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Norwegian Tanker ‘Attacked’ in Gulf Set to Dock in Iran Despite US Blame-Game – Report

Sputnik – July 9, 2019

Andrea Victory, a Norwegian tanker that suffered a significant blast on 12 May while sailing in the Gulf of Oman near a UAE port, is readying to dock at Iran’s Bandar Imam Khomeini port, almost two months after the attack, the research company Refinitiv Energy reported on its Twitter.

According to Refinitiv, the tanker is completing its voyage, which was interrupted by the May incident, carrying a shipment of oil from Argentina to Iran. Following the blast, Andrea Victory reportedly unloaded its cargo onto another ship and was then moored at a dry dock for repairs needed to cover the hole in its hull. Recently, the tanker reclaimed its cargo and is now heading towards its destination, according to Refinitiv Energy.

An official investigation by the UAE into the “sabotage” on 12 May concluded that such a sophisticated operation could only have been carried out by a “state actor”, but stopped short of pointing the finger at a specific country. However, the US has accused Iran of carrying out the attacks, albeit without providing any concrete evidence to substantiate the claims. Iran has denied being responsible for the incident.

A similar attack took place about a month later, in June, when two more tankers suffered crippling blasts that damaged their hulls, but didn’t sink them. Washington once again accused Iran, presenting a video purportedly showing Iranian speedboat crew removing unexploded mines from the hull of a ship as a proof.

Tehran has denied the US accusations and slammed attempts to shift the blame for the incident onto the Islamic Republic. Iran has condemned alleged false-flag operations directed against it, warning that they lead to instability in the region.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 2 Comments

US eyes Sri Lanka as its military logistics hub

Sri Lankan presidential aspirant Gotabaya Rajapaksa with the radical Buddhist monk Gnanasara Thera of Bodu Bala Sena. File photo.
By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 3, 2019

The Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on 21st April in which 259 people were killed and over 500 injured were initially attributed to the Islamic State (IS). But no hard evidence is available to substantiate such a reading and it remains an open question as to the perpetrators.

The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena may have somewhat de-mystified the topic this week. On July 1, Sirisena charged at a public function that drug traffickers are behind the Easter Sunday bomb attacks. The following day he ordered the arrest of former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara for their failure to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks despite prior knowledge of the attacks.

What lends enchantment to the view is that the United States had brilliantly succeeded in deploying to Sri Lanka the personnel of the Indo-Pacific Command within a couple of days of the Easter Sunday attacks on the pretext of investigating and assisting in Colombo’s upcoming fight against the IS. Historically, Sri Lanka is chary of allowing foreign military presence on its soil, but in this case Washington pressed home the deployment, since the ruling elite in Colombo was on the back foot, incoherent and in disarray in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

In political terms, what Sirisena may have done this week is to reverse the ‘internationalisation’ of Sri Lanka’s terrorism problem. Indeed, for tackling a local drug mafia, Sri Lanka doesn’t need the expertise of the US’ Indo-Pacific Command.

This is just as well because in the downstream of the Easter Sunday attacks in April, Washington also began pushing hard for the signing of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Sri Lanka, which Pentagon has traditionally demanded as the pre-requisite of establishment of military bases in foreign countries. (The SOFA establishes the rights and privileges of American personnel present in a host country in support of a larger security arrangement.)

Unsurprisingly, the Sri Lankan opinion militated against the SOFA project and suspected its real intentions. A huge uproar followed in the Sri Lankan media. Without doubt, the SOFA became yet another template of the power struggle between the staunchly nationalistic Sirisena and the famously ‘pro-western’ prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The net result is that the project which the US hoped to conclude in absolute secrecy, got derailed once the draft SOFA document under negotiation got somehow leaked to a Colombo newspaper. Interestingly, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was scheduled to travel to Colombo following his recent visit to New Delhi was compelled to cancel the visit once it became apparent that the SOFA project has become a hot potato.

