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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

Iraqis denounce rocket attack amid foul play suspicions

Press TV – May 20, 2019

Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah, a major pro-government resistance group, says a rocket attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone Sunday night is “unacceptable” and against the country’s national interests.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack which came in the wake of back-to-back sudden decisions taken by the US recently, including its withdrawal of “non-essential” staff from Iraq.

Those measures have surprised many Iraqi leaders and politicians who have questioned Washington’s claims of stepped-up threats to American interests in the Arab country.

Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the pro-government militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, told reporters on Monday that the rocket attack was “unjustifiable” and contrary to Iraq’s national interests.

The Green Zone, a 10-square-kilometer area in central Baghdad, is home to Iraqi government offices and those of other foreign governments, including the United States.

Although the apparent Katyusha attack hurt no one and its target was not specified, Trump was quick to point the finger at Iran in a tweet, saying if Tehran wants a war, “that will be the official end of Iran.”

Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, also headed to the White House to discuss the rocket attack, according to media reports.

Kata’ib Hezbollah’s reaction came in the wake of the US having turned its attention to pro-government military groups which played a crucial role in defeating Daesh and other terrorist groups in Iraq.

Washington has commonly described the popular Iraqi forces as “Iran-backed proxies” despite being formally funded and incorporated into Iraq’s security forces.

Earlier this month, during an unannounced visit to Baghdad, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Iraqi government to restrain popular mobilization and anti-terror forces, saying they posed a “threat” to US interests.

Western media reports said Washington had notified Iraqi officials that the US might even directly attack the groups without coordinating with Baghdad if it perceived any threat.

The US military also said its forces in Syria and Iraq were ordered to stay vigilant over fears of “imminent threats” from what it called Iran-backed forces in the region.

Speaking to reporters last Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi made it clear that Iraq had not observed “movements that constitute a threat to any side.”

Over the past few days, the US has put its political staff in its Baghdad embassy as well as in the American consulate in the Iraqi city of Erbil on high alert without a viable reason.

American energy giant Exxon Mobil also pulled its foreign workers out of West Qurna 1 oil field in Iraq’s southern province of Basra, a move Iraq’s Oil Minister Thamir al-Ghadhban called “unacceptable and unjustified.”

‘US stirring tension in Iraq to score negotiation points’

Iraqi political analyst Wathiq al-Hashimi said Sunday that Washington was building up a tension about the security situation in Iraq in order to drive a wedge between the Arab country and Iran.

He said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) that the recent measures by the US in Iraq were meant to send Iran a clear warning following high-profile visits to Baghdad by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“Presidents of the US and Iran and foreign ministers of the two countries previously visited Iraq in a row. Now the US sends a warning signal to Iran that it is going to do something,” Hashimi said.

Trump caused outrage among Iraqi people and officials by suggesting during and after his Christmas trip to the country that he would use Iraq as a platform to “watch” Iran and take action against it if necessary.

The US has recently raised the stakes in its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. Washington sent a carrier strike group as well as strategic B-52 bombers to the region in a “clear warning” to Tehran.

The deployment came days before several oil tankers were mysteriously “sabotaged” off the UAE emirate of Fujairah last week.

While dismissing US brinksmanship as a psychological warfare, Iranian officials have made it clear that such maneuvers will not coerce Tehran into negotiations with the United States.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said last week that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal and such talks would be “poison”.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 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

Saudi king calls for urgent meetings of Arab leaders

Press TV – May 19, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has called for emergency meetings of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) and the Arab League, following mysterious “sabotage” attacks on Saudi and Emirati oil tankers as well as drone strikes targeting Saudi oil pumping stations.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday that Salman had invited Arab leaders to convene urgent summits in the city of Mecca on May 30 to discuss ways to “enhance the security and stability in the region.”

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that the Saudi monarch had called the meetings due to “grave concerns” about recent attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and drone strikes on oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia as well as the effects of those incidents on supply routes and oil markets.

The summits are meant “to discuss these aggressions [sic] and their consequences on the region,” the source said.

The Emirates’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has welcomed the Saudi call for the emergency meetings.

“The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and [Persian] Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks,” the ministry said in a statement.

On May 12, four oil tankers, including two Saudi ones, were purportedly targeted near the port of Fujairah, in what the Emirates described as “sabotage” attacks. While Riyadh and Abu Dhabi failed to produce evidence of the attacks on their vessels, pictures emerged of a Norwegian-flagged tanker at the port having sustained some damage.

Two days later, drone strikes were launched on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. These attacks were believed to have been carried out by Yemen’s Houthi fighters in retaliation for the prolonged Saudi war against Yemen.

The attacks led Saudi Arabia to halt its main cross-country oil pipeline temporarily.

Saudi and Emirati officials have not said who carried out the attacks on the tankers and the pumping stations, but some political and media figures within the United States have claimed that Iran is responsible.

A day after the reported attacks on the oil tankers, Tehran called them “worrying,” and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later called them “suspicious.”

Yemen’s Houthis also noted that the retaliatory drone strikes on the Saudi oil pipeline were an act of self defense and had nothing to do with Iran.

Pompeo calls bin Salman

On Saturday night, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The SPA reported that the two sides exchanged views on the “developments in the region and efforts to enhance security and stability.”

Jubeir claims Riyadh doesn’t seek war

In a separate development on Sunday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir claimed that his country did not want a war with Iran.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that,” he told a press conference in Riyadh.

“It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests,” he added.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments

US-Iran Showdown Is One False-Flag Attack Away From Global Calamity

By Robert Bridge | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 18, 2019

Hypocritical to the core, the execution of false-flag events spare aggressive states the ignominy of appearing in public as the warmongering psychopaths they are, lest their subjects get the wrong idea as to exactly who is governing over them.

The last thing tyrannical rulers want, after all, are battles raging on two fronts, especially if one of those fronts just happens to be back in the Heartland. Psychopaths are mentally deranged, of course, but that does not mean they are necessarily stupid.

Thus, once again, the United States is flying its jolly tricolors from the Mediterranean Sea into the Persian Gulf led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and a Patriot missile battery on standby. But America’s reputation as a rabble-rouser and hell raiser long preceded its entry into the Gulf, as did the frenetic rhetoric.

Just as the fleet was en route, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a warning that was so far beyond the pale of reality that it sounded as though it were scripted by a Hollywood film director with a penchant for embellishing American history.

“The response of the United States and our partners and allies has been clear: We do not seek war,” the statement reads. “But Iran’s forty years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities, and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves.”

Forty years of killing Americans? Really? That comment brought to mind Pompeo’s recent display of braggadocio as he reminisced over his former CIA days. “We lied, we cheated, we stole,” he confessed with a hearty chuckle to an audience from Texas A&M University last month. “We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

Ah yes, the glory days. Next he’ll be shooting off about how he enjoys shaving with napalm in the morning, or some such nonsense.

In any case, the prospect of America’s leading diplomat who basically admits to being a bald-faced liar, and darn proud of it, delivering a fiery shot across the bow of the Iranian Republic at the same time a large US naval group is entering the Persian Gulf and Iran is struggling under severe sanctions does very little to instill much comfort or confidence.

One week before the US naval fleet turned up in Gulf waters, Pompeo was already laying the necessary groundwork for the buildup, saying that the US has observed “escalatory actions from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” he said, without providing any details. “If these actions take place — if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah — we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”

Now for anyone who followed the protracted Syrian crisis understands, that is exactly the sort of crazy talk that inspires friends and foes alike to pull off a false-flag attack that will force the United States to live up to its word and go after the villains, which will predictably be – as was the case following the chemical attacks against the Syrian rebels when the ‘Assad regime’ was duly blamed – the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So where did the information regarding a possible Iranian strike on some “American interest” derive? According to Axios, that news was delivered to National Security Advisor John Bolton by an Israeli delegation led by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat.

It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to figure that the Israelis may have produced the report knowing full well that it would ratchet up tensions between Washington and Tehran, and more so when it is understood that the mad hatters Pompeo and Bolton figure into the calculus. Who knows? Perhaps they really do mean what they have been saying for years about Iran and would relish the prospects of an ‘Iranian attack,’ or false flag event in order to get World War III, which they both seem to anticipate with more excitement than the Second Coming.

Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise that the mainstream media is doing everything in its power to stoke the flames. On Monday, the New York Times, citing unnamed sources, published an article alleging that the White House was drafting plans to deploy some 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event Iran attacked US forces or expedited work on nuclear weapon research. The paper giddily reported that such a force “would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.” Trump, however, ruined the war party, flat out denying the claim, saying he would send a lot more than 120,000 troops under such circumstances.

To underscore exactly how dangerous the situation is becoming, Sputnik reported that four commercial ships – two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian – were targets of a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.

It should come as no surprise as to what country was blamed. “Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” are thought to be behind the attack, according to US officials.

Although Iran in the past may have played down such provocations, this time around they are showing a striking level of confidence in the face of American firepower. “An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past,” Amirali Hajiadeh, who heads Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace unit, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), as reported by RT. “But now, the threats have switched to opportunities,” he added.

The only thing left to consider now is whether Trump left Bolton and Pompeo to their own mischievous devices in their dealings with Iran and even Israel, or is there some sort of safety catch on the gun, so to speak.

Considering that Trump didn’t seem to be fully informed as to what was happening in Venezuela with regards to puppet president Juan Guaido’s recent failed attempt at a coup, it makes one wonder if Trump is equally in the dark as to what is happening with Iran. The prospect of such a possibility is simply too terrifying to even contemplate.

May 18, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

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

OPCW Confirm Leaked Report is Genuine

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 16, 2019

The leaked OPCW report appears to have been confirmed genuine.

The report, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at Douma Incident”, came to public prominence a few days ago after The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media released their analysis of the text.

Since then it has gotten a lot of play all across the alternate media (you can read our original report here, but there were many others too).

It has received virtually zero coverage in the mainstream media, of course. And that doesn’t appear likely to change any time soon.

The report spells out, in unambiguous language, that the two chlorine gas canisters were likely planted, rather than dropped from a helicopter.

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 dropped.”

This finding adds to the pile of evidence which makes it appear very likely the whole event was staged.

The only question was whether or not the document could be confirmed genuine. And now it has been.

Peter Hitchens, for a long time the only mainstream voice to express any doubts about the “official narrative” on Douma, wrote to the OPCW to ask about the leaked report.

He wrote a column about it. We suggest you read it, but the most important passage, taken directly from an OPCW statement, is this:

Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.

Note the language. Nowhere is it disputing either the findings of the document, nor the veracity. Instead, they are “conducting an investigation” into its “unauthorised release”.

That is as close to an admission as makes no difference. For now, we can safely conclude the document is real, and the findings genuine.

That means, not only that the Douma “chemical attack” was likely staged, but that the OPCW knew this and chose to cover it up.

A very distressing series of events, and one that could easily have lead to an all-out war between Syria, Russia and NATO.

We welcome the OPCW’s admission that this document is genuine. However, we would suggest the question is not “How was it leaked?”, but rather “Why was it suppressed in the first place?”

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

Who Really Gains from the Gulf Ship ‘Sabotage’

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 15, 2019

After dramatic and patently scripted warnings of “Iranian aggression” by bellicose US officials, there then follows – conveniently enough – an alleged sabotage incident in the Persian Gulf region implicating Iran.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses with a straight face that his country doesn’t want war with Iran. His comments warp credulity given that American forces have suddenly escalated firepower in the Persian Gulf for the purpose of “responding” to alleged Iranian infractions.

Typically, Western news media are “reporting” (or rather, “echoing”) the purported sabotage incident as if it were fact, basing their source of information on Saudi and Emirati officials, sources which have a vested interest in creating a war pretext against Iran.

Given the grotesque, barefaced lies that have emanated from the Saudi regime over the past year with regard to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and also its barbaric, mass executions of political dissidents, it is nauseating how Western media can affect to be so credulous in citing Saudi claims as reliable over the latest alleged shipping incident.

“Two Saudi oil tankers have been sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates posing a potentially serious threat to world oil supplies,” reports [sic] Britain’s Guardian, attributing the source of this information to the “Saudi government”. What the Guardian omitted was the key word “alleged” before “sabotage”. Notice how the impression given is one of a factual incident of malicious intent. Most other Western news media adopted the same reliance on the official Saudi and Emirati claims.

Tellingly, however, Saudi and Emirati officials gave no details about the “significant damage” allegedly caused to a total of four tankers.

What we seem to know is that the four vessels were somehow disabled off the UAE port of Fujairah early on Sunday. The location at sea is in the Gulf of Oman, which lies outside the Persian Gulf, about 140 kilometers south from the Strait of Hormuz. The latter is the narrow passage from the Gulf of Oman into the Persian Gulf, through which up to 30 per cent of all globally shipped crude oil passes each day.

Last week, Iran once again threatened it would blockade its territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz “if” the US carried out a military attack on it. Such a move by Iran would throw the global economy into chaos from the anticipated crisis in oil markets. It would also doubtless trigger an all-out war between the US and Iran, with American regional client regimes like Saudi Arabia and Israel piling in to facilitate attacks against Tehran.

So far, there have been no official accusations explicitly made against Iran over the latest shipping incident. But the implications are pointedly skewed to frame-up the Islamic Republic.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al Falih, whom Western media have quoted uncritically, claimed that one of the vessels allegedly attacked was on its way to load up on crude oil from the Saudi port of Ras Tanura, destined for the US market. The Saudi official did not give any substantiating details on the alleged sabotage, but emphasized that it was aimed “to undermine the freedom of navigation”. He called on international action to “protect security of oil tankers”. Wording that the American self-appointed global “policeman” (more accurately, “thug”) invokes all the time to cover for its imperialist missions anywhere on the planet.

When the US warned last week that it was sending a naval carrier strike armada to the Persian Gulf along with nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, it assumed the right to hit “Iran or its proxies” for any alleged attack on “American interests”. The wording out of Washington is so vague and subjective that it lends itself to any kind of perceived provocation.

An oil tanker on its way to collect crude from Saudi Arabia for the US market? That certainly could qualify as perceived Iranian aggression against American vital interests.

Last week, Washington issued hammed-up warnings that “Iran or its proxies” was set to “target commercial sea traffic”. Days later, as if on cue, the alleged sabotage of four ships appears to fit the theatrical bill.

Iran, for its part, has said it would not start a war with the US; that it will only act to defend itself from any American offensive. The foreign ministry in Tehran called the latest sabotage claims “highly alarming” and demanded more clarity from the Saudi and Emirati authorities as to what happened exactly. We can be sure that neither will come clean on that score, given their past record of calumny.

The clarifying question is, of course, who gains from the latest twist in tensions? Certainly, it fulfills American, Saudi and Israeli desires to intensify aggression towards Iran.

Another important question is the location of the alleged sabotage. If Iran wanted to carry out such an operation, it would be much more feasible to do it near the Iranian territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz. Seriously: how feasible is it for several Iranian commando teams to strike four oil tankers in waters some 140 kms away? Waters that are forensically surveilled by the US Fifth Fleet based in the Persian Gulf.

Suspiciously, as already noted, there is no verifiable information about the alleged sabotage. All we’ve got are claims from Saudi and Emirati officials, the same kind of people who claim journalists disappear into thin air while in consular buildings, or that children in Yemen are slaughtered in air strikes by “mistake”, or that peaceful women protesters from Saudi’s oppressed Shia minority are “terrorists” to be executed by beheading with a sword.

And, shamefully, the Western media tamely go along doe-eyed and gullibly with this risible charade.

Sequencing, timing, sources, agenda and motives plus the dutiful Western media servility. The bets are this is a false-flag operation to incriminate Iran.

If it doesn’t result in a pretext for American military attack, at the very least Washington and its Saudi and Israeli clients are trying to make sure the European lackeys are bounced into toeing the line for increasing economic warfare on Iran over the floundering nuclear accord. An international treaty, by the way, which has been torpedoed – verifiably – by American political sabotage.

What’s really going on here is another brazen case of reality-inversion. Compare with contemporaneous US mendacity towards Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Russia, China, North Korea, and so on. American criminal aggression is, incredibly, again being laundered with a moral license by lying corporate mass media which have the gall to call their blatant war propaganda a “news service”.

Indeed, the world is being lied into a potentially catastrophic war by a congenitally criminal US regime.

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Leaked Report: Douma “Chemical Attack” Likely Staged

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | May 14, 2019

An apparent classified internal report from OPCW suggests that the Douma chemical attack – which allegedly took place in April 2018 – was in fact staged.

The report, signed by Ian Henderson (an investigative team leader for the OPCW), is an analysis of the two key locations which were used as evidence of the Syrian government launching a chemical attack using chlorine gas in Douma, last year.

These locations, referred to as Location 2 and Location 4 respectively, were made famous by these photographs:

Location 2: “The Patio”

Location 4: “The Bed”

The photographs, “analysed” in depth by Bellingcat and other establishment mouthpieces, were claimed as the “smoking gun”, proof of Assad’s guilt. However, the OPCW fact-finding mission appears to see things rather differently.

The report is fifteen pages long, detailed and thorough, but the most important paragraph is saved for the end (emphasis ours):

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 dropped.”

So there you have it, an apparently genuine OPCW report (kept from the public for as yet unclear reasons), which appears to support the prevailing view of the alt-news community: Douma was staged.

People like Vanessa Beeley and Piers Robinson et al, who have been relentlessly smeared in the mainstream media, have been shown to be right. Again.

This is not the first hole that has been blown in the Douma chemical bomb story (pun very much intended).

Firstly, initial reports from US-backed NGOs were that sarin had been used, not chlorine. This was dropped from the narrative after a preliminary OPCW report found “no evidence” of sarin being deployed.

Also, within days of the alleged attack, noted war reporter Robert Fisk was on the ground in Douma, talking to doctors who claimed no chemical attack had taken place at all.

Later, other witnesses came forward – including a young boy prominently featured in the “shocking footage”. They testified, at the OPCW meeting in The Hague, that no such attack had ever happened.

So, this report is but the latest piece of evidence which seriously undermines the establishment narrative of the so-called, “Douma chemical attack”.

You can read the full report here, or see the embedded version. We suggest you download it and share it widely. This is exactly the kind of document that could get memory-holed.

The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) have released their detailed analysis of the report, we suggest you all read it here. They are an excellent group, and have done sterling work on this topic.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | Leave a comment

History’s Dire Warning: Beware False-Flag Trigger for Long-Sought War with Iran

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 14, 2019

With the beat of Washington’s war drums continuing to grow, particularly following the Monday revelation of a government plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to counter Iran, the threat of an “accidental” provocation or a “false flag” is also becoming increasingly likely. As MintPress recently reported, the possibility of an “accident” leading to open conflict between the U.S. and Iran is now being openly stated by top European officials — such as U.K. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt — following meetings with noted Iran hawk and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In Part I of this series, MintPress explored how current events — including seemingly unrelated regional events, such as the Israeli government’s bid to occupy the West Bank and the Syrian offensive against Al Qaeda-held Idlib — were converging to create a “now or never” scenario for those most eager for regime change in Iran and a U.S.-Iran military confrontation, particularly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton.

This installment will also reveal how Trump’s top political patron Sheldon Adelson — who is also the top donor to Netanyahu and a long-time confidant of Bolton, whom he helped install in his powerful post in the Trump administration — may be the deciding factor whether Trump authorizes the use of military force against Iran.

Yet, while the endgame for Bolton, Adelson and Netanyahu, as well as Pompeo, has long been a U.S.-led war with Iran, public justification for such hostilities must be given in order to manufacture American consent for a war against a country significantly larger than Iraq, complete with a more powerful army. Historically, the U.S. government has frequently planned and used false flags in order to justify the initiation or expansion of hostilities, with the best-known examples being Operation Northwoods and the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

However, given the current situation, it is essential to revisit two other incidents that reveal that the key players pushing for war in Iran — Israel’s government and neoconservatives of the Bush era (Bolton chief among them) — have planned and attempted to execute false flag attacks to push the U.S. into a major war that the American public would not normally support.

Remembering the U.S.S. Liberty

On June 8, 1967, one of the worst attacks on a U.S. naval vessel during peacetime took place, an attack that the U.S. government has kept shrouded in secrecy over 50 years later in what many have called a cover-up.

Around two in the afternoon on a cloudless, sunny day, unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the U.S.S. Liberty — a largely defenseless naval intelligence vessel flying visible American flags — without provocation. The attack saw the aggressors commit several war crimes, including attacking with unmarked aircraft and vessels; shooting survivor-bearing lifeboats out of the water with machine-gun fire; and the jamming of the Liberty’s ability to use international distress frequencies.

Thirty-four American sailors lost their lives and 173 were wounded, and the Liberty — which cost U.S. taxpayers $40 million to build — was so badly damaged it was subsequently sold for scrap metal for pennies on the dollar.

During the attack and in its immediate aftermath, Liberty survivors were puzzled as to why the U.S. Department of Defense ordered the recall of U.S. ships that were on route to aid the Liberty from the hostile attack, which many sailors had assumed at the time was being conducted by Egyptian or Arab forces in light of the ship’s proximity to the Sinai Peninsula.

Indeed, the attack on the Liberty took place during the Israeli-Arab Six Day War, a war that Israel claimed to have started as a preemptive means of self-defense but that was later revealed to have been the culmination of years of planning for a war of aggression. This fact was openly admitted by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the early 1980s. Israel, an American ally, was not suspected by Liberty crewmen at the time of the attack as being their potential assailants.

However, no Arab nation had attacked the Liberty that day, though that assumption by Liberty sailors was what their true assailants had hoped they and the American public would believe. Instead, it had been Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats that had fired on the clearly-marked American vessel with torpedoes, machine gun fire and even napalm. The Israelis “officially” maintain to this day, with little challenge from the U.S. government, that the attack was an accident, a fact that has been and continues to be heavily contested by the attack’s survivors.

Yet, beyond the testimony of survivors, the most compelling evidence that the attack on the Liberty was no accident comes from the Israelis themselves. Intercepted Israeli communications from the time of attack, made public only in recent years, reveal that the ship had been identified as American prior to the attack and, despite that, the plan was to sink the U.S.S. Liberty and ensure that there were no survivors. The goal of the attack was to place the blame on Egyptian forces, which necessitated there being no American survivors who could dispute the claim. If the Liberty had been sunk, it would have provided the United States legal cover and popular support for a more central role in the conflict and its crucial diplomatic aftermath. Indeed, the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was a false flag, one that failed to achieve its intended goal of goading the U.S. into a major war.

Instead of responding with indignation, then-President Lyndon Johnson — whether it occurred before or during the attack is disputed — ordered that the Liberty not be rescued during the course of the attack, allegedly not wanting to harm relations with or “embarrass” an ally even if it meant consigning the 294-person crew of the Liberty to death.

Damage to the starboard side of the USS Liberty following Israeli attacks, June, 1967. Photo | NSA Archive

Those who survived the assault of the Liberty owe their lives to the then-23-year-old Terry Halbardier, who valiantly navigated the Liberty’s napalm-glazed deck and managed to rig an antenna and send out an SOS signal to the Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Upon intercepting that distress signal, the Israelis immediately broke off the attack. Halbardier’s heroism prevented the massacre of all 294 crewmen and allowed them to live to tell their stories, despite Johnson’s having left them for dead.

Yet many Liberty survivors were unable to tell their stories for decades, as the U.S. government issued gag orders and threatened them with being court-martialed for speaking to anyone, even their spouses, about the incident. The Navy’s Board of Inquiry, which abetted the cover-up, was headed by Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the late Senator John McCain of Arizona.

To this day, the U.S. government has failed to conduct a full, public inquiry into the attack. Liberty survivors who have since spoken out have been accused of “anti-Semitism” and of slandering Israel for discussing their personal and traumatic experiences of the attack, significantly compounding their suffering and post-traumatic stress.

While the survivors of Israel’s assault on the Liberty have been denied closure, the U.S. government’s response has endangered the lives of American personnel by clearly signaling to Israel that they will suffer no consequences for such “false flag” attacks, regardless of whether American servicemen are wounded or killed. As former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern has previously noted for Consortium News, “the U.S. cover-up [of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty ] taught the Israelis that they could literally get away with murder.”

In a 2015 interview on the Real News Network, McGovern warned that the attack on the Liberty still holds “current relevance” and that he felt that “the Israelis are capable of doing this kind of thing when they see their supreme national interests at stake.” McGovern further stated that Israeli officials may well have considered a provocation, such as false flag, to throw a wrench in the Iran nuclear deal, which was being negotiated at the time.

McGovern — in an open letter to President Barack Obama, co-authored with former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council Elizabeth Murray — noted that Admiral Mike Mullen, former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Bush administration, had flown to Israel in 2003 and told the Israeli government emphatically “to disabuse themselves of the notion that U.S. military support would be knee-jerk automatic if they somehow provoked open hostilities with Iran. According to the Israeli press, Mullen went so far as to warn the Israelis not to even think about another incident at sea like the deliberate Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty.”

McGovern and Murray cited Mullen’s statements to Israeli officials as the first time that “a senior U.S. official braced Israel so blatantly about the Liberty incident.” In an email to MintPress, McGovern stated that he was unsure whether current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford “can be counted upon to play a similar restraining role” in preventing hostilities with Iran. Notably, Dunford was in attendance along with Bolton at the recent CIA meeting to discuss “highly sensitive covert actions” in relation to Iran.

An “accident” waiting to happen

Since Bolton announced the movement of the Lincoln carrier strike group towards the Persian Gulf, some have pointed out that the vessels could well be destined for use in a “false flag” provocation, such as one planned by former Vice President Dick Cheney in 2008 (to be discussed shortly) and another conducted by Israel in 1967. Indeed, as MintPress noted the day after Bolton’s announcement, the carrier strike group’s deployment was actually announced a month prior and was a routine deployment.

The political analysis blog Moon of Alabama also noticed that Bolton had framed this routine deployment as something more dire for his own purposes, writing:

The carrier deployment to the Gulf is routine. It had been announced on April 8. The U.S. has bombers on rotation in the Middle East since 2001. Moreover – a carrier in the Persian Gulf is a sure sign that the U.S. will not attack Iran. Within the restricted waters of the Persian Gulf a carrier is a too easy target. The idea though may be to provide for an ‘accident’’ as Iran’s Foreign Minister [Javad Zarif] described it in a recent CBS interview.”

In an interview late last month with CBS’ Face the Nation, Zarif explicitly told journalist Margaret Brennan his concern about an imminent “false flag” to trigger war with Iran by John Bolton in collaboration with Israeli, Saudi and Emirati leadership:

Foreign Minister Zarif | I don’t think military confrontation will happen. I think people have more prudence than allowing a military confrontation to happen. But, I think the U.S. administration is putting things in place for accidents to happen. And there has to be extreme vigilance, so that people who are planning this type of accident would not have their way.

Margaret Brennan | What do you mean? What kind of accident are you talking about?

Zarif | I’m talking about people who have — who are designing confrontation, whose interest —

Brennan | Who’s doing that?

Zarif | My ‘B’ team. I call —

Brennan | What do you mean ‘B’ team?

Zarif | I call the group ‘B’ team who have always tried to create tension, whose continued existence depends on tension. Ambassador Bolton, one ‘B,’ Bibi Netanyahu, second ‘B,’ Bin Zayed, third ‘B,’ Bin Salman, fourth ‘B.’ And I’m not just making accusations.

With an aircraft carrier little more than a sitting duck in the area amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran, an “accident” may well occur. As was noted in Part I of this mini-series, such a possibility was directly stated by British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt on Monday.

Hunt told reporters “We are very worried about the risk of a [U.S.-Iran] conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.” Hunt notably made the statement after meeting with Pompeo, who is currently in Europe meeting with European heads of state to discuss Iran. The Associated Press noted that the Trump administration had warned European officials, Hunt included, that “Iran or its proxies could be targeting maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region.”

The possibility of such an “accident” is further compounded by Bolton’s aforementioned and “highly unusual” meeting about Iran and “highly sensitive covert actions” at CIA headquarters last week. Declassified CIA documents show that the agency had previously planned to stage terror attacks on U.S. soil and murder Americans to blame on Cuba in order to justify invading the Caribbean nation in the 1960s. That plan, known as Operation Northwoods, further called for the destruction of U.S. military vessels to be blamed on Cuba and also the staging of fires and mortar attacks on U.S. military installations in Cuba (i.e., Guantanamo Bay) or nearby (i.e., in Florida). Though Operation Northwoods was never enacted, the agency has been accused of orchestrating numerous “false flags” in the decades since.

As was recently seen with the alleged “sabotage” of Saudi oil tankers near Iran, there are many potential targets for provocation. However, the incident that would most assuredly force U.S. involvement in a military conflict would be an attack on an American military target. While some have dismissed Bolton’s announcement of the carrier’s movements as a self-serving manipulation of the facts, it may have had the added purpose of framing the lead-up to an unfortunate “accident” targeting American vessels in the area, particularly the Lincoln carrier strike group or one of the other subsequent U.S. naval deployments to the Middle East.

The neocon plan for a Liberty-like attack

If any sort of provocation blamed on Iran should occur, it is important to consider that a powerful group of U.S. politicians — the neo-conservatives — have long sought to plan provocations that would drag the U.S. into war with Iran. One of the most recent examples took place during the George W. Bush administration when then-Vice President Dick Cheney held a meeting with other administration officials in 2008 aimed at provoking war with Iran.

The details of that meeting were revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, who described some of the ideas considered in that Cheney-led meeting as follows:

There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because … if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. You know, we’re into it.”

It is unknown if any Bush officials now in the Trump administration were present at that meeting where the use of a “false flag” pitting Americans against Americans disguised as Iranian was discussed. However, what is known is that John Bolton — who was a member of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, along with Cheney, and who also served in the Bush administration — has zealously sought war with Iran for nearly two decades. Indeed, the New York Times recently described Bolton as “one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.” It is also known that Bolton has a history of playing fast and loose with unconfirmed intelligence and also distorting intelligence to fit his pre-determined narrative.

As MintPress reported last year, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman has stated that Bolton, when serving in the Bush administration, was prone to “direct fire on his own forces,” — i.e., the U.S. government — in order to advance the goals of the Israeli government, especially with respect to Iran. For instance, in more than one instance while in the Bush administration, Bolton traveled to Israel in violation of State Department rules and negotiated privately with Israeli officials, including the then-head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, to lay the groundwork for a war with Iran. As journalist Gareth Porter has noted, Bolton did this in an effort to directly undermine Colin Powell, Bolton’s superior, just as Powell “was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran.”

Worse still, Bolton has pressured Israeli officials to initiate a war with Iran, even when they didn’t support such a move. One such case was Shaul Mofaz, former Israeli defense minister, who told Israeli media last March that Bolton “tried to convince me that Israel needs to attack Iran,” even though Mofaz did not see such a war as “a smart move — not on the part of the Americans today or anyone else until the threat is real.”

Pompeo’s Holy war and rapture

Furthermore, Bolton is not the only top Trump administration official who has long promoted a war with Iran, as current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also called for the preemptive bombing of Iran long before he joined the Trump administration. Pompeo’s desire to push the U.S. towards war with Iran is based on his fervent adherence to Christian Zionism. As a result of the admitted influence his beliefs hold over his foreign policy, Pompeo sees an “apocalyptic” war between Israel and Iran as a necessary precursor to the Second Coming of Christ and the “rapture.”

Pompeo is on record speaking about the rapture on several occasions, particularly as CIA director when he spoke about the event — which holds that “true believers” will ascend to Heaven prior to the tribulations and trials of the “end times” — so often that he made veteran intelligence officers uncomfortable. As a result, some have asserted that Pompeo is “a man who appears to view American foreign policy as a vehicle for holy war.”

The fact that the actions of the current Secretary of State are influenced by his Christian Zionist faith was on display last month, when American Christian journalist Chris Mitchell of the Christian Broadcasting Network asked Pompeo: “Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this … to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?” Pompeo responded that this was definitely “possible.”

If Adelson has his way . . .

Yet, perhaps the most dangerous force driving the U.S. towards a war with Israel is not the public face of the Trump administration’s foreign policy but its private face. Sheldon Adelson — the top donor to Trump, the entire Republican Party, and also the top political donor to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu — has long sought war with Iran, and several of Adelson’s desired policies have already been enacted by Trump. These include recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, replacing H.R. McMaster with Bolton as National Security Advisor, and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Several reports have asserted that pressure from Adelson was a deciding factor in Trump’s fulfillment of these policies.

Adelson’s influence over Trump again takes on great significance, given recent events with respect to Iran, as Adelson has previously advocated for a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran without provocation, just so the U.S. could “impose its demands [on Iran] from a position of strength.”

Per Adelson’s plan, the U.S. would drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert and then threaten that “the next one is in the middle of Tehran” to show that “we mean business.” Tehran, Iran’s capital, is home to nearly 9 million people with 15 million more in its suburbs. Were Tehran to be attacked with nuclear weapons, an estimated 7 million would die within moments, according to a 2013 study jointly conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia and Harvard.

Yet, any sort of diplomatic engagement with Iran, according to Adelson, is “the worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine.”

In other words, Adelson has called for dropping nuclear weapons on a country, including its heavily populated capital city, for no reason other than to show that the U.S. “means business” and considers nuclear war a negotiating tactic.

While some media reports have suggested that Trump is unwilling to go to war with Iran and is uneasy with the hawkish policies of Bolton and Pompeo, he will have a hard time ignoring Adelson. Adelson, who poured $35 million into Trump’s 2016 campaign and spent $55 million on Republican primary campaigns last year, is the party’s most influential donor and angering him could well mean the end of Trump’s political career.

Would Trump resist a push for war from not just Netanyhu, Bolton and Pompeo but Adelson as well? It seems unlikely. Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen told ProPublica in 2018 that he “would put Adelson at the very top of the list of both access and influence in the Trump administration,” a sentiment that was also echoed by Alan Dershowitz, who has done legal work for Adelson and advised Trump. Dershowitz told ProPublica that Adelson “just calls the president all the time. Donald Trump takes Sheldon Adelson’s calls.” As MintPress has noted on several occasions, those calls often translate into policy decisions.

Unfortunately, Trump — even when he tries to follow a different path, as he attempted to do in Syria — often ends up conceding to the neo-conservatives and Zionist extremists who surround (and fund) him.

History issues a warning

The combination of current tensions and the documented history of both Israel and Bush-era neo-conservatives planning and even executing false flag attacks in order to justify U.S. military action against a desired target — should set off alarm bells. Instead, most corporate media outlets are playing up unfounded or baseless claims of the “Iranian threat” and Iran’s unproven role in recent acts of “sabotage” in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE in ways that are strikingly similar to the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Furthermore, the history and mindset of both Bolton and Pompeo, in addition to the unprecedented influence of Sheldon Adelson in the Trump administration, add yet another layer to this increasingly complex yet undeniably troubling situation.

As a consequence, it is imperative for people around the world, particularly in the United States, to be skeptical of any act of violence blamed on Iran before a full investigation is completed, and to resist a rapid push to begin a conflict with Iran that could well follow such an act.

The time for resistance, ideally, would be before such an attack occurs, making critical the widespread dissemination of relevant information left unmentioned by the corporate media, such as that contained in Parts I and II of this series. The crucial context here is the well-documented willingness of both the Israeli and U.S. governments to sacrifice (i.e., kill) Americans in order to plunder the natural resources of “unfriendly” nations and pursue the objectives of the political and economic elite of both countries.

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 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

With the US-Iran War Ball Now Rolling, Could an “Accident” or “False Flag” Serve as Pretext?

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | May 13, 2019

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran threaten to boil over, the probability of a provocation or “accident” that would provoke hostilities between the two countries is higher than ever. U.K. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, openly stated as much on Monday, telling reporters in Brussels that the U.K. was worried of a conflict breaking out between the U.S. and Iran by “accident with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict.”

Yet, current and past events make it clear that such an “accidental” provocation is unlikely to be purely accidental in nature, as forces in the U.S. and Israel have been actively pushing for a U.S.-led war with Iran for years and have a track record that demonstrates little inhibition about using an “accident” or “false flag” to drag the country into a war with the Islamic Republic.

Notably, the state of Israel — in an event long since buried by the government and corporate media — has previously staged such a “false flag” by targeting an American naval vessel, killing 34 Americans, in order to blame the attack on Egypt and drag the U.S. into a war with several Middle Eastern nations in 1967. However, Israel is not alone in this, as the CIA as well as neo-conservatives serving in the Bush administration, led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney, have planned “false flags” that involved the murder of American servicemen and civilians in order to justify miltiary action against U.S. adversaries. 

In this two-part series, MintPress explores the troubling evidence that preparations for another such “false flag” are well underway. In this first installment, current events in relation to U.S.-Iran relations and the role of Israel in the ratcheting up of tensions will be examined, while the second installment will focus on Israel’s past of conducting “false flags” to goad the U.S. into wars on Israel’s behalf as well as efforts by former Vice President Dick Cheney to conduct a “false flag” pitting American sailors against American sailors disguised as Iranian naval forces to justify a conflict with Iran.

Bolton, taking a page from Iraq 2003 playbook, sets ball rolling

Since National Security Advisor John Bolton sent out a dramatic press release announcing the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group as a warning to Iran on May 5, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen dramatically, a development that Bolton — who has long advocated regime change and a pre-emptive war against Iran — likely welcomes. As MintPress recently reported, that press release was intentionally vague, allowing justification for a military response to any number of incidents, whether committed by Iran or alleged “proxies” of Iran, including groups over which Iran’s government has no control.

Furthermore, it has since been revealed that the “intelligence” Bolton used to frame the deployment and the rationale for future U.S. military action against Iran was from the Israeli government — which has long pushed the U.S. towards war with Iran. In addition, several unnamed U.S. officials stated soon after that Bolton and other Trump administration officials had greatly exaggerated the nature of this intelligence and overreacted. MintPress has noted on several occasions Bolton’s history of distorting intelligence to conform with a specific narrative or in order to promote specific policy actions and this tendency of Bolton’s was also recently noted in a New Yorker profile on the current National Security Advisor.

It was subsequently revealed that a few days prior to Bolton’s press release, Bolton had made a “highly unusual” visit to CIA headquarters to discuss Iran. NBC News reported that the “extremely rare” choice to hold this meeting at the CIA instead of the White House’s Situation Room likely meant that the purpose of the meeting was “to brief top officials on highly sensitive covert actions, either the results of existing operations or options for new ones,” based on statements from five former CIA operations officers and military officials.

That meeting, as noted by the political and financial news site ZeroHedge, “hearkens back to the Bush-Cheney White House’s direct intervention over Iraq intelligence in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, which involved the VP and his staff making multiple personal visits to CIA headquarters and the Pentagon to pressure the intel analysts into conforming to a preferred ‘narrative.’” Yet, the emphasis on “covert actions” in relation to Iran suggests that something much more sinister may be afoot.

Indeed, in the weeks since that press release and the “highly unusual” CIA meeting, the U.S. has deployed more military assets towards the Persian Gulf and Secretary of State Pompeo has made several abrupt schedule changes in order to discuss Iran with various countries. Notably, the Trump administration has also announced the end of waivers that have allowed some foreign companies to continue buying Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions.

The situation has forced Iran to respond, with Iran announcing that it would begin withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal — which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from over a year ago — as the U.S.’ economic war against Iran shoots to another level.

Perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Western media, particularly U.S. media, have been heavily promoting the Iranian “threat” since soon after Bolton’s Mary 5 press release, in yet another striking parallel to the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, particularly notable in this case is that much of the “intelligence” that has been used to justify these recent moves by the Trump administration has come from Israel’s government, led by the recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose desire to goad the U.S. into a war with Iran is an open secret.

One potential pretext already in play in the Persian Gulf

On Sunday, reports surfaced that several oil tankers were the victims of “sabotage” while sailing towards the Persian Gulf near Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is located just outside the Strait of Hormuz. Fujairah’s government initially denied that any “sabotage” took place and maintained that its port facilities were operating normally after media reports from Iranian outlet PressTV and Lebanese outlet Mayadeen reported on a series of “explosions” on unidentified ships in the area.

The UAE’s foreign ministry later confirmed an incident in the area but said no casualties or spills occurred and notably did not provide details as to the number or nationalities of the ships involved nor the groups responsible for the alleged attack.

However, Saudi Arabia subsequently claimed that its tankers had been affected by this act of “sabotage” and that the targeted tankers had been approaching the Strait of Hormuz on route to load oil destined for the United States. Saudi Arabia, like the UAE, did not blame any country for the attack. A Norwegian-registered oil tanker experienced hull damage after striking “an unknown object,” potentially suggesting the attack was caused by an explosion of a sea mine or the result of a torpedo or other projectile launched underwater. Notably, the U.S., U.K. and France held a “mine warfare drill” in the Persian Gulf just last month and past Western media reports have characterized sea mines as “Iran’s favorite military asset.”

Iran rejected any responsibility for the attack and Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned against a “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners.”

However, the timing of the sabotage came right on the heels of statements made by the U.S. and Israeli governments that have led some to blame Iran or suggest Iranian responsibility for the attacks — despite the lack of evidence made public and the decision by both the Saudis and Emiratis, long-time adversaries of Iran, from blaming any country for the incident or describing any specifics about the attack.

This past Thursday, the U.S. Maritime Administration — a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation — stated that “Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait or the Persian Gulf.” The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently headed by Elaine Chao, who was paid $50,000 for a five-minute speech to the Iranian exile group, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), known to actively seek regime change for Iran. Other top U.S. officials, such as Bolton, have also been paid hefty sums for appearances at MEK events, where they have openly advocated for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

In addition to warning from a U.S. department headed by an official with links to an Iranian opposition group actively seeking regime change, Israeli officials “leaked” information on Israel’s Channel 13 on Saturday that Iran was allegedly planning to target Saudi oil assets in the region. According to the unsourced report, as cited by the Times of Israel, the Iranians were “considering various aggressive acts” against American assets or those of its regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. The report also claimed that Iran had considered targeting American bases in the Gulf, but rejected it as too drastic and instead had decided to target “Saudi oil production facilities.”

In light of recent events, as well as the corporate media’s willingness to suggest Iranian culpability despite little to no publicly available evidence, it appears that this recent attack — regardless of who was responsible — could be seized upon by officials in the U.S. or Israel eager to see tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate.

Netanyahu: “America is easily moved”

It is an open secret that Israel’s government, particularly under Netanyahu, has been eager to see the U.S. engage in hostilities with Iran. The main driver for this is the fact that, while Israel has since forged alliances with several Arab-majority nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Iran and its regional allies — namely Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Syria — oppose Israeli objectives for the region and those of its allies. More crucially, Iran is arguably the country that is most supportive of Palestine and the major barrier to Netanyahu’s plans to annex Palestine’s occupied West Bank, a promise on which Netanyahu rode to reelection last month. Now more than ever, Netanyahu wants Iran’s government out of the way.

Netanyahu has openly stated that he views the U.S. government as a vehicle for fulfilling Israeli objectives and believes that Americans are easily manipulated, by Israel in particular. For instance, in a video recorded in the early 2000s — later broadcast on Israeli TV and subsequently reported on by Consortium News — Netanyahu “brags about how he deceived President Bill Clinton into believing he [Netanyahu] was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them. The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward, and wonderment at, a malleable America so easily influenced by Israel.”

In the video, Netanyahu states:

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

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy later asserted that the video reveals Netanyahu to be “a con artist who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes” and that the current Israeli prime minister’s attitude is unlikely to “change over the years.”

Now, with the Trump administration having shown its willingness to favor Israeli interests in the Middle East, Netanyahu has apparently sensed that the hour has come to push the U.S. towards war with Iran. For instance, the Trump administration organized a summit aimed at securing “peace and security in the Middle East,” to which Iran was not invited. The New York Times described that summit as follows:

…Leaders of Israel and Arab states met publicly again, at an international conference in Warsaw staged by the Trump administration. But the goal of this meeting, drawing officials of some 60 nations, was not peacemaking. It was to rally support for economic and political war with Iran, for which the United States has found little enthusiasm among allies since withdrawing from the 2015 deal that restricts Iran’s nuclear program.”

Notably, during that meeting, Netanyahu wrote in a since deleted tweet that the summit was “an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

In the wake of the Warsaw summit, Netanyahu has since claimed that he was responsible for the Trump administration’s decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terror group, a move that dramatically increased the risk of a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, especially given that Iran subsequently responded by declaring the U.S. military’s Central Command a terrorist organization.

Now, with Netanyahu feeding Bolton “intelligence” that Bolton has greatly exaggerated in order to justify their common goal — a U.S. war with Iran — and also “predicting” dubious “sabotage” attacks near the Persian Gulf, Israel’s government has revealed itself to be a driving force behind the spiking tensions between the two countries.

Equally troubling is the fact that world leaders are now openly positing that an “accident” or “false flag” provocation will be used to provoke such hostilities.

For Netanyahu, it’s now or never for a U.S.-Iran war

With the Iran nuclear deal in tatters, one consequence of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has been to push Iran to renege on aspects of the deal, from which the U.S. has already long since withdrawn. The goal, by all appearances, is to use Iran’s plan to breach parts of the deal as justification for further aggressive actions against the country by claiming that such breaches, instead of a response to U.S.-led economic warfare, are a sign of an intention to develop nuclear weapons.

With waivers for the purchases of Iranian oil now ending and Iran’s president announcing that Iran will end compliance with some aspects of the deal if Europeans do not find a meaningful workaround for U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration — and the Iran hawks within — seem to have their ducks in a row.

While there has long been concern about a U.S.-Iran conflict, several situations have arisen that have made this push for a regime-change conflict with Iran of extreme importance to both U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.

For instance, Syria’s government is set to take the Idlib province, after which Syria will turn its attention towards the Israel-controlled Golan Heights and the U.S.-occupied area of northeastern Syria. Israel was revealed to be the “brains” behind the Syria conflict and has been actively preparing for hostilities with Syria and nearby Lebanon since last year, following the failure to overthrow Syria’s government. Syria holds a mutual defense pact with Iran, meaning that it will join a conflict with Iran if Iran is threatened, thus preventing Syria’s government from focusing its efforts on retaking areas occupied by the U.S. and Israel.

If the U.S. and Israel wait until Syria consolidates control over Idlib, they will be facing a much stronger adversary in Iran’s closest regional ally than one distracted by a pocket of Al Qaeda-dominated terrorist groups in its north.

Yet, the clearest indicator that the push for war is very much in earnest is the intention of Netanyahu to effectively destroy Palestine. Several analysts, including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, have long maintained that Israel’s and Netanyahu’s main reason for wanting a war with Iran is to “have Iran bloodied the same way we did to Iraq” so that Iran “would no longer be able to support Hamas and Hezbollah in Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere.” In other words, Netanyahu wants Iran out of the picture so it can no longer provide material or financial support to groups that resist Israeli occupation.

Having won reelection in part because of his promise to annex the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu worries that Iran and its regional allies will strongly oppose that annexation and may even go to war over it, particularly if the fate of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem is threatened. Now, with the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” also set to be made public in less than a month, that deal’s push to enable the annexation is also threatened by the regional bloc led by Iran that still supports Palestine. If Netanyahu is able to eliminate Iran as a regional power, he will have eliminated the greatest single threat to both his plans for complete annexation and the enactment of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century.”

With top officials in the U.S. government and much of the media failing to push back, Netanyahu finally has a window of opportunity — albeit one that is shrinking — to push the U.S. to war with Iran and it appears that he, along with his allies in the Trump administration, plans on taking it.

As Part II of this series will show, Israel’s government and Bush-era neo-conservatives have a track record of enacting and planning “false flag” attacks to embroil the U.S. in foreign wars and that playbook would include provoking the U.S. into a war with Iran.

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 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment