Aletho News


6 Warning Signs from Biden’s First Week in Office

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | January 27, 2021

It’s been a busy first week for the 46th President [sic] of the United States, there are the 20,000 troops occupying the capitol city to organise, as well as the totally unprecedented show-trial of his immediate predecessor.

You know, usual democracy type stuff.

On top of that, Biden has now signed at least 37 executive orders in his first week. The record for any President, and more than the previous four presidents combined.

What do these orders, or any of his other moves, tell us about the future plans of the recently “elected” administration? Nothing good, unfortunately.


I still remember people claiming the introduction of vaccination passports (or immunity passes or the like) was just a “conspiracy theory”, the paranoid fantasy of fringe “covidiots”. All the way back in December, when they were getting fact-checked by tabloid journalists who can’t do basic maths.

These days they are rebranded as “freedom certificates” which are “divisive, politically tricky and probably inevitable”.

Many countries are already preparing to roll it out, including Iceland the UK and South Africa. Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel” adds the US to this list:

International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (including through the Administrator of the TSA), in coordination with any relevant international organizations, shall assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) and producing electronic versions of ICVPs.


Biden’s cabinet is praised as the “most diverse” in history, but will hiring a few non-white people really change the decades-old policies of US Imperialism? It certainly doesn’t look like it.

His pick for Under Secretary of State is Victoria Nuland, a neocon warmonger and one of the masterminds of the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014. She is married to Robert Kagan, another neocon warmonger, co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and one of the masterminds behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is also an inveterate US Imperialist, arguing for every US military intervention since the 1990s, and criticised Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.

Biden’s pick for Defence Secretary is the first African-American ever appointed to this role, but former General Lloyd Austin is hardly going be some kind of “progressive” voice in his cabinet. He’s a career soldier who retired from the military in 2016 to join the board of Raytheon Technologies, an arms manufacturer and military contractor.

As “diverse” as this cabinet may be in skin colour or gender… there is most certainly no “diversity” of opinion or policy. There are very few new faces and no new thoughts.

So, it looks like we can expect more of the same in terms of foreign policy. A fact that’s already been displayed in…

3. IRAQ…

Despite heavy resistance from the military and Deep State, Donald Trump wanted to end the war in Iraq and pledged to pull American troops out of the country. This was one of Trump’s more popular policies, and during the campaign Biden made no mention of intending to reverse that decision.

Then, on the very day of Biden’s inauguration, ISIS conducted their deadliest suicide bombing for over three years, and suddenly the situation was too unstable for the US to leave, and Biden is being forced to “review” Trump’s planned withdrawal.

The Iraqi parliament has made it clear it wants the US to take its military off their soil, so any American forces on Iraqi land are technically there illegally in contravention of international law. But that never bothered them before.


Turns out the US can’t withdraw from Afghanistan either. Last February Trump signed a deal with the Taliban that all US personnel would leave Afghanistan by May 2021.

Joe Biden has already committed to “reviewing” this deal. Sec. Blinken was quoted as saying that Biden’s admin wanted:

“to end this so-called forever war [but also] retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place”.

As a great man once said, nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts. The US will not be withdrawing from Afghanistan, and if there is any public pressure to do so, the government will simply claim the Taliban broke their side of the deal first, or stage a few terrorist attacks.


Far from simply continuing the on-going wars, there are already signs Biden’s “diverse” team will look to escalate, or even start, other conflicts.

Syria was another theatre of war from which Donald Trump wanted to extricate the United States, unilaterally ordering all US troops from the country in late 2019.

We now know the Pentagon ignored those orders. They lied to the President, telling Trump they had followed his orders… but not withdrawing a single man. This organized mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces was played for a joke in the media when it was finally revealed.

There will be no need for any such duplicity now that Biden is in the Oval Office, he was a vocal critic of the decision to withdraw, claiming it gave ISIS a “new lease of life”. Indeed, within two days of his being sworn in a column of American military vehicles was seen entering Syria from Iraq.


We called this before the inauguration. They made it just too obvious. Before the dirty footprints had been cleaned from Nancy Pelosi’s desk it was clear where it was all going.

Within 24 hours of being sworn in as president, Biden had ordered a “review of the threat posed by domestic terrorism”.

As usual, the press are laying down the covering fire for this. Talking heads have been busily comparing MAGA voters to al Qaida in television interviews. The Washington Post and New Yorker journal have cut-and-paste pieces about this supposed threat. Politico published an article titled “Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part”, which outlines what Biden could do:

Direct the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Council to execute a top-down approach prioritizing domestic terrorism; pass new domestic terrorism legislation; or do a bit of both as Democrats propose a crack down on social media giants like Facebook for algorithms that promote conspiracy laden posts.

That last part is key. The “crack down on social media” part, because the anti-Domestic Terrorism legislation will likely be very focused on communication and so-called “misinformation”.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has publicly called for a congressional panel to “rein in” the media:

We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,”

And who will be the target of these crack downs and new legislations? Well, according John Brennan (ex-head of the CIA and accomplished war criminal), practically anybody:

They’re casting a wide net. Expect “extremist”, “bigot” and “racist” to be just a few of the words which have their meanings totally revised in the next few months. “Conspiracy theorist” will be used a lot, too.

Further, they are moving closer and closer toward the “anyone who disagrees with us is literally insane” model. With many articles actually talking about “de-programming” Trump voters. The Atlantic suggests “mental hygiene” would cure the MAGA problem.

Again AOC is on point here, clearly auditioning for the role of High Inquisitor, claiming that the new Biden government needs to fund programs that “de-radicalise” “conspiracy theorists” who are on the “spectrum of radicalisation”.


As I said at the beginning, it’s been a busy week for Joe Biden, but you can sum up his biggest policy plans in one short sentence: More violence overseas, less tolerance of dissent and strict clampdowns on “misinformation”.

How progressive.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Proud Boys Leader Was ‘Prolific’ FBI Snitch: Court Docs

Enrique Tarrio (left)
By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | January 27, 2021

While US officials claim that ‘far-right extremism’ is one of the largest threats facing America, the leader of the group most commonly singled out as an example – the Proud Boys – was a ‘prolific’ informant for federal and local law enforcement, according to Reuters, citing a 2014 federal court proceeding.

Enrique Tarrio repeatedly worked undercover for investigators following a 2012 arrest, court documents reveal.

Curiously, Tarrio was ordered to stay away from Washington D.C. one day before the January 6 Capitol riot after he was arrested on vandalism and weapons charges – upon a request by government prosecutors that he be prohibited from attending. At least five Proud Boys members were charged as part of the riot.

In the 2014 hearing, a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent and Tarrio’s attorney describe his undercover work – noting that the Proud Boys leader helped authorities prosecute over a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling, according to Reuters.

In a Tuesday interview with Reuters, Tarrio denied working undercover or cooperating in cases.

“I don’t know any of this,” he said, adding “I don’t recall any of this.”

Law-enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. In a statement to Reuters, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

Tarrio, 36, is a high-profile figure who organizes and leads the right-wing Proud Boys in their confrontations with those they believe to be Antifa, short for “anti-fascism,” an amorphous and often violent leftist movement. The Proud Boys were involved in the deadly insurrection at the Capitol January 6.

The records uncovered by Reuters are startling because they show that a leader of a far-right group now under intense scrutiny by law enforcement was previously an active collaborator with criminal investigators. – Reuters

During Tarrio’s 2014 hearing, both the prosecutor and Tarrio’s defense attorney asked for a reduced prison sentence after pleading guilty in a fraud case related to the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes test kits. In requesting leniency for Tarrio and two co-defendants, the prosecutor noted that Tarrio’s information had resulted in the prosecution of 13 people on federal charges in two separate cases, and helped local authorities investigate a gambling ring.

Tarrio’s former attorney, Jeffrey Feiler, noted that his client worked undercover several times – one involving “wholesale prescription narcotics,” another involving the sale of anabolic steroids, and a third involving human smuggling. Tarrio also helped police uncover three marijuana grow houses, and was a “prolific” cooperator, according to the report.

In the smuggling case, Tarrio, “at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country,” the lawyer said in court.

In an interview, Feiler said he did not recall details about the case but added, “The information I provided to the court was based on information provided to me by law enforcement and the prosecutor.”

An FBI agent at the hearing called Tarrio a “key component” in local police investigations involving marijuana, cocaine and MDMA, or ecstasy. The Miami FBI office declined comment. –Reuters

Reuters notes that there is no evidence Tarrio has cooperated with authorities since his previous involvement, however he admitted to notifying local law enforcement prior to Proud Boys rallies in various cities – letting police know of the group’s plans. Tarrio said he stopped this coordination after December 12 due to the DC police cracking down on the group.

Tarrio’s involvement with law enforcement will no doubt fuel speculation over just how ‘organic’ the threat of ‘far-right extremism’ is, particularly when the vast majority of violence observed over 2020 was committed by far-left groups rioting in the name of racial justice.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , | 2 Comments

Signal, the ‘encrypted messenger of the future,’ has shady links to US national security interests

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | January 27, 2021

If the sudden popularity of the encrypted messenger Signal has seemed suspicious to you, you may be onto something – the app is at least partially funded through American foreign influence cutouts.

On January 4, WhatsApp announced sweeping changes to its privacy policies, affecting the vast bulk of its approximately two billion users globally.

The poorly explained rules were interpreted by many as proof that the messaging service was about to commence sharing users’ private data, including their conversations, with parent company Facebook, and in response millions the world over began flocking to alternative messaging services that offered end-to-end encryption.

The most common destinations for WhatsApp exiles were, and remain, Signal and Telegram. For reasons unclear, while available figures suggest the latter has to date received many orders of magnitude more fresh arrivals than the former, corporate news outlets have overwhelmingly focused on Signal’s surging intake.

Much of this coverage has been highly approving – for instance, The Guardian published a lengthy explainer on January 24 titled “Is it time to leave WhatsApp, and is Signal the answer?” The headline was answered very much in the affirmative, to the extent that readers were offered advice on persuading their contacts to likewise make the switch.

The media’s damascene conversion to the cause of encrypted communication is rather incongruous. With a few notable exceptions, mainstream reporting on encryption is typically neutral, if not outright condemnatory, the capability frequently framed as purposefully offering sanctuary to philanderers, drug dealers, paedophiles, assassins, and anyone with something sinister to hide in general.

Such perspectives strongly reflect the public positions of governments and security services worldwide, to which end-to-end encryption is by definition an extreme detriment, significantly curtailing the monitoring and collection of citizens’ communications. Privacy advocates contend authorities’ oft-expressed anxieties about encryption providing a “safe space” for criminals and the like are a cynical smokescreen to justify crackdowns on their usage and availability.

Whatever the truth of the matter, efforts to restrict access to end-to-end encryption are demonstrably ongoing, but have predominantly gone largely uncriticized if not outright unremarked upon. Now though, news outlets seem widely gripped by encryption fever.

In a palpable illustration of this abrupt paradigm shift, a mere three days before it effectively urged its readers to install Signal, The Guardian lambasted Facebook’s plans to implement end-to-end encryption across all its messaging platforms, on the basis that the move could harm efforts to reduce child exploitation.

‘At no cost around the globe’

Serious discussion of Signal’s history, and funding sources, has been entirely absent from the deluge of puff pieces on the platform to circulate far and wide in recent weeks – an omission perhaps predictable given the centrality of the US national security state to the app’s financing, creation and promotion.

Signal was launched by now-defunct Open Whisper Systems (OWS) in 2013, brainchild of shadowy tech guru ‘Moxie Marlinspike’ – real name Matthew Rosenfeld. In February 2018, responsibility for managing the app passed to the nonprofit Signal Foundation, launched with $50 million in startup capital provided by billionaire former Facebook higher-up Brian Acton, the Foundation’s executive chair.

OWS never published financial statements or disclosed the identities of its funders at any point during its operation, although the sums involved in launching and maintaining a messaging platform used by a vast number of people internationally over several years were surely significant.

Rosenfeld alleges the app “never [took] VC funding or sought investment” at any point during that time, and quite how much money was involved in total is a mystery. It’s clear though that at least $2,955,000 was provided by the Open Technology Fund (OTF) 2013-2016, and the organization’s website refers to Signal being “originally developed with OTF funding.”

The site is also home to a dedicated OWS profile, which boasts of how the OTF “enabled the OWS team to continue providing Signal at no cost around the globe and adapt their operations for a growing user base.”

Propaganda radio rabbit hole

The OTF was created in 2012 as a pilot program of Radio Free Asia (RFA), an asset of US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which is in turn funded by US Congress to the tune of $637 million annually – in August 2018, its then-CEO acknowledged the outlet’s priorities “reflect US national security interests.”

RFA’s own origins harken back to 1948, when National Security Council Directive 10/2 officially authorized the then-newly created Central Intelligence Agency to engage in operations targeted at communist states, including propaganda, economic warfare, sabotage, subversion, and “assistance to underground resistance movements.”

After the CIA’s role was made public in the 1970s, Congress took over running and funding the stations, before in 1999 they were grouped along with other state-run media entities under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, USAGM’s forerunner.

The station formed a key part of this effort, along with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation From Bolshevism, later Radio Liberty – it broadcast unrelenting propaganda in China, North Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. In 2007, the CIA’s official website stated these “psychological warfare” initiatives were among “the longest-running and successful covert action campaigns” the US ever mounted.

‘Shadow internet systems’

The launch of the OTF followed the US State Department, then led by Hillary Clinton, pursuing an “Internet Freedom” policy, ostensibly an effort to develop tools to subvert restrictive internet policies.

However, an extensive June 2011 New York Times investigation pointed to a far darker raison d’etre, concluding that the endeavor was in fact an effort “to deploy ‘shadow’ internet and mobile phone systems dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments.”

Among these assets were State Department-funded “stealth wireless networks,” which would enable activists “to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya.”

Reinforcing this conclusion, in February 2015 Jillian York, director of the International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and an OTF advisory board member, stated that she “fundamentally” believed Internet Freedom was “at heart an agenda of regime change.”

It may be no coincidence that Signal founder Rosenfeld previously created encrypted communications programs TextSecure and RedPhone, both featured in a March 2013 Gizmodo guide, “Which Encryption Apps Are Strong Enough to Help You Take Down a Government?”

USAGM is moreover evidently extremely proud of Signal, an official factsheet published November 2019 giving the app top-billing in a list of “tools supported by OTF.” The agency might be, given how popular it has become with dissidents overseas, including those in countries and regions of intense interest to Washington.

For example, Signal became the messaging platform of choice for protesters in Hong Kong after its launch, just as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US government regime-change arm, greatly increased its direct and indirect support and promotion of activists and activist groups there.

In an unexpected twist, in June 2020 funding for a number of USAGM projects was unexpectedly frozen, including OTF plans to directly aid protesters in Hong Kong, just as the administrative region prepared to implement a highly controversial and much-contested national security law.

One was the creation of cybersecurity incident response teams to analyze Chinese surveillance techniques in real-time during demonstration, and share relevant information directly with developers of secure communications apps, in order to circumvent crackdowns and restrictions. Another shelved initiative was a $500,000 rapid response fund in support of anyone subject to “digital attack” by authorities.

Still, the next month Signal became the most-downloaded app in Hong Kong, the app’s official Twitter account resultantly boasting that unlike competitor Telegram, which had just announced it would cease cooperating with authorities’ requests for user data, “we never started turning over user data to HK police.”

Devil on your shoulder

There’s no suggestion whatsoever that any US security agency had a direct hand in crafting the app’s now world-standard encryption system, or plays a day-to-day role running the company. However, the same can’t be said of popular internet anonymity browser Tor, which is frequently recommended by privacy advocates in the same breath as Signal.

First developed by US Naval Research Laboratory employees in the mid-1990s, Tor quickly caught the attention of the Defense and Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and since then has been almost entirely funded by US government entities, including the Pentagon, to the tune of tens of millions.

Its original purpose was to shield clandestine government operatives from detection in the field, by insulating them from the inherently open nature of the internet, although the potential of Tor’s anonymizing powers to enable regime change in enemy countries wasn’t lost on its funders. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also supported by the OTF, and features alongside Signal in the aforementioned USAGM factsheet.

In March 2011, Tor developer Mike Perry conceded the browser may “unfortunately” not provide effective sanctuary from prying governmental eyes.

“Extremely well-funded adversaries that are able to observe large portions of the internet can probably break aspects of Tor and may be able to deanonymize users,” he said. “Though I personally don’t believe any adversary can reliably deanonymize all Tor users… attacks on anonymity are subtle and cumulative in nature.”

Among the most well-funded “adversaries” of internet privacy are of course the NSA and GCHQ, and classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed the partner agencies devote considerable time and resources to attacking and undermining the service and its users.

However, the papers also indicated the pair were keen not to discourage citizens from using Tor. After all, given that it congregates anyone and everyone with something or other to hide on a single network, surveilling their activities is made all the easier. So does Signal – and therein lies the rub.

Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , | 1 Comment

‘Where is the line between global business & attempts to control society?’ Putin asks Davos, calling out Big Tech

RT | January 27, 2021

Technology giants have become powerful rivals to governments, but there are doubts over the benefits for society of their monopoly positions, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told the annual World Economic Forum, on Wednesday .

“Where is the line between a successful global business, in-demand services and consolidation of big data – and attempts to harshly and unilaterally govern society, replace legitimate democratic institutions, restrict one’s natural right to decide for themselves how to live, what to choose, what stance to express freely?” Putin wondered.

“We’ve all seen this just now in the US. And everybody understands what I’m talking about,” he added.

The Russian leader was apparently referring to the crackdown by Big Tech corporations like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, mostly on Donald Trump and his supporters, during the recent presidential election in the US. The companies, which, according to some critics, sided with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, blocked President Trump’s social media accounts over accusations of inciting violence, with the same being done to many pages of groups and individuals who’d backed him.

However, one-sided bias claim voiced by some might be an overestimation – the accounts of Democrats supporters were also subject to restrictions, but on a much smaller scale.

Conservative Twitter-like platform Parler was also forced offline, and now there are calls to block the Telegram app as well.

These events have shown that Big Tech companies “in some areas have de facto become rivals to the government,” Putin said.

Billions of users spend large parts of their lives on the platforms and, from the point of view of those companies, their monopolistic position is favorable for organizing economic and technological processes, the Russian president explained. “But there’s a question of how such monopolism fits the interest of society,” he stressed.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Iraqi MPs outraged by US decision to review troop drawdown

Press TV – January 27, 2021

Iraqi parliamentarians have given fiery responses to a decision coming out of Washington to review the previous US administration’s plan to draw down the number of American forces in the Arab country.

Iraq’s Arabic-language Baghdad Today news agency reported the reactions that were issued by MPs Hassan Shaker al-Ka’abi, head of the Badr parliamentary bloc, and Mukhtar al-Mousavi, representative of the Fateh Alliance, to which Badr is affiliated, on Wednesday.

The US’s new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during his confirmation hearing last week that he was to reexamine the plan announced by the administration of former president Donald Trump for reducing the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan each to 2,500.

Aside from throwing hopes of the drawdown into question, Austin’s remarks also flew in the face of a decision by the Iraqi parliament last January for all the US-led troops to leave the Iraqi soil. The legislature passed the law following the US’s assassination of top Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone strike in Baghdad.

The Iraqi lawmakers insisted that the parliamentary ratification had to be implemented at the end of the day.

Ka’abi said the legislative body had made its final decision in this regard, and referred to the Iraqis’ millions-strong rallies in the aftermath of the assassinations to protest Washington’s gall to resort to such barbaric atrocity in violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty and the international law.

Mousavi said the parliamentary law was definitive and the Biden administration had to understand this.

Iraq does not need American or any other foreign forces on its soil, he said, urging Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government to act on the law regardless of the Biden administration’s position.

Austin’s spokesman John Kirby, however, defended Washington’s revisiting of the troop level decision, saying, “It stands to reason that the incoming administration will want to better understand the status of operations in both places and the resources being applied to those missions.”

He also cast serious doubt on any speculations that Washington had finally begun to listen to those protesting its motto of trying to “defend America” by deploying troops thousands of miles away from America’s own borders.

“Nothing has changed about our desire to defend the American people from the threat of terrorism, while also making sure we are appropriately resourcing our strategy,” Kirby added.

Ka’abi warned likewise that Joe Biden’s succession after Trump did not mean that Washington had either stopped wishing the Arab country and its resources ill or shuttered its regional projects, including providing support for the Israeli regime.

“The US is hopeful of and has set its eyes on sustaining its presence in Iraq,” he said.

The lawmaker, meanwhile, expressed regret that “Iraq’s troubles and Daesh elements’ movements [there] are the result of the US presence.”

“We are certain that Daesh is America’s creation and functions at its behest in this country,” he added.

The Takfiri terror group of Daesh started its attacks in Iraq in 2014, creating an excuse for the US and scores of its allies to significantly ramp up the Western-led military presence in the country.

The Western states retain their presence there, although, Baghdad and its allies defeated Daesh in late 2017.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

#TheGreatReopening – #SolutionsWatch

Corbett • 01/27/2021

Yes, #TheGreatReopening is happening as we speak. No, it will not be televised (or even YouTubed). Find out the details as James highlights the resistance movements that are rising up around the world on this week’s edition of #SolutionsWatch.

Watch on Archive / BitChute / LBRY / Minds / YouTube or Download the mp4


The Uprising Has Begun (New World Next Week)

30,000 Italian Restaurants Defy Lockdown Rules / Hugo talks #lockdown

100’s Of Polish Business’s To DEFY Lockdown / Hugo Talks #lockdown

“BURN IT DOWN!” – Anti-Lockdown RIOTS Lead To Covid Testing Facility Being TORCHED In Netherlands!


Ontario barbershop reopens despite provincial lockdown using loophole

Unmasked COVID protesters try, fail to place Canadian mayor under citizen’s arrest

What You Need to Know About Making a Citizen’s Arrest

Baraga County Manifesto

Taking a Stand: Sheriffs, Local Officials, and Rule of Law VS. Covid Dictators

Solutions: The Thick Red Line

Left, Khaps, Gender, Caste: The solidarities propping up the farmers’ protest

Freedom Airway – #SolutionsWatch

Fact check: PCR testing and viral genetic sequencing serve different purposes

I’m Blocked From Uploading to GooTube (and Other News)

The Future of Vaccines

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Biden regime’s coercive Iran policy threatens serious new regional crisis


A close analysis of recent statements by members of President Joseph Biden’s foreign policy team indicates his administration has already signaled its intention to treat negotiations with Iran as an exercise in diplomatic coercion aimed at forcing major new concessions extending well beyond the 2015 nuclear agreement. The policy could trigger a renewed US-Iran crisis as serious as any provocation engineered by the Trump administration.

Although the Biden team is claiming that it is ready to bring the United States back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if Iran comes into full compliance first, it is actually planning to demand that Iran give up its main source of political leverage. Thus, it will require Iran to cease its uranium enrichment to 20 percent and give up its accumulated stockpile of uranium already enriched to that level before the United States has withdrawn the economic sanctions that are now illegal under the JCPOA deal.

Meanwhile, the Biden team is planning to hold on to what it apparently sees as its “Trump card”— the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran oil exports that have gutted the Iranian economy.

But the Biden strategy faces a serious problem: Iran has already demanded all sanctions imposed after the JCPOA took effect must be ended before Iran would return to compliance. Iran expects the United States, as the party which initially broke the agreement, to come into compliance first.

The new Biden coercive strategy

The Biden administration is banking on a scenario in which Iran agrees to cease its enrichment to 20% and reverse other  major concessions Iran made as part of the 2015 agreement.

The Biden team then states it would start a new set of negotiations with Iran, in which the United States would use its leverage to pressure Iran into extending the timeline of its major commitments under the deal. Further, Tehran will be required to accept a modification in its missile program, as European allies have urged.

The Biden team’s Iran strategy was not hastily cobbled together just before inauguration. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan outlined it in an interview last June with Jon Alterman, the Middle East program direct at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “You can get some early wins on the nuclear program but tie long-term sanctions relief to progress on both [nuclear and other issues] files,” Sullivan explained.

Sullivan made it clear the primary goal of his proposed strategy was to constrain Iran by imposing extended restraints on its nuclear program. The idea, he explained, was “to see, is it possible to get a short term win on the nuclear file to basically get Iran back into compliance with the JCPOA and to then put the longer term disposition of Iran’s nuclear program on a negotiating track.”

Biden’s future NSC director implied that US sanctions would be exploited to draw Iran into talks with Israel and Saudi Arabia on missiles and other issues, but not at the expense of U.S. aims on the nuclear issue. The assumption that the US would maintain its coercive leverage on Iran is at the center of the policy. As Sullivan said, summarizing an article he co-authored for Foreign Affairs, “the U.S. should say, ‘We are going to be here applying various forms of leverage, including economic leverage as well as military dimensions, apart from whether we have 20,000 more troops or 10,000 less troops there’.”

At the heart of Biden’s strategy is the demand for Iran to return immediately to full compliance with the nuclear agreement. Before Iran rejoins the pact, the new administration expects it to reverse the moves it made to increase the level and the speed of enrichment in response to Trump’s withdrawal.

The Biden administration’s demand ignores the fact Iran scrupulously observed all of the JCPOA’s provisions for two years after the Trump administration had withdrawn from the agreement. It was only after the Trump administration reintroduced old sanctions outlawed by the agreement and introduced crushing new sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from exporting oil that Iran began enriching uranium at higher levels.

By piling up onerous demands while offering few concessions of its own, the new administration conveys the clear message that it is in no hurry to return to the JCPOA. Secretary of State of Tony Blinken stated in his confirmation testimony that the Biden administration was “a long way” from returning to the deal and said nothing about reversing any of the sanctions that were introduced or reintroduced by the Trump administration after it quit the agreement.

Robert J. Einhorn, a key Obama policymaker on the Iran nuclear issue as State Department Special Adviser on Arms Control and Proliferation who has maintained contacts with Biden insiders, has provided an explanation for that ambiguous message. He suggested that the Biden administration aims to press Iran for a deal falling well short of full restoration of the JCPOA — an “interim agreement” involving “rollback” of part of Iran’s current enrichment activities and going beyond the JCPOA in return for “partial sanctions relief.”

That relief would include “some” of the revenues from oil sales that have been blocked in foreign bank accounts. Einhorn appeared to confirm that the new Biden strategy would be based in holding on to the leverage conferred by Trump sanctions against Iran’s oil and banking sectors, which have crippled the country’s economy.

Learning the wrong lesson from Obama’s coercive diplomacy

Biden’s foreign policy team is comprised largely of Obama administration officials who either initiated nuclear deal talks in 2012-2013 or who were involved in the later stages of the negotiations. NSC Director Sullivan and CIA Director William Burns were key figures in the early talks with Iran; Blinken oversaw the later phase of the negotiations as Deputy Secretary of State, and Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman was in charge of day-to-day negotiations with Iran on the JCPOA until the final round in Vienna in 2015.

So it should be no surprise that the Biden team is pursuing an Iran strategy similar to the one that the Obama administration followed in its negotiations with Iran on the JCPOA itself. The Obama administration proudly claimed success in increasing Iran’s “breakout time” for obtaining enough enriched uranium for a single bomb from two or three months to a year through the pressure of heavy sanctions. It believed it had secured a winning diplomatic hand in 2012 when it got European allies to buy into its coercive strategy of oil and banking sanctions that would cut deeply into Iran’s foreign currency earnings.

But Iran’s enrichment efforts before negotiations on the nuclear deal began in 2012 tell a very different story. As the IAEA reported at the time, between late 2011 and February 2013, Iran enriched 280 kg of uranium to 20 percent, which would have placed it well over the level regarded as sufficient for “breakout” to a bomb. Meanwhile, Iran roughly doubled the number of centrifuges capable of 20 percent enrichment at its Fordow enrichment facility.

Instead of storing the total amount of uranium enriched to 20 percent for a possible bomb, however, Iran did exactly the opposite: it immediately converted 40 percent of its total capacity of enriched uranium to power Iran’s reactor. What’s more, it did not take steps to make the new centrifuges at Fordow capable of enrichment.

Iran was clearly amassing its stockpile and enrichment capability as bargaining chips for future negotiations. During a September 2012 meeting with EU officials in Istanbul, Iran confirmed the strategy by offering to suspend its 20 percent enrichment in return for significant easing of Western sanctions.

The Obama administration believed its sanctions weapon would prevail over Iran’s diplomatic chips. But Iran persisted in asserting its right to more than a token enrichment program. In the very last days of the negotiations in 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to retain language that would allow the United States to reimpose sanctions deep into the implementation of the agreement, as an Iranian official told this writer in Vienna. But Iran held fast, and Obama needed to get an agreement. Kerry ultimately gave up his demand.

Blinken, Sullivan and the other Biden administration officials who worked on Iran during the Obama administration seem to have forgotten how Iran used 20 percent enrichment to get the United States to drop its sanctions. In any case, they are so enamored with the Trump sanctions and their role in stifling Iranian oil sales that they believe they will have the upper hand this time around.

In its bid to coerce a state that is fighting for its most basic national rights into submission, the Biden administration has exhibited a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the limits of U.S. power. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign has already prompted Iran to establish military capabilities that it previously lacked.

If the Biden administration refuses to relent on its coercive diplomacy and provokes a crisis, Iran can now inflict serious costs on the United States and its allies in the region. Yet Biden’s foreign policy team appears so far to be oblivious to the serious risks inherent in its current path.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012. His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Iran-Turkey railway aims for 1M tons of cargo in 2021

MEMO | January 27, 2021

Roughly 1 million tons of cargo are to be transported via rail between Turkey and Iran this year, Turkish authorities said Tuesday, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Transport and Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement that a recent memorandum of understanding signed in a gathering of railway representatives in Turkey’s capital Ankara on January 12-13 would open a new era for the transit railway.

Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, three train services were run daily between Turkey and Iran in 2020, transporting 564,000 tons of cargo, according to the statement.

The statement also announced that freight trains would also run between Turkey and Pakistan via Iran on a common tariff between the three countries. It added that talks are still ongoing to set this tariff.

With a recently completed railway between Iran and Afghanistan, it will now also be possible to transport freight between Turkey and Afghanistan.

“After the railway connection between Iran and Afghanistan was completed on December 10, 2020, it became possible for a wagon loaded in Turkey to transit Iran to Afghanistan.”

The railway administrations of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan will come together in the coming months to set a course for rail transport between Turkey and Afghanistan.

The statement added that efforts were underway for a cargo transportation corridor through Iran between Europe and China.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Forces Demolish Mosque in Masafer Yatta

Israeli forces Wednesday demolished a mosque in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen. (Photo: via Social Media)
Palestine Chronicle | January 27, 2021

Israeli forces Wednesday demolished a mosque in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen, east of Yatta city, south of Hebron, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committees, Fuad al-‘Amour, told WAFA that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers into Khirbet Umm Qassa in the Bedouin community of Azwadeen, in what is called the Eastern Slope, where the heavy machinery tore down the mosque, reducing it to rubble.

The demolition was carried out less than two weeks after soldiers posted demolition notices against the mosque and a local school, which serves 50 students from three marginalized communities, purportedly for being built without licenses.

Meanwhile, soldiers seized a tin-sheet health unit in Khirbet al-Rakiz hamlet in Masafer Yatta.

Masafer Yatta is a collection of almost 19 hamlets that rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood.

Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living – livestock.

It has been designated as a closed Israeli military zone for training since the 1980s and accordingly referred to as Firing Zone 918.

Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments