Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Why Immunity for the CIA?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 11, 2020

Amidst the controversy over the doctrine of qualified immunity for cops, no one is talking about the full immunity accorded to the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency within the national-security establishment that wields omnipotent power.

Among the most interesting lines in the new Amazon Prime series The Last Narc is what a CIA official says to DEA investigator Hector Berrellez, who was charged with leading the investigation into the kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The official tells Berrellez that the CIA is not a law-enforcement agency and, therefore, doesn’t have to comply with the Constitution. Its mission, he said, is to protect the United States. Therefore, the implication is that the Constitution cannot be permitted to serve as a barrier to that end.

That’s the way it’s been since the beginning. The CIA has had omnipotent power to do whatever it deems necessary to protect “national security.” That includes, of course, the power of assassination, a power that the CIA assumed practically since its inception. In fact, as early as 1952, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual for its assassins.

The CIA also wields the power of torture, the power to record its torture sessions, and the power to destroy such recordings to prevent Congress or the public from listening to them or viewing them.

The CIA also wields the power to lie, at least if it’s in the interest of “national security.”

No one jacks with the CIA. Not the Justice Department, including every U.S. Attorney in the land. Not the Congress. Not the president. Not the military. Who is going to mess with an organization that wields the omnipotent power to destroy or kill people and is more than willing to exercise that power in the name of protecting “national security”?

The kidnapping, torture, and execution of Kiki Camarena

A good example of this phenomenon is found in The Last Narc, which I wrote about in a blog post last week.

In 1985, 37-year-old DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped on the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico, and brutally tortured for 36 hours before finally being executed.

It was commonly believed that the crime had been committed by the Guadalajara drug cartel, which was headed by Rafael Caro Quintana, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, all of whom are featured in Netflix’s series Narcos: Mexico. But Mexican officials steadfastly refused to extradite the three drug lords to the United States for trial.

The DEA assigned Berrellez to take charge of the investigation. Berrellez, who felt as comfortable operating in Mexico as he did in the United States, found three former members of the Jalisco State Police who were willing to talk. They came to the United States and told Berrellez that back in 1985, they had been working double jobs — as state policemen and also as bodyguards for Caro, Fonseca, and Gallardo.

Berrellez interviewed them separately to ensure the integrity of their statements. They each pointed toward complicity of high Mexican officials with the cartel in the distribution of drugs into the United States, which I don’t think would surprise anyone.

The three former cops and bodyguards told Berrellez that they were in the room while Camarena was being tortured. Each of them stated that there were several high Mexican officials present in the house in which Camarena was being tortured while he was being tortured.

The heroism of Hector Berrellez

But then Berrellez discovered something else. According to the three former Mexican state policemen, a man named Max Gomez, also known as Felix Rodriguez, was inside the torture room and taking an active role in the brutal interrogation of Camarena. Berrellez investigated and determined that Rodriguez was a “retired” CIA agent.

Among the principal questions that was being addressed to Camarena was the extent to which he had discovered, in the course of his investigation, the nexus between the drug cartel, the CIA, and the Mexican government in the drug trade.

It was later learned that the interrogation was being recorded, which is something that one would not expect drug lords to do but that one would expect a CIA agent to do.

At that point, Berrellez was in trouble. It’s one thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the Mexican government’s involvement in Camarena’s torture and murder. It’s another thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the U.S. government’s involvement in the torture and murder of a DEA agent who is also an American citizen.

As Berrellez states in The Last Narc, he was warned to back off and let sleeping dogs lie. He was warned that if he didn’t, his life would be in jeopardy. If he didn’t back off, U.S. officials even threatened to forcibly return him to Mexico to face criminal charges that the Mexican government had leveled against him.

But Berrellez refused to back off, and so U.S. officials removed him from the investigation. Even though he could have remained silent, he instead decided to go public with his findings and cooperated in the making of The Last Narc. He comes across as a heroic figure in the series.

For his part, Rodriguez denies that he was in the torture room or that he has had anything to do with Guadalajara cartel and with drug dealing. The problem, however, is that CIA agents will lie if they believe that it is in the interest of “national security.” And they all know that they have immunity when it comes to lying and anything else that touches on “national security.”

Full immunity for the CIA

Here you have a prima facie case of U.S. governmental involvement in the torture and assassination of a U.S citizen, one who was an agent of the DEA. The alleged purpose of the torture was to determine if Camarena had uncovered evidence of CIA complicity with the Guadalajara Cartel and the Mexican government in the drug trade. Three witnesses, all giving their testimony separately, identified Rodriquez as one of Camarena’s interrogators.

That’s clearly enough evidence to launch a formal investigation into the matter. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that Camarena’s murder took place during Iran Contra, when U.S. officials were breaking the law to raise the money to give to the Nicaraguan contras.

Has any of this caused any U.S. Attorney or the U.S. Congress to launch an aggressive investigation into the matter?

Don’t make me laugh. This is the CIA we are talking about. No one investigates the CIA, which makes the U.S. government as crooked and corrupt as the Mexican government. If you want to get a good sense of how both governments operate, I highly recommend watching The Last Narc.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Film Review | , , , , | 4 Comments

No more water pollution from oil? Russian scientists create method to effectively clean petroleum products from industrial waste

By Jonny Tickle | RT | August 10, 2020

Scientists from Siberia have developed a technique that effectively removes petroleum from wastewater. Using a sorbent, the new system separates impurities, meaning waste released into the environment will cause much less damage.

The research, published by the United Kingdom’s IOP Publishing, was conducted by scientists based in Krasnoyarsk, a large Siberian city 3,300km east of Moscow.

According to Olga Dubrovskaya, associate professor at Siberia Federal University (SibFU), cultures “eat away” at oil, cleaning the water of “impurities.” Current wastewater treatment technologies only capture about 30 percent of dangerous substances, meaning that many toxicants enter the environment and cause significant environmental damage. By contrast, SibFU’s method removes over 99 percent of all surface and emulsified oil.

The newly developed technique was tested on heat and power equipment at Krasnoyarsk CHP-2, one of the largest thermal power plants in Siberia.

“Bacteria are placed in special spores in the structure of the sorbent,” Dubrovskaya explained. The bacteria sit dormant and activate when oil is detected, at which point the water purification begins.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism | | 3 Comments

Syria’s Arab Tribes Give Pro-American Forces and SDF One Month to Leave Eastern Syria

Sputnik – 11.08.2020

On 11 August, sheikhs and elders of the Arab Al-Uqaydat tribe met in the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province, agreeing that the US-led coalition is responsible for murdering tribal sheikhs in the province, and demanding that the region be cleared of SDF forces, local control returned to the Syrians, and stating: “leave the Arab region to the Arabs”.

Sputnik’s correspondent in al-Hasakah reported, citing civilian sources in Deir ez-Zor, that nearly 5,000 people attended a meeting of Al-Uqaydat sheikhs and elders. They agreed that the pro-American coalition and the SDF have one month to turn over all of those involved in murdering sheikhs in the Deir ez-Zor governorate, and demanded that the SDF and the coalition leave the province.

The tribal sheikhs condemned the security chaos caused by a series of murders of tribal elders and sheikhs, as well as condemning widespread corruption. These factors are reported to have forced the tribe to make the decision.

The most recent high-profile crime attributed to SDF fighters is the assassination of Sheikh Mutashar al-Hafil and his relative Dar Mihlef al-Khalaf, which has provoked a wave of protests and aggression by local tribes against both the armed SDF groups and the pro-American coalition.

“We are calling on the international coalition to transfer control over the province directly to its Arab population, respecting Syria’s territorial integrity, as well as the rights of Syrian citizens”, the trial elder’s statement said.

Al-Uqaydat tribal representatives also demand that the SDF release all prisoners and hostages: particularly and first, women and children.

Reportedly, the month given to the SDF and the coalition to meet the ultimatum starts today, August 11, 2020.

The Al-Uqaydat tribes have traditionally been situated in the eastern part of the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province. Popular protests hit these cities after pro-American SDF forces killed several sheikhs and tribal elders. In response, tribal representatives broke into SDF headquarters in several governorate cities and captured fighters.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Conviction of 93-Year-Old War Veteran Is Latest Embarrassment for German Legal System

By Eric Striker • National Justice • August 11, 2020

Last November, Moshe Loth testified as a plaintiff in the trial of wheelchair-bound nonagenarian Bruno Dey. Loth accused him of being an accessory to his torture and grandmother’s gassing during the “Holocaust” at the Stutthof concentration camp in the final years of World War II.

Loth stated that his mother Helene became pregnant with him while interned at Stutthof. As an infant, he was tattooed and subjected to cruel medical experiments. His grandmother Anna was gassed to death, a death affirmed by the Yad Vashem.

In a gesture of Jewish empathy and compassion, he publicly forgave Dey and gave him a hug.

The problem is Moshe was actually born Peter Oswald Loth, to a Protestant German family. His older brother Gustav was a corporal in the Waffen-SS and nobody in his family ever set foot in a concentration camp.

Der Spiegel exposed him during the trial, not because his story was unbelievable, but because he was a Gentile. None of the other witnesses flown in mostly from America and Israel were subjected to the same scrutiny.

Thus the increasing desperation of an insecure German government and Zionist power structure running out of Nazi strawmen to rationalize its totalitarianism and create a climate of fear.

Dey’s case was noteworthy from the start due to the bizarre decision to try a 93-year-old man as a juvenile. Dey had previously been questioned and cleared by German police in the 1970s and 80s, yet prosecutors decided to drag him to court at an age where it is unlikely he has any recollection of what happened 75 years ago, or even the soundness of mind to properly defend himself.

German prosecutors charged Dey as an accessory to the murder of 5,230 persons in a camp he briefly served at as a low level soldier. They relied heavily on contemporary precedents of guilt-by-association, pioneered at the trial of John Demjanjuk in 2011. Before Dey, Oskar Groening was convicted under the new German judicial philosophy in 2014. He was convicted of helping kill 300,000 Jews in his capacity as an accountant at Auschwitz.

The accusers did not bother to build a case against Dey, nor incriminate him as an individual in any killings. The entire case was predicated solely on the fact that he was stationed at Stutthof as a conscript in the German military and so he had to have knowledge of supposed gassings and killings– something Dey vehemently denied and the plaintiffs never proved.

Holocaust trials in Germany are designed to be Kafka traps. It is illegal to question the veracity of atrocities Jews claimed to have seen no matter how scientifically and logically impossible, whether homicidal gas chambers or gasoline injections to the heart.

Besides Loth, other “witnesses” gave highly dubious testimony. A woman named Asia Schindelman said she saw the guards at Stutthof feed Jewish women to their dogs, while others were killed by being tossed on electrified fences.

Though the case against Dey was weak even by show trial standards, he was still convicted and given a two year suspended sentence.

Dey’s legal team tried to appeal this ludicrous decision but mysteriously dropped their case yesterday before it was ever heard.

With the ruling in Dey’s case safe, German jurisprudence now solidly affirms the idea of collective guilt, as the judge overseeing the case made clear in a closing statement.

This is very convenient for the German state. For Holocaust propagandists, they now have a fresh pool of potential subjects to sacrifice to the Shoah God.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | 7 Comments

The Brookings Hand Behind Russiagate Points Back to Rhodes Trust Coup on America

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 10, 2020

An incredible report on Real Clear Politics by Paul Sperry on July 24 has revealed a new dimension to the Russiagate frenzy that contaminated American politics for the last four years. While all claims of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin have been thoroughly debunked over recent months, it was believed that the culprits of this coup effort were merely swaths of deep state operatives in the DNC alongside British Intelligence assets like Christopher Steele, and Sir Richard Dearlove.

All of these things are still very true, but the story has just become significantly more interesting.

As investigative journalist Paul Sperry rigorously lays out in his report, a major piece of the Russiagate puzzle was revealed when it became known that the primary source used by Christopher Steele in shaping his dodgy dossier was not the high level Kremlin insider which the world was told, but rather a former Brookings Institute employee named Igor Danchenko.

This young Russian-born analyst who hadn’t been to Russia in decades admitted to the FBI in January 2017 that he had no contacts with any notable Russian operatives anywhere near the Kremlin (or even Russia itself it seems), and was totally confused when he was asked why he believed Steele hired him to put together an intelligence dossier on Trump in the first place!

Such admissions didn’t seem to bother the FBI at this time, who ignored the evidence of the dossier’s fraudulent foundations and proceeded to use the Steele/Danchenko material to acquire FISA warrants on Carter Page. This dossier also fueled the fires of the Russiagate inquisition and first gave voice to the narrative that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails (which have been completely refuted by former NSA insider Bill Binney).

The firestorm of revelations surrounding the Brookings Institute, have induced Rep. Devin Nunes to announce a long-awaited probe on the powerful liberal think tank which has acted as a controlling force in America’s deep state for decades and the powerful figure of the Institute’s former president Strobe Talbott.

Nunes stated:

“You may remember that the State Department was involved and there were additional dossiers that weren’t the Steele dossier- except that they mirrored the Steele dossier. And we think there is a connection between the [former] president of Brookings and those dossiers that were given to the State Department.”

Strobe Talbott not only led Brookings for years, but served as former Deputy Secretary of State of the Clinton White House, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a member of the Trilateral Commissions executive committee and also acted as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Policy Board of the Obama White House. It was Talbott who deployed Danchenko’s Brookings Institute mentor Fiona Hill to acquire a job at the National Security Council in 2017 where she not only advanced an anti-Russian war plan but testified in Trump’s impeachment trial in 2019.

Hill, who had known Christopher Steele since 2006 and were in frequent discussion since 2016, co-authored two Brookings Institute intelligence reports with Danchenko and endorsed him as a “creative and accomplished analyst and researcher” which was posted on his Linkedin account.

The “additional dossiers that weren’t the Steele dossier” addressed by Nunes is a reference to a lesser known dodgy dossier produced by Brookings-affiliated journalist Cody Shearer (brother-in-law of Strobe Talbott) which was crafted explicitly to validate the wildly unsupported claims found in Steele’s dossier.

Apparently having two dossiers full of the same lies is more believable than only one.

Other information which has surfaced- especially since Steele’s recent UK trial testimony was made public, is that Talbott reached out to the MI6 asset in August 2016 to discuss the dossier, while comparing notes on the Shearer file. With Trump’s surprise election in November 2016, both Steele and Talbott met to strategize how they should handle the Steele dossier going forward.

Another Brookings Institute player who interfaced directly with Steele and ensured that the dossier made it into the hands of prominent pro-impeachment figures and news media outlets in America was none other than regime-change queen Victoria Nuland herself who hired Steele as an advisor during the Ukraine Maidan debacle and met with him on several occasions to discuss the dossier before Trump’s election. Both Nuland and her neo-con husband Robert Kagan serve as Senior Fellows at Brookings Institute.

The Real issue of Talbott’s British Pedigree

It would here be the height of folly to presume, as some commentators have done, that Talbott’s role in this operation indicates an American guiding hand between the plot to undo the 2016 elections. The fact is that Talbott’s entire life and world outlook have been shaped not by wholly anti-American ideas but rather by British Imperial principles that are programed into the minds of all Rhodes Scholars during his time in Oxford from 1966-1968.

It was here that young Nelson Strobridge (Strobe) Talbott III adopted a near-religious commitment to a post-nation state world order. Upon his return to America, Talbott was positioned into a prominent role in the western propaganda bureau serving as a leading editor of Time Magazine. It was during the end of this phase of his career that the soon-to-be Assistant Secretary of State outlined his manifesto for the New World Order in a July 20 1992 article entitled “The Birth of a Global Nation”. Where Talbott stated:

“All countries are basically social arrangements…. No matter how permanent or even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary…. Perhaps national sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all…. But it has taken the events in our own wondrous and terrible century to clinch the case for world government.”

Everything Talbott has done in the ensuing three decades (along with the throngs of other Rhodes Scholars who flooded into the White House with Clinton’s 1992 election) can be understood by this general philosophical premise and gets to the heart of the false dispute between neoconservative imperialists whom Talbott appears to despise, and neoliberal imperialists of a Malthusian/Green New Dealing variety like Talbott.

The Rise of the Rhodes Trust

Talbott’s neoliberal outlook was originally expounded by the racist imperialist Cecil Rhodes in his 1877 Confessions of Faith and upon whose name and will, the scholarship founded in 1902 was based. In this document Rhodes stated:

 “Why should we not form a secret society with but one object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire…”

The fear which Rhodes and leading imperialists presiding over a dying British Empire faced in the end of the 19th century was that a new global system of win-win cooperation was fast emerging in the wake of Lincoln’s victory over the British-supported slave confederacy in 1865. This was a system defined by a mandate to ensure credit functioned as an instrument for agro-industrial progress and internal improvements outlined by Lincoln’s advisor Henry Carey (who also acted as lead organizer of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition which exported this system globally) who stated in his Harmony of Interests:

“Two systems are before the world; the one looks to increasing the proportion of persons and of capital engaged in trade and transportation, and therefore to diminishing the proportion engaged in producing commodities with which to trade, with necessarily diminished return to the labour of all; while the other looks to increasing the proportion engaged in the work of production, and diminishing that engaged in trade and transportation, with increased return to all, giving to the labourer good wages, and to the owner of capital good profits… One looks towards universal war; the other towards universal peace. One is the English system; the other we may be proud to call the American system, for it is the only one ever devised the tendency of which was that of elevating while equalizing the condition of man throughout the world.”

While this system was vigorously applied in 19th century Russia to build the Trans-Siberian Rail with the help of American engineers and industrialists, it was also applied in President Sadi Carnot’s France, Otto von Bismarck’s Germany and even in Japan during the Meiji Restoration.

Sadly, instead of a new age of progress envisioned by such figures as Lincoln-allies William Gilpin or Henry Carey, China’s President Sun Yat-sen, Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier or Russia’s Sergei Witte, a calamitous 20th century of war and assassinations unfolded as the British Empire was re-organized under the guiding light of the Roundtable Movement/Rhodes Trust from Oxford, and the Fabian Society from the London School of Economics. Both think tanks indoctrinated talented youth from around the world, who were deployed back into their home countries to permeate all layers of public and private policy and which ultimately aimed at 1) abolishing sovereign nation states, 2) instituting world government in order to impose population control under a scientific dictatorship and 3) eliminate the conception of mankind and natural law that gave rise to the greatest renaissance movements over the previous 2,500 years.

Rhodes described this indoctrination process in the starkest terms in his 1877 Testament of Faith:

“Let us form the same kind of society a Church for the extension of the British Empire. A society which should have members in every part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea we should have its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English youth passing through their hands just one perhaps in every thousand would have the mind and feelings for such an object, he should be tried in every way, he should be tested whether he is endurant, possessed of eloquence, disregardful of the petty details of life, and if found to be such, then elected and bound by oath to serve for the rest of his life in his Country.”

To this day over 8,000 students have been processed by the Rhodes Trust, with 32 being taken in from America every year permeating every branch of society.

The historian Carrol Quigley, of Georgetown University wrote of this cabal in his posthumously published Anglo-American Establishment”:

“This organization has been able to conceal its existence quite successfully, and many of its most influential members, satisfied to possess the reality rather than the appearance of power, are unknown even to close students of British history. This is the more surprising when we learn that one of the chief methods by which this Group works has been through propaganda.

It plotted the Jameson Raid of 1895; it caused the Boer War of 1899-1902; it set up and controls the Rhodes Trust; it created the Union of South Africa in 1906-1910; it founded the British Empire periodical The Round Table in 1910, and this remains the mouthpiece of the Group; it has been the most powerful single influence in All Souls, Balliol, and New Colleges at Oxford for more than a generation; it has controlled The Times for more than fifty years, with the exception of the three years 1919-1922, it publicized the idea of and the name “British Commonwealth of Nations” in the period 1908-1918, it was the chief influence in Lloyd George’s war administration in 1917-1919 and dominated the British delegation to the Peace Conference of 1919; it had a great deal to do with the formation and management of the League of Nations and of the system of mandates; it founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1919 and still controls it; it was one of the chief influences on British policy toward Ireland, Palestine, and India in the period 1917-1945; it was a very important influence on the policy of appeasement of Germany during the years 1920-1940; and it controlled and still controls, to a very considerable extent, the sources and the writing of the history of British Imperial and foreign policy since the Boer War.”

This organization created NATO, managed the Cold War, orchestrated the fall of Canada’s Prime Minister in 1963, led in creating a post-industrial paradigm in 1971 and brought the world close to thermonuclear war on more than one occasion.

With the return of nationalism on a global scale guided by the post 2013 New Silk Road framework, and especially within America itself since Trump’s 2016 election, these hives of indoctrinated scholars have been in conniption fits over the loss of their utopian blueprints for a New World Order. Putin-hating ideologues like Strobe Talbott and his ilk can kick and scream all they want but since Russiagate was their last and biggest gamble to run a coup on Trump, the hope for America’s accepting Putin’s offer for a 5-nation emergency summit to re-organize the world system is still possible.

Of course, it should never be forgotten that animals are not less dangerous when they are wounded and desperate, and with the meltdown of Russiagate and the light increasingly shining on the British agents in America, these beasts are more dangerous than ever.

In my next article, we will tackle the psychology of a Rhodes Scholar using Strobe Talbott as a convenient case study.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Former Israeli soldier sues pro-Palestinian Toronto restaurant

By Yves Engler · August 11, 2020

As part of a well-organized, multilayered, Israel nationalist lobby bid to bankrupt a small left-wing restaurant a prominent Toronto interior designer sued Kimberly Hawkins for $800,000. Shai DeLuca is claiming the Foodbendersowner libeled him.

The suit was filed by RE-LAW LLP and the US-based Lawfare Project which harasses pro-Palestinian activists. The Lawfare Project, reports Nora Barrows-Friedman, is “a pro-Israel group that works to silence activists by filing lawsuits against them and smearing supporters of Palestinian rights as anti-Semites.”

In a statement of claim DeLuca said two posts on Foodbenders’ Instagram account on July 6 defamed him. One of the posts was apparently a screenshot of DeLuca’s Instagram account with the comment, “he’s literally gathering his other whining Zionist friends to attack Palestinians and others in support of @foodbenders.” A second post, reported Toronto.com, featured the statement, “this guy is one of the people who was attacking @foodbenders. He’s an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] SOLDIER (aka terrorist) yet he’s using the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement for likes. How can you sit there and post about BLM when you have your sniper rifle aimed at Palestinian Children.”

DeLuca’s statement of claim suggests Foodbenders’ statements were libelous. But, on Twitter DeLuca describes himself as an “IDF sergeant (ret)” and a quick Google search demonstrates that he is an aggressive proponent of Israeli military violence. DeLuca publicly defended Israel’s 2014 onslaught on Gaza that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and has spoken at a number of international events promoting the Israeli military. DeLuca even claims IDF experience helps with interior design!

(In recent years the Israeli military has bombed Syria on a weekly basis and has multiple boots on Palestinian necks. In his 2008 book Defending The Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security & Foreign Policy Zeev Maoz notes: “There was only one year out of 56 years of history in which Israel did not engage in acts involving the threat, display, or limited use of force with its neighbors. The only year in which Israel did not engage in a militarized conflict was 1988, when Israel was deeply immersed in fighting the Palestinian uprising, the intifada. So it is fair to say that during each and every year of its history Israel was engaged in violent military actions of some magnitude.” Maoz concludes: “None of the wars — with a possible exception of the 1948 war of Independence — was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Brerah (‘war of necessity’). They were all wars of choice or wars of folly.”)

DeLuca works with the rabidly pro-Israel Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Funded by Donald Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, Seth Klarman and other anti-Palestinian billionaires, CAMERA regularly promotes the IDF and is “aligned with right-wing and hawkish political views”, reports the Jewish Forward.

In his statement of claim to the Ontario Court of appeal DeLuca presents his military service as simply a requirement that every Israeli must fulfill. “He grew up in the State of Israel where he served his compulsory term of military service as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces”, it notes. But, elsewhere DeLuca offers a more politicized depiction of his time in the IDF. Asked in 2018 by the Canadian Jewish NewsWhat shaped your strong connection with Israel?” DeLuca responded: “I grew up in an extremely Zionist family. The matriarch of my family, my grandma, and I had a very special relationship. She always said that if she’d had the opportunity, she would’ve gone to Israel. She talked a lot about the importance of defending our homeland. This was really strongly instilled in me. From the age of 15, I knew that, at 18, I’d go do my army service in Israel. I finished high school in Toronto and in November 1995, I went into the Israeli army.”

When speaking to a pro-Israel Canadian audience DeLuca promotes fighting in the IDF but when a social justice activist reframes his actions as a moral outrage against Palestinians he claims to have been duty bound and the victim of malice. DeLuca’s position is not unique. After pro-Palestinian activists protested a presentation by Israeli military reservists at York in November, those who brought the ‘terrorists’ to the university and in some cases assaulted the protesters claimed they were the victims. In 2018 a private Toronto school that flew an Israeli flag and promoted its military also claimed “anti-Semitism” when pro-Palestinian graffiti was scrawled on its walls.

To get a sense of DeLuca’s extreme anti-Palestinian ideology, last week he retweeted ethnic cleansing denial, claiming Israel merely occupied mosquito infested lands. “The only ones that Zionism displaced were mosquitos,” he messaged. “The lands Zionists acquired to establish themselves were malaria ridden, and they reclaimed those lands.” This, of course, is complete nonsense.

It requires chutzpah to join a brutal occupation force halfway across the world, spend years promoting it and when called on it claim you are the victim. DeLuca should either stop promoting a violent foreign military or accept that people are going to criticize him for doing so.

For those interested in supporting Foodbenders please email: PALILEGALFUND@GMAIL.COM

 

Please email Cityline TV (info@cityline.tv) to say Shai DeLuca, who is a contributor, promotes a violent foreign army and denies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Trump insists on a Putin visit to US

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 11, 2020

The US President Donald Trump’s remark on Monday that a G7 summit is no longer on the cards for the month of September leaves many questions unanswered. We do not know the circumstances in which Trump felt that he is “much more inclined to do it (G7 summit) sometime after the election”. Again, Trump was delightfully vague on giving a timeline, which is understandable since a G7 summit now hinges entirely on the outcome of the November election.

Trump didn’t explain, either, why a G7 summit hasn’t materialised in September, which would have given him some boost on the world stage — and given a much-needed fillip to his campaign. This is the second time Trump has been unable to host a G7 summit. In June, the allies, especially Germany, point blank refused — Angela Merkel regretted apparently due to preoccupations related to the pandemic.

If the postponement in September is also due to the European allies’ lukewarm attitude, it becomes a snub to Trump personally. All he’d say was “We haven’t sent out invitations. We’re talking to them.” If Trump falls by the wayside in the November election, the European allies may be even less inclined to troop to Washington before Joe Biden assumes office in January. Trump’s insistence on inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G7 summit, which he repeated yesterday, has not gone down well in the European capitals.

In sum, Trump’s inability to hold a G7 summit highlights Europe’s overall disenchantment with him. Trump’s foreign policy legacy during his first term is ending on a dismal note, calling attention to the damage he has inflicted on the transatlantic partnership.

Perhaps, Trump gets one more chance to redeem his foreign policy record on this template if only the US-Russia arms control talks make headway. The first formal bilateral talks between the US and Russia on space security since 2013 took place in Vienna on July 27 alongside the second round of the nuclear arms control working group meetings. The renewal of new START, which is expiring in coming February, is a low-hanging fruit.

Meanwhile, the Vienna talks also touch on the erstwhile Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), which is of utmost concern to the European countries. Russia has called for revival of discussions on extending the INF Treaty and Washington has held open the possibility that the negotiations in Vienna would include an INF Treaty extension. One way Trump could overcome the European resistance to inviting Putin to a G7 summit in the US could be by linking it to an event connected with arms control, especially the INF Treaty.

Russia sees arms control as a useful tool to manage its military competition with the US by making it less dangerous and costly. As for European countries, the INF Treaty has been historically the only operational bilateral instrument of nuclear arms control with Russia with focus on Europe’s security and stability. Moreover, the INF Treaty was the cornerstone of European security and its signing in 1987 by the US and the former Soviet Union was a harbinger of political “winds of change” in the East-West relationship.

Equally, Trump also appears to be serious in pursuing forms of cooperation with Russia that would accommodate both countries’ interests. Oil price and terrorism are two such issues; arms control could be another. On arms control, there is also a rare “bipartisan consensus” in the US as regards the renewal of the new START.

Having said that, Trump is unpredictable and the commencement of arms control talks cannot by itself persuade Moscow to lower its guard. Thus, on August 7, Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the Pentagon announcement of July 29 regarding more US deployments to Poland. A statement in Moscow warned that “such actions escalate tensions in Europe. We have emphasised more than once that attempts to deter us by force and intimidate our country will receive a befitting and timely response.”

On July 29, at a press conference at the Pentagon, Defence Secretary Mark Esper had announced a “plan on rotating forward the lead element of the Army’s newly established V Corps headquarters to Poland, once Warsaw signs a Defense Cooperation Agreement and burden sharing deal, as previously pledged. There are or may be other opportunities as well to move additional forces into Poland and the Baltics.” Interestingly, a week later in an interview with Fox News, Esper added that the deployment to the east to (Poland and the Baltics) aimed to serve as a more effective ‘deterrent’ against Russia. He said moving troops eastward is only logical because “the border has shifted as the alliance has grown.”

On August 7, the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) reacted strongly by issuing a stern warning to the US that Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation. This is in line with the revised Russian military doctrine enunciating the new nuclear deterrent policy allowing “first use”, which envisages the use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that “threatens the very existence of the state.”

Moscow has ruled out Putin’s participation in a G7 summit that excludes China or has any anti-China orientation. Having said that, Trump would be betting that given the Kremlin’s keenness to make progress on arms control — extension of new START, in particular — Putin might be open to a visit to the US to formalise any agreements, once the hurly burly of the November election in America is done. Trump’s remarks yesterday hint at such a possibility when he said Putin is an “important factor”. Moscow has taken due note of it.

Trump’s calculus aims at animating the US-Russia-China triangle with a view to isolating China. Putin, on the other hand, will sequester the Russian-Chinese entente from collateral damage, if any. On August 9, Russian Foreign Ministry issued an unusual statement conveying solidarity with China “on the situation around the Tiktok social media app’s operation in the US”.

Beijing, meanwhile, is nonchalantly reiterating its position that “it is not yet the right timing” for China to join the nuclear disarmament talks in Vienna. And, Putin and  Chinese President Xi Jinping were the first world leaders to congratulate Alexander Lukashenko on his re-election as Belarusian president.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran and China terrify the Empire, but why?

By Aram Mirzaei | The Saker blog | August 11, 2020

The proposed 25-year deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, titled “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between I.R. Iran and P.R. China” has been heavily discussed recently. While not all details in the deal are clear, it has been described by Iranian and Chinese officials as specifying the roadmap of developing and deepening Tehran-Beijing ties in “Political”, “Executive Cooperation”, “Human and Cultural”, “Judiciary, Security and Defence”, and “Regional and International” domains.

It remains unclear when such a deal will be formally clinched. But Iran’s government says the two sides have so far finalized at least 75 percent of the draft version of the pact. Once concluded, the text of the deal will be discussed for final approval in Iran’s Parliament. However, many lawmakers are already critical of the government for not consulting the deal before entering into negotiations with China.

What has so far been made public is that the 25-year cooperation roadmap will cover economy, security and military areas. Iran will reportedly supply the PRC (People’s Republic of China) with oil for 25 years. In return, China will invest heavily in Iran’s infrastructure as well as banking and telecommunications sectors, amounting to some 400 billion dollars. Reactions, both inside and outside Iran have been mixed. Some inside Iran have criticized the deal since they believe that the Islamic Republic has negotiated it from a position of weakness, in order to escape the failing JCPOA deal and its aftermath – Washington’s maximum pressure campaign. Supporters of the deal argue that the deal is a political victory against what Beijing and Tehran have identified as a common opponent.

Naturally, the US State Department and anti-Iran Farsi media outlets based outside Iran have denounced the possible deal without even knowing all the details. The US State Department went on to issue tweets in Farsi, comparing the potential Iran-China accord to the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay which was a peace treaty between Qajar Iran and the Russian Empire. By the treaty, Iran had to cede to Russia control of most of its areas in the South Caucasus.

As per usual, social media is the main tool they use for their propaganda. Certain think tanks led by Western governments, particularly the United States spread rumours and lies. For instance, they have created various hashtags like “No to Iran Sellout!” This has been picked up by Iranian analysts too:

“Based on our monitoring of social media, we spotted the first analyses on the Iran-China cooperation plan in US media. What the mainly US media claim is reproduced in social media, particularly Twitter. Those who are active in cyberspace and social media include users affiliated with the Zionist regime, users affiliated with the Mujahideen Khalq Organization as they are supposed to insinuate wrong interpretations into public minds in Persian language. MKO agents based in Albania and benefiting from Western funding are involved. The Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia are also cooperating by spending money and offering human resources. From as early on as 1995, Iran has been aware of the importance of the Beijing- Tehran axis as a counterweight to the U.S.-led global order. Iran and China share a desire to engage in revisionist regional moves without wanting to start a large-scale war; to put an end to US imperialism and military supremacy in the Persian Gulf region. It is a valid question however, whether this will not lead to a Chinese show of military might in the region.

Our ties with some nations may be focused on a single aspect like agriculture, culture and energy. But with China, we have reached the conclusion that we can cooperate in academic, cultural and IT and economic sectors. And regarding the strategic aspects, our ties with some countries may be periodic. But the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China eye long-term cooperation.“ – Hamed Vafai, China Affairs Analyst

The Iranians outside of Iran who oppose the deal are often pro-Western and echo the same lies spewed by Washington – for example when they claim that Iran has sold its soil to China, offering Beijing Iran’s Kish Island as a military base and so on. The sheer hypocrisy by Pro-US Iranians is mind-boggling. The things they accuse the Islamic Republic of doing for China are the same things their beloved “King” did for the US, if not even more. I don’t need to go into detail over how subservient the Iranian monarchy was to Washington.

Tehran has made it clear that this deal is to protect the Iranian economy from US sanctions, and that it will not cede any part of its soil to China. Tehran rejected the criticism saying is it aimed at appeasing the enemies of the Islamic Republic. “Unfortunately, a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia,” Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said last week.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Seyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed unfounded claims of Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf being leased out to China, oil sold at exclusively low prices, or the deployment of Chinese armed forces in the Gulf, an invading force in Iranian waters that is. He said such claims were too ridiculous to even merit a denial. Apparently the Chinese response to the allegations was not so different.

So what’s in it for the parties involved?

There is no doubt that Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the subsequent sanctions imposed by Washington has left the Iranian economy in a very difficult position, especially since the EU has betrayed the deal as well. Part of the blame has been placed on the Rouhani government, which I believe to be wrong. It is counterproductive to assume that the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the JCPOA triggered the crisis since the pressure on Iran’s economy was no less severe before the JCPOA.

The trade deal itself is one of necessity as the West has failed to live up to their promises and proven once and for all that they can never be trusted. Not only have they reneged on their commitments, but they also continue to wage psychological warfare on Iran through propaganda and lies. Bearing in mind that Washington has forbidden many countries from doing deals with Tehran, I see no reason to be critical of this potential deal with the PRC as of yet. This is about the Islamic Republic’s very survival, something that the IRGC and the top leadership in Tehran have also recognized – which explains why they have remained so silent about it.

The potential partnership offers Iran a way out of the harsh US sanctions. For Iran this would translate into an injection of approximately 280 billion dollars for its energy sector and 120 billion dollars for manufacturing and transport infrastructure. In return for a discounted oil-flow to China and preferential Chinese access to various sectors of the Iranian economy, Iran would have its infrastructure given a much needed boost. The deal includes 100 projects which defy US unilateral sanctions against Iran.

China is the only remaining official buyer of Iranian oil and has strongly opposed Washington’s sanctions. It defies the US also economically together with Russia and Iran, as the three have attempted to replace the US dollar in their dealings, an act that inspired Pakistan and may have other regional states follow. Why wouldn’t the Islamic Republic with its free-falling rial want China as a potential shield against US sanctions and even motions at the UN Security Council? What other options does Iran have? To negotiate a new JCPOA with Washington, one which the US would at any time once more renege on? Besides, it should be known to all by now that the nuclear issue is not really why Washington is sanctioning the Islamic Republic.

The PRC is viewed in the West as a threat both because of its rising economic power, and more recently because of its potential political power, poised to challenge Washington’s hegemony. Crude accusations of Chinese imperialism and false expressions of “worry” for poor Asian and African countries aside, the West is worried because China’s entry into the Middle East would enhance Beijing’s position not only in West Asia, but in Central Asia and the Caucasus as well. For China, Iran could very well be a gateway into the Middle East, as it has historically also been. Iran has connections in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where China has up until recently been absent, and their partnership could flourish as Iraq and Syria will rebuild their countries after decades of US imposed wars. The Islamic Republic can introduce lucrative projects to the Chinese who may not know the region quite well.

All this gives Washington clear reason to be annoyed since it would make the US sanctions rather useless. But Washington also knows that the implications of this potential deal are far greater than just helping Iran.

Washington knows that its position in the Middle East as the sole dominant power alongside Israel is being challenged by Russia, Iran and now China as well. The Zionist axis has lost the struggle for Syria and is desperately clinging onto the oil fields in the eastern parts of the country, they have lost in Iraq as Baghdad wants them out, and they will lose elsewhere too. Even Turkey – a NATO ally – is a loose cannon that Washington cannot trust, especially since Ankara has repeatedly refused to follow Washington’s orders. This leaves Washington with the vassal reactionary monarchies in the Persian Gulf and Israel as the only reliable “friends” of Washington’s. The birth of an alliance/united front with a common cause against the Zionist empire could potentially lead to an East-West divide situation not so different from the Cold War in Europe.

Personally, I welcome it. A bipolar balance in the region would deter Washington further from regime change attempts. The only reason for Washington’s audacity to start the Syrian and Iraqi wars were because of the power vacuum left after the dissolution of the Soviet Union – without a counter-weight against it, Washington has been free to do as it pleases in the region for the past 3 decades.

Necessity will drive China and Iran to deepen relations. Both share grievances against the US and its vassals, both are being threatened in their own regions by Washington and together with the Russian Federation, they can finally bring back a balance of power in the world. When it is all said and done, let’s see what these two ancient Asian cultures can achieve together.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lebanon: The Paradise from Hell

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | August 11, 2020

In the old days there was no more charming city in the eastern Mediterranean than Beirut.  Set on a maritime plain with the mountains rising dramatically behind it, the scenery was magnificent, the culture charming, the people hospitable and the city rich in history.

Unfortunately, however, Lebanon’s prime geographical position sucked the country and its capital  into the vortex of regional and international politics from the 19th century onwards. Sectarianism and the inability of the people to put the interests of their country ahead of their faith dragged it further down. There was no more potent weapon in the armory of scheming outside powers than this massive fault line running through Lebanese society.

Seizing Syria after the First World War, Britain and France chopped it up. Britain gave Palestine – southern Syria – to the Zionists. France kept the rest. In 1918 it occupied Beirut, with the support of the Maronite Christians and against the opposition of the Muslims. Moving across the mountains, it occupied Damascus after defeating a Syrian national force at Khan Maysalun, in the anti-Lebanon mountains about 25 kilometers from Damascus, in July 1920.

In October 1920 France separated Mt Lebanon and the maritime plain from the Syrian hinterland to create the republic of Grand Liban. Its strategic object was to cut a large segment of Syria’s Christians, the Maronites, off from the Syrian hinterland (which it then proceeded to divide even further along sectarian lines). Historically aligned culturally with France and the ‘west,’ the Maronites were hostile to what they saw as a Sunni Muslim-inflected Arab nationalism. In what they perceived as their own interests, they could be counted on to further French interests in the Near East.

Their sympathy for zionism reached the point in May, 1946, when the Maronite Patriarch, Antoine Arida, signed a ‘treaty’ with the Jewish Agency in which he acknowledged all core zionist claims, including the allegedly historical link with Palestine, the ‘right’ to open immigration “and independence” in a Jewish state. This ‘treaty’ was no more than the patriarch’s personal initiative, but it did represent broad Maronite identification with Zionism as an equally vulnerable minority presence in the Middle East.

As established under French supervision, the 1926 constitution describes Lebanon as “Arab in its identity and affiliation.” Elections to the Chamber of Deputies were to be held on a “national non-confessional basis” but at the same time – more than somewhat contradictorily – there was to be equal representation of Muslims and Christians in Parliament and proportional representation of the confessional groups within the two broader Muslim and Christian communities. The president was to be elected on the basis of two-thirds majority support in the Chamber.

In 1943 with Vichy France defeated in Syria and with Lebanon looking ahead to the end of the mandate, its Muslim (Sunni and Shia) and Christian leaders met to discuss what next. President Bishara al Khuri and Prime Minister Riad al Sulh fashioned the ‘national pact’ which has underpinned Lebanon’s ‘confessional democracy’ ever since. Broadly, Lebanon would remain  only “affiliated” to the Arab world (rather than part of it)  in return for a Christian pledge not to seek support from the ‘west.’

In its executive and parliamentary makeup, the president of the republic would always be a Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shia Muslim, the deputy Prime Minister and deputy speaker of the Chamber a Greek Orthodox and the army chief of staff a Druze. Parliament would be elected on the basis of a 6-5 Christian-Muslim majority, this sectarian allocation of power applying across all state institutions.

Even by the 1930s it was doubtful that Lebanon had a Christian majority.  It is for this reason that a census had not been held since. The Maronites would certainly not want to be confronted with the statistical proof of their shrunken minority status. On the available evidence now a census would show that the population is about 60 per cent Muslim, about evenly divided between Sunni and Shia.  Of the 36 per cent of the Christian population, the Maronites account for perhaps 21 per cent. Talk of ‘Christian Lebanon’ is obviously misleading when the buk of the population is Muslim. Not only that, there is no consolidated Christian view, politically or religiously.  Each confessional group has its own liturgies and political interests. The Maronites also have a long history of fighting savagely among themselves.

No Lebanese wanting to live in a proper democracy could possibly support the ‘confessional’ formula but with some modifications it has prevailed to the present day. It is the seedbed of all Lebanon’s problems. It has engendered corruption, endless feudal bargaining between the zaims – the sectarian political leaders –  and it has kept Lebanon permanently open to meddling from outside.

Under British pressure the French finally withdrew from Lebanon in 1946. Lebanon’s first civil war had been fought in 1860s and the second was soon to come. In 1958 President Camille Chamoun abrogated the national pact by calling for western intervention to suppress the rising tide of support in Lebanon for Egypt’s President Gamal abd al Nasir. US marines landed on Beirut’s beaches from the Sixth Fleet but on this occasion the zaims managed to settle their differences themselves.

The third civil war followed in 1975 and lasted until 1989. Although sectarian affiliations would decide who died and who lived, the trigger for this conflict was the Palestine question. Driven out of their country in 1948, Palestinians flooded into Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, whose rickety social and political fabric could not withstand the pressure of this extra burden and finally collapsed.

Outside intervention in 1976 by Syria (at the request of the Arab League) and interference by the US and Israel turned Lebanon yet again into the epicentre of a regional and international power struggle.  Tens of thousands of Lebanese died, with Israel’s invasion of 1982 alone ending the lives of about 20,000 people.

Succeeding in driving out the PLO, the Israeli invasion was the catalyst for the rise of a far more dangerous enemy, Hizbullah. By 2000 it had driven Israel out of southern Lebanon by standing firm in the war of 2006, so that zionist ground forces were unable  to capture villages even a few kilometres from the armistice line, it again imposed humiliation on the enemy. Since then many of Israel’s senior political and military figures have warned that in the next round they will destroy Lebanon entirely, driving it back to the Stone Age or the Middle Ages,  as they say. This is their ‘Dahiyya strategy,’ named after their widespread aerial destruction in 2006 of a largely Shia southern Beirut suburb of that name.

Spying for Israel

There is a chilling parallel between the port explosion and an event not nearly so destructive in damage and loss of life but the equivalent in its impact on Lebanon’s Lebanese social and political structure. This of course is the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February, 2005.  Because of his sometimes difficult relationship with the Syrian government, it was Syria that was immediately blamed by Hariri’s son Saad, by Maronite Christian political factions and by ‘western’ governments. Syria was driven into a corner and forced to withdraw its remaining troops from Lebanon. They were few in number and stationed well away from the capital but the government in Damascus was humiliated internationally.

Four ‘pro-Syrian’ Lebanese army generals were arrested on August 30, 2005, and held in custody by the government for four years without being charged before being handed over to the UN-appointed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which immediately released them for lack of evidence. The tribunal was established in 2009 on the basis of an agreement between the UN and the government of Lebanon but was never ratified by Lebanon’s Chamber of Deputies

In 2010 Hariri’s son, Saad, Prime Minister since November, 2009, admitted that he was wrong in accusing Syria: the charge had been “politically motivated” and the tribunal misled by false testimony against the four generals. Without apologizing or explaining how it came to be deceived, the tribunal proceeded in 2011 to lay charges of conspiracy to murder against four men linked with Hizbullah, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hasan Sabra.

Mustafa Amine Badreddine 7cb9b

*(Mustafa Amine Badreddine)

Badreddine was a cousin of Imad Mughniyah, a senior Hizbullah figure assassinated by Israel in Damascus in 2008. Badreddine himself was killed by an explosion near Damascus airport in 2016 but by that time another name had been added to the Special Tribunal’s list of accused, Hassan Habib Merhi, charged in 2012. These suspects are all being tried in absentia.  Hasan Nasrallah says the charges are a politically motivated fabrication and that wherever they are, the men will never be handed over by Hizbullah.

The first important point to be made about the Special Tribunal is that it never canvassed the range of possible suspects. Against their record of extreme violence in Lebanon, the US and Israel would have to be high on the list of suspects but they were not  even considered.  The tribunal went straight for Syria and when that collapsed it went straight for Hizbullah.

On October 27, 2010, three of its agents went to Dr Iman Charara’s obstetrics clinic in Dahiyya, apparently with her prior approval but not with Hizbullah’s. Given the destruction of Dahiyya by Israel in 2006, this was understandable: Hizbullah had to be watchful about who was coming and going in the suburb. At the clinic the agents demanded the phone numbers and addresses of 17 patients dating back to 2003. They would all be the female relatives of Hizbullah members, but whoever they were, Dr Charara would have been violating doctor-patient confidentiality by surrendering this personal information.

Inside the clinic women waiting for their consultation physically attacked the three agents, calling them Israelis and Americans and seizing a computer, notebooks, a cell phone and other material, all later returned. (According to one account, largely based on the sight of a large hand, some of the women were actually men.)

The Special Tribunal made other extreme demands. It demanded and was apparently given access to the data base of all students at private universities from 2003-2006 but was blocked when it sought the fingerprints and passport details of all Lebanese along with all telephone and DNA records.

The second important point to be made about the tribunal is that its evidence is circumstantial and heavily based on totally compromised mobile phone calls. By the time of Hariri’s assassination, Israel had long since penetrated Lebanon’s two main telecommunications providers, with agents inside providing it with data that allowed it not just to monitor phone calls but to fabricate them.

In 2010, 50 employes of the Alfa state telecommunications company were arrested and charged with spying for Israel. They included two senior technical figures, Charbel Qazzi and Tariq Raba’a.  In his confession Qazzi said he had first been contacted by Mossad in the 1990s.  He had access to all passwords needed to enter mobile network computer systems remotely or online. These he had handed to Israel.

Raba’a was recruited by Mossad in 2001. He gave Israel full details of Lebanon’s mobile network plus the names of all Alfa employes. Israel’s infiltration included the tampering with BTS (base transceiver station) towers either physically or remotely and the use of a firewall manufactured by Israeli companies allowing Israel to install backdoors and give it access for remote logins.

A retired general who had spied for Israel from 1994-2009 provided Israel with Lebanese sim cards. In 2009 Hizbullah and Lebanese security exposed three Hizbullah members who had been spying for Israel.  Their phones has been installed with a software program allowing a second line to be linked to their phones and a third person to access all their data. This ‘twinning’ on one sim card turned on when the phone was on and off when the phone was turned off.

Israel’s infiltration of the Lebanese telecommunications sector was so extensive that none of the calls allegedly connecting suspects to Hariri’s assassation can be regarded as authentic without the absolutely incontrovertible proof that the tribunal is unlikely to have. According to Hasan Nasrallah, Israel had gained complete control over Lebanon’s telecommunications network.

In August 2010, not long after the arrest of the Alfa spies, Nasrallah made an announcement he said he did not want to make because it would reveal how extensively Hizbullah had penetrated Israel’s electronic communications and drone surveillance.  He said that for three months before his assassination (February 14, 2005), an Israeli drone had been shadowing Hariri, from his home in Beirut to the government offices, and from his home in the city to his home in the mountains. It had followed him along the corniche road on the day of his assassination.

According to Nasrallah, an Israeli AWACS plane was overhead and an Israeli agent on the ground when Hariri’s convoy was destroyed and the former Prime Minister and 21 others killed and hundreds injured.  This evidence of possible Israeli involvement in the assassination was handed to the Special Tribunal by HIzbullah but apparently taken no further.

‘Hizbullah, Hizbullah, Hizbullah ..’

The trail to the destruction of Beirut’s port began in Batumi, Georgia, in September, 2013 when a Russian-owned ship, the MV Rhosus, set off for Mozambique loaded with 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. The boat was owned by Igor Grechuskin, a ‘businessman’ in his early 40s, now living in Cyprus and last seen when photographed straddling a gleaming motorbike.

photoshopped images of a missile Beirut 47500

The Rhosus made it to Tuzla in Turkey and then Volos in Greece for refueling.  After the crew could not be paid because the owner had run out of money the boat headed to Beirut to pick up additional cargo that could be sold in Aqaba. However, the excavators and road-making machinery stacked on deck were so heavy that the doors to the cargo hold buckled.   In addition, there was no money to pay port fees and the Russian and Ukrainian crew had filed legal complaints over conditions and non-payment of salary. The ship also had a leak in the hull when it reached Beirut.  The crew had been regularly pumping water out to keep it afloat.

Judged unsafe to sail and in breach of port and maritime regulations the Rhosus was allowed to go no further. By November 2014 the ammonium nitrate had been unloaded and stored in hangar 12.  The crew was confined to the boat for 11 months before being released.  Abandoned by its owner, the Rhosus sank close to the port’s breakwater in February, 2018.

There have been several spectacular explosions of ammonium nitrate in the 20th century. In 1921, at Oppau in Germany, a 4500-tonne mixture of ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded, killing 500-600 people. In 1947, fire on board a French freighter in the port of Texas City, Galveston Bay, ignited 2300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the explosion killing nearly 600 people.

The Beirut port explosion was one of the biggest in history outside the detonation of a nuclear bomb. The immediate port district was leveled, with the shock wave surging into the fashionable Gemmayzeh district and destroying or damaging apartment blocks and shops, restaurants and the clubs that were the centre of night life. The damage included the silos adjacent to the port where 80 per cent of Lebanon’s grain supplies were stored, leaving it with only enough to last a few weeks.

Negligence was obviously involved. The port customs authorities were aware of the danger and had made six requests between 2014-2017 for the ammonium nitrate to be be shifted but nothing was done.

The political finger-pointing started immediately. The Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros al Rai, seized the opportunity to berate Hizbullah. Baha Hariri, one of Rafiq Hariri’s sons, claimed that “everyone in the city knows” that Hizbullah controlled the port.  It was said to be storing arms and ammunitions which somehow triggered off the devastation on August 4. In fact, Hizbullah does not control the port and had no weaponry or ammunition stockpiled there.

In his reaction to the bombing, Nasrallah referred to Lebanese and Arab media commentators whose position had been decided in advance.  In their view “the cause of the explosion in hangar number so-and-so at the port of Beirut was a Hizbullah missile warehouse that exploded and caused this unprecedented terror and cataclysm. Or, they said, it was stockpiles of Hizbullah ammunition, explosives or weapons. The bottom line is that it must have belonged to Hizbullah, whether it was missiles, ammunition, or explosives … and even when the authorities announced that it was not missiles, weapons, ammunition, explosives or anything like that but (ammonium) nitrate used as a fertilizer or an explosive, these people said that this nitrate belonged to Hizbullah, that it was Hizbullah that brought it, that it was Hizbullah that stored it for six years and again, Hizbullah, Hizbullah, Hizbullah …”

Fury swept the streets in the aftermath of the explosion. Demonstrators broke into government ministries in various parts of the city, cabinet ministers and members of parliament until the government of Prime Minister Hasan Diab finally fell, Diab saying that corruption was systemic and larger than the state.

The ‘west’ had already plunged into the crisis. President Macron immediately flew to Beirut, offering aid. Speaking like a French High Commissioner during the 1930s, he took it upon himself to call for a new political order and demand that Hizbullah stop serving the interests of another government. The US called for ‘peaceful’ regime change. At the same time, both Trump and Defence Secretary Mark Esper raised the possibility that the explosion had been the result of a deliberate attack.

President Michel Aoun called for some clear answers within a few days but like the Hariri assassination, clear answers to what exactly happened at the port of Beirut on August 4 may never be forthcoming.

Apparently (or clearly) photoshopped images of a missile about to strike the port soon filled the social media. Other material was more persuasive, with one video showing men walking along the street and pointing at something in the sky seconds before the shock wave hit them. Another clip shows a group of young women stopping to look up at the sky after apparently hearing something. Nasser Yassin, a professor at the American University of Beirut, described hearing a sound like a jet aircraft or a missile flying overhead a few seconds before the explosion … “we’re like 35 or 40 kilometers from Beirut, overlooking Beirut, and we heard this very clear.”

The general context is not complete without referring to the pending decision of the Special Tribunal. Due on August 7 it will be issued on the morning of August 18. Furthermore, in the week before the explosion tension had also been rising on the Israel-Lebanon 1949 armistice line, with Hizbullah denying an Israeli claim that it had launched an attack in the occupied Shaba’a farm zone following the killing of a Hizbullah fighter in Syria.

The ‘floating bomb’

The clear answer as to who benefits from the Beirut port explosion is Israel and the instability which has followed. Israel has periodically devastated Lebanon, killing tens of thousands of people. Its aircraft and drones routinely violate Lebanese air space, frequently launching missiles into Syria from Lebanon. It has run rings of spies in Lebanon for decades and has the entire country under surveillance from satellites, from human intelligence and from spying devices seeded from north to south. It badly wants Hizbullah destroyed and its political and military figures have repeatedly threatened Lebanon with an attack that will dwarf the destruction wrought in 2006. The port explosion has broken the government and put Hizbullah under extreme pressure domestically and from the outside.

A further consideration is that Beirut was always seen in Israel as a rival financial and business centre to Tel Aviv in the eastern Mediterranean. Decades of instability created by civil war, Israel’s repeated attacks and interference in its political and financial affairs by outside governments have wrecked the position the city held in the 1960s as a financial hub for the entire Middle East. Economic crisis – partly brought on by ‘western’ sanctions directed against Hizbullah – followed by the explosion in the port leave behind only the shards of this reputation.

Could Israel have arranged the destruction of the port? Given its long experience of causing chaos across the Middle East, the answer is obviously ‘yes.’ The ammonium nitrate was a floating bomb taken to Beirut and stored in a warehouse for six years. It only needed someone to light the fuse. Compared to the intricacy of other Israeli operations, this would surely be a comparatively simple matter.

So Israel could have done it, but would it have done it? Certainly, on the basis of its merciless destruction of Lebanon in the past, not to speak of its frequent devastation of Gaza, it would not have been impeded by moral considerations. Was it in any way responsible, or was the explosion wholly the outcome of utterly criminal negligence? An inquiry, international or Lebanese, may never be able to satisfactorily answer these questions.

Lebanon remains trapped in the mire of 1943. It is not a change of government that is needed but a change of the system and a change in the mentality of the Lebanese people so that they uniformly put their country ahead of sectarian loyalties. The old system needs to be torn up by the roots. Otherwise this blood-soaked cycle is never going to end. Lebanon will remain forever exposed to sectarian division stoked by regional and global powers in their own interests.

This cycle of disasters has been going on in Lebanon since the 19th century. It is part of ‘the game of nations’ as described by CIA agent Miles Copeland in his 1969 book of the same name, a ‘game’ in which the kings, presidents, prime ministers, army chiefs, entire countries and ordinary citizens across the Middle East are ultimately no more than expendable pawns on the board.


Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East. His publications include “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.) His latest book is “The Last Ottoman Wars. The Human Cost 1877-1923” (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2019).

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Horror in Beirut

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 11, 2020

The Establishment explanation for what occurred in Beirut’s port on August 5th is that the horrific series of explosions that killed hundreds, injured thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless was a terrible accident that came about due to a multi-faceted failure by Lebanon’s corrupt and incompetent government. Or at least that is the prevalent narrative in the international media, but a more critical examination of what took place is a bit like peeling an onion only to discover that there are layers and layers of alternative possibilities that just might place the catastrophe in a broader context.

The story, which is generally being accepted, is that a Russian-leased but Moldovan flagged ship the Rhosus carrying nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate from Batumi in Georgia to Mozambique wound up unexpectedly in Beirut’s port in November 2013 due to a leak in the hull and mechanical problems. It was then impounded and blocked from exiting due to alleged general unseaworthiness as well as its inability to pay disputed debts and docking fees. The dangerous cargo was offloaded and stored in a Hanger number 12 in the port a year later. Ammonium nitrate can be used to make fertilizer but it also can also be used in explosives. The two ton “fertilizer bomb” used to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 killing 168 people was, for example, primarily ammonium nitrate.

The ship and cargo, which was supposedly destined for a Mozambican company that produced commercial explosives, was then de facto abandoned by its lessee and sat in the port with its Russian captain and three Ukrainian crewmen while the issue was being largely ignored by the Lebanese government. The crew were basically being held as hostages by the port authorities, unable to leave the ship and, it was claimed, frequently on the verge of starvation. They were eventually released and allowed to fly home in 2014 while the Rhosus itself, emptied of its cargo, reportedly sank in an unused corner of the port in 2018.

Both the crew and the port authorities were aware of how dangerous the offloaded cargo was, but the Lebanese government, which was having its own problems, did nothing to address the issue. Shafik Merhi, director of the Lebanese Customs Authority, wrote to government officials no less than six times between 2014 and 2017 requesting “urgent” steps be taken to secure the explosives, but he received no response.

The first explosion may have been started by a welder or even a smoker who somehow ignited fireworks or possibly even a storage site for munitions which then somehow caused the ammonium nitrate to explode. The second explosion has already been described as the largest ever that did not involve a nuclear weapon, though some have been suggesting that it did indeed involve an Israeli tactical nuke. If there is any residual radiation at the site surely that possibility will again be raised.

The blast devastated the port and the surrounding residential area and was felt as far as 120 miles away in Cyprus. Grain silos near the explosion were heavily damage, destroying an estimated 80% of the country’s grain supply at a time when there is already widespread hunger due to a deepening economic crisis that has produced many bankruptcies, a failure of health services and sharply declining standards of living. The problems have all been exacerbated by U.S. unilaterally imposed sanctions and Israeli meddling.

The narrative that the explosion had been a horrible accident was almost immediately widely accepted, but President Donald Trump was quick to describe it as an attack, saying “I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that . . . this was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event. They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.” However, the Defense Department subsequently refused to confirm Trump’s speculation and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper observed that “Most believe that it was an accident.”

Others also had some problems with the narrative. A cui bono? “who benefits” analysis inevitably suggests that Israel, which has been increasing its pressure both on Lebanon and particularly on Hezbollah recently, might well consider a totally wrecked Lebanese economy to be a gift insofar as that would increase political turmoil and could produce a reaction against Hezbollah. Israel is heavily involved in destabilizing neighboring Syria as well as Iran and has been specifically targeting Hezbollah as the connecting link in the frequently touted Shi’a “land bridge” extending from Iran to the Lebanese Mediterranean coast.

To be sure Israel has officially expressed shock and has denied any connection with the blast. It’s top government officials and Foreign Ministry have offered their condolences. It has even sought to send humanitarian aid to assist in the recovery, but, of course what governments say and do does not necessarily mean anything if there is a hidden agenda or policy. When governments say one thing and do another thing secretly, they frequently hide their actions, a practice which is described using the intelligence expression “plausible denial.”

Israel has not hesitated to attack Lebanon in the past, inflicting enormous damage on the country’s infrastructure and killing thousands of civilians during two major incursions and an actual occupation in 1982 and 2006. Over the past year, Israeli warplanes have flown repeatedly into Lebanese airspace to attack Syrian and alleged Iranian positions and has also staged ground attacks along the border. There has been considerable speculation that war between the two states is coming, particularly as it is widely believed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs a war as a distraction from the many scandals that he has been associated with.

Lebanese party of government Hezbollah, which is by invitation using its military wing to help Damascus, has become increasingly an Israeli target of choice as it is seen as an Iranian proxy. If indeed it was storing weapons at the port they might plausibly have been identified for destruction by Israel, but reliable sources in Lebanon insist that Hezbollah had no access to the area. Beyond that, at the end of July the Israeli defense minister specifically threatened to destroy Lebanese infrastructure. As the port of Beirut is the country key’s economic lifeline, it constitutes the primary infrastructure target.

Israel is known to have numerous intelligence agents operating in Lebanon, so it has the means to get into the port and set off an explosive intended either to ignite the ammonium nitrate or destroy Hezbollah weapons, if they actually exist. That would avoid having to send a bomber or a missile to do the job, though some have claimed that one video of the bombing shows an incoming missile.

Israel has long espoused the so-called Dahiya Doctrine, named after a suburb of Beirut that was devastated by the Israel Defense Forces in 1982-3. It endorses the employment of maximum lethal force against civilians and infrastructure to teach the “enemy” a lesson. It has been used in both Lebanon and more recently in Gaza with Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge.

Several observers of developments in the Middle East believe that Israel did in fact arrange for the explosion. Shortly after the blast a general in the Lebanese Army stated that the explosion had been caused by a tactical nuclear device intended to bring down the Lebanese government and ignite a civil war with Hezbollah. Indeed, aerial photography shows an enormous crater, at least several hundred yards across. American anti-Zionist Richard Silverstein also blamed Israel, writing on his Tikun Olam blog that “A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today [when] Israel targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot at the port and planned to destroy it with an explosive device. Tragically, Israeli intelligence did not perform due diligence on their target… It is, of course, unconscionable that Israeli agents did not determine everything about their target including what was in its immediate vicinity. The tragedy Israel has wreaked is a war crime of immense magnitude.”

Silverstein clearly has a good high-level source in Israel but the information he obtains has sometimes been challenged. Some believe that he is being fed information that the Israeli government wishes to make public without having to admit to anything. If that is true in this case, the Israelis might want to be sending a message to the Lebanese and to Hezbollah, suggesting that the second explosion had not been intended and warning them against retaliation that would escalate the fighting. It would also warn Hezbollah that Israel is willing and able to strike anywhere in Lebanon and it might also turn ordinary Lebanese against Hezbollah because the suggestion would be that its actions had invited a devastating attack from Israel.

There have also been suggestions that something had to be done to the ammonium nitrate to make it explode like it did. Ammonium nitrate is not an explosive by itself, but serves as an oxidiser, drawing oxygen to a fire and making it rage faster and further. British security specialist Robert Emerson is speculating that the “…ammonium nitrate got something added to it accidentally, possibly oil or some other flammable compound. Ammonium nitrate smoke is more yellow, this is rather red. An investigation would ascertain if that is the case and where contamination took place.”

Other speculation is perhaps more sinister with a local journalist in Beirut claiming that security-agency sources revealed a routine check three months ago that discovered military-grade explosives together with tons of the chemical in Hanger 12 while a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer, Robert Baer, told CNN that certain aspects of the explosion “suggest the combustion of military-grade material along with the ammonium nitrate.”

One of the better-quality videos of the explosions would appear to show a first explosion that might consist of fireworks or munitions going off followed by the huge explosion of the ammonium nitrate, which would more-or-less support the emerging standard narrative. Beirut residents, who have been demonstrating against the government since the incident, seem mostly to believe that it was no more than an accident due to bureaucratic incompetence. But that does not rule out that it was an inside job carried out covertly by the Israelis to weaken Lebanon and its arch-foe Hezbollah. If recent history has anything to teach us it is that whatever actually happened, the cover-up will begin right away. Likely no one will be punished in Lebanon and no one will seriously look into a possible Israeli role. The real losers will be the people of Lebanon who have lost their lives and homes in a horrific incident that never should have occurred.

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.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments