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Russia: US trying to demonize Iran missile program

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s chargé d’affaires to the United Nations
Press TV – December 6, 2019

Russia’s mission to the United Nations says the US continually tries to demonize Iran’s missile activities despite lack of any damning evidence against the Islamic Republic’s defensive activities, and while Washington itself is in default of several international non-proliferation agreements.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Moscow’s chargé d’affaires to the world body, addressed the remarks to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a letter dated November 26 that was made available on Friday.

He reminded that Iran was a signatory to many multilateral non-proliferation mechanisms, including the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The latter agreement came about in 2015 between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of states — the United States, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany, lifting nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear energy program.

Washington has, on numerous occasions, accused Tehran of developing nuclear-capable missiles, despite Tehran’s outright rejection of nuclear weapons of all type, and its observance of the JCPOA, which prohibits it from pursuing such armaments.

The Russian official highlighted “the complete lack of evidence that Iran is developing or producing a nuclear weapon or means of its delivery or is deploying any infrastructure for the storage or servicing of nuclear weapons.” He further endorsed the Islamic Republic’s continued commitment to the nuclear deal as verified by Tehran’s “refraining from activities related to ballistic missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”

Nor has the UN Security Council, which has endorsed the JCPOA in the form of Resolution 2231, received any “viable information to the contrary,” Polyanskiy asserted.

However, he stated, the US would keep trying to implicate Iran in nuclear arms-related activities by, among other means, citing the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This is while the MTCR is an informal political understanding between 35 states on export control issues, and could not be deployed as a universal legally binding instrument or used in the context of Resolution 2231 to try and incriminate Iran’s missile activities, the envoy added.

Washington was on the offensive against Iran, while itself left the JCPOA last year “in violation of Article 25 of the United Nations Charter,” and is preventing other states from implementing it, Polyanskiy added. After leaving the deal, the White House returned its sanctions against Tehran, and also started pushing other JCPOA members into abiding by the American bans.

The Russian envoy also reminded how America left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Moscow earlier this year, and was undermining efforts aimed at creating a Middle East region free of nuclear arms. He was referring to the US’s using its veto power at the UN in favor of Israel, which is the sole nuclear armed power in the region and has refused to join the NPT.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran’s FM Javad Zarif Claims Israel Tested Nuke-Missile ‘Aimed at Iran’

Sputnik – December 6, 2019

The Defence Ministry of Israel announced in the early hours of Friday morning that it had tested a new rocket propulsion system at a an airbase in the central part of the country, as part of a missile defence modernization plan.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, commented on Friday on the recent test by the Israeli defense establishment of what has been described as a rocket propulsion system.

Zarif noted that the United States, along with the three European members of the Iran nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have never complained of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, the only nuclear arsenal in the region, although Tel Aviv has missiles that are “DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes”.

Earlier on Friday, Israel’s Ministry of Defence tweeted that its defence establishment had carried out a test of a rocket propulsion system from the Palmochim military base, located south of the nation’s capital city of Tel Aviv.

The tested missile propulsion system is reportedly capable of launching defence or attack payloads with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. It is also said to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to Tel Aviv’s news channel i24 News.

After the US unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018, Washington has since been waging a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, claiming that the Islamic republic’s rocket program, alongside Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, represent a “threat” to the region. Under this pretext, the Trump administration has introduced multiple sanctions against the government in Tehran and against several senior officials, including Zarif.

Iran has repeatedly denied accusations regarding its intentions to obtain nuclear weapons, continuing to abide by the nuclear deal and urging European signatories to ensure its interests amid reimposed US sanctions, particularly through a partial withdrawal from some of the original commitments under the JCPOA.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Sun never sets on Canadian military

By Yves Engler · December 6, 2019

Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that the sun never sets on the military their taxes pay for.

This country is not formally at war yet more than 2,100 Canadian troops are sprinkled across the globe. According to the Armed Forces, these soldiers are involved in 28 international missions.

There are 850 Canadian troops in Iraq and its environs. Two hundred highly skilled special forces have provided training and combat support to Kurdish forces often accused of ethnic cleansing areas of Iraq they captured. A tactical helicopter detachment, intelligence officers and a combat hospital, as well as 200 Canadians at a base in Kuwait, support the special forces in Iraq.

Alongside the special forces mission, Canada commands the NATO mission in Iraq. Canadian Brigadier General Jennifer Carrigan commands nearly 600 NATO troops, including 250 Canadians.

A comparable number of troops are stationed on Russia’s borders. About 600 Canadians are part of a Canadian-led NATO mission in Latvia while 200 troops are part of a training effort in the Ukraine. Seventy-five Canadian Air Force personnel are currently in Romania.

Some of the smaller operations are also highly political. Through Operation Proteus a dozen troops contribute to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator, which is supporting a security apparatus to protect the Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building.

Through Operation Foundation 15 troops are contributing to a US counter-terrorism effort in the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia. As part of Operation Foundation General A. R. DAY, for instance, Directs the Combined Aerospace Operations Center at the US military’s Al Udeid base in Qatar.

The 2,100 number offered up by the military doesn’t count the hundreds, maybe a thousand, naval personnel patrolling hot spots across the globe. Recently one or two Canadian naval vessels — with about 200 personnel each — has patrolled in East Asia. The ships are helping the US-led campaign to isolate North Korea and enforce UN sanctions. These Canadian vessels have also been involved in belligerent “freedom of navigation” exercises through international waters that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan and East China Sea.

A Canadian vessel is also patrolling in the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea. Recently Canadian vessels have also entered the Black Sea, which borders Russia. And Canadian vessels regularly deploy to the Caribbean.

Nor does the 2,100 number count the colonels supported by sergeants and sometimes a second officer who are defence attachés based in 30 diplomatic posts around the world (with cross-accreditation to neighbouring countries). Another 150 Canadian military personnel are stationed at the North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters in Colorado and a smaller number at NORAD’s hub near Tampa Bay, Florida. These bases assist US airstrikes in a number of places.

Dozens of Canadian soldiers are also stationed at NATO headquarters in Brussels. They assist that organization in its international deployments.

There may be other deployments not listed here. Dozens of Canadian soldiers are on exchange programs with the US and other militaries and some of them may be part of deployments abroad. Additionally, Canadian Special forces can be deployed without public announcement, which has taken place on numerous occasions.

The scope of the military’s international footprint is hard to square with the idea of a force defending Canada. That’s why military types promote the importance of “forward defence”. The government’s 2017 “Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy” claims Canada has to “actively address threats abroad for stability at home” and that “defending Canada and Canadian interests … requires active engagement abroad.”

That logic, of course, can be used to justify participating in endless US-led military endeavors. That is the real reason the sun never sets on the Canadian military.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Fake News by Omission — The Mass Media’s Cowardly Distortion Tool

By Caitlin Johnstone | American Herald Tribune | December 6, 2019

Western mass media have continued their conspiracy of silence on the OPCW scandal, making no significant mention yet this month of the leaks which have been emerging from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons indicating that the US, France and UK bombed Syria last year in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack which probably never occurred, and that OPCW leadership helped cover it up.

If you haven’t been following the still-unfolding OPCW scandal, you can catch up quickly by watching this seven-minute video.

Mass media’s silence on this hugely important story is noteworthy not just because it has far-reaching consequences for the future of the Syrian regime change agenda and for public trust in US-led war narratives, not just because the leaks have already been independently authenticated by the mainstream press, and not just because scandalous revelations about powerful entities are normally the sort of incendiary click fodder that makes a mainstream news editor hasten behind his desk to hide his arousal. It is also noteworthy because we’re being told by people in the know that even more leaks are coming.

“Much more to come about the censoring of the facts on Douma at the Poison Gas Watchdog OPCW,” tweeted journalist Peter Hitchens earlier today. “It really is time that the Grand Unpopular Press and the BBC, realised this is a major story. Are they too proud to admit they might have been wrong?”

Hitchens, who was among the very first to publish the leaked internal OPCW email last month revealing multiple glaring plot holes in the official narrative about the alleged chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria, has been saying this for a while now.

“More is known by the whistleblowers of the OPCW than has yet been released, but verification procedures have slowed down its release,” Hitchens wrote in his blog last week. “More documents will, I expect, shortly come to light.”

So this is still an unfolding story that is only going to get more scandalous in the coming days. Yet rather than reporting on an important news story (which it may surprise you to learn is actually supposed to be the literal job description of the news media), the mainstream press has been silent. The only times the mass media have commented on this major story has been to spin it as Russian disinformation, and Tucker Carlson’s segment on it last week which was also falsely spun as disinfo by establishment narrative managers like David Brock’s Media Matters for America.

The blog Left I on the News uses the term “fake news by omission” to describe this obnoxious yet ubiquitous propaganda tactic, where imperial media outlets deliberately distort people’s understanding of what’s going on in the world by simply declining to cover news stories which are inconvenient to the establishment narrative.

Refusing to tell people about things that did happen distorts their worldview just as much as telling them things that did not happen, yet mass media will never be held accountable for engaging in the former, while engaging in the latter forces them to print embarrassing retractions and lose credibility with the public. For this reason, fake news by omission is their preferred tactic of deceit.

People sometimes think of the mainstream media as always straight-up lying all the time, just fabricating stories whole cloth about what’s going on, but that isn’t generally how it works. A good liar doesn’t lie all the time, and they don’t even tell full lies unless absolutely necessary. What they do is far more cowardly and far more effective: they spin, they distort, they tell half-truths, they emphasize insignificant details and marginalize significant ones, they uncritically report what government officials are telling them, and they lie by omission.

However, the total disappearance of the OPCW leaks is unusual for the legacy media. The imperial press have had their ways of hiding inconvenient stories since newspapers began. Running stories late on a Friday, running them on the “graveyard page” of page 2 (so-called because stories go there to die), holding on to them until another big story breaks so they can be published relatively unnoticed, waiting for them to be broken in a disreputable publication so people will be skeptical of it (sometimes known as “fixing” a story), or running an oppositional op-ed at the same time to spin the uncomfortable facts in a more salubrious way. But in the end, they normally run the story, in one way or another, so they can be seen not to be censoring.

Not this time though. The exceptional silence on the OPCW scandal from imperial news media discredits them completely, but people won’t know about it unless they are told. Spread the word.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 2 Comments

‘Another propaganda attack’: Russian Foreign Ministry hits back over US ‘Evil Corp’ claims

RT | December 6, 2019

Moscow has condemned the ‘obviously politicized’ US sanctions on Russian nationals allegedly behind the ‘Evil Corp’ malware operation, with the Foreign Ministry calling the accusations unfounded and promising to retaliate.

Eleven Russian individuals and six companies were sanctioned by the US on Tuesday for “links” to the so-called ‘Evil Corp,’ an alleged cyber crime syndicate that the US Department of Justice accused of stealing more than $100 million from Western institutions over the past decade.

Though the DOJ said it had received assistance from the Russian Federation authorities, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday said that nothing of the sort had happened.

“If the United States had actual evidence, they would have asked the relevant Russian authorities to conduct a probe,” based on the 1999 mutual assistance treaty,” the ministry said in a statement. “As far as we know, no such requests have been received.”

Furthermore, the US unilaterally ended cybersecurity cooperation with Russia in 2014, and has refused to resume it since, the ministry added. While Washington constantly accuses Russia of “hacking,” including the 2016 US presidential election, it refuses to present any proof of those claims, because the US “simply has no evidence that would not be embarrassing to put on the table in front of specialists.”

The goal of those imposing the sanctions is “not to fight crime, but the next propaganda attack against Russia,” the ministry added, promising unspecified retaliation against the US.

Just as with the previous American attacks, these too won’t remain without a response.

The US DOJ has offered a $5 million bounty for the arrest of Maksim Yakubets, the alleged leader of ‘Evil Corp.’ In blacklisting Yakubets and people “linked” to him under a 2017 sanctions law designed to target Russia, the US Treasury Department said he was involved with the Russian intelligence service, even though the DOJ made no such claim.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | 1 Comment

Sociopaths on the Left and Sociopaths on the Right Work to Break Potential US-China Alliance

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | December 6, 2019

Donald Trump is in a painful bind.

The China-bashing traitors within his own party trying to pass themselves off as American patriots have done everything imaginable to destroy the one chance the President has to save America from the policies of economic and social decay which have mis-shaped the past 50 years of world history. Before breaking under the pressure to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on November 27, Trump attempted desperately to push against the hard liners stating a day earlier:

“I stand with Hong Kong, but I also stand with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine, he’s an incredible guy. We have to stand, but I’d like to see them work it out, OK? We have to see them work it out. I stand for Hong Kong, I stand for freedom, I stand for all those things we want to do. But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history.”

Of course, Trump’s desire to use protective tariffs, rebuild decayed infrastructure and industries while reversing the regime change wars abroad are good things. However, the ugly fact is that the Trans-Atlantic financial system is also set to crash, and a serious military confrontation between the US military and the Russia-China alliance is both very real and very dangerous.

This is also why the passage of the anti-Beijing Bill on November 27 is so tragic, since the desperately needed economic alliance which Trump has desired may have suffered a wound from which it cannot recover. Not only this, but those anti-China hawks pervasive across Washington are now emboldened to go even further starting with Sen. Ted Cruz’s new bill to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, thus undoing the 1972 ‘One China’ agreement which established Beijing as the capital of China.

Cruz’s Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act aims in Cruz’s words to “peel back some of the extreme insults of the Taiwanese that are inflicted by the One-China policy protocol” including the banning of Taiwan officials from visiting US government agencies, and Taiwan students studying at West Point military academy from wearing the Taiwan flag.

Already, the US-military have vastly amplified their presence on China’s border ever since Obama’s “Pivot-to-Asia” and “Air-Sea Battle” were put into practice in 2011-2012 and which heavily relies on a militarized anti-China force in Taiwan ready to do the US’s bidding.

Many leading figures in Taiwan are stuck in a Cold War traumatized mindset established 60 years earlier, and still see their life’s mission and Taiwan’s destiny through the outdated lens of their Kuomintang forebears- as the only rightful leaders of China, destined to reconquer the mainland lost to the Communist Party in 1949. These groups would do anything to fulfill that quasi-religious sense of purpose, making them the perfect puppets for the Deep State which would be more than happy to undermine both China and America as viable sovereign nation states undoing the common cause for which both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Sun Yatsen dedicated their lives.

Bannon, Soros and Falun Gong: Golems of the Great Game

An ugly and overlooked example of this operation includes the renewed effort by China-basher Steve Bannon who Trump rightly booted from his team in August 2017. Bannon has been a dangerous character attempting to coral Trump supporters in America and the European right into a new anti-Chinese united front while reviving the neo-con “clash of civilizations” doctrine with a vengeance.

One of the main conduits Bannon chose to unleash this assault was the Committee on Present Danger-China which he founded alongside a group of raging neocons in March 2019. Labelling China’s Belt and Road as a new empire threatening to undo America and enslave the world, Bannon’s think tank stated: “As with the Soviet Union in the past, communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom – one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat.”

Bannon has also found himself working ever more tightly with the anti-Beijing CIA-funded cult Falun Gong which has been banned from China since 1999 and used by the CIA as a propaganda weapon against China claiming anecdotal evidence of Beijing-sponsored organ harvesting and killing of religious minorities. Though pushing itself as a meditation group, its leader Li Hongzhi is based in the USA and promotes the idea that he has magical powers that keep the forces of evil from destroying the world.

Bannon most recently produced the Falun Gong-funded film “Claws of the Red Dragon” putting him into the same boat as his left-handed mirror image George Soros who also supports the Falun Gong through Open Society Foundation’s Freedom House.  The contradiction arising from this alliance of pro-Trump sociopaths working with anti-Trump sociopaths only makes sense when you look at the anti-human game from the top down rather than the bottom up.

It is here, that we start getting a fuller picture of the nature of the false ‘left vs right’ game being played, as we look at a City of London-based think tank which Bannon leads called the Dignitas Humanitae Institute alongside 5 other highly connected figures which were recently exposed in a powerful expose by journalist Stan Ezrol who described Bannon’s four other co-patrons of this Catholic group as “Archduke Otto Von Habsburg, successor to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor when it was dissolved; His Royal Highness Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies and Duke of Castro, a leading figure in the anti-Renaissance wing of European nobility; Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie GCB (Knight of the Grand Cross), LVO (Lieutenant of the Victorian Order), OBE (Order of the British Empire); and Father Matthew Festing.”

The forces managing this international battle are desperately afraid of the fact that western and eastern renaissance traditions may be awakened in the face of the existential crisis facing the human species today. These groups are very much aware that the essential character of any society fit to survive is rooted on certain moral principles that are found in both Christian and Confucian cultures alike, making the USA and China potentially very strong and organic allies.

When one reads the writings of such founding fathers of either great nation as Dr. Benjamin Franklin or Dr. Sun Yatsen, the common moral worldview and sense of human nature as a species made in the image of the creator endowed with inalienable rights is electric. It is thus no coincidence that Dr. Franklin saw in Confucius the key for the foundation of America and Sun Yatsen saw in America’s Constitution the key for China’s future. This is a concept which Hong Kong rioters, Taiwan militarists, Open Society ideologues and right wing Bannonites know nothing about.

Today, Xi Jinping and President Putin exemplify this common outlook wonderfully as their alliance has transformed the international rules of the game on every level, and if Trump wasn’t constrained by such bigoted agents as Cruz, Bannon or the rabid hive of leftist hacks frothing at the mouth for impeachment, then the USA would make an organic ally in this new multipolar alliance.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Jordan seeks to restore diplomatic relations with Syria: Minister

Press TV – December 6, 2019

Jordan plans to restore full diplomatic relations with neighboring Syria in a further sign of Arab states embracing President Bashar al-Assad after a UAE diplomat praised him for “wise leadership” this week.

Jordanian Minister of State and Agriculture Samir Habashneh said Thursday he will travel to Syria later this month as part of a nearly 30-strong delegation, Arabic- language Ammon news website reported.

Former Prime Minister Taher al-Masri will head the delegation to restore Amman-Damascus bilateral relations to the level prior to the outbreak of foreign-sponsored Syrian conflict, it said.

Habashneh said Jordan and Syria actually have common areas of interest, stressing that the visit should have taken place much earlier in order to enhance communication between the two countries.

Commenting on a possible meeting with President Assad, he stated that the matter is in the hands of the Syrian side, and that the Jordanian delegates would like to sit for talks with the 54-year-old Syrian leader, senior officials and representatives of the Syrian people.

Jordan’s official Petra news agency, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufian Qudah, reported earlier this year that the Amman government had appointed a new chargé d’affaires to its embassy in Damascus.

“It was decided to appoint a Jordanian diplomat at the rank of charge d’affaires in the Jordanian embassy in Damascus,” the Jordanian official said.

He underlined that the “decision has been made in line with Jordan’s stance since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011 to keep the Jordanian embassy in Damascus open.”

Jordanian lawmakers first asked for the improvement of Jordan-Syria ties to the level before the start of the Syrian crisis last year, stressing that the relations are beneficial to both nations, Arabic-language Rai al-Youm newspaper reported last December.

Around the same time, Bahrain announced that work at the kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic is going on whilst the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain is carrying out its duties and flights connecting the two countries are operational without interruption.”

It came a day after the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in Damascus.

Earlier this week, the UAE’s top diplomat in Syria praised President Assad for his “wise leadership”, in one of the strongest expressions of support yet from a country that once backed Damascus’ enemies in the war.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark UAE national day on Dec. 2, UAE charge d’affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi said he hoped “security and stability prevails throughout the Syrian Arab Republic under the wise leadership of President Bashar Al-Assad.”

“Syria-UAE relations are solid, distinct and strong,” he added, according to a video posted by Russian broadcaster RT.

Arab countries’ restoration of diplomatic ties with Damascus takes place at a time when the Syrian army troops are finalizing their victory against foreign-backed terror groups and restoring peace and stability to the war-torn country.

Earlier this year, Reuters news agency cited sources as saying that Washington had lobbied Persian Gulf states including the UAE to hold off restoring ties with Syria.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Normandy Four summit ‘may result in comprehensive Donbass ceasefire’ – Ukraine president’s adviser

RT | December 6, 2019

Ukraine should not expect new important agreements from the Normandy Four summit in Paris but the meeting may result in establishing a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass and prisoner exchange, TASS quoted Nikita Poturaev, the adviser to the Ukrainian president, as saying on Friday.

“No new Minsk Agreements or some kind of Paris Agreements will come out of the meeting in Paris. However, the summit may result in… ceasefire along the whole contact line, which is envisaged by the Minsk Agreements, and prisoner exchange,” Poturaev told 1+1 TV channel. “If these two things are fulfilled, a political process will follow, namely elections [in Donbass] in accordance with Ukrainian laws.”

The Normandy Four meeting of leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in eastern Ukraine will be held on December 9 in Paris.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Sudan’s new PM wants to withdraw troops from Yemen

Press TV – December 6, 2019

Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has vowed to withdraw troops from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying his country’s role should be limited to assisting in a political resolution of the conflict.

“The conflict in Yemen has no military solution, whether from us or from anywhere in the world,” Hamdok told the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank, on Thursday.

He added that the war “has to be resolved through political means,” and that his country will seek to “help our brothers and sisters in Yemen and play our role with the rest to help them address this”.

Sudan has been one of the main contributors to the so-called Saudi coalition against Yemen, formed in 2015 in a bid to install a pro-Saudi government in Sana’a and crush Yemen’s Houthi Ansarllah movement.

According to reports, up to 40,000 Sudanese troops were deployed in the country during the peak of the conflict in 2016-2017.

Late October, however, Sudanese officials said the country had withdrawn thousands of troops from Yemen, with only a “few thousand” remaining.

Speaking on Thursday, Hamdok said “not many” Sudanese forces remain in Yemen.

Hamdok, who is leading the country’s transitional government in a power-sharing pact with the military, further stated that he will be “absolutely” able to withdraw the remaining troops from Yemen.

The new prime minster said his government had “inherited” the deployment in Yemen from Sudan’s former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir who was ousted following a popular uprising against his rule in April.

Hamdok pledged to “address” the country’s involvement in the Saudi-led war “in the near future” without further elaborating on the matter.

While Sudanese officials have abstained from publishing official casualty numbers in Yemen, Yemen’s armed forces have said a total 4,253 Sudanese troops have been killed in the conflict.

The developments come as the Saudi-led mission in Yemen has come to a standstill due to the resistance and increasingly sophisticated attacks of Yemeni forces.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Riyadh’s most influential partner in the war, was reported to have withdrawn most of its troops from Yemen.

UAE officials have reached the conclusion that the war has become “unwinnable” and that the Houthis will eventually “have a role in the future in Yemen”, reports said.

Fearing a long-lasting quagmire in Yemen, Riyadh has also been reportedly seeking to negotiate an end to the conflict through discussions with the Houthis.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | 1 Comment

Update On New York’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crunch

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | December 3, 2019

As I have noted many times before, this whole green energy thing is all just so much talk until the point hits where energy shortages start to emerge or consumer prices begin to soar. At that point, the people will notice. And then, how will the politics shift? Will the politicians press forward with green energy — and impose energy deprivation on the people in the process? Or will they promptly back off the green energy blather, and return to the cheap and reliable fossil fuels?

Here in New York, where professing the green religion is the indispensable ticket to entry into polite society, we’re in the early phases of seeing this process play out. Out there in the hinterlands, you may be interested in the dynamics.

Our Governor Andrew Cuomo clearly thirsts to be part of polite society. Same with the members of the legislature. Thus, fealty to green orthodoxy must be regularly demonstrated. Result: We have had one measure after another over the past several years to restrict fossil fuels and promote energy from wind and solar sources. First came an outright ban on fracking in the state for oil and gas, imposed in 2014 despite the fact that a broad swath of upstate sits right atop the rich Marcellus shale formation. Then came the blocking of two major pipeline enhancements across the Hudson River and New York Harbor, most recently a denial in May of this year of a water quality permit for a cross-harbor project. Then there have been announcements of plans for multiple massive pie-in-the-sky wind and solar projects — none of which, however, has actually begun construction. In June the legislature passed a law (signed by the Guv) declaring that the entire state of New York will be “carbon neutral” by 2050!

But is any of this stuff real, in the sense that it will stand up when the crunch hits?

In August, the first inklings of the crunch began to hit. As I reported on September 3, after the cross-harbor pipeline was blocked in May, the natural gas utility named National Grid, which covers Long Island (including the parts of New York City known as Brooklyn and Queens) announced that it could not accept any additional gas customers. By August, some 3000 potential customers in that area had been denied service. These included people who had just renovated a house and now found that they had no functioning heat system, and others who planned to open restaurants but now found they had no functioning stove or oven. Within days, the affected customers were all over their state legislators, and the legislators were demanding action.

In other words, we had upon us a one hundred percent self-inflicted impending crisis, about 90% of it the personal responsibility of the Governor, with maybe a 10% assist from the legislature. So how has the Governor reacted? If the answer is not obvious to you, then you clearly will never qualify for political office.

The answer is that the Governor reacted by blaming National Grid. On November 12 he issued a letter to the utility, claiming that it had failed to provide “adequate and reliable service,” and threatening to revoke its operating permit unless it immediately resumed acceptance of new customers in its service area. Excerpt:

The essential responsibility for a utility to provide adequate and reliable service is to manage the supply and demand. The very lack of supply you now point to as the reason for your denial of service to thousands of customers exhibits your failure to plan for supply needs. Your fundamental legal obligation as mandated by your certificate of operation was to plan and provide for future needs. You failed by your own admission.

But hadn’t they made a perfectly reasonable plan for a pipeline that then got blocked by the Governor himself? That doesn’t count!

National Grid has made clear that its only plan for future supply was based on a single, speculative project: construction of a private pipeline through New Jersey and New York. The plan to build such a pipeline was risky at best. . . . There are existing short-term options to contract for non-piped gas from other sources, which National Grid either deliberately, negligently or incompetently did not secure. National Grid should have explored all options before denying service. Gas can be trucked, shipped, or barged. . . .

The only meaningful “risk” of the pipeline was that the Governor himself (or his minions) would disapprove. Anyway, instead of a safely buried pipeline, are we now going to have thousands of trucks bringing highly-explosive natural gas across the George Washington Bridge to get to Long Island? I’ll bet Cuomo didn’t clear that one with his environmentalist friends. (And by the way, don’t even think about moving the gas by rail. Federal regulations currently do not permit transport of liquefied natural gas by rail at all. However, there is a proposal by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration — I’ll bet you never heard of that one — to begin to allow such transport. Your comments on the proposed rulemaking are due December 23.)

And I’ll also bet that the response of National Grid will not surprise you. They crumbled like a stale cookie. On November 25 they agreed to resume hookups, and also to pay a “penalty” of some $36 million for the period of the moratorium. Presumably, they continue to have at least a small amount of spare capacity in existing pipelines that will permit additional hookups for perhaps a few months until new supply alternatives are in place. Supposedly there will now be a “study” of how to make additional supply available. The only option that makes any sense is the pipeline.

So great victory there Cuomo. You went to battle against the evil utility, and like David against Goliath you emerged victorious. Except, let’s have a review of what this “victory” looks like:

  • Progress toward green energy? Of course not. At this point there is no reasonable alternative to natural gas for most home heating and cooking. One way or another, you have to let the people have their natural gas.

  • To be brought in by truck rather than pipeline? How is that a victory for anybody? Trucks are far more costly, far more dangerous, and far more likely to have adverse environmental effects.

But how about all those offshore wind turbines that are supposedly on the way? According to this piece at Smart Energy on October 28, New York finally let its first major contract for an offshore wind development on that date. The capacity will be 880 MW, although readers here will know that it will deliver at best a third of that over the course of a year, and at unpredictable times. There is no indication that construction has begun, or when it might begin.

Essentially, our Governor has patched together a temporary kludge to paper over the uselessness of his green energy schemes for another few months or years, until the next piece of the crunch hits. Yes, this can go on for quite a while. But not forever. Meanwhile, it’s very hard to underestimate the stupidity of the New York electorate.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

‘Expulsion of Russian diplomats over Berlin murder case suits trend of blaming Moscow for everything, whether it’s true or not’

RT | December 5, 2019

Germany seems to be joining the cohort of those playing the old-time blame-Russia game, having expelled two diplomats citing Moscow’s unwillingness to help probe a murder of a suspected terrorist on its soil.

On a sunny day in August, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili – formerly a Chechen militant suspected of terrorist activity in Russia and a Georgian national – set off for his last walk through the Kleiner Tiergarten park located in one of Berlin’s central boroughs. Not long after that, he was shot dead in broad daylight by an assassin who allegedly used a silenced pistol to do the job.

The high-profile murder case returned to the spotlight when Berlin made a bold move expelling two Russian diplomats.

The official rationale was that “we’ve not seen that Russia backs us in inquiring into the murder,” as Chancellor Angela Merkel mildly put it. Germany’s Foreign Office, on their part, echoed Merkel’s points but stated that “serious and immediate participation by the Russian authorities is still required.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was surprised by Berlin’s accusations, telling the press he couldn’t comprehend what led Germany to believe Russia was involved in the killing.

“We have communications channels set up for our law enforcement agencies … these should be used. If our German partners claim that Russia doesn’t cooperate enough, I don’t know what that assessment is based upon.”

The Prosecutor General’s Office that took over the probe claimed of having “sufficient factual evidence that the killing may have been ordered by state authorities of the Russian Federation or the autonomous Republic of Chechnya which is a part of Russia.” They have not revealed any details.

Berlin was “absolutely reluctant” to deteriorate its relationships with Russia which “are not in as good shape as they ought to be,” according to political analyst Dr. Werner Patzelt. Thus, he believes expelling the diplomats “was something like a final resort” to make Moscow co-operate.

But the fact that no evidence was presented made some German politicians very uneasy.

“That the federal government singles out two Russian diplomats, although the investigation is still going on, is difficult to understand without having clear information,” said Alexander Lambsdorff, vice-president of the Free Democrats’ (FDP) parliamentary group.

The media immediately started making comparisons with the Skripal poisoning saga over the Russian connection. There’s one similarity with the British case – there was no evidence presented to the public, but the blaming started immediately.

For years, there has been a “tendency to blame Russia for this and that, beginning with the putsch in Kiev, and the MH17 crash in Ukraine, the Skripal case and now this,” Willy Wimmer, former Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, told RT.

Western Europeans are concerned “that everything is used to blame Russia whether it’s true or not,” he argued. The German authorities who expelled the Russian diplomats, “have to say more,” Wimmer urged, adding, “they have to explain why they did it and if there is really enough evidence to create problems for our diplomatic relations.”

Germany has been under pressure the US and some other Western allies over its business relations with Russia, in particular the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline that Washington pledged to sanction.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

French Black Bloc’s utter uselessness… except to the French government

By Ramin Mazaheri – The Saker Blog – December 5, 2019

On December 5th France’s long, long, LONG-awaited General Strike against austerity measures began, and it was a huge success: 90% of trains were shut down nationwide, there was an unprecedented walk out by teachers, and as many as 1.5 million people marched despite temperatures near zero.

And yet the march in Paris was a total failure.

For nearly four hours I watched perhaps 500 Black Bloc members hijack the front of the march and stop an estimated 250,000 people from moving.

Just 500 unarmed Black Bloc – not battle-hardened, insane Daesh terrorists – stopped a quarter million people from advancing for FOUR hours!

The length of the delay was the only really notable aspect, because as far as violent demonstrations in Paris go it was pretty tame. A big reason for that is because the bottleneck Black Bloc chose meant cops couldn’t attack them from many angles.

However, I restate the facts: not Daesh, not armed, 1 Black Bloc for every 250 protesters, 4 hours of protester kettling (if you want to call one-way kettling, “kettling”).

December 5th was thus obviously a major victory for Black Bloc and their online propaganda, and for another reason as well: The bottleneck was also right in front one of the biggest union community centres in Paris. Black Bloc overturned a huge construction trailer and set it ablaze right in front of the center, which I’m sure is covered in black smoke tonight. Clearly, Black Bloc was expressing their total disregard for the unions and trying to say on a day which was to be lead by unions that Black Bloc was more powerful.

That’s understandable, for reasons I’ve listed here and elsewhere. This puts Black Bloc on the side of the Yellow Vests.

But only on this issue. The huge, flaming difference is that Yellow Vests are not about to violate the human right of their fellow citizens to march, AND on such an important day, AND at a protest where the whole point is to show how united the nation’s masses are against the 1%.

Hijacking the march simply defied logic of all who reject violent anarchism as a political goal: On Day 1 of the General Strike the whole point was to show Emmanuel Macron that national unity was strong enough to force the withdrawal of the still shrouded in mystery, far-right neoliberal, never before seen anywhere in the world, one-size-fits-all pension system. The demand of the protest couldn’t have been more nationally ratified, and yet Black Bloc’s actions showed that they insist that THEY are the vanguard party which is allowed to reject any democratically national ratification of something as important as preventing old-age poverty.

Do Black Blockers not want a pension, too?

They don’t matter: there are only 2 questions for Parisians to ask tonight.

How did this happen? What should be done?

There are only a few explanations possible for why 500 Black Bloc should have overpowered the 7-8000 cops drafted to be in Paris that day:

1) Black Bloc is better armed.

This is absolutely not the case, and it just takes one look at a French riot cop to agree. Their entire bodies are defended from pain, whereas Black Bloc usually only has a mask. As far as offensive weapons Black Bloc doesn’t have many of those – otherwise, why were we all watching them break down a bus stop with their hands and feet a few hours ago? Why are they always digging up pavement for rocks to throw? Since the Bataclan attacks and subsequent 2-year state of emergency there are up to 10,000 warrantless searches of protesters at every major demonstration in France to prevent the appearance of violent weapons.

2) French cops are cowards.

They simply didn’t want to take them on, despite having far greater numbers, offensive weapons and defensive protection. Countless times I have heard this from Yellow Vests, who are pointing to Black Bloc, then to cops, then asking me to explain why cops aren’t earning their taxpayer-funded salaries and huge benefits.

3) French cops have orders from above to not engage with Black Bloc.

This is obviously partly the answer. Time after time French cops have stood and stared as Black Bloc tore up public property. At at the 1-year anniversary march last month cops watched Black Bloc deface a national monument and tear it apart for projectiles – all cops cared about was keeping protesters trapped inside the roundabout so they could not protest peacefully: Violence discredits protesters with the average person, obviously, and so cops/the government purposely provoke situations of violence/allows them to continue. On December 5th it was nearly three hours before cops seriously tried to disperse Black Bloc so that protest could take place.

4) Black Bloc is infiltrated by cops.

This is what everybody says, and why shouldn’t we believe it? If three or four young cops dress in black and all stand together, everybody in Black Bloc will obviously think: “Well, he must be ok, he’s got a few friends.” This is what I have long attested because I have seen Black Bloc commit crimes and do such absurd actions that nobody who gave a damn about any of the protest goals would possibly commit them, such were the heinousness of said actions. Attacking the Necker Childrens’ Hospital in 2016, at the height of the labor code rollback protests, is the most flagrant example I have debunked, but I have witnessed countless others.

Everybody knew Black Bloc was coming December 5th. Everyone also knew they were coming on May 1, world climate march day in September, the Yellow Vest 1-year anniversary and multiple other Yellow Vest days earlier in the year, and yet Black Bloc ran amok on all of them, except on May 1.

I say they didn’t dominate on May 1 because that was still quite close to when the Yellow Vests were really big: in late March the government started banning protests, gave orders to cops initiate “engagement” with protesters, and basically scared the average person away via threats of arrests, searches, fines, prison sentences, tons of tear gas and bodily harm. So May 1 was simply lined with cops from start to finish, and they ultimately kettled everyone section by section, which also prevented a united march and which also provoked the Salpêtrière Hospital Hoax, which I throughly debunked here.

Everybody knows Black Bloc is coming because these teenagers/young adults are all bragging about it online openly. There were obvious solutions to stop them, none of which are even taken.

Solutions to protect the right to protest… which are never taken

1) Put a 1,000-strong police contingent at the front of the march.

This is obviously not desirable, but at what point does France become wiling to sacrifice aesthetics for a successful, peaceful protest? The French adore their aesthetics, and this is why they keep losing and have become so faithless but sell out painting museums, but shouldn’t peace and order prevail?

2) Forbid anyone wearing all black from marching, or at least from congregating in large numbers.

This not only violates French ideas of the vital necessity of fashion rights, but also their notion of liberty of expression. What they fail to realise is that they are caring more about liberty of personal expression than they are about the human right to demonstrate – which is the highest social expression there is: political – and on a macro level.

3) Demand unions provide security, if they don’t want cops to be there.

The head of the cortege is reserved for the union bigwigs – they are not going to push past Black Bloc. To me, this makes them not worthy of bigwiggedness, but if security cannot be ensured at the head of the cortege they have to fall back behind their own security members. I have zero doubt that rail workers and steel workers are tougher than Black Bloc – this type of union security is always present at such demos for the union elite and they do not mess around. Unions have to provide better security.

4) Citizens must stand up and push past Black Bloc.

Ultimately, the only way to defeat Black Bloc is if the average citizen pushes past them time after time. Full stop.

It is clear that cops are not going to help.

Union security most likely pleads that this is the cops’ job, so they are not going to help either.

And the People should have pushed past them on December 5: I couldn’t believe how long they waited. I would have pushed past them out of sheer annoyance! Out of sheer cold, just to get the blood moving! For three consecutive hours I did live interviews at the same place at Place de la Republique. “Who on earth is leading this demonstration, and why are they just standing there and not rallying the troops,” I wondered repeatedly?!

The discrediting of protests by Black Bloc is a tactic which is old, obvious and a guaranteed winner for the reactionary side. There is absolutely no reason why the huge, huge crowd – I initially wondered if it was the biggest since Charlie Hebdo, it was so big – chose to wait 4 hours just 20 meters from wide-open Place de la Republique.

Therefore, if cops, unions and the government are unwilling to confront Black Bloc it is the job of media to encourage all citizens to push past them and to not be pushed around them.

Before you start to laugh… I know such a call will never be voiced by France’s Mainstream Media. That is a shame – it would work, such a media campaign. What else can I do but my little part here?

I can’t stress enough how much protesters – especially the truly politically engaged ones – hate Black Bloc for discrediting them. They told me to discredit them in my PressTV report, and I did, and with their willing quotes.

The people who liked Black Bloc on December 5 were the young students…who are NEVER at Yellow Vest demonstrations, as I explained here. These newbies thought the rather piddling level of smashing and the 2 or 3 fires were some kind of big deal. To that I say “Hah! The damage was way, way, way worse at least 20 other times this year but you, young Paris punk, were too cool or too scared to join us.” I must admit that Black Bloc provides a beat-up protester populace, like the Yellow Vests, with a sense of satisfaction: “Yeah, give the cops a taste of their own medicine,” is a thought impossible not to have when you have been tear gassed all day… and all month, and all year. However, Johnny-come-lately students have done NOTHING to merit a sense of justified revenge – therefore, they are merely revelling in excitement and sensuality, in typical Parisian fashion, to the total detriment of a national political movement.

The General Strike is the union’s baby – either they win, or they lose face nationally in a perhaps fatal fashion, meaning nobody will take them seriously anymore (the Yellow Vests already don’t). The Yellow Vests are secondary now, and they are happy, mostly, to “converge forces”, finally: they tried to force the government’s hand and could only win some minor concessions but they all know that they obviously, undoubtedly provided the spark for the General Strike. They have redeemed France’s revolutionary heritage (which I explained here).

What Black Bloc did was pure thuggery because all they wanted to do was show their force. That’s what thugs do – thugs are thugs because they are willing to use violence where and at levels normal, good people will not. But a thug’s victory is small potatoes, and short-lived.

They were in charge of the union-led protest for a few hours, but they didn’t possibly overtake the lead of the unions on the General Strike issue: no worker is abandoning their union’s counsel for Black Bloc’s online ranting about “revolution” because of what occurred in Paris on December 5. Their actions were pure self-aggrandisement or sabotage of national unity, and the vast majority of protesters already believed that for years. Black Bloc did not at all beat up cops and replace them as the nation’s toughest force – there wasn’t even a confrontation!

When I see Black Bloc smashing something my usual journalistic play-by-play is along the lines of, “Take that! You convenient stand-in for my father!

Just… pathetic. Childish. Inflated sense of importance. Check the scoreboard two paragraphs up – you are the only ones impressed with yourselves, Black Blockers.

And so, the Paris protest debacle notwithstanding – which was obviously orchestrated by the French Deep State (what else should we call the illegal infiltration of Black Bloc?) in order to give plenty of protest-besmirching footage to the Mainstream Media, which is in cahoots with the 1% and the aristocrats which France calls a Parliament – the General Strike is off to a great start! Huge turnout, 70% support – a great, historic start, indeed.

France will be shut down this weekend for certain – we’re all waiting to see if the strike is still strong next week? The government will finally reveal the details of the pension reform next week, which will surely inflame people even more.

Black Bloc… thanks for nothing, as usual. Your father was right: you’re incredibly weak (socially and politically).

In fact, you’re now old news, already.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment