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Roger Stone Shines New Light on Russia-Gate Hoax

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

As if more evidence was needed to debunk the pathetic narrative that the Russians hacked the DNC computers during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump confidant Roger Stone, currently on trial for lying during the Mueller inquisition released an important truth to the light of day on May 10th. During a court filing, Stone’s lawyers finally gave a voice for the first time in an official setting to former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, who has been fighting to have his testimony heard by special prosecutor Robert Mueller for nearly two years to no avail.

Binney’s incredible array of forensic evidence demonstrating the impossibility of a Russian hack brings the focus back to the real motive behind Russia-Gate: The destruction of the potential alliance between Russia and a reformed USA under a non-technocratic leader.

The Story so Far

For those who are unaware, Trump advisor and long-time friend Roger Stone is under indictment for his alleged role in the broad “conspiracy to coordinate the Russian-led intervention” into the 2016 elections and for lying to Mueller. He is also pleading not guilty to accusations of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. If the facts now show that there was never any Russian hacking, it follows that the case against both Stone and President Trump should be rendered null and void.

In a nine page motion to suppress ill-gotten evidence now being used against Roger Stone, his lawyers made the point that the entire case, including all warrants to collect evidence were contingent upon the pre-supposition that the Russians irrefutably hacked the DNC computers and provided the data to WikiLeaks. The motion stated: “It is clear. . . that the government has relied on the assumptions made by a source outside of the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian State was involved in the hacking and that the data taken from the various servers were given to WikiLeaks… The government does not have the evidence, and it knew it did not have the evidence, when it applied for these search warrants.”

Bill Binney’s Voice is Finally Heard

Stone’s motion includes expert testimony by Bill Binney whose forensic evidence proved conclusively that the 49.1 megabytes per second download speed of emails from DNC servers on May 23-25th, 2016 which were uploaded to WikiLeaks could not possibly have occurred through the means of a hack of any source external to the USA but rather COULD ONLY have occurred via a thumb drive such as that which DNC staffer Seth Rich conducted and released to WikiLeaks before his murder on July 10th, 2016.

In spite of having briefed CIA Director Mike Pompeo at Trump’s personal request in October 2017, Binney has been blocked for two years from providing expert testimony during the $26 million inquisition. Binney’s affidavit states in part: “WikiLeaks did not receive the stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files that were acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive physically local to the DNC.”

Much of the evidence used in Stone’s motion was featured first by Binney, alongside his colleague Larry Johnson (former CIA analyst) in a February 13th memo “Why the DNC was not Hacked by the Russians” which provide a mountain of information overthrowing the Mueller narrative. In the memo and affidavit, Binney also demonstrates that the file information of the WikiLeaks emails includes evidence that they were registered under a FAT file system since all of the time stamps were rounded off to even last numbers. If the files were acquired via a Russian hack, Binney explains that there would be no such rounding of numbers but an equal distribution of even and odd time stamps.

Lastly, Binney points out the absurdity that anti-Russian private security firm CrowdStrike admitted that they observed that supposed Russian hackers began penetrating DNC servers on May 6th, 2016 yet chose to do nothing until June 10th, 2016. For these reasons Stone is demanding unredacted copies of CrowdStrike’s forensic reports which have never been made public. CrowdStrike had a monopoly on all DNC computers and other physical evidence at the time, which has never been made accessible to the FBI or any other government agency.

More Layers of Narrative Crumble

With the destruction of the Russia-Gate story, a yet higher, long standing and more poisonous narrative is ready to crumble. This century-old narrative states that America is the rightful heir to the British Empire and must co-rule a post-nation state world order together under an “Anglo-American special relationship”. In the 20th century this view was promoted by anglophile puppet presidents on both sides of the aisle.

While all truly nationalist American leaders from 1776 to the present have fought against the British Imperial system which has poisoned America from within since its earliest days, the unfortunate majority of American political leaders have been either witless puppets at best and outright agents of the British deep state at worst. The seeds of the deep state were established by pro-Monarchist families that chose to remain in America after the “United Empire Loyalists” ran off to set up English-speaking Canada in 1783 creating a base for British operations into the Americas ever since.  Such mini dynastic clans such as the Bushes, the Mueller family, the Morgans, Duponts etc. are heirs to this unfortunate disease today (1). Every political leader who arose in defense of America’s constitutional traditions faced this British deep state cancer embedded within the Republic and many gave their lives in the fight. It is of note that eight presidents have died in office during the Republic’s short experience, and it should not surprise anyone to hear that all eight were actively opposing in various degrees; Wall Street control of finances within America and British Imperial intrigues abroad (2).

Many of America’s greatest patriots fought hard to ally America with Russia. The historic friendship of Russia and America began in the earliest days of the American Revolution with Catherine the Great’s League of Armed Neutrality and again came alive with Russia’s intervention on Lincoln’s behalf during the Civil War. Amidst a sea of British-intrigue it again congealed under the friendship of Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin who realized they had more in common with each other than either had with Sir Winston Churchill.

Now that Donald Trump and his allies are increasingly free of the shackles of the Mueller hoax, we are witnessing an incredible potential breakthrough as the June 27-28th G20 emerges where Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping will be meeting. Since the earliest days of the 2016 election campaign, President Trump has distinguished himself apart from the technocrats and neo-con puppets infecting America’s elite by stating repeatedly how “friendship with Russia and China is a good thing”, and has continued to display a policy orientation preferring a revival of America’s genuinely nationalist interests and cooperation with Russia and China in opposition to many war mongers within his own cabinet.

Although these revelations of May 10th may not appear to be a large matter, we must recall that it was a single Stone that took down Goliath.

(1) Much of this story is exposed in the 1984 book Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman by Anton Chaitkin.

(2) William Harrison (1840), Zachary Taylor (1850), Abraham Lincoln (1865), James Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901), Warren Hardin (1923), Franklin Roosevelt (1945), John F. Kennedy (1963). Additionally, noteworthy assassinated figures include Alexander Hamilton (1804), Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) and leading Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy (1968)

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

OPCW, Douma and the Post Truth World

By James O’Neill – New Eastern Outlook – 21.05.2019

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into effect on 29 April 1997. 193 Member States of the United Nations have ratified it. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the United Nations body charged with the task of monitoring compliance with the CWC. It is based in The Hague. Among its powers are the powers to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons, and (since June 2018) the power to assign blame.

The investigations are carried out by a Fact Finding Mission, which compromises a team of experts from the relevant scientific disciplines. Additional technical assistance is frequently sought from bodies external to the OPCW, typically university departments.

The use of chemical weapons, apart from being banned under the CWC, can constitute war crimes and/or crimes under the civil jurisdiction of the country where they are used. As with any forensic examination of a crime scene, the integrity of the investigation process and any conclusions reached must accord with the highest standards of professional practice.

The work of the OPCW has had a high profile in the past two years because of three well-publicized incidents. The first of these was the alleged use of sarin gas in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykun on 4th of April 2017.

Less than one week after the alleged attack, the United States government released his own intelligence report in which they expressed their “confidence” that the Syrian ‘regime’ had used sarin against its own people. On this unsourced and uninvestigated, much less forensically examined incident, the United States launched a barrage of cruise missiles against Syrian targets. That this response was itself a gross violation of international law was barely considered by the mainstream media at the time, so content were (and are) they in demonizing the Syrian government and in particular its President Bashar al Assad.

The OPCW report of the incident was no better than the US intelligence estimate. Without having visited the site, and without meeting minimum forensic standards such as determining a proper chain of custody, the OPCW in its October 2017 report nonetheless attributed the release of sarin gas to the Syrian government.

The second incident to receive wide publicity, expressions of outrage from western governments and large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats, was the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, in March 2018.

The UK government, again before any scientific investigation and a proper conclusion could be reached, announced in parliament the first of its many versions or what they alleged had happened. The manifold absurdities of the U.K. Governments explanation as to what happened to the Skripals is outside the scope of this article. They are usefully summarised by British researcher Rob Slane.

In the Salisbury case, the OPCW investigators arrived at the scene nearly three weeks after the incident and then produced a report that is a masterpiece of obfuscation. Without actually rebutting the UK government’s version, they also failed to confirm it. They would only refer to the “toxic chemical compound which displays the properties of a nerve agent” as being found in the biomedical and environmental samples provided to them by the UK government.

One clue as to the reason for this caution is that the samples analysed by the OPCW were said to be of “high purity”, something that is literally impossible if examined weeks after the event. As with Khan Shaykun, evidence and logic did not feature in the responses of either the western governments who expelled Russian diplomats, or the western mainstream media that blamed the Russians. Then as now, the official government version is the least likely scenario of several possible versions.

Had the OPCW properly investigated the incident, and perhaps more importantly released the full details of its investigation, including the real cause of the Skripal’s illness, the Russian blame game would not have travelled the distance that it has.

Only a month after the Salisbury events, and perhaps coincidentally, there was another alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government on civilians in the city of Douma.

Douma was an area held by the Al Qaeda linked terrorist group, Jaysh-al-Islam. The Syrian army was on the verge of recapturing the city. Jaysh-al-Islam had a powerful motive to try and enlist the support of the US led “Coalition” that has been illegally occupying Syrian territory since 2015. Australia is a member of that coalition, and the only justification given for that participation (by then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in November 2015) is simply nonsense from the viewpoint of international law.

At the time of the alleged attack, the western media were full of images of dead persons including children, the claimed activities of the so-called humanitarian White Helmets personnel, and pictures of two cylindrical objects purportedly used to spread the chemical agents that caused the death of the pictured victims.

The OPCW team began its on-site investigations in April-May 2018. It obtained expert assistance from two European universities as well as its own internal experts. The final report was issued on 1st of March 2019, long after western media and politicians had not only taken the view that the Syrian government was responsible, but that it ought to be punished. Part of that response was a missile attack by United States, United Kingdom and French forces long before the OPCW team had commenced, let alone concluded, their investigation. As with the Khan Shaykun missile attack a year earlier, this latest attack was also a breach of international law.

What the OPCW report failed to disclose were the conclusions of an internal report by its own experts of their assessment as to what had actually happened. That suppressed report has now been leaked. Its findings are devastating, not only to the credibility of the OPCW, already damaged by the Khan Shaykun and Salisbury reports, but also to the credibility of the western mainstream media and western politicians.

Both of these groups had sought to blame the Syrian government and its principal backers, Russia Iran and Hezbollah, in the most extreme terms, and utterly without regard to the most basic principles of international law, forensic methodology, and the need to establish an evidential foundation before taking precipitate action which in this case could have had catastrophic consequences.

The suppressed report was signed by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW staffer since 1998. Dr Henderson’s team applied the laws of physics and engineering to the results of their empirical observations. A detailed analysis of the Henderson report can be found in Paul McKeigue et al Briefing Note on the Final Report of the OPCW Fact-finding Mission on the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma in April 2018.

The OPCW team led by Dr Henderson inspected the locations where the aforementioned cylinders were found (and widely photographed) as well as the alleged associated damage to the buildings. They concluded that the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scenes were inconsistent with those cylinders having been dropped from an aircraft. That they were manually placed where they were photographed “is the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.

McKeigue et al referred to the findings set out in their earlier Briefing Note and concluded “these findings, taken together, establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged”.

Those conclusions raised a number of obvious questions. The first is, how did the victims, so graphically displayed, actually die? The forensic evidence clearly shows that these victims were undoubtedly hung upside down, their eyes blindfolded, and then murdered with exposure to a toxic chemical. Their bodies were then transported to the location where they were photographed, to form the pictorial backdrop to the allegations of a chemical attack by Syrian government forces.

The terrorists were the only ones with the means, motive and opportunity to murder these victims and then arrange the scenes for their propaganda purposes. It is an irresistible inference that in these staged scenes they were aided and abetted by the White Helmets. Far from being a neutral humanitarian group, the White Helmets, trained by the British, are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem.

The second question Dr Henderson’s report raises is in two parts: why did the OPCW suppress this report and not include its findings in the OPCW final report released in March 2019; and why have the western media, including Australia, completely failed to report both the fact of the suppression of the crucial evidence in Dr Henderson’s report, and the substance of the fact-finding missions conclusions?

It is a measure of the disgraceful state that the western mainstream media have fallen into, that they refuse to report, much less analyse, vital information that could easily have led to a major war between the United States and its allies (including Australia) and Russia.

At the time that the United States, United Kingdom and France were announcing their intention to attack Syria in retaliation for the Douma incident, the Russian military warned that if the missiles targeted their serviceman they would not only destroy the missiles but the carriers from which they were fired. There is no doubting their capacity to do so (Martyanov Losing Military Supremacy 2018). A full-scale war could easily have eventuated.

The final point is that any future OPCW reports must inevitably be treated with a degree of skepticism. The international community, and undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of the member states that signed the CWC are concerned that such an important body has been compromised in this way. It is not too difficult to infer that political pressure had been applied to all three of the investigations noted here.

It is too much to expect that our mainstream media and the politicians will issue a mea culpa after this latest exposure of their duplicity and sacrifice of principle and probity in pursuit of US geopolitical aims. Perhaps in the future however, they will be less quick to condemn and take actions that could so very easily lead to another war based on lies and imperial hubris.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Has OPCW Become a Four-Letter Word?

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

The information war between those who believe that OPCW investigations in Syria over the chemical attack of Douma in 2018 was staged – verses those who choose to believe the West’s blithe claim that Assad poisoned his own people – is more or less over.

In recent months a number of curious elements of the investigation have been questioned by cynics who don’t swallow the West’s assertion that President Assad was dropping chemicals – sarin or chlorine – on his own people, such as the delay in the reaction of the OPCW itself in getting investigators there on the ground, through to the obvious bias of the way the investigation was handled. There was always a whiff of something quite unsavoury about the probe into the Douma chemical attack, which we should not forget resulted in air strikes being carried out in April of 2018 by France, the US and the UK.

And now we know what it is and a great deal of the mystery around the OPCW and its investigation can now be revealed.

The report was doctored.

Evidence which has emerged this week shows how, critically, engineers who were commissioned to carry out studies more or less immediately after the attack, had their findings blocked from making it into the final report, which was an opaque dossier which failed to really nail Assad, but also carefully avoided any suggestion that the West had set up the whole thing, using its Al Qaeda mercenaries in the region, which had been actually seen a couple of weeks earlier being trained by UK special forces in how to go about using chlorine.

Originally many skeptics such as myself were astounded that so much time had passed before the OPCW seemed to move – given that western figures like the then UK foreign minister Boris Johnson spoke about “evidence” and being “certain” that Assad had carried out the attack.

We now know though why it appeared that they hadn’t sent investigators there on the ground immediately. They had. But their findings proved controversial and didn’t support the West’s narrative that Assad had done the deed.

According to an incendiary report just published by a mostly British academic Assad-leaning group, the engineers’ findings – that the cylinder tanks were almost certainly not dropped from the air – were completely left out of the final report. Crucially, if this element had been put into it, the West would have had to admit that it had really got it wrong on Assad and that its own governments were faking the theatre of war, not to mention the fake news which is fed to MSM outlets in the days after. Who could, after all, forget the BBC report from the hospital showing the victims in agony, which finally was revealed to be staged video footage handed to the BBC who took it hook, line and sinker.

But now the cat is fully out of the bag. The OCPW report itself was also heavily redacted.

“It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation. The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers” says firebrand maverick politico George Galloway on twitter.

But if this report is correct in its assertions, then we can be sure that most of what is being reported by western media is entirely false and part of a longer term strategy to build the case against Iran to carry out a strike “defending” the West. Just in the last few days there are reports of John Bolton planning to send 120,000 US troops to the region to intimidate Iran into accepting the demands of Trump over its weapons program. This coincides with an elaborate series of minor fake news stories over Iran presenting itself as a “threat” to the US, justifying a US aircraft carrier being sent to the Persian Gulf amidst tensions from reports of Iran moving troops to prepare itself to be on the receiving end of a strike. And then the oil tankers attacked off the UAE shores which the same fake news machine is hinting was done by Iran – which most seasoned hacks know could have easily been staged by the Saudis or Emiratis [or Mossad]. It’s interesting how no one was hurt in the so-called attacks.

But if the OPCW can get away with this report and its false assertion, then it’s hard to see how we can expect to understand what is really happening in the middle east if we are to rely on reporters working for western agencies who are happy to play their role in this nefarious ruse of Trump’s. If the truth about Douma is as ghastly as we are led to believe – i.e staged by the West so as to build the case against Iran and its proxies – then we shouldn’t be remotely surprised by the histrionics of tankers being attacked in the same region, with no casualties and Iran being accused, with no evidence. It’s hard to not be shocked by the implications of the doctored report and harder to understand how biased and poor western newsrooms have become over reporting on the region, with the BBC continuing to plummet in terms of standards of fact checking. The lack of on air corrections is also hardly edifying. We’re living in a new era, with a new syndrome. And it’s called O.P.C.W.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Who is this woman?’ Kremlin denies any connection to scandal that brought down Austrian VC

RT | May 20, 2019

The Kremlin has dismissed the notion that it played a role in a scandal that prompted the resignation of Austria’s vice-chancellor, noting that the videotaped discussion about a potential shady deal has no known links to Russia.

“I can’t assess the appearance of this video because it doesn’t apply to either the Russian Federation or the president or the government,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday. “We don’t know for sure who this woman is, whether she is Russian, whether she is a Russian national. Therefore, this story doesn’t and can’t have anything to do with us,” he said, referring to the alleged “Russian oligarch’s niece” featured in the video.

Last week two German publications, Spiegel and Suddeutsche Zeitung, released clips of a video showing a July 2017 meeting at an Ibiza villa, in which Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) and vice-chancellor of Austria, and Johann Gudenus, Strache’s protégé and senior figure in the FPO, discuss a scheme involving a woman identified as “Alena Makarova” by Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

In the video, the men chat with the mysterious woman – billed as the niece of Russian oligarch Igor Makarov – about how she could buy a majority share in Austria’s major tabloid, Kronen Zeitung, and use it to prop up FPO’s bid in the October 2017 national election.

However, the woman in the video has not been identified – and Igor Makarov is an only child and therefore doesn’t have any nieces.
Also on rt.com ‘I was only child’: Russian oligarch denies links to woman in epicenter of Austrian leak scandal

Strache, who resigned as vice-chancellor after the video emerged, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the leaked footage lacks key details and that its publication two years after the events was a “political assassination.”

The scandal was jumped on by the Western press, which used it as an example of alleged Kremlin influence in Europe, especially among right-wing political parties.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | 1 Comment

Mossad Psychic Friends Network Strikes Again

By Helen Buyniski | Aletho News | May 20, 2019

The Trump administration’s war hawks couldn’t have asked for a more docile casus belli than the Katyusha rocket that landed a mile outside the US embassy in Baghdad’s American-occupied Green Zone on Sunday night, sparing persons, property, and the pride of a president who must have begun to doubt whether the mounting tensions between the US and Iran had any basis in reality at all – or whether the deliberately vague “credible intelligence” on the Iranian “threat” supplied by the Mossad was not a trick to convince the US to take out Israel’s last regional rival.

The plucky little rocket injured no one, and the launcher that fired it was immediately recovered by Iraqi security services in a canal in East Baghdad, which Israeli media breathlessly reported is “home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.” Authorities found no clues as to who had fired the rocket, but a narrative trap was clearly being laid. “Non-emergency” US government personnel had been safely bundled out of the Iraqi embassy by the State Department last Wednesday, supposedly due to an “imminent threat” from Iran, and even Exxon-Mobil had interrupted its plunder of Iraq’s resources, pulling 30 engineers off a Basra oil field as a “temporary precautionary measure.”

Despite its apparent futility as an offensive measure, the lonely rocket fulfills the purposefully broad criteria set forth by “Rapture Mike” Pompeo earlier this month when he warned that any attacks on “US interests or citizens” by “Iran or its proxies” would be met with a “swift and decisive” response. In a “coincidence” that should surprise no one, the malignant manatee followed those remarks with a statement celebrating Israel’s National Day and promising to “work toward a safer, more stable, and more prosperous” – and presumably depopulated of all those pesky Persians – “Middle East.”

Trump met with Bolton and other members of his cabinet on Sunday night to discuss the strike. While the State Department made ominous noises, its statement officially found no responsibility as yet; the president, however, had apparently made up his mind who to blame, and Bolton made up his mind decades ago.

It’s unlikely this will be the last provocation. Despite an “emergency” visit from Pompeo to Baghdad earlier this month in which he paid lip service to Iraqi “independence” while warning “any attack by Iran or its proxies on American forces in Iraq would affect the Iraqi government too,” Iraqi ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi has said in no uncertain terms that Iraq will not allow the US to use it as a staging ground for an invasion of Iran. A few people would presumably have to die or be kidnapped before the Iraqis permit their country to be used as a launchpad for World War III by someone whose idea of international diplomacy is basically “that’s a nice sovereign nation you got there – sure would be a shame if we had to invade it a third time.” Though with 5,000 American troops still stationed in Iraq nearly a decade after Obama supposedly ended that war, the second invasion never really finished.

Unwilling to allow Mossad to hog the credit for predicting “Iran”‘s curiously self-defeating act of amateur rocketry, the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory on Wednesday, warning US citizens in Iraq that they are at “high risk for violence and kidnapping” from “numerous terrorist and insurgent groups” as well as “anti-US sectarian militias” – who also threaten “western companies.” That warning followed a similar notice from the US Maritime Administration cautioning ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz to give the US a few days notice, the better to attack them and blame Iran – er, protect them.

The Baghdad rocket attack, almost a carbon copy of the pointless “Hamas rocket strikes” Israel stages whenever it wants to derail peace talks or just flatten a few blocks in Gaza, comes almost exactly a week after four oil tankers mysteriously sprouted holes in their sides just below the water line, large enough to attract attention but small enough not to spill a single drop of precious oil or risk sinking the vessels. An anonymous US military source was breathlessly quoted blaming the “sabotage” on Iran the day after the “attack,” as if Americans had learned nothing in Syria other than that rushing into war without all the facts is a great way to cheer up Lockheed Martin stockholders.

Given the newly-leaked OPCW report confirming that last year’s “chemical attack” in Douma, which was immediately pinned on Bashar al-Assad without a shred of evidence based on the word of Oscar-winning terrorist head-choppers the White Helmets, was instead the work of anti-government rebels, the US should be doubly cautious about retaliating against any perceived attack. But Bolton and Pompeo have been baying for Iranian blood for over a decade now, and even the most transparently absurd excuse will do (the Onion’s headline “Bleeding John Bolton stumbles into Capitol Building claiming that Iran shot him” barely counts as satire).

Even if Iran, which has repeatedly said it does not want war with the US, suddenly developed a death wish, it wouldn’t waste its critical first strike on an abandoned building a mile from the American embassy – not when there’s billions of dollars worth of juicy American aircraft carrier sitting in the Gulf, one well-placed missile away from Davy Jones’ locker.

Like the Douma “chemical attack,” this rocket strike does not benefit the government in any way. Iran has nothing to gain by bringing down the full force of the American regime-change machine on its head by crossing Pompeo’s ridiculously vague red line (more of a red blob, really), even if, per the Pentagon’s own 2002 ‘war-gaming’ of the conflict, the US is unlikely to win the resulting war. Just as Nikki Haley’s warning that Assad would be blamed for all chemical attacks was a green light to rebel groups to stage false flag events and pin them on the government, so the Trump administration has essentially issued an open invitation to all Iran’s enemies to attack something – anything – in the CENTCOM region and point to Tehran as the culprit.

As usual, the only winner in this scenario is Israel, whose PM Benjamin Netanyahu actually had the chutzpah to tell US officials that his country wasn’t interested in direct participation in the war he’s been trying to start for the better part of three decades – even as his military official was in the New York Times trying to goad Trump into firing the first shot.

“If the Americans now act like nothing happened – ‘Iran didn’t spit on us, it’s only rain’ – it’s catastrophic, because it’s saying to the Iranians, ‘We won’t interfere.’ What kind of Middle East will we face when it’ll be clear to other countries that Americans are not ready to fulfill what people expect them to do?” Israeli military intelligence officer Yaakov Amidror asked, horrified by a world in which Israel is not able to run around throwing sand in the faces of the bigger kids on the geopolitical playground, safe in the knowledge that Big Daddy ‘Murica will come to its rescue, guns blazing. Saudi Arabia, too, has also claimed it wants no part of this war, even as it joins the US in blaming Iran for the holes in its ships and continues to blame Iran for the Houthis’ refusal to lay down and die in Yemen.

Nor have the US’ usual partners in war crime taken the bait. British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, deputy commander of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, told reporters on Tuesday there was “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” triggering a sharp rebuke from the Pentagon, and Spain actually withdrew its ship from the US-led carrier strike group dispatched last month to the Gulf, determined to avoid getting roped into an extremely unattractive conflict.

I’ve already commented on the curiously threadbare quality of the US’ anti-Iran propaganda – for some reason, the American people aren’t being fed the usual Manichaean dramas starring “animal Assad” or Gaddafi-the-rapist. It’s unsettling how little effort is being expended to sell us what will certainly be the most ruinous war we’ve faced in a lifetime: recycled physics-defying threats about missiles fired from small boats, warnings of sleeper-cell militias Tehran can activate with a word, and the constantly-repeated-but-still-untrue line that Iran is the world’s top sponsor of terror are hardly sufficient to convince a country to act against its interests. Perhaps after the utter failure of the latest regime-change operation in Venezuela, the ruling class has realized that their persuasion skills have gotten soft. Meanwhile, instead of creating and amplifying western propaganda, they’ve merely silenced Iranian media, knocking out PressTV’s YouTube channel.

Americans are familiar with the tragedy of how shortsighted greed destroyed the country’s industrial base in the latter half of the twentieth century. But can we no longer even manufacture consent? Or have the powers that be realized they no longer need the consent of the governed to wage war in the service of empire?

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Government Accountability Project engages in projection

Anonymous allegations are republished by an allegedly respectable website.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | May 20, 2019

A reader has alerted me to the fact that a Washington, D.C. organization called the Government Accountability Project is bad-mouthing me. It says I’m part of the “global warming denial machine.”

I almost never respond to accusations of this kind. It’s time-consuming, draining, and distracting. I prefer to make a positive contribution to the world through my writing, and to let my record speak for itself. In the end, one must trust in the ability of the public to sort sense from nonsense.

In this case, though, I’m making an exception. So let’s start with some basics.

WHO AM I?
1.  I am not a US citizen.

2.  I have never held a government job (unless one counts part-time clerical work in libraries and hospitals during my teens and early twenties).

3.  My journalism career includes four years as a columnist with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. I’m a former columnist and member of the editorial board of the National Post. My investigative work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines, and I am the author of three books.

4.  I’m a longtime proponent of free speech, having joined the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in 1993, and served as a vice president from 1998 to 2001.

WHO IS SMEARING ME?
The Government Accountability Project (henceforth I’ll call it The GAP), says it helps whistleblowers “hold the government and corporations accountable.” That’s marvellous and admirable.

I, however, am not a government. I’m not a corporation. Having worked with my share of whistleblowers over the years, I line up squarely on their side.

So why is this Washington-based organization trashing me – a journalist in a foreign country, who currently writes out of her home office and receives no regular pay cheque from anywhere?

Lamentably, the GAP has morphed into something rather different than what its name implies. The fine print on its website tells us:

As more attorneys joined the team, Government Accountability Project increased its litigation work, setting up its unique capacity to launch both political advocacy and legal campaigns. [bold added by me]

Political advocacy campaigns. Keep that phrase in mind.

The GAP now focuses its attention on six subject areas, including ding-ding-ding climate change. A section of its website therefore talks about sustainability and “the dangers posed by fossil fuel dependence.”

In other words, one arm of The GAP behaves like a politically-motivated, green advocacy group.

WHO REALLY AUTHORED THESE ACCUSATIONS?
In very large letters, the Government Accountability Project declares: Donna Laframboise recycles old attacks on IPCC. Holding a particular government to account is grand in The GAP universive. But blowing the whistle on a group of governments involved in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is villainous. Yeah, that’s coherent.

At the bottom of the page bearing that headline we see a September 2013 date. It turns out everything here was actually cut-and-pasted from a now defunct website called ClimateScienceWatch.org, which used to be run by The GAP.

Five-year-old content has simply been transferred from ClimateScienceWatch over to The GAP’s main website. In other words, The GAP’s remarks about me have been recycled – an activity its own headline suggests is contemptible. It’s all so confusing. Green activists vigorously promote recycling. Until they want to insult someone.

Unfortunately for me, The GAP’s main website exudes respectability. There’s an impressive logo, a muted palette, and a professional design. A reader in a hurry might well form the mistaken impression that I’m opposed to government accountability. In fact, I’ve spent my career striving to keep government institutions – including criminal and family courts – honest.

So what does The GAP actually say about me? Those first-published-in-2013 remarks consist of two parts. Here’s the introductory paragraph:

In a Wall Street Journal editorial on the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC critic Donna Laframboise sinks to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks. Repeated and unfounded attempts to taint the IPCC’s credibility should be seen as what they are: a distraction from the real issue – the science.

This paragraph is immediately followed by a 600-word “guest post by Climate Nexus.” Who is Climate Nexus? It’s yet another green advocacy group, funded via the Rockefeller Foundation’s billions. Correcting “misinformation about climate change” is part of its mission.

So that’s what happened here. The WSJ published my opinion piece and Climate Nexus produced a response, which was published by ClimateScienceWatch back in 2013. Today, that material appears on The GAP’s main website.

This response, please note, is unsigned.

That’s because Climate Nexus is essentially a PR firm devoted to squelching non-conformist climate views. Its employees police the boundaries of what journalists are allowed to say. Anyone who colours outside the lines is targeted, accused of sinking “to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks.” Whatever that might mean.

Climate Nexus personnel don’t take responsibility for their own words. The people who are cavalierly smearing me – a real journalist, with a real reputation – aren’t identified.

Five years later, we still don’t know who they are. These are anonymous accusers. Anonymous cowards.

To be continued…

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

The Sinking Credibility of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | May 18, 2019

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is supposed to be a neutral international body, without political or national affiliation. It is meant to go where the facts lead it, regardless of any pressures from powerful people and countries to produce reports that might favour their cause and exonerate their actions.

I have long suspected that it has ceased to be such an organisation. There has been an increasingly obvious pattern to alleged chemical weapons attacks, whereby an incident occurs, the Western powers — chiefly the United States, United Kingdom and France — respond, and then the OPCW later produces a report that essentially backs up their claims, but in very dubious ways.

For example, on 4th April 2017, an alleged chemical incident took plane in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria. The White House released a four page intelligence report just one week later, which stated the following:

“The United States is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin, against its own people in the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib Province on April 4, 2017. According to observers at the scene, the attack resulted in at least 50 and up to 100 fatalities (including many children), with hundreds of additional injuries.

We have confidence in our assessment because we have signals intelligence and geospatial intelligence, laboratory analysis of physiological samples collected from multiple victims, as well as a significant body of credible open source reporting, that tells a clear and consistent story.”

What they didn’t state is that they had no direct intelligence on the ground, but relied on hearsay, much of it from that “open source” reporting (i.e. internet speculation). And of course there’s a very good reason why they did not have intelligence on the ground, namely that the area was (and still is) controlled by jihadist organisations. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the case against the Assad Government was at that time entirely dependent on information coming from Islamist terrorist organisations, it was apparently enough for the United States to bomb the country, which it did on 7th April 2017, just three days after the incident. Thankfully, there were few casualties as most of the 59 Tomahawk missiles fired didn’t make it to their intended targets, either being shot down or — very probably — taken off course by advanced Russian military electronic jamming equipment.

So the order of things was incident, accusations, bombing, and then release of “intelligence” based on the internet and information released by jihadists. All that was then needed to justify these actions retrospectively was the OPCW report, and this was subsequently released on 29th June 2017.

Peter Hitchens has dealt very thoroughly with that report (here), and the most crucial point about it is that it essentially broke the OPCW’s own rules by failing to establish chain of custody. Instead, the alleged evidence, rather than being gathered from the scene of the incident by the OPCW, was passed to them 2nd or perhaps even 3rd hand. And of course the reason for this is that its investigators were not able to enter the area where the incident was said to have taken place, because it was occupied by al-Qaeda affiliated organisations — the same people who presumably passed on the evidence which ended up in the OPCW’s hands.

Interestingly enough, the OPCW’s inspectors were invited by the Syrian Government to the al Shayrat airbase where the planes, which allegedly dropped chemical munitions, had taken off. But they didn’t take them up on that offer. Make of that what you will.

It is vital to the OPCW’s whole remit and credibility that they visit the sites of alleged attacks in order to secure evidence under full chain of custody. Where they are unable to do this, they should simply say so and refuse to pronounce confidently on what happened. Yet despite not having visited either Khan Sheikhoun, or the al Sharyat airbase, and despite not having full chain of custody, a subsequent report released in October 2017 did indeed pronounce confidently:

“Based on the foregoing, the Leadership Panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.”

Ignoring its own guidelines to produce such a confident conclusion is enough by itself to call into question the organisation’s impartiality and credibility. But whatever credibility the organisation still possessed after this has now been torn to shreds by the recent leak of a Fact Finding Mission (FFM) Engineering Assessment in the case of another alleged chemical attack, this time in Douma last year.

As you will hopefully recall, the town of Douma was about to be retaken by the Syrian Government from the jihadists who controlled it. Shortly before it was retaken, an alleged chemical incident occurred, in which some 35 civilians were said to have died. The Western powers immediately jumped on it, accusing the Syrian Government of responsibility, and photographs of two canisters allegedly containing a toxic substance, which it was said were dropped from Syrian aircraft, were shown around the world as if supporting the claim.

We can now be confident that the claim is false. What is more, it appears that the OPCW has known full well that the claim is false, but has said nothing publicly about it. According to the FFM Engineering Assessment dated February 2019, the scenario of the canisters being dropped by aircraft is implausible:

“At this stage the FFM engineering sub-team cannot be certain that the cylinders at either location arrived there as a result of being dropped from an aircraft. The dimensions, characteristics and appearances of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.

In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft [my emphasis].”

You can read more about this by going to the site of the group to whom this report was leaked (here) and also to Peter Hitchens’s blog, where he reports on his interactions with the OPCW, which unwittingly confirm the authenticity of the FFM report (here).

The OPCW’s final report on the Douma incident makes no reference to this FFM Engineering report. Why not? The only reasonable conclusion is that it was omitted because its inclusion would have totally undermined the narrative tirelessly propagated by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France, as well as the entirety of the Western mainstream media (Global Pravda), and so would have shown the actions of those countries to be utterly immoral, illegal and reckless.

And so one cannot help but think that:

A) The OPCW has been utterly compromised and/or pressurised by those same Governments and

B) A certain individual or individuals in the organisation has been disturbed enough by this to take the risk of leaking information to expose the truth.

It is a solemn and sobering fact that the reaction to the Douma incident could very well have led to a conflict between the United States and Russia. In the aftermath, when the Unites States, the United Kingdom and France were all releasing statements of their intentions, the Russian military warned in no uncertain terms that if the missiles were targeted towards their servicemen, they would not only destroy the missiles but the carriers from which they were fired. They were deadly serious. I have heard unconfirmed rumours that they had MiG-31s loaded with the new hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in the area, ready to sink the vessels firing the missiles should they feel that their military personnel were under threat.

Thankfully there are still some minds left in the Pentagon that are not intoxicated by power, and — so I hear — General James “Mad Dog” Mattis in particular, the then Secretary of Defense, was instrumental in turning what looked like it would be a massive bombardment, possibly targeting areas where Russian servicemen were located, to a much smaller 100-odd missiles, mostly token shots into non-strategic sites, the majority of which were shot down. In other words, Mattis and co may well have averted World War III, but did so in a way that allowed the warmongering leadership of the three nations to save face in their illegal action.

The OPCW’s credibility as an impartial international organisation now lies in tatters. Both the Khan Sheikhoun report with its conclusions without chain of custody, and now even more so the Douma report, which failed to include expert evidence that contradicted its public conclusions, now stand as testimony against the trustworthiness of the organisation. It hardly needs to be said that this is a great shame, not just for international relations in general, but also for those many people who work for it who are undoubtedly still committed to scientific enquiry and impartial judgement.

I cannot leave this piece without asking questions about the other major cases of late involving the OPCW, namely the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings. In both incidents, the OPCW did not release final reports to the public, but a summary of their findings, which you can find here and here. I must say I have never been particularly convinced by these documents. In both cases, the language always struck me as being somewhat evasive.

For instance, neither Summary actually names the substance involved. In fact, in neither case does it confirm the use of a nerve agent. Point one in the summary of the Salisbury case states the following:

“The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland requested technical assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) under subparagraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention in relation to an incident in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 involving a toxic chemical — allegedly a nerve agent — and the poisoning and hospitalisation of three individuals. The Director-General decided to dispatch a team to the United Kingdom for a technical assistance visit (TAV).”

Allegedly a nerve agent? Which one? Do we find out? Not a bit of it. Point number 10 states the following:

“The results of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.”

Confirm the findings of the United Kingdom? Which United Kingdom? The Government of the United Kingdom? The intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom? The scientists at Porton Down in the United Kingdom? This is important. The fact is that none of these entities has ever stated what that substance actually is. Instead, they have continued to use the slippery word “Novichok”, but since this is simply a word meaning “newcomer”, and since it doesn’t refer to a substance but rather a group of substances, and since the group of substances falling under the “Novichok” umbrella has never been properly defined and is elastic enough to include pretty much anything and everything the accusing authorities want it to mean, it is, to all intents and purposes, meaningless.

Which is almost certainly why the OPCW not only avoids referring to it in its Summary as “Novichok”, and also why they also fail to confirm it was actually a nerve agent, referring to it throughout as a “toxic chemical”. And whilst they say that it was the same “toxic chemical” identified by the United Kingdom, because the United Kingdom has never publicly identified the substance, this is essentially circular argumentation. Indeed, it reads more like obfuscation than scientific precision.

In the summary of the Amesbury case, things get even more suspect. Again, the phrase “toxic chemical” is used throughout, and again there is no mention of “Novichok” much less the precise type. Like Salisbury, there is only one mention of the word “nerve agent”, but this time it is very odd:

“The toxic chemical compound, which displays the toxic properties of a nerve agent, is the same toxic chemical that was found in the biomedical and environmental samples relating to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Mr Nicholas Bailey on 4 March 2018 in Salisbury (S/1612/2018, dated 12 April 2018) [my emphasis].”

Which displays the toxic properties of a nerve agent? What is that supposed to mean? Isn’t this a mighty strange way of referring to an apparently identified nerve agent?

Think about it. If you tested a substance in a laboratory and found it to be sulphuric acid, and if you were then writing a report about it, would you say that “it is an acid” or that it “displays the properties of an acid?” If you were to write that the substance you had found “displays the properties of acid,” and you never actually gave it a name, my reaction would be to assume that it was something a bit like acid, but not actually acid itself.

It might be argued that since the substance was not on the OPCW database, they simply refer to it as “displaying the properties of a nerve agent.” But this won’t do. The United Kingdom assured the world that it was a nerve agent, and despite inferring that only one country possessed it, they somehow managed to identify it within a day of the initial incident in Salisbury. So why does the OPCW appear to hedge its bets and only say that it “displays the properties of a nerve agent?”, rather than “it is a nerve agent”? I may be wrong, but it seems to me that this statement is more likely the result of compromise between factions in the OPCW, than it is a statement of scientific certainty.

Another very suspect issue in the Summary of the Salisbury report is the fact that it does not mention where the OPCW team conducted its sampling. It is extremely vague, simply stating:

“The team was able to conduct on-site sampling of environmental samples under full chain of custody at sites identified as possible hot-spots of residual contamination. Samples were returned to the OPCW Laboratory for subsequent analysis by OPCW designated laboratories.”

Sites identified as possible hotspots? Such as? We aren’t told, which is very odd, because you might assume that a vital part of the mission would include establishing where the poison was located, and where it was initially placed. But for this we have to turn to the letter sent to the Secretary General of NATO by the UK’s head of national security, Sir Mark Sedwill. Here’s what he said:

“DSTL [Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down] scientific analysis found that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned using a specific Novichok nerve agent. OPCW’s analysis confirmed the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical. This was found in environmental samples taken at the scene and in biomedical samples from both Skripals and police sergeant Nick Bailey, the first responder.

DSTL established that the highest concentrations were found on the handle of Mr Skripal’s front door. These are matters of fact. But, of course, the DSTL analysis does not identify the country or laboratory of origin of the agent used in this attack.”

According to Mr Sedwill, the highest concentrations of the toxic chemical were found on the handle of Mr Skripal’s front door. But crucially he states that this was established by DSTL, and he does not mention that this was confirmed by the OPCW. So did the OPCW visit the house and swab the door? If not, why not? Surely if the DSTL had already established the door handle as the place with the highest concentration of the substance, then you’d expect the OPCW to have visited the house, and that they would have included a mention of the door handle as being the place with the highest concentrations of the “toxic chemical” in their Summary. But they do not, talking instead about “possible hotspots”. On the other hand, if they did visit it, is it credible that they would have asked no serious questions about why the house had not been sealed off in the aftermath of the incident, and whether anyone had been in and out of the house after the alleged poisoning?

Had they asked that question, the honest answer would have been of course be yes, people did go in and out, and they did so unprotected. Here’s what Karen Gardner, a reporter for BBC Radio Wiltshire, said in her broadcast from outside Mr Skripal’s house on 6th March 2018 (two days after the incident):

“It’s a well-kept house, it’s got a horse shoe on the front door, beautifully presented bay trees in pots in the side of the windows. At the moment there’s quite a lot of activity. When I arrived, there were six or seven police officers and PCSOs coming out of the door. Some of those have left, a couple more have arrived. There is a visible presence outside the house, and severe frowning when I walk too close. A lot of the windows are open and I did see coffee flasks and provisions and empty boxes and things brought out, so it looks like there was a lot of activity late last night overnight [my emphasis].”

In a follow up report to mark the one year anniversary of the case, she had this to say:

“When I was here a year ago, I watched Wiltshire police officers with no or minimal protective clothing going in and out that front door. They were carrying coffee flasks. They appeared to have had refreshments in the house overnight. That was two days after the Skripals had collapsed, at the point the Met had taken over the investigation, shouldn’t those officers have been better protected?

That last question is the wrong one. It is not “shouldn’t they have been better protected”, but rather “given that they weren’t protected, how on earth did they not become contaminated by the substance which was apparently on the door handle and which, according to the OPCW, was high purity, persistent and resistant to weather?”

Let’s not beat about the bush here. Unless the laws of science were suspended in Salisbury during the month of March 2018, the idea that a toxic chemical was placed on the door handle on 4th March, that police officers entered the house after that time, and then weeks later the substance was found at the door in high purity, persistent and weather resistant form, as the OPCW claimed, is fairyland. Perhaps this is why the OPCW report fails to mention where the samples were taken, much less that the highest quantities of the substance were apparently on the door handle and door. But it seems to me that as an organisation with a remit to investigate such incidents, it has failed to ask even the most basic questions about the aftermath, and it has failed to use precise language about the substance and the locations where it was found. One can’t help but ask why this is.

As an aside, the BBC has announced that it is to make a drama about the case fairly soon. Quite apart from anything, this is plain wrong, since the investigation into the case is still ongoing. But I must say I look forward to that bit where the unprotected officers with their coffees and takeaway pizzas manage to get into the house via the door, but without using the door handle, which as you will be aware is normally a necessary part of getting in and out of houses.

In summary, suspicions that the OPCW has now been fatally compromised, utterly politicised and cannot be relied upon to be impartial, which surfaced during the Khan Sheikhoun incident, have now been shown to be absolutely true by the Douma case. Given that this is so, and given the wishy-washy, round the houses language used in their reports into Salisbury and Amesbury, why should anyone believe that this organisation has been impartial and thorough in these cases, or that they will be so in any future cases?

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Russian Embassy Slams FT Over Using Unverifiable Data on Kerch Strait Traffic

Sputnik – 18.05.2019

The Russian embassy in the United Kingdom said that the Financial Times news outlet used isolated allegations and unverifiable information in its article claiming that the recently-built bridge over the Kerch Strait allegedly affected vessel traffic in the area.

“We were struck by the unusually low level of journalism demonstrated by your 17 May piece on the Crimea Bridge (‘Russian bridge throttles Ukraine ports’). The authors allowed themselves to be manipulated by isolated allegations and unverifiable figures provided by various Ukrainian interlocutors, while completely ignoring the official statistics of the Kerch Strait traffic. 25,521 ships crossed the Strait from April 2018 till April 2019, with only 8 percent of them having been inspected,” the embassy’s Press Office wrote in its “letter to the Editor of the Financial Times.”

The press service added that 43 percent of the inspected vessels sailed to or from Russian, not Ukrainian ports. An average inspection lasts less than an hour, while the majority of inspections are carried out while the vessels are waiting for caravans to be formed under the local pilotage rules, according to the letter.

“The construction of the Kerch Bridge, 35 meters [115 feet] high, has not resulted in any measurable deterioration of navigation conditions, as the Strait’s depth, at 9.5 meters, does not allow for taller (and thus heavier) ships to cross. The Kerch Strait has always been and remains open to traffic, including for Ukrainian military ships, provided they fulfil the notification procedure, unchanged since Soviet times,” the embassy argued.

The letter concluded by noting it was “regrettable that a paper like the FT should be used as a propaganda tool by those who seek pretexts for reckless military posturing around Crimea.”

In late April, the Ukrainian border service claimed that Russia voluntarily impeded the passage of ships to Ukrainian ports through the strait. The Ukrainian authorities claimed that almost all vessels faced inspections on their way to Ukrainian ports, noting that these checks were longer than usual and the vessels sometimes even were allowed to pass at the very end of the line.

The situation on the Sea of Azov escalated in spring 2018, when Ukrainian border service detained the Nord vessel sailing under the Russian flag. The crew was allowed to return to Russia only six months after the detention while the captain is still in Ukraine. Moreover, last August, another Russian vessel was detained in a Ukrainian port and has since been not allowed to leave.

The Russian authorities have blasted the actions of Ukraine as “naval terrorism” and responded to them by boosting checks at the part of the Sea of Azov under the Russian jurisdiction. The Crimean border service, which is a part of the Russian Federal Security Service, has insisted that it carried out checks in line with international law of the sea and had never received complaints from ship owners.

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Netflix, Attenborough and cliff-falling walruses: the making of a false climate icon

GWPF | May 17, 2019

Dr. Susan Crockford, a Canadian wildlife expert, exposes the manipulation of fact behind the controversial walrus story promoted in the Netflix documentary film series, ‘Our Planet’, that was released early last month.

One episode in the series contained a highly disturbing piece of footage of walruses bouncing off rocks as they fell from a high cliff to their deaths. Narrator Sir David Attenborough blamed the tragedy on climate change, insisting if it weren’t for lack of sea ice the animals would never have been on land in the first place. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) used the sequence to suggest the walrus was “the new symbol of climate change”.

However, much of what Sir David told viewers was a fabrication. Careful investigation has revealed that the producers, with help from WWF, created a story that had elements of truth but which blatantly misrepresented others and contained some outright falsehoods.

Dr. Crockford explains why it is especially incorrect to claim that large numbers of walruses resting on land constitutes a sure sign of climate change.

“Enormous herds of Pacific walrus mothers and calves spend time on beaches in late summer and fall only when the overall population size is very large. Recent estimates suggest there are many more walruses now than there were in the 1970s, which is the last time similarly massive haulouts were documented. Huge herds of walruses resting on beaches are a sign of walrus population health, not evidence of global warming. That’s largely why the US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in 2017 – the year the Netflix scene was filmed – that walrus do not require Endangered Species Act protection.”

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 17, 2019

NEW YORK — For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

A high-quality photo, top, shows the area the dancing Israelis were staged. Credit | Panamza

According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Timesreport from November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn’t seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only two out of the 14 pictures carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a “construction worker” to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report).

Sivan Kurzberg holds a lit lighter with the Manhattan skyline in the background. The date September 10, 2001 visible in the bottom right corner | Photo #5

In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 strongly appear to have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks. Kurzberg is seen in both images that display the visible date of September 10, 2001.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo — particularly the state of the towers — is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

One of the Israelis points to what is presumably the World Trade Center, in Manhattan on September 11, 2001 | Photo #2

Yet, in either scenario, Kurzberg had simulated the burning of the World Trade Center the day before the attacks took place. That the FBI concluded that Kurzberg was party to a Mossad surveillance operation at the time of his arrest would then suggest that Israeli intelligence also had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Notably, the relevant section of the FBI report that asks “1. Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” is redacted in its entirety, suggesting that the FBI did not determine the answer to that question to be an emphatic “no.”

One of the 9/11 loose-ends coverups?

If images 5 and 7 were indeed taken the day prior to the attack, the question then becomes why the FBI officially concluded that the arrested Israelis had no prior knowledge of the attacks? One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that “Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel].” If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel’s government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel’s behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI  — in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they “determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel’s own government subsequently acknowledged that the five Israelis had indeed been involved in “clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion — that “none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack” — was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

“Tourists” with cash-stuffed socks, box cutters, and explosives?

Beyond the photos and observed activities of the so-called “Dancing Israelis,” it is worth revisiting several other suspicious circumstances linked to their arrest that clearly show that the men in question were hardly the “tourists” they had claimed to be. One often cited example is the fact that one of the men, Oded Ellner, had a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash,” as well as maps of the city with certain places highlighted, and box cutters. In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found in the van.

Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:

A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”

In total, the FBI reported that four items related to explosives were found in the ban and are labeled in the report as “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue),” “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves,” “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits),” and “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue.” In addition, a VHS tape and some still photographs found in the van “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ redacted ] (Explosives Unit).”

In addition to the strange nature of some of the Israelis’ possessions in the van and on their person, the company that employed them — Urban Moving Systems — was of special interest to the FBI, which concluded that the company was likely a “fraudulent operation.” Upon a search of the company’s premises, the FBI noted that “little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found.” The FBI report also noted that there were an “unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business” and that “further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”

The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems as a result of the high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country” (page 37 of the FBI report).

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by… the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.”

The company’s owner — Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen — had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC News that “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius, in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company — Granite Telecommunications — that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the “Dancing Israelis,” which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI’s Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the “Dancing Israelis” had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested “was visibly disturbed by the Agents’ questioning regarding his personal email account.”

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the “Dancing Israelis” has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the “Dancing Israelis,” were in relation to an investigation of “an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to ‘penetrate government facilities.’”

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had “intelligence expertise” and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the “Dancing Israelis,” had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

Watch | FOX News December 2001 report on Mossad spying prior to 9/11

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’ but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: ‘Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.’”

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME: “Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

CAMERON: “Well it’s very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together a big question they say is, ‘How could they have not known?’ — almost a direct quote, Brit.”

9/11 as a big — and acknowledged — Israeli win

If the “Dancing Israelis”, and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the “Dancing Israelis,” why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained “Dancing Israelis,” Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.”

While Marmari’s statement may suggest one reason some of the “Dancing Israelis” were so “visibly happy” in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Israeli prime minister — told the New York Times that “It’s very good,” before quickly adding “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari’s claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said:

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. … They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way… 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu — who at the time was not in political office — held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center by “militant Islam” in his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. In that book, Netanyahu had posited that Iranian-linked “militants” would set off a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.

During his press conference on the day of the attacks, Netanyahu also asserted that the 9/11 attacks would be a turning point for America and compared them to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Netanyahu’s statement echoes the infamous line from the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document authored by the neoconservative think tank, the Project for a New Ameican Century (PNAC). That line reads. “Further, the process of transformation [towards a neo-Reaganite foreign policy and hyper-militarism], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then again, years later In 2008, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu had stated that the September 11 attacks had greatly benefited Israel. He was quoted as saying: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

Indeed, it goes without saying that the aftermath of 9/11 — which involved the U.S. leading a destructive effort throughout the Middle East — has indeed benefited Israel. Many of the U.S.’ post-9/11 “nation-building” efforts have notably mirrored the policy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was authored by American neoconservatives — PNAC members among them — for Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

That document calls for the creation of a “New Middle East” by, among other things, “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” As is known now, both of those main objectives have since come to pass, each with strong Israeli involvement.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

May 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed

By Peter Bolton | CounterPunch | May 17, 2019

With the attempted coup in Venezuela now nearing its four-month mark, commentators in the corporate-owned Western press are scratching their heads as to why Washington’s plan for its proxy, Juan Guaido, to topple the government of Nicolas Maduro has so far failed to materialize. Of course, all of the real reasons elude them because they have never so much as crossed their minds. It is beyond their mental world to consider the lasting popularity of the late Hugo Chavez’s policies and lasting suspicion toward the right-wing opposition amongst large swathes of the population – or the deep revulsion at the thought of US (and especially US military) intervention into their country held by the vast majority of Venezuelans (and, indeed, Latin Americans generally). Rather, both the coup attempt’s puppeteers in Washington and their ventriloquist dummies in the mainstream media have been coming up with ever-more desperate excuses for why Guaido’s attempt to take power has not been a swift and decisive success. The so-called “propping up” of the Maduro “regime” by the traditional the US boogeymen of Russia, China and Cuba seems to have been the most frequently touted explanation. This has manifested itself in increasingly bizarre ways, such as the recent claim by Mike Pompeo that Maduro was at the point of fleeing the country before being convinced otherwise by Russia.

Now, the Washington Posts notorious warhawk and deranged conspiracy peddler Jackson Diehl has come up with the latest labored rationalization for the failure of the coup attempt: the so-called “Cartel of the Suns.” According to Diehl, this shadowy organization is made up of “some of the most senior officials in the Maduro regime.” He claims that it “flies hundreds of tons of Colombian cocaine from Venezuelan airfields to Central America and the Caribbean for eventual distribution in the United States and Europe.” He furthermore claims that the Maduro government’s crimes also include skimming accounts used for importing food and medicine and “corrupt currency trading.” Describing the Maduro government as “less a government — much less a socialist one — than a criminal gang,” he claims that “the money it is reaping from criminal activity is serving as a prop that allows it to survive U.S. sanctions.” The only sources he provides to support these assertions are: an Associated Press article from September 2018 that reported on an unproven allegation made by a minor US Treasury Department figure, a January 2019 Wall Street Journal article that reports on another unproven allegation made by the US Treasury Department, and a link to one of his own Washington Post articles published in 2015. Leaving aside the self-citation, allegations made by the Treasury Department can hardly be considered credible evidence. It is, after all, a branch of the US government, which has been attempting to destabilize Chavista administrations since their earliest days in office. The Trump administration that it currently answers to, meanwhile, has been the major driving force behind the attempted coup and makes no secret of basing the effort on the advancement of US corporate economic interests.

Larissa Costas has gone so far as to posit that the very idea of such a government-operated cartel might be a whole-cloth fabrication. She stated in February 2017 article:

Although information abounds in the mediums of communication, the “Cartel of the Suns” has not been caught with a single gram of drugs, nor has there been any insignia of the organization identified in any seizure, nor has a single death been attributed to it. There are just two explanations: either it is the most inoffensive of cartels or it simply does not exist. [translated from the original in Spanish]

This latter possibility seems to be confirmed by the consistent failure of repeated Washington-led investigations into members of the Maduro government to result in actual convictions or even clear conclusions. For instance, in January 2015 the US Justice Department (DoJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched a joint probe into then-President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello and other senior figures of the Venezuelan government. News reports soon followed repeating the allegations, including the claim that Cabello is the “capo” of the “Cartel of the Suns.” (Note here the loaded use of mafia-tinged language that’s seemingly borrowed straight from The Godfather movies.) But now, over four years since the launch of this probe, the DEA and DoJ have yet to even charge, let alone convict, any of the people implicated in it. Yet still the mainstream media reports repeat the allegations as if they were beyond question. In May 2018, for example, InSight Crime published an article titled “Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns’,” in which the publication claims to have built “files on senior [Venezuelan] officials, current or past, that have been involved in the trafficking of cocaine.” But rather than providing the reader with this purported mountain of evidence that they have amassed, the authors instead cite an anonymous Justice Department official as their source. Just as with the US Treasury Department, the Justice Department can hardly be trusted when successive administrations in Washington have been consistently trying to undermine Chavista governments ever since Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998. From CIA and Bush administration involvement in the 2002 coup attempt and also in the 2002-2003 PDVSA management lock-out through to the present coup attempt and oil sanctions, Washington has gone from covert to brazenly overt regime change methods.

But things go deeper than this. It seems that these dubious accusations of drug trafficking, in fact, form a significant part of the regime change effort itself. For one thing, they are used as justification for sanctions that Washington enacts in order to weaken the regime by sending thinly veiled signals to international capital to avoid Venezuela. Second of all, these sanctions and allegations are in turn used as a form of leverage to weaken the regime and encourage defection to the US’s and US-backed opposition’s side. There is no better case to illustrate this reality than that of the retired Venezuelan General Hugo Carvajal. In July 2014, as Carvajal was being released from custody in Aruba, Reuters reported that he categorically denied US charges of involvement in the illegal drug trade and provision of aid to Colombian leftist armed groups. But in February 2019, with the coup attempt about a month in, Carvajal did an about-face and accused Maduro and his inner circle of involvement in drug trafficking. This was right after Trump made an open threat that military officials who remain loyal to Maduro have “everything to lose” while Guaido simultaneously offered amnesty to those willing to defect to his side. It seems that Carvajal was responding to this “carrot and stick” threat/incentive combination that the US had, in his case successfully, employed as part of its regime change arsenal. The questionable validity of his claims is demonstrated by his repetition of Washington’s oft-repeated mantra that Maduro officials are courting the Lebanese “militant” group Hezbollah. These claims have been decisively debunked by Richard Vaz, who points out that mainstream media outlets such as CNN that report these allegations again use solely the Treasury Department as their source, or worse still figures such as Marco Rubio. Vaz also points to the absurdity of holding up Tarek el Aissami as the facilitator of some kind of cross-Atlantic Iranian-led Shi’ite alliance when el Aissami himself is not even Muslim, but rather the son of Lebanese Druze immigrants who was born and has spent all his life in Venezuela.

In any normal situation this is all that would have to be said to dismiss Diehl’s claims. But Latin America is no normal place and US relations with the region constitute no normal situation. In addition to the scarcity of evidence for the claims he makes, there is a question of double standards that lies beneath the surface. Diehl undoubtedly wishes to imply that the Maduro government’s alleged involvement in criminal activity justifies the interventionist actions from Washington and its proxies on the ground. But when one looks across the region and into both its past and present, one sees a whole cornucopia of flagrant narco-states that Washington has not only ignored but bank-rolled and armed to the teeth. Not coincidentally, two of them are staunch allies and the other was so until very recently. I am talking, of course, of Colombia, Honduras and Mexico.

Colombia’s status as a narco-state during the first decade of this century is hardly a secret. Even some of the US’s own declassified intelligence documents contain allegations of former president Alvaro Uribe’s close ties to narcotrafficking. A 1991 declassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, for example, describes Uribe as a “close personal friend of Pablo Escobar” and “dedicated to collaboration with the Medellín cartel at high government levels.” Another intelligence report from 1993, and declassified in 2018, says that Colombian Senator told officials at the US Embassy in Bogota that Escobar’s cartel had financed Uribe’s election campaign for the Colombian Senate. In spite of having such information available, Washington nonetheless generously funded the Uribe government through Plan Colombia to engage in so-called “counter-narcotics” campaigns, which served as a cover for brutal offensives against labor and indigenous rights activists and displacement of rural campesinos. The extent of state capture by drug cartels in Colombia was furthermore exposed by the Parapolitics scandal, which led to the conviction of 32 members of the Colombian congress along with five state governors for collusion with right-wing paramilitaries. These groups, incidentally, have been the biggest players in the Colombian drug trade, dwarfing the involvement of leftist guerrilla groups such as the FARC and ELN.

Revelations from the recently concluded trial of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán have shone a light onto a similar story in Mexico. State witness Alex Cifuentes made a credible accusation during his testimony against Guzman that former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto received a bribe from Guzman worth $100 million dollars. Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernandez has long claimed that collusion between the Mexican state and narco-trafficking groups stretches all the way to the top, including the presidency, which Cifuentes’ testimony seemingly confirms. As has been the case with Colombia, the US has not only turned a blind eye to this situation, but has been generous funding the Mexican government to conduct “counter-narcotics” campaigns through the Merida Initiative. And again, these campaigns provided cover for brutal human rights violations on the part of Mexico’s state security forces.

Finally, we should turn to Honduras, the most contemporary and, in many ways, most flagrant example of a narco-state that the US cozies up to. Ever since the State Department orchestrated a coup against the democratically-elected government of Manuel Zelaya in 2009 there have been growing signs that Honduras has degenerated into a fully-fledged narco-state. In January of last year, for example, it emerged that a national police chief personally facilitated a cocaine delivery worth $20 million in 2013. In November 2018, President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s brother, Tony Hernandez, was arrested on drug trafficking charges in Miami. Just as this article went to press, testimony that he gave to US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was unsealed in which he reportedly admits to interacting with several known drug traffickers as well as taking bribes. Even according to the aforementioned InSight Crime : “Tony Hernández’s detailed knowledge of the activities of some of Honduras’ most prominent drug traffickers makes it increasingly difficult for President Juan Orlando Hernández to deny being aware of these acts.” The president himself has previously faced allegations of involvement in drug trafficking via ex-army captain Santos Rodriguez Orellana. And as with Colombia and Mexico, not only has Washington never issued any punitive measure whatsoever against Honduras for any of this, it has rather been generously funding its state security forces in spite of its brutal record of human rights violations.

Note that all three of the above countries have been close US allies for the last few decades, with Colombia and Honduras remaining so while Mexico begins to break from Washington following the election of progressive president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. This is no coincidence. So long as a country is serving the US’s geostrategic and economic interests, it will not just overlook its status as a narco-state but will aid and abet its committing of human rights violations. You won’t hear about any of this from Jackson Diehl, however. Because as an obedient cheerleader for the Monroe Doctrine he must faithfully promulgate the selective indignation that underpins its entire edifice of justification propaganda. Given Washington’s record in the wider region, whether or not Venezuela is indeed a narco-state ceases to be the point. Rather, the question becomes one of credibility. And when it comes to evenhandedness in its treatment of Latin American states, Washington has exactly none.

May 17, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

The Pompeo Bolton Tag Team from Hell

By Renee Parsons – Global Research – May 17, 2019

There was little pretense that when former UN Ambassador John Bolton became President Trump’s National Security Adviser and former Rep. Mike Pompeo moved into the Secretary of State position, that either would bring a professionally credible and respectable presence to  world diplomacy or foreign affairs.

It is fair to say that both have surpassed any of the bleak expectations and proven to be more extreme in their ideology, more personally amoral and malevolent than previously feared. What we are seeing now is as if all constraints have been removed with free rein to fulfill their zio-neocon agendas specifically against Venezuela and Iran.

  • While speaking to a student audience recently at Texas A&M University, Pompeo revealed his utter contempt for a democratic government based on the rule of law when he bragged about “lying, cheating and stealing” as CIA Director. To an audience of undergraduates which clapped and laughed throughout, Pompeo offered:

“What’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (laughing as if he had said something humorous) We had entire training courses. (Audience applause and cheers) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” (emphasis added)

First in his class at West Point and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Pompeo prides himself on having “come to an understanding of Jesus that fundamentally changed“ his life as a cadet and today claims to  be a “man of faith.”  It is not clear who Pompeo thinks he is kidding with the religious fervor schtick but for sure it is not any divine deity which will one day sit in Judgment on his character and integrity. The Texas A&M exchange reveals an unscrupulous bully who knows no limit to his omnipotence and a willingness to condone war crimes on behalf of the disreputable Empire he serves.

  • Keynote speaker at AIPAC’s 2019 conference, Pompeo proved where his fidelity lies when he declared “Let me go on record: Anti-zionism is anti-semitism” which has become the new rallying cry for the poor, beleaguered state of Israel.
  • As the State Department is now defining the term ‘anti Zionism,’ Pompeo appointed Elan Carr as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism with the ultimate goal to intimidate and criminalize critics of Israel’s foreign policy objectives.

In describing his responsibilities, Carr’s stated priorities will be to “reduce the feelings of insecurity”, review “indoctrination of anti semitic textbooks” and “focus relentlessly on eradicating this false distinction between anti Zionism and anti-semitism.” It takes living in a simulated reality to not grasp the distinction between criticism of Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinians and its belligerent foreign policy in the Middle East and a genuine prejudice or discrimination based on one’s religious preference or ethnic differences.

At his press briefing, Carr was immediately in the weeds and lost total control of the narrative before being shut down by the State Department official spokesman.

As a one dimensional thinker,  Mr. Carr never described who or how anti-semitism will be identified. Will the State Department issue a weekly list of anti-Semitic offenders and what will  be the penalty?  Will State provide a list of forbidden anti-semitic words? How will deliberate intent be determined?   If a non-jew utters words like apartheid, yenta, yarmulke or illegal settlements, will they be considered proof of anti-Semitic? Will the Nazis still be permitted to march in Skokie?  Will the tech giants rewrite their algorithms to search for ‘banned’ words?

  • On April 10th, Omar Barghouti (image on the right), a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement was denied entry by the US Consulate before departing Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents and having visited the US previously. Barghouti responded that:

Supporters of Israeli apartheid in the US are desperately trying to deny US lawmakers, media, diverse audiences at universities, a bookstore and a synagogue, their right to listen, first-hand, to a Palestinian human rights advocate calling for ending US complicity in Israel’s crimes against our people.”

  • In a 2016 report, the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated an investigation into possible war crimes in Afghanistan involving the torture of 61 prisoners committed by the US Army and the torture and rape of 27 prisoners committed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at CIA prison sites in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

In response to the ICC inquiry in 2018, Bolton warned:

“We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans,”

In March 2019, Pompeo repeated the ICC threats with no apology in a straight forward defense of torture and war criminals.

“Since 1998, the US has declined to join the ICC because of its broad unaccountable prosecutorial powers and the threat it poses to American national sovereignty.  We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation. I’m announcing a policy of US visa restrictions on those individuals directly responsible for any ICC investigation of US personnel. These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis without allies consent. These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts.We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions, if the ICC does not change course,”

After the Court responded that it would continue its investigation with “war crimes and crimes against humanitywere, and continue to be, committed by foreign government forces in Afghanistan,”  Reference to ‘allied” personnel and Israeli involvement in US war crimes remains impenetrable.  True to his word, in early April Pompeo revoked the visa for Bensouda (image on the left).

In a devastating setback for the ICC, its pre-trial chamber recently refused to approve the investigation from moving forward citing a lack of US cooperation.  Certainly the Pompeo – Bolton threat to criminally prosecute and personally sanction the Court’s judges or that the US would ‘use any means necessary ” had nothing to do with that decision.  Bensouda says she will appeal the chamber’s decision.

  • After the January meeting with North Korea ended in failure, NK’s Deputy Defense Minister, who took part in the meeting, revealed that while Trump had shown a willingness to lift some sanctions based on NK’s moratorium on missile tests, he was later overridden by Pompeo and Bolton who brought “an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” to the table with their “gangster like behavior.”

As the zio-neocons continue to move on Venezuela and/or Iran as uncontrollable malevolent fiends, loose cannons with no concept of international law or the need for global harmony, men of no conscience and no morality, it is only a matter of time before cosmic law balances the scale.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

May 17, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Deception | , , , | 1 Comment