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US Marines in the Sandino War 1926-1933

Tales of the American Empire | March 4, 2021

During the 19th century, American leaders kept an eye on Nicaragua as a potential site for a transoceanic canal. US navy warships periodically arrived at Nicaraguan ports to protect American interests and fostered U.S. business investments under the strong-man rule of President José Santos Zelaya. When Zelaya began courting Europeans for the building of a canal and welcomed European business investments, American leaders called Zelaya a tyrannical, self-serving, brutal, and a greedy disturber of Central American peace. In December 1926, President Calvin Coolidge ordered warships and more US Marines to Nicaragua. He told Congress that “disturbances and conditions in Nicaragua seriously threaten American lives and property, [and] endanger the stability of all Central America.” This resulted in the Sandino War that cost the lives of an estimated 3000 Nicaraguans and 136 US Marines.

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“Yankee Imperialism 1901-1934”; United States Foreign Policy; http://peacehistory-usfp.org/yankee-i…

“The Sandino Rebellion 1927-1934”; photos from the US National Archives; http://www.sandinorebellion.com/Photo…

“Life and Death of an Activist: ‘Wild’ Bill Grandall”; Stephan Braun; Los Angeles Times; April 13, 1991; https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-x…

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinians are warning that Israel intends to grant citizenship to Jerusalemites

By Dr Adnan Abu Amer | MEMO | March 9, 2021

In recent weeks, Israel has circulated reports that tens of thousands of Palestinians residing in occupied Jerusalem may obtain Israeli citizenship, even though there are 330,000 of them in the eastern part of the city. The Israeli Interior Ministry has published guidelines to apply for citizenship under clause 4a of the Citizenship Law. It is worth noting that this is happening after almost 55 years of the Israeli occupation of the city, during which time only 15,000 Palestinians in the city have obtained citizenship.

A third of Palestinian Jerusalemites possess temporary Jordanian passports; the remainder have no citizenship, but their status in Israel is permanent residency. The use of the new procedure to implement an old legal clause may lead to a change in the relationship of the political forces within Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents and their relationship with the Israeli authorities, as the situation in this city is unique.

Since the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has taken no steps to promote citizenship for the Palestinians living there, given their lack of interest and Israeli opposition to such a move. The Palestinians have generally refrained from applying for Israeli citizenship because it could be interpreted as recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the city.

International bodies have not demanded that Israel should grant citizenship to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem because, according to international law, the city is occupied territory and its annexation by the occupation state is not recognised. Hence, procedures expressing sovereignty, including granting citizenship, are not legally valid. Statelessness has not had a great impact on the lives of Jerusalemites with Jordanian passports, albeit not full citizenship, which allowed them to move around the world.

For many years, residents of East Jerusalem enjoyed the status of “adequate residency” despite the difficulty of maintaining such status, which prompted many to move to suburban neighbourhoods outside the municipality and remote villages. Until the 1990s, this did not have long-term consequences as there was a geographical connection between Israel and the West Bank that allowed Jerusalem’s residents to move freely between their homes and their places of work and study in the West Bank.

During the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987, Israel restricted movement between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The building of the separation wall has since tightened restrictions on such movement. Living in the suburbs outside the municipality could lead to loss of residency rights, and then the loss of access to the city itself. This has led to a growing interest among residents of East Jerusalem to obtain Israeli citizenship as the only guarantee against losing the right to enter the city.

Israeli citizenship requires the renunciation of previous citizenship, fluency in Hebrew, and a permit from the security services because it is not only a request to enter Israel but also naturalisation for those who live there. Naturalisation is subject to the discretion of the Minister of the Interior who may impose political considerations. There is also a new clause stipulating that citizenship is granted to those born after the establishment of the state who have no other citizenship and have lived in Israel for five consecutive years.

Clause 4a in Israel’s Citizenship Law provides an opportunity for 20,000 Jerusalemites to obtain citizenship, and an additional 7,000 every year henceforth if this significant increase in the percentage of East Jerusalem citizens goes ahead. This will have a great impact on the identity and status of the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem.

If Israel grants citizenship to so many Palestinian Jerusalemites, it will strengthen the state’s claim of sovereignty over the occupied city. The problem for the Palestinians, of course, is the Israeli occupation, not the question of citizenship. Having more Jerusalemites with Israeli citizenship will reduce even further the possibility of East Jerusalem being the capital of an independent state of Palestine.

Since 1967, Israel’s control over Jerusalem has been based on the inferior status of the Palestinians in it, as residents, not citizens. In the past decade, petitions to the Supreme Court have forced the government to deal with citizenship requests. Three years ago, the Netanyahu government reduced a third of the population of Jerusalemites by shrinking the municipal border, stifling planning in Palestinian neighbourhoods, and increasing the number of demolitions of their homes.

Despite all of the Israeli policies to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem, the Palestinians remain determined to stay in their city. They may be weak and persecuted, but they have enough steadfastness to force the Israeli authorities to grant them their rights.

However, this is only part of the picture. There are also those in East Jerusalem who deny the legitimacy of the Israeli government and oppose citizenship because the right-wing in Israel sees Palestinian citizenship as evidence of the “unity of Jerusalem” but does not give all residents the same rights as the Jewish population.

The citizenship issue will not change the right-wing policy which is based on inequality in Jerusalem as elsewhere. Hence, it will not threaten the Israeli occupation, which is reassuring for right-wing Israelis.

Naturalisation in its current form serves the logic of Israeli sovereignty throughout occupied Jerusalem and contradicts the idea of demographic separation that characterises the Zionist left-wing. There are fears that the Jewish majority in the city will be at risk, which is a racist position that implies the arbitrary suppression of the Palestinians.

Israel has opted for the policy of occupation and apartheid towards Jerusalemites, after the failure of the two-state solution. Supporters of the state justify this at the expense of the basic rights of the Palestinian Jerusalemites. If the latter are fed up with waiting for a state of Palestine and want to see what they can achieve on an individual basis with Israeli citizenship, who is to argue?

The Jerusalemites have the right to live a “normal” life and be respected by the Israeli authorities, as well as have the freedom to choose the means to achieve their goals, even if they live under constant persecution. However, the reality is that they should be allowed to do so without having to submit to Israeli citizenship plans that serve a malicious settler-colonial occupation rather than the rights of the people.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Israel is Shaping Biden’s Iran Policy

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 09.03.2021

While Joe Biden the candidate wanted to quickly normalise relations with Iran and re-enter the JCPOA, Joe Biden the president has, as the developments that have happened so far, deviated from his stated course of action. To a large extent, Biden has appropriated Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy and has refused to lift sanctions on Iran and simply make the US a part of the Iran nuclear deal. To a significant extent, this dramatic change in policy, while not completely surprising for the Iranians, is a result of the way Israel is pushing the Biden administration away from reconciliation and normalisation. In fact, a crucial reason for Biden’s appropriation of Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy is the way the Israelis have very quickly implanted their own discourse vis-à-vis Iran in the mindset of the Biden administration. Echoing what the Israelis have been saying for years, Antony Blinken recently remarked that Iran was only “weeks” or “months” away from making a bomb. Although there is a huge difference between having the capacity to build a bomb and actually building and using a bomb, the US sees this [doubtful] proximity to building a bomb as a crucial factor that has made the Biden administration change its plans from re-joining the JCPOA to emphasising renegotiations. It has led it to refuse to lift sanctions.

The hard-line position that the Biden administration has taken feeds directly into the Israeli narrative. What Blinken said matches perfectly with what Israeli officials have also recently claimed. According to a recent assessment issued by Israel’s Militray Intelligence Directorate, “Iran may be up to two years away from making a nuclear weapon if it chooses to do so.” The report further says that Iran’s current enrichment level brings it closer to various “breakout” estimates about how quickly it could enrich uranium to 90%, and also begin to build better missiles and a weapons system that might lead to a nuclear weapon.

For Israel, therefore, it is of utmost importance that the US remains focused on the “violations” that Iran has committed by enriching uranium beyond the limits imposed by the JCPOA. A recent report of The Jerusalem Post thus sums Israel’s current approach. It says, “What is important for Israel is that the brinkmanship continue, and that Iran’s violations and Israel’s concerns continue to be recognized. For that to happen, it is also important for close US-Israel cooperation and discussion in order to prevent nuclear proliferation by the Tehran regime.”

The report refers to an IDF intelligence officer Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heiman who said in a briefing on the IDF assessment that Iran is at an unprecedented low point and is “battered, but on its feet,” following actions carried out by Israel and the US. Tehran is banking on the Biden administration for some breathing room. It is incumbent on the US – and Israel – to make sure that is not allowed to happen for nothing.”

Now, the fact that the Biden administration has refused to take a step back and lift its sanctions to pave the way for the US’ re-entry shows how closely the US and Israel are already coordinating their policies vis-à-vis Iran. The Biden administration’s announcement that the US would not re-join the agreement or even lift sanctions unless Iran halts enrichment dovetails perfectly with what Netanyahu had said just before the US elections. To quote him, “There can be no going back to the previous nuclear agreement. We must stick to an uncompromising policy of ensuring that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons.”

The Biden’s administration’s capitulation to Israel’s uncompromising policy vis-à-vis Iran has led Iran to stick to its own path. An official Iranian statement released on February 28 said that:

“the way forward is quite clear. The US must end its illegal and unilateral sanctions and return to its JCPOA commitments. This issue neither needs negotiation, nor a resolution by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Islamic Republic of Iran will respond to actions with action and just in the same way that it will return to its JCPOA commitments as sanctions are removed…”

The hardening of US and Iranian positions serves Israeli interests in the best possible way. An unresolved nuclear power tussle in the Middle East would keep Israel at the centre stage of regional politics. Given Israel’s recent rapprochement with the UAE and other Gulf states, tensions in the Gulf would not only reinforce Israel’s direct security ties with these Gulf states, but the scenario could very well make other Gulf states join The Abraham Accords. Tensions with Iran, therefore, could allow Israel to establish itself as the new regional hegemon.

Israel has already got supporters in the form of not only the UAE but Saudi Arabia as well. They have both stated that they would be open to a deal only if it went well beyond the previous one. According to them, any deal, in addition to putting limits on Iran’s nuclear program, must include provisions aimed at reversing Iran’s ballistic missile program, ending its “meddling” in other countries and the militias it supports in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Israel, as it stands, is already leading the Gulf states in lobbying the US for an agreement that not only limits Iran’s nuclear program, but also curtails its national power potential in many other ways. As some reports in the US mainstream media show, the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, and a team of experts will soon travel to Washington to brief senior American officials about what they see as the threats still posed by Iran, hoping to persuade the US to hold out for harsher restrictions on Iran in any deal.

Iran, on the other hand, is unlikely to change its position vis-à-vis any new deal, especially the one that tends to force it into a virtual capitulation. China and Russia continue to support an unconditional US return to the JCPOA in exchange for Iran’s return to full compliance with the deal. An unconditional return “is the key to breaking the deadlock,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, in a recent news conference.

But “breaking the deadlock” is not what Israel and its allies in the Gulf are seeking to achieve. They are pushing the US to adopt a policy that keeps the deadlock alive unless Iran’s power and regional influence can be fully and permanently curtailed. For the Israelis, the path to Iran’s capitulation demands a US capitulation to Israel first so that they can shape the US policy in a way that best serves their interests. So far, the Israelis have been successful.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

RT’s German-language service prepares lawsuit after notorious tabloid ‘Bild’ falsely accuses its journalists of SPYING

RT | March 9, 2021

RT in Germany is planning to take legal action against the tabloid Bild, after the Berlin newspaper ran a sensationalist tale that relied on leaked Telegram chats from a former employee, who claimed he had to spy for the channel.

In the article published on Tuesday, reporter Julian Roepcke, who has previously been aligned with the ‘Disinformation Portal’ of NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct, claims that, according to Bild’s information, President Vladimir Putin ordered a spy op on his “public enemy number one.” It allegedly targeted opposition figure Alexey Navalny and two of his close aides. The supposed snooping is said to have happened during the activist’s treatment for alleged Novichok poisoning last year at Berlin’s Charité clinic.

On top of that, writes Roepcke, “Russia’s leadership used the Russian foreign broadcaster RT DE, which in turn relied on two German employees.” To back up the claims, Bild also ran an interview with Daniel Lange, then an employee of RT DE, who claimed he had a feeling of having been used as a spy in the case. Lange also leaked to Bild what he says were internal chats with his bosses.

Calling out Roepcke’s article, the head of RT in Germany Dinara Toktosunova said Lange had leaked Telegram chats in which he was merely being asked to do his job, after he’d failed to get any exclusive and newsworthy material about Navalny’s stay in Germany.

“We remind our colleagues of the German legislation that (for now) protects the press by allowing it to collect information about matters of public interest,” Toktosunova added.

The Bild article comes just days after Commerzbank told the parent company of RT DE and Ruptly that it would be ending their business relationship and closing their accounts at the end of May. Since Commerzbank changed its terms of service last November, RT DE had been trying to find an alternative bank, but 20 other financial institutions have either ignored its enquiries or flatly refused to open accounts on its behalf.

Toktosunova believes this to be part of a wider campaign to obstruct RT’s work in Germany. “We have every reason to believe that RT in Germany has been targeted by what is essentially a financial embargo,” she said on March 4, after the Commerzbank announcement.

Navalny was flown to Germany in August 2020, with his staff claiming he had been poisoned with Novichok, frequently described as the world’s deadliest nerve agent. He was treated at Berlin’s Charité clinic. Moscow said that Germany had refused Russia’s requests for detailed information about his condition.

Bild itself followed Navalny’s every move in Germany; not only did it gain access to the clinic, but it also published photos taken right at the entrance to Navalny’s treatment room.

The blogger and self-styled anti-corruption activist, regarded as the Russian “opposition leader” in the Western press, despite polling in the low single digits, returned to Moscow in January, where he was arrested for violating parole conditions in a case he regards as politically motivated.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Kremlin: Alleged US Plans to Stage Cyberattacks on Russian Networks Would Amount to Int’l Crime

By Oleg Burunov – Sputnik – 09.03.2021

The Kremlin is seriously concerned over media reports about a possible US cyberattack against Russia, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.

“This is alarming information because a rather influential American news outlet admits the possibility of such cyberattacks. Actually, this is nothing but international cybercrime and, of course, the fact that this news outlet acknowledges the possibility of the US being involved in this cybercrime is a reason for our extreme concern”, Peskov pointed out.

He also recalled that as far as Russia is concerned, it has never been involved in cybercrimes.

“In this context, it is important to recall that we have repeatedly stated and still insist that the Russian side, the Russian state has never had and has nothing to do with any manifestations of such cybercrime and cyberterrorism”, the Russian president’s spokesman underscored.

The remarks come after The New York Times quoted unnamed US government sources as saying that Washington plans to start retaliating for the alleged Russian hacking of American government agencies and corporations detected late last year.

“The first major move is expected over the next three weeks, with a series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir Putin and his intelligence services and military, but not to the wider world”, the sources argued.

This followed US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan telling CBS News in late February that the White House’s response to last year’s SolarWinds hack “will include a mix of tools seen and unseen”.

Sullivan pledged that “it will be weeks, not months” before the US prepares retaliatory measures against Moscow, adding that Washington will “ensure that Russia understands where the US draws the line on this kind of activity”.

SolarWinds Hack

In late December, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that hackers, who used corrupted SolarWinds software to install malicious programmes, were “impacting enterprise networks across federal, state, and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organisations” in the country.

Early accusations quickly ran to Russia, with then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that Russia was “pretty clearly” responsible and then-US President-elect Joe Biden saying that his forthcoming administration would consider sanctioning Moscow as punishment.

In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia had no part in the hacking operations and that the accusations were “unfounded” and the result of “blind Russophobia”.

Following the reports, US President Donald Trump, who was “fully briefed” on the matter, said the attacks were exaggerated by the “Fake News Media”, alleging that China could have been responsible for the hack, and suggesting alleged election fraud was a much bigger issue for the United States.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Twitter sues Texas AG over state’s investigation into banning Trump, says it’s attempt to ‘intimidate’ & ‘harass’ company

RT | March 9, 2021

Twitter is attempting to stop Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s investigation into its moderation practices, calling the probe “retaliation” for its suspension of former president Donald Trump.

“Twitter seeks to stop AG Paxton from unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights,” Twitter said in its court filing on Monday.

Twitter said the investigation comes down to the platform making “editorial decisions” Paxton disagrees with, including suspending Trump’s account following the US Capitol riot on January 6.

On January 13, Paxton, a Republican, announced an investigation into the moderation practices of “Big Tech” companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Amazon.

“First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive,” he said in a statement about the investigation, adding that the “seemingly coordinated de-platforming” of Trump and other leading conservative voices “not only chills free speech” but “wholly silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies.”

Twitter has said the investigation requires them to hand over “volumes of highly confidential documents” related to their moderation policies, which they claim could compromise their moderation practices altogether.

The social media platform claimed in their filing that they tried compromising with Paxton and narrowing the scope of his broad investigation, but they could not come to an agreement.

“Instead, AG Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees,” they said in their suit, which was filed in Northern California.

Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter on January 8 due to multiple tweets being deemed by the company as possibly contributing to violence at the Capitol only two days before.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

War Drums Beating Louder Under Biden Hardliners

By Stephen Lendman | March 9, 2021

On all things war related, Trump mainly focused on waging it all-out by other means on Iran, China, and other nations free from US control.

Early in his tenure, the rape and destruction of Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq were major exceptions.

For the most part, he was relatively quiet on the hot war front, notably launching no new ones during his time in office.

Biden and warmongers surrounding him are cut from a different cloth.

As US senator and vice president, Biden supported one preemptive US war after another on invented enemies — nonbelligerent states threatening no one.

Will the pattern repeat with him in the White House?

Is it just a matter of time before hardliners running his geopolitical agenda invent pretexts to escalate ongoing US wars and/or launch one or more new ones?

If past is prologue, greater US warmaking is highly likely.

In the Middle East, plans to escalate war in Syria may exist or are being prepared.

The same goes for neighboring Iraq. Its parliamentarians and ordinary people want their country back, US occupation ended once and for all.

Not if undemocratic Dems have their way. US forces came to Iraq to stay.

As in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, permanent US occupation is planned — enforced through the barrel of a gun.

According to US war secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday:

“We’ll strike, if that’s what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing. We demand the right to protect our troops (sic).”

In late February, hardliners in charge of Biden’s geopolitical agenda OK’d aggression against targets along the Iraqi/Syria border.

Is more of the same planned against both countries?

Is direct US confrontation with Iran coming ahead?

Are conflicts planned in Central Asia, North Africa and/or the Indo/Pacific?

According to Tom Dispatch in late January:

“Biden inherit(ed) (US) global war—and burgeoning new Cold War —spanning four continents and a military mired in active operations in dozens of countries, combat in some 14 of them, and bombing in at least seven.”

“That sort of scope has been standard fare for American presidents for almost two decades.”

What’s likely since Biden replaced Trump?

Will he escalate US wars of terror, not on it?

As senator and vice president, Biden cheerled US preemptive wars.

He’ll “surely escalate American adventurism abroad,” Tom Dispatch (TD) believes.

He’s been interventionist throughout his public life. He’ll likely at least maintain status quo belligerence.

TD: “Whether the issues are war, race, crime, or economics, Uncle Joe has made a career of bending with the prevailing political winds and it’s unlikely this old dog can truly learn any new tricks.”

He “filled his foreign policy squad with Obama-Clinton retreads, a number of whom were architects of—if not the initial Iraq and Afghan debacles.”

They followed with “disasters in Libya, Syria, West Africa, Yemen, and the Afghan surge of 2009.”

“Biden (put) former arsonists in charge of the forever-war fire brigade.”

At the same time, press agent media will likely “help (him)… make war more invisible… to Americans.”

History one day won’t likely “judge Biden the war president kindly.”

Since the run-up to WW I, Dems have been more belligerent than Republicans — Bush I, II, and Dick Cheney major exceptions.

So was Jack Kennedy going the other way, transforming himself from a warrior to peacemaker, one among other reasons why he was assassinated.

Jimmy Carter earlier said: During his time in office, “(w)e never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet.”

Dem presidents after his tenure were warriors, not peacemakers — notably Biden as senator, vice president, and now figurehead president, a disturbing record since the early 1970s.

Is escalated warmaking on his watch coming? His history of supporting wars on invented enemies and interventionist geopolitical team suggest more of the same ahead.

Terror-bombing targets along the Iraqi/Syrian border in late February perhaps was prelude for follow-up aggression.

Since taking office, increased numbers of Pentagon forces, heavy weapons, munitions and equipment were sent to Kurdish-controlled eastern Syria where most of the country’s oil is located.

Iran accused the Biden regime of reviving ISIS in Iran and Syria, Iranian Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani saying:

Recent US belligerence “strengthens and expands the activities of the terrorist Daesh (ISIS) in the region,” adding:

“The (late Feb.) attack on anti-terrorist resistance forces is the beginning of a new round of (US) organized terrorism.”

He vowed firm resistance to “confront the US plan to revive terrorism in the region.”

US aggression time and again signals more of the same coming — unjustifiably justified by invented pretexts. No legitimate ones exist.

The Pentagon reportedly deployed six long-range B-52 bombers to Diego Garcia.

It’s a location from which US airstrikes can hit targets in the Middle East and Indo/Pacific.

According to military.com, the US is “add(ing) roughly 10,000 personnel to… the Middle East.”

Southfront reported that Syrian forces are “prepar(ing) a decisive push on the Turkish-occupied areas” in the country’s north, adding:

“(S)oon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) terrorists are attempting to merge with the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL).”

“This proposed military council is clearly meant to provide a legitimate cover for the rebranded terrorist activities of HTS and other al-Qaeda factions in Greater Idlib.”

According to Deputy Head of the Russian Coordination Center in Syria, Adm. Alexander Karpov:

“There has been information on that Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists are getting ready to stage a new provocation in the de-escalation zone in Idleb which includes staging a false flag chemical attack.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that labs in Idlib run by European trained experts are preparing CWs for use by jihadists to stage false flag attacks to be blamed on Damascus.

If one or more incidents occur, Syria will surely be wrongfully blamed for what it had nothing to do with — like many times before.

Will Biden hardliners use false flag CW incident(s) as a pretext for escalated aggression?

Separately, Southfront said (US armed and trained) Ukrainian forces escalated artillery strikes on Donbass.

“(C)lashes between pro-Kiev forces and (freedom-fighting) DPR/LPR self-defense units” followed, adding:

“(L)ocal sources report that the scale of violations by pro-Kiev forces are unprecedented for the recent months…”

Kiev “is deploying additional units of heavy weapons and military equipment to the contact line… confirmed by OSCE reports.”

All of the above are worrisome signs of what Biden hardliners may be planning — escalated aggression by US forces, their jihadist proxies and US installed regime in Kiev.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 4 Comments

Biden, Afghanistan and Forever Wars

By Binoy Kampmark | OffGuardian | March 9, 2021

The papers are full of suggestions on what US President Joe Biden should do about his country’s seemingly perennial involvement in Afghanistan.

None are particularly useful, in that they ignore the central premise that a nation state long mauled, molested and savaged should finally be left alone. Nonsense, say the media and political cognoscenti.

The Guardian claims that he is “trapped and has no good choices”. The Wall Street Journal opines that he is being “tested in Afghanistan” with his opposition to “forever wars”. The Washington Post more sensibly suggests that Biden take the loss and “add it to George W. Bush’s record.”

The Afghanistan imbroglio for US planners raises the usual problems. Liberals and Conservatives find themselves pillow fighting over similar issues, neither wishing to entirely leave the field. The imperium demands the same song sheet from choristers, whether they deliver it from the right side of the choir or the left.

The imperial feeling is that the tribes of a country most can barely name should be somehow kept within an orbit of security. To not do so would imperil allies, the US, and encourage a storm of danger that might cyclonically move towards other pockets of the globe.

It never occurs to the many dullard commentators that invading countries such as Afghanistan to begin with (throw Iraq into the mix) was itself an upending issue worthy of criminal prosecution, encouraged counter-insurgencies, theocratic aspirants and, for want of a better term, terrorist opportunists.

The long threaded argument made by the limpet committers has been consistent despite the disasters. Drum up the chaos scenario. Treat it as rebarbative. One example is to strain, drain and draw from reports such as that supplied by the World Bank.

Conflict is ongoing, and 2019 was the sixth year in a row when civilian casualties in Afghanistan exceeded 10,000. The displacement crisis persists, driven by intensified government and Taliban operations in the context of political negotiations.”

The report in question goes on to note the increase in IDPs (369,700 in 2018 to 462,803 in 2019) with “505,000 [additional] refugees returned to Afghanistan, mainly from Iran, during 2019.”

Then come remarks such as those from David von Drehle in the Washington Post. His commentary sits well with Austrian observations about Bosnia-Herzegovina during the latter part of the 19th century.

Nearly 20 years into the US effort to modernize and liberalize that notoriously difficult land, Taliban forces once more control the countryside, and they appear to be poised for a final spring offensive against the parts of the Afghan cities that remain under government control.”

The savages, in short, refuse to heel.

Von Drehle, to his credit, at least suggests that the US take leave of the place, admitting that Washington was unreservedly ignorant about the country. He quotes the words of retired L. General Douglas Lute“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan.” Tellingly, the general admitted that, “We didn’t know what we were doing.”

Fears exist as to how the May 2021 deadline for withdrawing all US military forces looms. Anthony H. Cordesman is very much teasing his imperial masters in Washington as to what is best. “Writing off the Afghan government will probably mean some form of Taliban victory.”

This is hardly shocking, but Cordesman prepares the terrain for the hawks.

This will create increased risks in terms of extremism and terrorism, but it is far from clear that these risks will not be higher than the risks of supporting a failed Afghan government indefinitely into the future and failing to use the same resources in other countries to support partners that are more effective.”

This is the usual gilded rubbish that justifies the gold from a US taxpayer. But will it continue to stick?

A few clues can be gathered on future directions, though they remain floated suggestions rather than positions of merit. The Biden administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance waffles and speaks mightily about democracy (how refreshing it would be for him to refer to republicanism) which, in a document on national security, always suggests overstretch and overreach.

“They are those who argue that, given all the challenges we face, autocracy is the best way forward.” But he also inserts Trumpian lingo. “The United States should not, and will not, engage in ‘forever wars’ that have cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.”

Afghanistan comes in for special mention, and again, the language of the Trump administration is dragged out for repetition.

We will work to responsibly end America’s longest war in Afghanistan while ensuring that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for terrorists.”

Not much else besides, and certainly no express mention of grasping the nettle and cutting losses. And there is that troubling use of the word “responsibly”.

The default position remains the use of force, which the US “will never hesitate to” resort to “when required to defend our vital national interests. We will ensure our armed forces are equipped to deter our adversaries, defend our people, interests, and allies, and defeat the threats that emerge.” Again, the stretch is vast and imprecise.

Given that position, the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 US troops in the country is bound to become a matter of delay, prevarication and consternation. Quiet American imperialism, at least a dusted down version of it, will stubbornly continue in its sheer, embarrassing futility. The imperial footprint will be merely recast, if in a smaller form.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Hypocritical Outrage over Khashoggi’s Assassination

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | March 9, 2021

The mainstream media is outraged over President Biden’s decision to not level sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his purported assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was a prominent columnist for the Washington Post. The CIA concluded that bin Salman ordered the assassination but U.S. officials have sanctioned only lower-level Saudi officials, choosing to leave bin Salman untouched by U.S. sanctions.

The outrage is a model of the hypocrisy that pervades the mainstream media. After all, these people just block out of their minds that the U.S. national-security state is every bit as brutal as Saudi officials are. Moreover, when it comes to the number of state-sponsored assassinations carried out on an annual basis, bin Salman and Saudi Arabia don’t even come close to matching those carried out by the world’s assassination nation.

Just look at the state-sponsored assassinations that are carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA in the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan every month. They have become so normalized — so much a regular part of American life — that the mainstream press has become totally blasé about them. No moral outrage at all.

Of course, Pentagon and CIA officials, along with their acolytes in the mainstream press, would respond, “Jacob, we are only killing terrorists. The Saudis killed an innocent man.”

Oh? And who exactly is a “terrorist.” Is it someone who criticizes a regime? Or is it someone who actually commits a terrorist act? And who makes that determination? If bin Salman concluded that Khashoggi was a terrorist who was trying to bring down the Saudi regime, would the U.S. mainstream press be coming to his defense?

Let’s consider the U.S. assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman. Both of them were U.S. citizens, just as Khashoggi was a Saudi citizen. Where is the outrage among the mainstream press over those two assassinations of American citizens at the hands of their own government?

Oh yes, U.S. officials and their assets in the mainstream press would say that Anwar al-Awlaki was a terrorist. Really? What does that mean? Does it mean that he criticized the U.S. national-security state for its brutal imperialist policies? Or does it mean that he actually engaged in criminal acts of terrorism? If that is the case, who made that determination? I don’t recall there ever being criminal trial in which an American jury listened to evidence and concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that al-Awlaki was guilty of some act of terrorism. All I recall was that U.S. officials concluded that al-Awlaki was a terrorist and, therefore, needed to have his life snuffed out. I also recall that the U.S. Supreme Court, in its customary deference to the authority of the national-security establishment, affirmed the decision to assassinate this American citizen, which snuffed out his life without any due process of law.

U.S. officials claim that 16-year-old Abdulhahman was the unfortunate collateral damage from the U.S. assassination of someone nearby. Even if that’s true — and it might not be — what was the justification for firing a missile at that person, especially knowing that it would end up killing everyone around him? Who died and made the Pentagon and the CIA the deciders of life and death of other people?

The fact is that U.S. and Saudi officials have no business assassinating anyone. The U.S. mainstream press is good at recognizing the wrongfulness of assassinating Khashoggi. Their loyalty to the Pentagon and the CIA, however, has given them a moral blindness that prevents them from recognizing the wrongfulness of state-sponsored assassinations carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment.

It’s also revealing that the mainstream press is calling for sanctions to be imposed on bin Salman but not calling for terminating the U.S. government’s armed sales to the Saudi regime. Yet, it’s those weapons that help the Saudi regime maintain its brutal tyranny over the Saudi people. And remember: the U.S. mainstream press is always calling for new gun-control measures — except when it comes to the U.S. government’s sales of guns to overseas pro-U.S. tyrants.

Notice also that the U.S. government continues to send U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid to brutal and tyrannical regimes, such as to Egypt’s tyrannical military dictatorship. That foreign aid helps to maintain the brutal tyranny that is enforced against the citizens under those regimes. No outrage there among the U.S. mainstream press. On the contrary, they continue to support foreign aid being sent to brutal and tyrannical pro-U.S. regimes.

It’s all just a valuable lesson in what can be called Hypocrisy 101.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 2 Comments

Experts Linking Covid To Every Medical Condition Ever Diagnosed

By Richie Allen | March 9, 2021

Add Diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and eye damage to the ever expanding list of medical complaints that so-called experts are linking to coronavirus.

Don’t forget brain damage, lung damage, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Covid is the virus that keeps on giving. Professor Francesco Rubino, an expert on type 1 diabetes, based at King’s College London told The Daily Mail :

“We started to become very concerned about diabetes within the first couple of months of the pandemic, when we began to get reports from around the world of an increase in cases among hospitalised Covid patients.

These were patients in whom diabetes suddenly developed at the same time as they were sick with Covid.”

The link is tenuous. In a study published by the journal Diabetes Care, 0nly 5 children out of 30 who were diagnosed with diabetes, had coronavirus. Karen Logan, a clinical nurse specialising in diabetes, admitted that a proper controlled study is needed to prove causation.

But that doesn’t matter. Government scientists are appearing on UK media this morning warning of the terrors of “Long Covid.” Presenters just nod along as professors list all manner of ailments thought to be linked to the virus.

I never know whether to laugh or cry when after listing all of these terrifying diseases, the experts finish by saying, “more research is needed.” God help me. My kingdom for just one (w)anchor to say “You mean you’ve just made all of that up? Why are you scaremongering?” I can dream.

According to today’s Mail Online :

Thousands are already thought to be afflicted by so-called ‘long Covid’ — symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, chest pain, muscle aches, pounding heart and depression that persist for weeks or even months after the initial infection.

Now it seems the virus may also be capable of sparking serious and potentially incurable autoimmune conditions — where the body’s immune system attacks tissues, causing not just type 1 diabetes but the skin condition psoriasis and the joint disease rheumatoid arthritis, for example.

Meanwhile, emerging evidence points to lasting, potentially even permanent, harm to the hearts, kidneys and even the eyes of some Covid patients.

Emerging evidence? This is ridiculous. Using this logic it’s easy to see how they are doing it. If someone tests positive for covid and has an ingrowing toenail, you could conceivably claim that there is emerging evidence linking ingrowing toenails to covid. It’s laughable.

But I seem to be the only one laughing. I’m surrounded by people who are lapping it up. People haven’t suspended their disbelief, they’ve flushed it down the toilet.

In France recently, a woman was found running naked in a basement. She told paramedics that voices told her to do it. I swear to God, they linked her behaviour to coronavirus. Did the French say “pull the other one?” No! It was reported with a straight face.

In my opinion, these preposterous “Long Covid” stories are designed to scare people into having the jab and the jabs to come this Autumn. Uptake is a real problem for the government.

Hundreds of thousands of NHS workers have said they won’t have a jab. Under-40’s are far less likely to have it too. The propagandists are upping the ante.

March 9, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment