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The Senseless and Bloody Italian Campaign 1943-44

Tales of the American Empire | September 27, 2019

American society worships wars and wartime leaders. As a result, most Americans do not know that many wartime leaders were incompetent, while others sacrificed thousands of American lives to advance their career. There are several examples from World War II, like the mindless attacks through mountains up the Italian peninsula. This pointless effort also killed great numbers of Italian civilians and destroyed entire towns.

Related Tale: “The Madness of Operation Torch in 1942” – the big desert battles in Tunisia and Libya could have been skipped https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeUFL…

Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memor…

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

More Explosive Leaks From OPCW Show Trump Bombed Syria On False Grounds

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge | July 27, 2020

As the ongoing increased sanctions regimen on Syria demonstrates, Washington’s pursuit of regime change against Assad is not over, despite Damascus clearly having won the war, and with the US having wisely ditched talk of some kind of overt major Iraq-style military intervention (as was the case under Obama in August 2013).

While mainstream media has largely “moved on” from coverage of Syria (so much for feigned humanitarian “concern” for millions of Syrians suffering under severe American-led sanctions!), some analysts like independent journalist Aaron Maté have been detailing damning leaks from the chemical weapons watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

“A series of leaked documents from the OPCW raise the possibility that the Trump administration bombed Syria on false grounds and pressured officials at the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog to cover it up,” Maté’s latest report in The Nation begins.

“Two OPCW officials, highly regarded scientists with more than 25 years of combined experience at the organization, challenged the whitewash from inside. Yet unlike many whistle-blowers of the Trump era, they have found no champion, or even an audience, within establishment circles in the United States,” the report continues.

Recall that President Trump bombed Syria on two occasions. On the last occasion, in April 2018, Damascus was pummeled with a series of major tomahawk missile strikes ostensibly in response to claims by the primarily Saudi-backed jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam that the Syrian Army had carried out a chemical weapons attack on civilians. It was the all too familiar pattern which went back to 2013: “rebels” on the brink of being wiped out make a last ditch unverified claim in order to draw Western military support, then the mainstream media runs with it because it already fits the narrative of the “monster” Assad, and then right away it’s American and allied “bombs away” with no questions asked.

But Maté now documents an avalanche of leaks and internal dissent within the global chemical weapons watchdog group OPCW to say the US once again attacked a Middle East country based on lies (and just like in neighboring Iraq, don’t forget that some 1,000 or more American troops occupy the oil-rich northeast section of Syria).

Maté’s report finds that “Since May 2019, internal OPCW documents, including a trove published by WikiLeaks, reveal that the Douma investigators’ initial report reached different conclusions than their organization’s published version. They were overruled by senior officials who kept evidence from the public.”

The Nation report outlines leaks’ key revelations as follows:

Senior OPCW officials reedited the Douma investigators’ initial report to produce a version that sharply deviated from the original. Key facts were removed or misrepresented and conclusions were rewritten to support the allegation that a chlorine gas attack had occurred in Douma. Yet the team’s initial report did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred, and left open the possibility that victims were killed in a “non-chemical related” incident.

Four experts from a OPCW and NATO-member state conducted a toxicology review at the OPCW team’s request. They concluded that observed symptoms of the civilians in Douma, particularly the rapid onset of excessive frothing, as well as the concentration of victims filmed in the apartment building so close to fresh air, “were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine, and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified.”

Chemical tests of the samples collected in Douma showed that chlorine compounds were, in most cases, detected at what amounted to trace quantities in the parts-per-billion range. Yet this finding was not disclosed publicly. Furthermore, it later emerged that the chemicals themselves did not stand out as unique: According to the author of the initial report, the OPCW’s top expert in chemical weapons chemistry, they could have resulted from contact with household products such as bleach or come from chlorinated water or wood preservatives.

The author of the initial report protested the revisions in an e-mail expressing his “gravest concern.” The altered version “misrepresents the facts,” he wrote, thereby “undermining its credibility.”

Following the e-mail of protest over the manipulation of the team’s findings, the OPCW published a watered-down interim report in July 2018. Around that time, OPCW executives decreed that the probe would be handled by a so-called “core team,” which excluded all of the Douma investigators who had traveled to Syria, except for one paramedic. It was this core team—not the inspectors who had been deployed to Douma and signed off on the original document—that produced the final report of March 2019.

After the e-mail of protest, and just days before the interim report was published on July 6, a US government delegation met with members of the investigation team to try to convince them that the Syrian government had committed a chemical attack with chlorine. According to veteran reporter Jonathan Steele, who interviewed one of the whistle-blowers, the Douma team saw the meeting as “unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality.” Interference by state parties is explicitly prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The inference drawn from the OPCW’s final report—widely disseminated, including by the Trump administration—was that gas cylinders found in Douma likely came from Syrian military aircraft. An unpublished engineering study reached the opposite conclusion. The study evaluated competing hypotheses: Either the cylinders were dropped from the sky or they were manually placed. There is “a higher probability,” it concluded, “that both cylinders were manually placed… rather than being delivered from aircraft.” At “Location 4,” where a cylinder was found on a bed, the study determined that the cylinder was too large to have penetrated the hole in the roof above; at the other site, “Location 2,” the observed damage to the cylinder and to the roof it allegedly penetrated were incompatible with an aircraft bombing. Ballistics experts also said it was more likely that the crater had been made by an explosion, probably from an artillery round, a rocket, or a mortar. With both cylinders, the study concluded, “the alternative hypothesis”—that the cylinders were manually placed and that the craters were caused by other means—”produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

Of course, the media is seeking for these revelations to be memory-holed right way.

They are being conveniently ignored, and not just ignored, but covered up.

* * *

Read the full in-depth investigative report at The Nation.

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | 3 Comments

Commemorating US occupation of Haiti

charlemagne-peralte

rebel leader Charlemagne Peralte

By Yves Engler · July 28, 2020

While remembering their past has not prevented history from repeating itself, it is not possible for the descendants of the world’s first successful large-scale slave revolt to forget the trauma inflicted by their northern neighbours.

One hundred and five years ago today a brutal US occupation of Haiti began. To commemorate an intervention that continues to shape that country Solidarity Québec Haiti is organizing a sit in in front of the US Consulate in Montreal.

On July 28, 1915 the USS Washington, with 900-men and 20 canons, docked in Port-au-Prince. US troops withdrew in 1934 but Washington largely controlled the country’s finances until 1941 and the Banque de la République d’Haïti remained under US supervision until 1947.

The occupation wasn’t Washington’s first instance of interference in Haiti but rather consolidated its grip over the country. Six months beforehand US Marines marched on the treasury in Port-au-Prince and took the nation’s entire gold reserve.

At the height, 5,000 US Marines were stationed in the country of less than 3 million. US-led forces brutally suppressed a largely peasant resistance movement, killing 15,000 Haitians.

In one of many instances of overt US racism, a top commander in the occupation, Colonel Littleton (Tony) Waller, descendent of a prominent family of slaveowners, said, “I know the nigger and how to handle him.”

To suppress the anti-occupation movement the US employed the nascent technique of aerial bombardment. Most of the fighting ended when rebel leader Charlemagne Peralte was killed, pinned to a door and left on a street to rot for days at the end of 1919. The US military described Peralte as the “supreme bandit of Haiti”.

In a famous mea culpa, an architect of the occupation confessed he was in fact the true “gangster”. Describing himself as a “high class muscle man for Big Business” and “gangster for capitalism”, Marine Corps General Smedley Butler wrote in an article years later, “I helped make Haiti … a decent place for the National City Bank Boys to collect revenues in.”

Opposition to the occupation was fed by conscription. US authorities captured civilians and compelled them to work on public roadway, buildings and other infrastructure. One reason the Marines wanted new roads was to help them bypass rugged terrain to suppress the resistance.

During the occupation the US established a new military. Created to crush resistance to the foreign presence, the National Guard “never fought anyone but Haitians.” For the next 70 years it would be used by Washington and the elite against Haiti’s poor. Haiti’s current government is seeking to revive that force.

In general, the occupation devastated the peasantry. Wealth extracted from the countryside was overwhelmingly channeled to infrastructure in the capital and foreign banks. The occupation spurred migration to Port-au-Prince and out of the country.

The US instigated other major changes to rural ways. In 1918 they rewrote the constitution to allow foreigners to purchase land, which had been outlawed since independence. A number of US corporations took advantage of the changes. The US controlled North Haytian Sugar Company and Haytian Pineapple Company both acquired hundreds of acres of land while the Haitian American Development Corporation, Haytian Corporation of America and Haytian Agricultural Corporation acquired tens of thousands of acres.

Toronto-based Sun Life Assurance Company initiated its operations in Haiti during this period. Canada’s largest bank also benefited from the US occupation. In 1919 the Royal Bank of Canada became the second bank in Haiti. RBC hired former finance minister Louis Borno as a legal advisor and officials of the Canadian firm subsequently financed his successful presidential bid during the US occupation.

Unfortunately, Solidarity Québec Haiti’s sit in is not only about drawing attention to a dark chapter in Haitian history. Washington retains significant influence over the country. In fact, the only reason the corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Jovenel Moïse is currently president of Haiti is due to US (and Canadian) support.

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Quincy Rides Again

New think tank needs an Israel reality check

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 28, 2020

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft think tank launched last November. It has recently issued a roughly 15,000 word manifesto entitled “Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Middle East Domination.” For those who would find ten thousand words plus intimidating, the paper includes a more digestible 1,221 word executive summary which fairly accurately summarizes the document’s conclusions.

I have written about Quincy before, here and here and here. In short, while I would applaud a restrained foreign policy, particularly for the Middle East, I find Quincy unconvincing. It claims to promote “ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace” and further takes some pride in being non-partisan, though bipartisan might be a better description. To be sure, Quincy’s two major donors have been reported to be the highly controversial George Soros on the globalist left and the equally notorious Koch Foundation on the libertarian-lite right.

Soros in particular has been much in the news of late given his alleged propensity to fund and otherwise support groups and organizations that many would regard as conspiratorial or even violently radical, to include black lives matter and Antifa. Soros, a Hungarian Jew who is now a U.S. citizen, has been especially engaged in interventions to bring about “regime change” through “democracy movements” in Eastern Europe and he has exhibited a particular animosity towards Russia, making one suspect that his cash will influence what Quincy is allowed to say about the Kremlin.

The new Quincy report was co-authored by Paul Pillar, Andrew Bacevich, Trita Parsi and Annelle Sheline. I am not familiar with Sheline’s work, but Pillar, Bacevich and Parsi are all highly respectable and very knowledgeable about both national security and developments in the Middle East. To be sure, the paper includes a lot of useful information and insights into how various policies have evolved plus some very positive suggestions for extricating the U.S. from the Asian quagmire. But one should also accept that what is included in its agenda and how it is framed might be shaped by outside considerations, to include how Quincy is funded. It is not so much a matter of what the contributors write, but rather how it is spun and what is either minimized or not even addressed at all.

The ability to write about the Middle East in an even-handed “realistic” fashion, which is what the new article seeks to do, is based on the premise that there is equivalency among all of the players involved. That is, of course, nonsense. Many observers would note that the United States currently is in the Middle East and playing the role that it does mostly due to the immense power of Israel and its domestic lobby operating largely out of Washington and New York City.

Israel’s ability to make American presidents and the U.S. Congress do what it wishes is clearly visible wherever one chooses to look. The American people have gained nothing from giving Israel hundreds of billions of dollars and an endless supply of weapons while also looking the other way as Israel stole nuclear secrets and spied on the U.S. more than any other “friendly” country. What did the U.S. gain in recently moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, in allowing Benjamin Netanyahu to annex the Golan Heights, in approving the bombing of Syria and Iran, or in permitting the systematic Israeli dehumanizing of the Palestinians?

A recent article by Professor Bacevich entitled “President Trump, Please End the American Era in the Middle East” appears to a precursor study to the current longer Quincy report. It is a good example of how self-censorship over Israel by authors works. The article particularly focused on the foreign policy pronouncements of Bret Stephens, the resident neocon who writes for The New York Times. Stephens, per Bacevich, has been urging constant war in the Middle East and worrying lest “we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the American era in the Middle East.” Bacevich correctly described how “in the Middle East, the military power of the United States has played a large part in exacerbating problems rather than contributing to their solution.”

The overall message is sound, but in this case, it is interesting to note what Bacevich left out rather than what he included. He cited Iran seven times as well as Saudi Arabia, but, strangely enough, he never mentioned Israel at all, which a number of commenters on the piece noted. It rather suggests that there is a line that Bacevich is reluctant to cross. The omission is particularly odd as Israel is absolutely central to and might even be described as driving American policy in the Middle East and Bret Stephens, whom Bacevich excoriates, is a notable Israel-firster who once worked as the editor of the Jerusalem Post.

Bacevich also has produced an op-ed entitled “Foreign governments are messing with our elections the old-fashioned way” in the Boston Globe. It again fails to mention Israel at all in spite of that country’s enormous influence over the U.S. electoral process through the political donations provided by dual loyalty billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban to Republicans and Democrats respectively. In fact, Bacevich has clearly indicated that there will be red lines, that the Quincy Institute won’t focus on “highlighting pro-Israel organizations or donors.” In other words, it will not criticize Israel’s Lobby as a key driving element in America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Bacevich is a smart man who knows perfectly well what Israel and its lobby represents but he also knows that anyone who wants to be a player in Washington DC has to avoid the Israel hot wire. The Quincy report includes, for example, lengthy separate sections on Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen but nothing similar on Israel. I have, however, excerpted all the citations of Israel in the full text. They are:

“U.S. military assistance—most prominently to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, but also to armed proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—exacerbates abuses that contribute to instability… Unconditional U.S. military support for Israel has facilitated its continued occupation of Palestinian territory (potentially culminating in the annexation of the West Bank) and reduced incentives to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The bombing of the U.S. “embassy in Beirut, [was] a direct response to U.S. military intervention in Lebanon, which, in turn, was an attempt to deal with the consequences of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon a year earlier.”

“The Israel–Palestine conflict has been an especially salient example of such an issue, as underscored by how Palestinians opposing the Israeli occupation were in the forefront of the wave of international terrorism that began in the late 1960s. International terrorism sponsored by Palestinian organizations abated once the U.S. and Israel began engaging the Palestinians in the late 1980s.”

“In other cases, U.S. support for a militarily superior partner has tended to reduce that country’s incentives to resolve conflicts and instead opt to safeguard a status quo favorable to its interests but not to regional stability and U.S. interests. As the only state in the region with nuclear weapons and as a highly effective conventional military power in its own right—and with a qualitative edge conferred over many years by the U.S. and effective weapons development and manufacturing capacities—Israel no longer needs the U.S. to guarantee its security. Yet the U.S. sends Israel $3.8 billion in military aid annually. As of 2019, Israel had received $142.3 billion from the U.S. since 1949 —significantly more than any other nation.40 American military aid is sent regardless of whether Israel tries to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. By persistently bolstering Israel’s qualitative military edge no matter what direction Israeli policy takes, U.S. assistance as currently structured does not incentivize Israel to pursue compromise, whether with the Palestinians or other neighbors.”

“… persistent U.S. antipathy creates a security dilemma for Iran. U.S. military support for Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE causes Iran to perceive itself as under threat and to respond by trying to enhance its own security, partly by investing in paramilitary groups beyond its borders.”

“In Israel, where the well-reinforced assumption that unquestioning U.S. support will continue no matter what Israel does, it has long been evident that this has encouraged destructive Israeli practices such as the continued building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.”

“Such a rights-respecting policy would include making military assistance to Israel—for decades (and still) the largest recipient of such assistance—conditional on Israel ending its routine violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These offenses include ongoing settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and attacks in Gaza that have failed to fulfill obligations to protect civilians. Israel is a nuclear and military superpower in the region that does not need American military aid to defend itself. As such, it should arguably not be a candidate for military aid in the first place. To the extent military aid should be provided to Middle Eastern states, priority should be given to those at risk of becoming failed states. If Washington decides to continue aid to Israel, it should be conditioned on changes to Israeli policies that advance stability and U.S. interests.”

“A consistent rights-respecting policy embedded in a broader approach to the region, one that emphasizes core U.S. interests, problem-solving diplomacy, and engagement with all relevant regional actors, would have consequences for how the U.S. has traditionally managed the Israel–Palestine conflict. The shortcomings of the U.S.–led peace process have become increasingly evident, all the more so as the Trump administration has abandoned any pretense of serving as an honest broker. It is a process that ill-serves U.S. interests as well as Israel’s long-term well-being, let alone its failure to help the Palestinians.”

“… there would be greater space for advancing negotiated and diplomatic solutions to various conflicts in the region, notably in the Saudi–Iran and Israel–Palestine cases.”

“For the United States, this means a significant reduction of arms sales, primarily to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE.”

Some of the citations regarding Israel are bundled with other countries, most particularly as related to arms sales and regional conflicts. Other excerpts correctly note that the status quo with Israel serves no American interests and is not even good for Israel, but the problem is that the solution is lame, or to describe it more properly, irrelevant. Distancing the U.S. from the region’s quarrels depends solely on disengaging with Israel first as American hostility towards an unthreatening Iran, Lebanon and Syria is a result of successful advocacy by the Jewish state. And serving as an “honest broker” vis-à-vis the Palestinians is sheer fantasy as it has never been the case for any U.S. administration due to effective Israeli pressure. If the Quincies were being honest, they would concede up front that the so-called peace plan currently being floated is a complete sell out to Israel. Any kind of shift in policy also assumes that Israelis want peace with the Palestinians, but opinion polls suggest otherwise, with many Israelis routinely referring to the Arabs as “terrorists.”

The only suggestion with any teeth to it is making military assistance to Israel conditional on its human rights record towards the Palestinians, but that in turn exposes the fundamental flaw in the arguments being made. The problem for the U.S. is not Israel per se but rather the enormously powerful domestic Israel Lobby which will make sure that nothing will be done to alter the status quo. The American government and media are completely dominated by Jewish billionaire-funded organizations that have repeatedly demonstrated that they have sufficient clout to stop any defections, witness the recent affirmation of the U.S./Israel relationship in the Democratic Party electoral platform and Joe Biden’s proud declaration that he is a “Zionist.” Quincy is delusional if it thinks that it can reorder the Middle East based on “realism and restraint” without the cooperation of Congress and the White House, which are bought and paid for and totally resistant to change.

So, Quincy has a lot of interesting ideas and the basic premise of non-interventionism is sound. But regarding the real fly in the ointment, Israel, it is pointless to urge “realism” in a situation that has not been realistic since 1947. Unfortunately, in America everything has a price and Jewish groups have been canny enough to buy Congress, the White House and much of the media at bargain prices to make sure that Israel stays protected. If you are not addressing that issue out in the open you are wasting your time. Not surprisingly, it would seem that any concerns over the reorganization of the Middle East as proposed by Quincy are most definitely not going to keep Benjamin Netanyahu awake at night.

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 28, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment