the unrestrained brutality of Islamic terrorism, both in Israel and around us.”

On June 23rd, the U.N. Security Council attempted unsuccessfully to pass a resolution condemning the kidnapping of the Israeli teens: some countries wanted to add strong language condemning Israel’s violent security sweep; the US insisted that it would not sign any statement that included a reference to Israeli actions.

On June 24th, the mother of one of the kidnapped boys addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), pleading for international assistance in bringing the boys back. (Her trip was paid for by UN Watch, a group that monitors what it calls “the continuing discriminatory treatment of Israel in the UN system” and pushes for “the removal of UN personnel who are considered critical of Israel.”)

In the same UNHRC session, many delegates and representatives from human rights organizations criticized Israel’s human rights record, especially its recent crackdown.

Then IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visits soldiers as they take part in Operation Brothers Keeper to locate three kidnapped Israeli teens, June 24, 2014. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Kidnapped boys’ bodies found

On June 30th, 15 days after the Israeli leadership started its deceptive “campaign” to bring the boys back alive, the bodies were located ten minutes away from where they had last been seen.

The discovery was made not by the thousands of Israeli military or police – they were as much as 130 miles away, still ransacking Palestinian homes and arresting Palestinians – but by a volunteer search party.

The shallow grave was on the property of one of the suspects, whose identity had also been known for weeks, and whose property should have been considered suspect.

Within hours, Israeli forces demolished the family homes of the two suspects, an illegal but common practice in Israel.

The next day, July 1st, a funeral was held for the three teens. PM Netanyahu eulogized,

A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion. This is the secret of our strength; it is the foundation of our unity.

This fraudulent profession of Israeli innocence flew in the face of facts that Mr. Netanyahu surely knew: the Israeli army had killed 19 Palestinians in the first quarter of 2014, and more in May and June. (Before the deaths of the three teens, two Israelis had been killed in 2014.)

Netanyahu’s eulogy also ignored the fact that Palestinians – specifically, Hamas – had been relatively subdued since 2012. As The Forward stated in “How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War,” “The staged agony of the kidnap search created, probably unintentionally, what amounts to a mass, worldwide attack of post-traumatic stress flashback.”

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) reported that late on July 1st, after the bodies were found, several Palestinians were killed. Israeli settlers also started constructing  two new illegal outposts. Some settlers (and politicians) believe “the settlement enterprise is the most appropriate response to Palestinian terror… Our enemies will incite and we will establish” – not making the connection that building on stolen Palestinian land is incitement itself.


From the moment the bodies of the missing teens were discovered, Israeli leaders incited their people to revenge, as described by Electronic Intifada :

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the pack, calling the killers of the youths “human animals” and stating “Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay.”

Former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari posted a video and a statement…”We are living in a “jungle,” Ben-Ari said, calling Palestinian children “little terrorists”…

(Elsewhere, Ben-Ari called on Israel to “kill terrorists in public hangings.”)

Housing minister Uri Ariel called for the extrajudicial executions of leaders of Hamas and for Israel to “start a wave of construction in the settlements in response to the murder of the abductees”…

Tzipi Hotovely, another Likud lawmaker and deputy minister, wrote that “Israel must declare a war of annihilation of Hamas, which is responsible for the murder, and return to the assassination policy.”

Economy minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-anti-Palestinian Jewish Home party, declared “Murderers of children and those who direct them cannot be forgiven. Now is a time for actions, not words.”

With this highly visible incitement, it came as no surprise that after the funeral, crowds of Israelis – including young children – chanted “Death to the Arabs.” Mobs marched through the streets, attacking Palestinians as they went.

Mohammad Abukhdeir was killed by Jewish Israelis on July 2, 2014. (Facebook)

Revenge killing

On July 2nd, a Palestinian teenager named Mohammad Abukhdeir was kidnapped and burned alive near Jerusalem.

At first, Israel’s leaders imposed another gag order; meanwhile, Israeli police started rumors that Abukhdeir had been killed by his own family for being gay.

It wasn’t long before the truth had to come out: the torture/murder had been committed by three Jewish Israelis – two of them teenagers themselves. They eventually faced trial and in 2016 received sentences from 21 years to life. Their family homes were not demolished.

PM Netanyahu’s condolences to the Abukhdeir family condemned the murder and promised justice; then he went on to address his constituents, again claiming Israeli innocence:

I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And that’s the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. [editor’s note: this is false.] We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison.

Al Jazeera reminded its readers that Abukhdeir’s abduction was not an isolated incident: “for Palestinians, the detention of their children, running into thousands, is experienced as kidnapping at an Israeli-state level.” The vast majority of these events – which frequently include torture – go unpunished.

In 2014, Israel’s military kidnapped 6,059 Palestinians. A spokesman for the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees stated on December 29th, 2014,

“There hasn’t been a single day that did not witness the abduction of Palestinians. On average, the army has kidnapped 505 Palestinians each month; approximately 17 a day.”

Since 1967, Israel has detained more than 50,000 Palestinian children; the Palestinian government has never detained an Israeli child. Additionally, a total of over 2,400 Palestinian children and 139 Israeli children have been killed since 2000.

Israeli teens’ killers tracked down

On August 5th, one suspect in the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli teens was arrested.

On September 23rd, the primary suspects were surrounded by Israeli military forces in a building in Hebron. An IDF spokesperson later stated, “We opened fire, they returned fire and they were killed in the exchange.”

At that point, Operation Brothers Keeper was officially closed.

Stay tuned for “war”

On July 8th, the Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, which in 50 days would bring about the deaths of 73 Israelis (9% civilians) and 2,250 Palestinians (65% civilians, 501 children). This travesty will be discussed in an upcoming post.


Blinken reveals how Obama & Biden helped Israel’s 2014 Gaza massacre

Israel arrests child with one-third of his skull missing, then lies about it

Remembering Mohammad Abukhdeir, 6 years on

The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans: The Facts

Israeli airstrikes vs Palestinian rockets: Facts & Stats on air attacks

Trump-Kushner “Peace” Plan ignores elephants in the room: Israel created this mess

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey supports Azerbaijan to cause instability in the Caucasus

By Lucas Leiroz | July 16, 2020

The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has become increasingly serious. Both countries claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and between the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a war between them to decide the control of the region. Tens of thousands of people died in the conflict, which ended in 1994 with a ceasefire agreement, without a winner. The agreement places the Nagorno-Karabakh region as a de facto autonomous republic, remaining de jure as part of Azerbaijan. This agreement gave a break in the massacres but did not prevent the continuation of the territorial disputes between both countries, which until today claim the region, and the situation has worsened even more recently.

On July 12, there was an armed clash in the region, with an uncertain number of victims. Azerbaijani forces accuse Armenia of violating territorial limits. In contrast, the Armenian government blames the opposing country for such violations. Since then, according to Armenian observers, bombings on the border have been reported every 15 to 20 minutes. Data on the dead or injured people remain uncertain.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accuses Azerbaijan of initiating hostilities and says that no violence will go unpunished, promising to react to every move by the enemy country. Data from the Armenian Ministry of Defense points to records of artillery attacks against Armenian territory in the early hours of July 12, when the fighting was recorded. According to the Armenian government, Armenian troops only retaliated against the attacks received. Pashinyan accuses not only Azerbaijan, but also Turkey of involvement in the attacks.

The charges are not unfounded. Turkey has shown support for Azerbaijan in the dispute, encouraging annexation and not a peaceful resolution of the impasse. The day after the clashes at the border, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, spoke in defense of Azerbaijan, saying that this country “is not alone” in the conflict. The statement becomes controversial and dangerous amid an escalation of violence, as it connotes not only support from Ankara, but also an interest in intervening in the conflict. Armenia reacted with severe criticism, blaming Ankara for the return of the violence. According to the Armenian government, Turkey has an interest in destabilizing peace in the region to gain greater control and influence over neighboring territories.

In return, the European Union issued a public note calling on both parties to reduce violence and to avoid the use of force. Likewise, the US State Department classified violence in the region as unacceptable and urged both parties to seek a peaceful solution to the dispute. In the same vein, the Russian government has called on both countries for a peaceful resolution, without showing support for either party. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to an immediate ceasefire and to comply with the terms of the Minsk Group, a committee created in 1992 to manage peace in the region. Since both countries are former Soviet republics, the role of Russian diplomacy in managing the conflict is essential, due to the weight of its influence in the region.

It is important to note the difference in the approach of the Russians, Americans and Europeans to the Turkish stance to the crisis. Demonstrating open support for any party in the current phase of the conflict can be crucial to intensify disputes and encourage an increase in violence. Being a military potency, Turkey’s declared support in a conflict in its early stages may encourage the progress of hostilities. In this sense, it is likely that Azerbaijan, with the support of Ankara and possible Turkish intervention, will continue the bombing, assuming strategic advantage and superiority over its opponent. This is the great danger behind the Turkish pronouncement.

The situation, however, must be analyzed in a complete context. Turkey has shown interest in increasing its regional and international geopolitical relevance and, for this purpose, it has called for bold and provocative acts, such as, for example, its role in the Syrian War and the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, which provoked outcries all over the world for being an unnecessary attack on the memory of Greek Christianity, provoking the resurgence of religious tensions in the region that had not existed for a long time.

In fact, Erdogan has clear plans to constitute a neo-Ottoman geopolitical projection, regaining power and influence at a regional level throughout the territory where the Ottoman Empire, predecessor of the modern Turkish state, operated in the past. Relations between Turks and Armenians, in this sense, do not have a good record and are alive in Armenian memory with the ethnic-religious genocide perpetrated against Christian Armenians in the early 20th century.

In this sense, Turkish interest in creating an area of ​​instability that favors its regional influence can be costly. Russia, as the regional power with the greatest historical influence in the Caucasus, must counterbalance Turkish advances through diplomacy, while Erdogan must be internationally pressured to avoid any intervention in the dispute between neighboring countries.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria mainly targeting its long-suffering civilians

By Eva Bartlett | RT | July 13, 2020

The US is waging multiple fronts of war against Syria, including brutal sanctions, while claiming concern over the wellbeing of Syrian civilians – the vast majority of whom are suffering as a direct result of US policies.

On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to “protect” them, America claims. This, after years of bombing civilians and providing support to anti-government militants, leading to the proliferation of terrorists who kidnap, imprison, torture, maim, and murder the same Syrian civilians.

Just weeks after these barbaric sanctions were enforced, cue American crocodile tears about Syrian suffering, and claims that Moscow and Damascus are allegedly preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. More hot air from American hypocritical talking heads who don’t actually care about Syrians’ well being.

America trigger-happily sanctions many nations or entities that dare to stand up to its hegemonic dictates. The word “sanctions” sounds too soft – the reality is an all-out economic war against the people in targeted nations.

Sanctions have, as I wrote last December, impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.

Syria reports that the latest sanctions are already preventing civilians from acquiring “imported drugs, especially antibiotics, as some companies have withdrawn their licenses granted to drug factories,” due to the sanctions.

In Damascus, pharmacies I’ve stopped into, when I ask what some of the most sought-after medications are, hypertension medications are at the top.

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy.

The destruction of Syria’s economy is something US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

The website Sanctions Killnotes :

“Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life-threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”

So you have Western hypocritical talking heads pretending they want to get aid to Syrian civilians while literally cutting them off from medicine and the ability to purchase food.

Resource theft and arson

But these crimes against humanity don’t suffice for America. The US occupation troops and their Kurdish proxy forces (the SDF) are plundering Syria’s oil resources to the tune of $30 million a month as of last October, according to Russian military estimates.

In early July, SANA reported another convoy leaving Syria to Iraq, loaded with oil thieved from areas under US occupation.

Terrorists and US proxy groups are also thieving Syria’s cotton, olives, wheat, and flour.

Further, Syria accuses the US of deliberately setting fire to crops using Apache-dropped thermal balloons.

Civilians from affected areas near Turkish occupation posts likewise blame Turkish forces for setting fires and firing live ammunition upon those who attempt to extinguish the fires, farmers literally watching their livelihoods go up in flames. The Hasakah Agriculture Directorate director likewise blames Turkey for arson of the crops.

Turkish occupation forces are also accused of cutting water supplies at Alouk water pump station, depriving one million people in the Hasakah region of drinking and agricultural water, with no condemnation from the Security Council.

The poverty and suffering Syrians are enduring these days is unbearable, with prices of basic goods doubled and tripled from just a few months ago, turning what were affordable items into luxuries, particularly for the 7.9 million food-insecure Syrians.

But alarmist Western media and representatives omit the context: the nearly 10 years of war on Syria; the deliberate targeting by terrorists and by US and Turkish occupation forces, and Israel, of Syria’s infrastructure; the looting of oil, wheat and cotton, even allegedly stealing parts of an Idlib power plant for scraps sale in Turkey.

Likewise, Aleppo’s heavy industry was thieved during the years when terrorists occupied the industrial zones of the city. Heavy machinery was reportedly trucked in broad daylight to Turkey.

With all of these factors, of course there is poverty and a chaotic economy.

A safe resolution rejected

Recently, the UNSC passed a resolution to maintain one humanitarian border crossing from Turkey into Syria, the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

Prior to that, Russia had proposed a resolution enabling the safe delivery of humanitarian aid from within Syria.

On July 11, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement again noting the need to phase out cross-border deliveries, as the Syrian government has regained much of the territories previously occupied by terrorist factions, and deliveries must be made from within Syria.

The UNSC resolution that passed, however, continues the delivery of aid via Turkey, delivering to the hands of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups occupying Idlib. It is with these people the US aid ends up when delivered, from Turkey, not from Syrian territory.

Given that the US has supplied weapons to anti-government extremists in Syria before, it is not illogical to believe they hoped to funnel still more weapons in under the pretext of “aid” deliveries.

Russia’s statement also noted the lack of UN presence in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying:

“It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups, listed as such by the UN Security Council, control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the civilian] population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

This is what Russia and China opposed, not the delivery of aid.

Those are details which US Ambassador Kelly Craft slyly omitted when she spoke of callousness and dishonesty being an established pattern. Her verbal guns were aimed at Syria and Russia, but her choice of words perfectly describes US policy towards Syrians.

One only needs to look at US policy towards displaced Syrians in Rukban Camp to see that the US has actively worked to prevent aid deliveries there and prevent Syrians from being evacuated from there. Or the lack of US outcry at Turkey’s prevention of humanitarian convoys from reaching Idlib areas, which while scheduled for last April still hasn’t been successful.

On the other hand, on July 4 the WHO acknowledged the Syrian-Russian delivery of 85 tons of medicines and medical supplies from Damascus to Al Hasakah. On July 9, the Russian Reconciliation Center noted that 500 food packages (2,424 tons) were delivered to Idlib province and Deir-ez-Zor province.

I wonder how many tons of actual aid the US would send…

In case it isn’t yet clear, America is weaponizing and politicizing aid, as it tried to do in Venezuela last year. American representatives posture and bellow, and Russia and Syria quietly go about actually delivering aid to needy Syrians.

The Russian post-resolution statement also critically noted the brutal impact of sanctions on Syria, which, as detrimental to Syrians’ wellbeing as they are, somehow don’t merit the feigned concern of representatives like Craft.

The statement said:

“These coercive measures seriously undermine not only the socioeconomic situation in Syria, but also impede activities of many humanitarian NGOs that are ready to help the population in territories controlled by Syrian official authorities.”

If America truly wanted to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, all sanctions against the country and people would be immediately lifted.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump, Kennedy, and the Russia Collusion Delusion

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 15, 2020

President Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s jail sentence has brought the Russia collusion delusion back into the limelight.

Special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller, the lawyer in charge of conducting an in-depth investigation into whether Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 presidential election, immediately fired a salvo against Trump’s commutation in an op-ed defending his investigation that was published in the Washington Post.

Mueller’s op-ed was then followed by an op-ed by one of his senior prosecutors, Andrew Weismann, in yesterday’s New York Times, which called for summoning Stone before a grand jury to force him to tell the truth about why he lied. Weissmann’s idea is that if Stone fails to tell the truth again, he should again be prosecuted and punished for perjury, preferably after Trump is defeated in November.

What about Clapper?

Mueller and Weissmann can wax eloquent all they want about the importance of testifying truthfully to Congress or federal investigators. But their words ring hollow given what happened to James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence. He knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally testified falsely to Congress about the mass secret surveillance that the NSA was conducting on the American people. U.S. prosecutors turned a blind eye toward his perjury and did nothing to indict or prosecute him. Why go after Stone (or, for that matter, Martha Stewart) and do nothing against Clapper?

The Russia collusion delusion

What is really going on here? It’s the Russia collusion delusion that is at the center of this entire controversy. Mueller, Weissmann, and their Inspector Clouseau cohorts were convinced from the beginning that there was a conspiracy between Donald Trump and the Russians to rig the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump. Even worse, they, along with members of the FBI and the national-security establishment, obviously convinced themselves that as part of the deal, Trump may well have become an unregistered covert agent of the Russian government.

Anyone who thinks that the U.S. Cold War mindset ended with the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1989 is loving in la la land. Sure, the Berlin Wall came crashing down, Soviet troops withdrew from Eastern Europe, and the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union dismantled. But the anti-Soviet, anti-Russian mindset that afflicted U.S. officials for 45 years, especially those in the national-security establishment, never disappeared. As long as Russia has maintained a sense of independence from U.S. control, it has continued to be considered a grave threat to U.S. “national security.”

The fact is that the U.S. national-security establishment — or what President Eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial-congressional complex — will never permit a U.S. president to establish normal and friendly relations with Russia. And any president who does so will automatically be considered suspect, just as Trump has been. If he goes too far in that direction, he runs the risk of being considered a grave threat to “national security.”

Kennedy: a threat to “national security?

That is, of course, what happened with President Kennedy. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, he made no bones about it. He threw the gauntlet down to the U.S. national security establishment. In his famous Peace Speech at American University 3 1/2 months before he was assassinated, he suddenly announced that he was declaring an end to the Cold War. He also stated that he intended to establish a relationship of peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union and the communist world. He told the audience and the world that despite philosophical differences, there was no reason why America and Russia could not work together with a peaceful and friendly relationship. He then entered into secret personal negotiations to that end with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

As part of his plan, Kennedy announced a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. He told aides that as soon as he won the 1964 election, he would pull out the rest. He also entered into a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviets. He proposed a joint trip to the moon, which would have meant sharing rocket technology with the Soviets. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the next logical step was going to be — the dismantling of the Cold War apparatus and a restoration of a limited-government republic.

Imagine how all of that went over with the U.S. national-security establishment, which was already convinced that there was a communist conspiracy based in Moscow to take over the world, including the United States. The notion that the free world could live in peaceful harmony with the communist world was considered naive folly at best and treason at worst. In the eyes of the U.S. national security establishment, ending the Cold War, which likely would have led to the dismantling of the U.S. national security state, was equivalent to simply surrendering the United States to the communists.

After all, don’t forget that this was the very reason why the U.S. government was converted after World War II into a national-security state — to enable U.S. officials to exercise the same omnipotent, dark-side powers employed by the communists in order to prevent their supposed conspiracy from succeeding.

Don’t forget also that sympathy and empathy with communism or the Russians was precisely the reason U.S. national-security state officials initiated regime change operations against foreign presidents and prime ministers both before and after the Kennedy assassination: Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, Lumumba in Congo, Castro in Cuba, and Allende in Chile.

How could U.S. national-security state officials just ignore a U.S. president who suddenly had become a threat to national security, a much graver threat in fact than the foreign officials they had ousted from power in regime-change operations.

Given their conviction that Kennedy’s actions were going to result in a communist takeover of the United States, what were U.S. officials supposed to do — just let it happen? For all they knew, Kennedy had become a covert agent of the Soviets, just as U.S. officials in our time have become convinced that Trump became a covert agent of the Russians.

What Kennedy was doing was certainly not an impeachable offense, and so they couldn’t remove him from office that way, as they tried to do with Trump. Moreover, it was clear that Kennedy would almost certainly defeat Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.

What to do? Follow the Constitution and let America fall to the communists? Or do here in the United States what had to be done in Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Cuba, and Chile to protect “national security”?

See also:

JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger

The Kennedy Autopsy 2: LBJ’s Role in the Assassination by Jacob Hornberger

Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger

The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger

CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley

The National Security State and JFK,” a FFF conference featuring Oliver Stone and ten other speakers

Altered History: Exposing Deceit and Deception in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence,” a five-part video by Douglas P. Horne

The JFK Assassination,” a video series by Jacob Hornberger

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Britain’s Gentleman Posturing Comes Undone With Absurd Hypocrisy

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 13, 2020

It’s official Britain at its best, posing as the quintessential gentleman upholding morality while at the same time engaging in despicable double-dealing for grubby interests.

The British government announced sanctions against various nations last week, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, proclaiming the punitive measures were due to alleged human rights violations. Foreign minister Dominic Raab, summoning throaty British authority, declared to the House of Commons that it sent a “clear message” to the world of British rectitude.

The next day, however, London made a separate announcement that it was resuming arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite an international outcry over war crimes committed in Yemen. Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen by Saudi warplanes bombing that country over the past five years.

It is estimated by the United Nations that the majority of civilian casualties have been caused by air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

Britain, as well as the United States and France, has been arming the Saudi military coalition in its war in Yemen. The British arms trade was halted last year as “unlawful” by a court ruling out of concern for civilian deaths. Now though the British government has decided that the arms dealing can resume because violations were deemed by ministers to be “isolated” incidents. How quaint is the self-serving subjectivity of British officialdom.

The UK-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) slammed the government’s decision, saying it was “morally bankrupt”.

“The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played a central role in the bombing,” said CAAT, adding with wry irony: “The government claims that these are isolated incidents, but how many hundreds of isolated incidents would it take for the government to stop supplying the weaponry?”

What’s more, it turns out that the British posturing on human rights and sanctions was only meant for public appearance, not be taken seriously. That’s according to the British government itself.

The Independent newspaper reports that British defense minister Ben Wallace immediately phoned his counterpart in Riyadh to “apologize” for the latest imposition of sanctions. “The UK government privately showered Saudi Arabia’s government with praise,” it is reported.

The “discreet” phone call, which emphasized the importance of British arms sales to the oil-rich kingdom, was not publicly disclosed by London. Instead it was revealed by the Saudi state media which boasted about the lavish praise from the British government.

Between 2015 and 2019, it is estimated that Britain sold over £5.3 billion ($6.7 bn) worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, much of that boosted by the war in Yemen.

The war has led to the world’s worst current humanitarian crisis with millions of Yemenis facing starvation and death from disease. Images of skeletal children dying from cholera and other preventable diseases should make anyone with a heart tremble with indignation.

The UK’s arms trade is fueling that catastrophe. Evidently, British avarice for profits is too great to put a check on its lucrative weapons dealing regardless of the death and destruction it generates.

But that best of British baseness is only matched by its government’s rank hypocrisy in posing as a defender of human rights and wielding sanctions against other nations.

The sanctions it imposed on Russia were, according to London, related the death in a Moscow prison of tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Russia claims Magnitsky died from an existing medical condition while in detention on massive corruption charges. Washington has used the case as a political stick to beat Moscow with. London is doing Washington’s bidding with its latest sanctions. It also fits the lurid narrative of Russia allegedly running assassination plots in Western states against dissidents and former spies. Thereby stoking a Cold War-style stand-off between the West and Russia.

Britain has been doing similar kowtowing to Washington with its belated ban on China’s Huawei telecoms firm being involved in modernizing mobile phone and internet networks.

Moscow has dismissed the latest British sanctions as “pointless” and said it would reciprocate with its own punitive diplomatic measures against London. That’s something which the British government may come to rue as it seeks to drum up wider international business in the post-Brexit world. The price for serving as Washington’s Jeeves-the-butler flunkey could be high indeed.

How absurd and surreal for London to lecture others about violations when it is complicit in genocide in Yemen. We could also cite Iraq and Afghanistan among many other foreign aggressions. That feat of preposterousness is a reflection of the insidious efficacy of British state propaganda and “education”. Polls show Britons are more likely (compared with other former colonial powers) to think that the British Empire was a good thing, despite the tens of millions who were killed under British subjugation.

One can only hope for the day when the world will actually implement human rights justice and the government in London will be sanctioned to the hilt for the pariah that it truly is.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, War Crimes | , , | 4 Comments

China-Iran deal is a major blow to U.S. aspirations in Central Asia

By Paul Antonopoulos | July 16, 2020

“Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners” – these were the opening words of an 18-page document that confirmed a multi-billion dollar deal between China and Iran that blatantly defies U.S. imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

According to The New York Times, the agreement that Iran and China drafted is an economic and security partnership that would allow China to invest in Iran’s banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects, “undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions.”

In Tehran’s view, China and Iran are long-standing strategic partners who are now reinforcing their strategies on the international stage to oppose U.S. unilateralism. Both countries had already agreed on a strategic partnership in 2016, but this latest agreement allows Iran’s economy to have a semblance of normalcy with this flurry of desperately needed investments.

The New York Times claims that the military ties include “joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing” to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.”

Effectively, the agreement between the two countries “represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran.” The agreement is expected to guarantee the supply of Iranian oil to China for the next 25 years, which undoubtedly benefits both parties as the U.S. intends to completely block Iranian crude exports to starve the country of foreign money.

The deal is a major win for China’s Belt and Road Initiative as Iran’s major new investments in transportation, rail, ports, energy, industry, commerce and services will improve China’s network in the region. Iran serves as a meeting point between South Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, making it one of the most important countries for the Belt and Road Initiative. The agreement secures the supply of oil and gas to China with an overland route that gives another option away from Southeast Asian waterways, especially at a time when hostilities between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea are increasing.

The deal will see $400 billion worth of Chinese investments into Iran’s infrastructure, including upgrades in the oil industry and the construction of a 900-kilometer railway between Tehran and Mashhad, the second city of Iran and a center of pilgrimage near the borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Not only will this railway line connect two of Iran’s most important cities, but as its on the doorstep of Central Asia, it will give both China and Iran greater access into Eurasia.

Zbigniew Brzezinski argued in his book The Grand Chessboard that Central Asia was the center of global power and that it was imperative that no power, indirectly referring to Russia and China, should arise that could challenge U.S. dominance in the region. If something like this happened, the global power of the U.S. would erode. Halford John Mackinder argued in his 1904 article, The Geographical Pivot of History, that whoever ruled the “Heartland,” ruled the world. He defined the Heartland as the great Eurasian expanse of Siberia and Central Asia.

Iran is certainly a major gateway into Central Asia, and China’s enormous investment into the Islamic Republic shows that it is making a strong push to control the region. In accordance to Brzezinski’s and Mackinder’s theories, by China being the major influencer in Central Asia, it is making a strong push to control the entire region and/or world. Although Russia is another major power with vast influence in Central Asia, their relationship with China in the region can be considered cooperative at best or friendly rivals at worst. However, both are making strong efforts to limit U.S. influence in the region.

Russia simply cannot economically challenge China in the region, but due to the long history of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union controlling the region, it still has large influence for historical reasons that also includes a significant Russian minority and Russian being the second language of Central Asia. Although Russia deals with Iran, it does not have the capabilities of investing hundreds of billions into the country, meaning that the Islamic Republic will certainly come under much stronger Chinese influence, and there is not much the U.S. can do to stop it.

“The United States will continue to impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” a State Department spokeswoman wrote in response to questions about the draft agreement. “By allowing or encouraging Chinese companies to conduct sanctionable activities with the Iranian regime, the Chinese government is undermining its own stated goal of promoting stability and peace.”

It appears the U.S. will penalize Chinese companies dealing with Iran, but China would have anticipated this. How Beijing plans to deal with such penalizations that can unravel a worsening of already tense relations with the U.S. remains to be seen, but China certainly would have prepared for such a scenario. Despite some harsh words from the State Department, it is highly unlikely that Washington can respond to this immense deal that will give the beleaguered Iranian economy and currency a major lifeline. The deal will also encourage other states wary of U.S. sanctions to begin dealing with Iran again knowing that they can have Chinese support and backing.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 8 Comments