Meanwhile, the Empire strikes back. A case has been filed in the US District Court in central California by an American law firm claiming damages on behalf of alleged victims of human rights abuse during the war against separatist LTTE ten years ago. The plaintiffs have targeted Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then wartime defense chief and the younger brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, as well as several government agencies, including military intelligence, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Terrorism Investigation Division, and the Special Intelligence Service, including some serving officials.

Of course, this is a blatant American attempt to put into jeopardy Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s plan to run for president in the upcoming Sri Lankan election in December. Gotabaya was a US citizen at the time of the war against the LTTE. He has dual citizenship and his request renouncing American citizenship is pending with Washington. Now, the catch is, the lawsuits in California could delay his bid to renounce his US citizenship, in which case he would not qualify to run for president under Sri Lankan electoral laws. Washington has tripped Gotabaya.

The US is making sure that the Rajapaksa family will not regain the calculus of power in Colombo following the December poll. Equally, the trial in California can expose former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well — and even entangle Sirisena who had a direct role as acting defence minister in the final stages of the war. Clearly, Washington is interfering in the December election in Sri Lanka in a calibrated manner with a view to strengthen the prospects of a pro-American candidate such as Wickremesinghe or the Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who can be trusted to put the signature on the SOFA.

The US is determined to push ahead with the signing of the SOFA leading to the establishment of long-term American military presence in Sri Lanka. In August 2018, USS Anchorage, a Seventh Fleet vessel, and a unit of Marines visited the port of Trincomalee. In December 2018, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis visited Trincomalee as part of the Pentagon’s plans to establish a logistic hub there for the US Navy. A Mass Communication Specialist on board USS John C. Stennis in a dispatch to the US Navy official web portal wrote:

“The primary purpose of the operation is to provide mission-critical supplies and services to U.S. Navy ships transiting through and operating in the Indian Ocean. The secondary purpose is to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s ability to establish a temporary logistic hum ashore where no enduring U.S. Navy logistic footprint exists.”

The US disclaims any intention to set up military bases in Sri Lanka. This is factually true — except that it is sophistry. The US plan to use Sri Lanka as a ‘military logistics hub’ involves supportive measures that facilitate any American military operation in the Asia-Pacific region. Actually, this is well beyond the solitary use of a particular harbour such as Trincomalee as a military base. The point is, the entire island nation is being transformed into a ‘military logistics hub’.

Never before has there been such blatant US interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. Washington tasted blood in the successful regime change project in January 2015 and it never looked back. The interference is so very extensive today that it is destabilising the Sri Lankan situation which is already highly polarised.

This is happening only due to India’s passivity bordering on acquiescence. The containment strategy against China in the Indian Ocean has become a common endeavour for Washington and Delhi. Is it in India’s long term interests that Sri Lanka is being destabilised, even if in the short term the Chinese Navy might be put to some difficulties in the Indian Ocean?

India’s medium and long term interests lie in regional stability. Its influence as a regional power is linked to regional stability. India cannot overlook that China has legitimate interests in our region. The US is a faraway power and is also in decline. It doesn’t make sense for India to bandwagon with the US in South Asia. A far more realistic approach will be to work with China and expand and deepen the common interests in regional security and stability.

July 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

MH17: Turning Truth & Victims into Pawns

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 29.06.2019

As the wreckage of Malaysian flight MH-17 laid scattered in eastern Ukraine, and many days before the first investigators even arrived on scene, the US had already blamed Russia and separatists it accused of aiding for the tragic downing of the passenger plane and the loss of all 298 people on board.

It would be a July 31, 2014 article by the BBC titled, “Ukraine MH17: Forensic scientists reach jet crash site,” nearly 2 weeks after the aircraft’s downing that would announce the arrival of forensic scientists at the crash site.

Yet as early as July 21, more than a week before investigators arrived, Newsweek in its article, “U.S. Report Outlines Evidence That Rebels Downed Flight MH17,” was already claiming:

The U.S. State Department has outlined the evidence behind its assertion that Russia-backed separatists are responsible for the missile strike that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. In a statement posted on the website of the U.S. embassy to Ukraine, it said the flight was “likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.”

The assertions made within the report were a summary of accusations the US leveled against Russia even earlier still.

An Australia’s ABC would report a day before the investigators’ arrival in eastern Ukraine that the US and EU had already leveled additional sanctions against Russia, spurred on by US accusations regarding MH-17.

The article, “MH17: US and EU to impose broad sanctions on Russia over support for Ukraine rebels; fighting keeps investigators from Malaysia Airlines crash site,” would note:

The measures mark the start of a new phase in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War, which worsened dramatically after the downing of MH17 over rebel-held territory on July 17.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been reluctant to step up sanctions before the crash because of her country’s trade links with Russia, said the EU measures were “unavoidable”.

Washington’s accusations and its rush to leverage their impact on public and political circles at the time to pass further sanctions against Russia fits a pattern not of an impartial investigation or search for truth, but a cynical propaganda campaign carried out at the expense of both.

A Familiar Lack of Evidence…

The subsequent Joint Investigation Team (JIT) assembled to supposedly ascertain the truth behind the airliner’s downing included among its member states, Ukraine. As others have pointed out, Ukraine was and still is a prime suspect.

Ukraine’s decision not to close airspace over contested areas where military aircraft were already being shot down alone makes Kiev at least partially culpable for the loss of MH-17.

Expectations of honesty and cooperation from Kiev (berated by even its Western sponsors as being corrupt, abusive and inept) are unrealistic and their inclusion within the JIT undermines its credibility and any conclusion they reach, especially if that conclusion lacks substantial evidence to support it.

The fact that no convincing evidence has been produced by either the JIT or the nations using it as a vehicle to target Russia years after the incident and that the JIT itself cited “social media” as an “important part of the investigation,” further illustrates the political motivations of the team.

Mentioning the use of “social media” as evidence points toward NATO-backed propaganda platforms like Bellingcat which, again, represent “investigators” and “experts” on the payroll of and working with potential suspects in the downing of MH-17 itself.

If it would be unreasonable to place Russia at the center of such an investigation, it is likewise unreasonable to place those who benefit most from Russia being found “guilty” at the center of it as well.

… And a Familiar Lack of Motivation 

Russia and any separatists it was backing in eastern Ukraine at the time had nothing to gain by shooting down a civilian airliner. At best, if separatists did launch the missile that allegedly brought down MH-17, it would have been an accident with Ukrainian military aircraft undoubtedly their intended target.

Conversely, the US and its allies had everything to gain by either allowing a civilian airliner to stray over territory knowingly putting it at risk, or shooting it down themselves as part of a false flag operation.

It is already admitted fact, even across the Western media that Ukraine failed to close airspace over eastern Ukraine.  This is despite Ukraine losing several military aircraft to separatist air defenses in the weeks leading up to MH-17’s downing.

The BBC just days before the MH-17 downing would report in their July 14, 2014 article, “Ukraine military plane shot down as fighting rages,” that:

A Ukrainian military transport aircraft has been shot down in the east, amid fighting with pro-Russian separatist rebels, Ukrainian officials say.

Despite this incident and others like it leading up to the loss of MH-17, Kiev has claimed it did not believe civilian airliners would be at risk.

A Reuters article titled, “Ukraine defends not closing airspace where MH17 shot down,” would claim:

Ukraine on Tuesday defended its decision not to close airspace in the east of the country where a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down, saying it was unaware that anti-aircraft weapons were being used in the area and that planes could be under threat.

How the JIT is moving forward with a “trial” implicating Russia while Kiev’s overt negligence remains not only unpunished, but now unmentioned, further illustrates the politically motivated nature of the JIT and the nations involved.

It should be noted however that Malaysia, a member of the JIT, has (to say the least) expressed skepticism over the JIT’s latest move to begin trials implicating Russia and Ukrainian separatists.

Malaysia’s PM Doubts the JIT’s Credibility 

The BBC in its article, “MH17 crash: Malaysia PM Mahathir denounces murder charges,” would note:

A day after the MH17 plane crash inquiry team announced murder charges against four men, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has condemned the decision as “ridiculous”.

The article also noted:

“From the very beginning it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of wrongdoing,” Mr Mahathir said.

Of course, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is absolutely correct. As we’ve seen, the US and its allies accused Russia of MH-17’s downing before any investigation began, let alone any evidence was in hand. The conclusion was reached as MH-17’s wreckage still smoldered.

For the JIT, the Truth Doesn’t Matter, Just People’s Perception of it 

If it is possible that Russia or separatists mistakenly identified MH-17 as a Ukrainian military aircraft (the only possible explanation if Russia or separatists were responsible) it was only because Ukraine itself intentionally left dangerous airspace its own military aircraft were being shot out of open to invite just such a disaster. They did so with every intention to politically exploit any potential tragedy to target Russia.

It is also possible that Ukraine and its US-NATO sponsors took advantage of their strategic losses on the ground and the growing tempo of lost military aircraft overhead by shooting down MH-17 themselves, also meaning that even before MH-17’s downing, they fully intended to frame Russia.

The entire “Skripal affair” follows the same pattern, complete with a crime blamed on Russia but lacking any conceivable motivation for Moscow to have carried it out. In fact, in both cases, either with the downing of a civilian aircraft at the height of separatist victories in eastern Ukraine or the alleged poisoning of the Skripals on British soil at the onset of the Russian-hosted World Cup, only Washington and London had anything to gain from either crime.

The immediate accusations made before investigations even began and the politically motivated nature of the investigations that followed, along with their predictable lack of evidence and their equally predictable conclusions only adds insult to injury for the victims of MH-17 and any notions of actual justice.

The truth and justice have been openly turned into pawns to the point of the Malaysian prime minister himself, whose nation is on the JIT, calling out this politically motivated circus for what it is.

We may never know what really happened on July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine because those with the power to find out have already long since decided the truth doesn’t matter. What matters is only how manipulating public perception regarding that day’s events benefits them politically, strategically and geopolitically.

With the JIT’s “trials” set to begin, their charges and trials will be cited as “evidence” Russia did it, rather than any actual evidence proving it did.

This leaves us with another example of the West’s so-called rules-based international order and maybe gives us a little more insight into why so many have lost faith in it or why it is no longer sustainable. We have to wonder though, do the people in Washington, London or Brussels stop and think about this when considering why their rules-based international order no longer inspires confidence and as it begins to fade?

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

UAE says no proof Iran hit tankers in clear rebuttal to US-Saudi claims

Press TV – June 26, 2019

The United Arab Emirates says there is no “clear, scientific and convincing” evidence to assign blame for the recent tanker attacks off its coast in the Sea of Oman, splitting with the United States and Saudi Arabia, which hold Iran responsible for the suspicious acts.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Wednesday that his country was not able to pin the attacks on any country because an investigation had failed to find enough proof.

“Honestly we can’t point the blame at any country because we don’t have evidence,” bin Zayed said during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow.

“If there is a country that has the evidence, then I’m convinced that the international community will listen to it. But we need to make sure the evidence is clear and precise and scientific and convincing for the international community,” he added.

Last month, four tankers were subjected to what Abu Dhabi called “acts of sabotage” outside the tiny Persian Gulf sheikhdom’s territorial waters near the Strait of Hormuz.

A joint investigation by the three countries concluded that a “state actor” was most likely behind the incident in May but stopped short of singling out any country.

Another pair of tankers — one of them Japanese — were attacked in the Sea of Oman earlier this month.

Bin Zayed’s statements indicate the UAE’s break from the official standpoint of the US and Saudi Arabia, both publicly blaming Iran for the two instances of tanker attacks without providing any evidence.

The claims by Riyadh and Washington come amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf region as a direct result of America’s interventionist policies.

Tensions have been running high between the two countries since Trump’s decision in May last year to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing it to renegotiate a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence as well.

The US has also sent warships, bombers and additional troops to the region in the wake of the suspicious tanker attacks in the Sea of Oman, which it has similarly blamed on Iran without providing evidence.

Iran, however, has remained steadfast on its position. The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps shot down a US spy drone last week, prompting Trump to consider and quickly back out of retaliatory strikes.

Lavrov said that Moscow would try to persuade the US and Iran to start dialogue. Iran has made it clear that it would not negotiate with the US under pressure.

‘UAE wants tensions to be dialed down’

The Emirati foreign minister said that he discussed the US-Iran tensions with Lavrov to see how the maritime routes can be kept open in the wake of such “subversive operations.”

“Expanding international cooperation to protect ships in waterways was discussed,” the UAE official said.

He asserted that the UAE did not want “more turbulence and … more worries” in the region.

“We are in a region that is tense and important for the world and we don’t want more tension,” said Sheikh Abdullah.

The Emirati top diplomat said his country was still working with the US and other regional countries to build what he said was going to be a global coalition to protect oil shipping lanes in the region.

The remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set off on a tour of the Middle East, which included a stop in Abu Dhabi, to form a “global coalition” against Iran.

A senior State Department official said Monday that the US Navy was building a “proactive deterrence” program that would be funded by a coalition of nations that want to protect their oil tankers in the region.

Bin Zayed said the project was going to involve regional and other “(oil) exporting and importing” countries.

June 26, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment

There is no parity between ethnic cleansing in Palestine and Jews’ exodus from Arab states

By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO | June 26, 2019

British Conservative MP Theresa Villiers blundered into a debate on Israel and Palestine last week. In doing so, the former Northern Ireland Secretary rehashed discredited myths the function of which has historically been to shield Israel from taking responsibility for the plight of Palestinian refugees. During deliberations in the House of Commons on “Jewish Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa”, Villiers spoke of the “untold story” of the “ethnic cleansing” of 856,000 Arab Jews from Arab countries.

According to the member of Conservative Friends of Israel, ignoring the plight of these Jewish refugees and concentrating only on the Palestinians “gives the international community a distorted view of the Middle East dispute.” Villiers added that, “A fair settlement needs to take into account the injustice suffered by Jewish refugees as well as the plight of the Palestinians.”

The MP for Chipping Barnet claimed that, “The historic UN Resolution 242 states that a comprehensive peace agreement should include ‘a just settlement of the refugee problem’; the language is inclusive of both Palestinian and Jewish refugees.”

Villiers-who often speaks in support of Israel and has even used a Commons debate about terrorism on the streets of London to appeal for “sympathy and solidarity” for the Zionist state- mimicked discredited claims made by Israeli officials since the 1950s to absolve the country from its obligations under international law to the 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1947-8.

As others have pointed out, “The analogy between Palestinian displacement and the Jewish ‘exodus’ from Arab countries is misleading.” The claims of the two communities are very different; the history and circumstance of their displacement bears no resemblance to each other, which makes any attempt to use the plight of one group to dismiss the other, as though it were a kind of population transfer reminiscent of countries split apart by civil war, totally fanciful.

Contrary to what Villiers suggested, there was no forced mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries, in the way that there was a deliberate, forced expulsion of Palestinians from their own land. If we look at Iraq, for example, Arab Jews left due to a combination of factors, of which a hostile environment following the creation of the State of Israel in Palestine was certainly one. Other push factors, according to Abbas Shiblak, author of The Lure of Zion: Case of the Iraqi Jews, include laws that were enacted to facilitate the Jewish exodus. One such law is 1/1950, known as the denaturalisation law, which empowered the Iraqi government to “divest any Iraqi who wished of his own free will and choice to leave Iraq for good, of his Iraqi nationality.” Shiblak points out that this law was welcomed by Israel, as well as Britain and the US, both of which were applying pressure on Iraq to agree to a population transfer deal involving 100,000 Iraqi Jews. It was indeed a driving factor in the flight of Iraqi Jews.

Other factors, though mired in controversy, also played a part. The 1950s saw a number of Israeli false flag operations. One that grabbed global attention was the failed covert operation, known as the “Lavon Affair”. Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence to plant bombs inside British and American civilian targets, including churches and libraries. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian communists in order to induce the British government to maintain its occupation army in the Suez Canal zone.

While that operation was not intended to create a hostile environment for Jews in Egypt with the hope of persuading them to go to Israel — that result was an arguably unintended consequence — similar plots in Iraq were designed with exactly that in mind. From 1950 through to 1951 Israeli spy agency Mossad orchestrated five bomb attacks on Jewish targets in an operation known as Ali Baba, to drum up fear amongst and hostility towards Iraqi Jews. As the mood darkened, more than 120,000 Jews — 95 per cent of the Jewish population in Iraq — left for Israel via an airlift known as Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.

In addition to the anti-Jewish feelings that took root in Arab cities following the creation of the State of Israel and prompted Jewish flight, there was also a powerful pull factor that had nothing to do with hostility in Arab countries. The very creation of Israel was based on the idea of “the ingathering of the exiles”, which assumed that the self-styled “Jewish State” would attract as a matter of course Jews from around the world to make “aliyah” and migrate there. This was not only intended to fulfil the secular dream of a Jewish “national home” (as the Balfour Declaration put it, not a “state”) but also to bring about what fundamentalist Evangelical Christians believe is a Biblical prerequisite for the long-awaited return of Jesus Christ, Armageddon and the end days; what they refer to as the “rapture”. If the whole purpose of the State of Israel was and remains to attract Jewish migration from across the world — Arab states included, presumably — then to claim that those who make the move are “refugees” is totally inaccurate and a false representation of reality.

In stark contrast, the ethnic cleansing (a term applied by Israeli historians) of three-quarters of the Palestinian population of historic Palestine, and the subsequent further expulsions of the native population that followed the June 1967 war, was premeditated in order to create a Jewish majority in the land. This is not only an indisputable historical fact, but is also reflected in various UN resolutions.

Israel’s membership of the UN was conditional upon the nascent Zionist state taking responsibility for the plight of Palestinian refugees and allowing them to return to their homes. It’s worth noting that Israel first applied to join the UN on 15 May, 1948, the day after it declared its independence; the application was rejected. A second application on 17 December the same year was also turned down on the grounds that the fighting was ongoing in Palestine and that Israel had failed to establish a demilitarised zone in the Negev Desert. It was only at its third attempt a year later that the international community allowed Israel to become a member of the organisation with the aforesaid condition.

UN General Assembly Resolution 273 of 11 May, 1949 admitted the state as a member, but required Israel to comply with Resolution 194 of 11 December, 1948 which “resolves that the [Palestinian] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” The Israeli government agreed to this condition. In pursuit of this goal, the UN ordered the creation of a commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.

However, Israel has never shown any inclination to fulfil that condition of its UN membership, despite agreeing to do so. Palestinians who were expelled from their land, and their descendants, still live in refugee camps across the occupied Palestinian territories and neighbouring countries, with many others in the wider diaspora around the world.

The international community recognises no such moral and legal claims for Arab Jews who moved to Israel, though it should also be pointed out that many chose to settle elsewhere. Villiers cited UN Resolution 242 when she claimed that such an obligation does indeed exist. However, the strongest interpretation of this resolution given its context in being adopted by the Security Council in 1967 after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza during a war that led to the displacement of a further 400,000 Palestinians, is that UN Resolution 242 refers only to Palestinian refugees. The resolution also required Israel to withdraw from the territories that it occupied during the war; it hasn’t done that yet, either.

One could of course make a case for Arab Jews to be compensated for the suffering that they endured and the property they left behind, but that should not in any way be at the expense of Palestinian refugees. Such a move would have no basis in international humanitarian law, and would thus be baseless. Human rights are not interchangeable: you cannot simply exchange the rights of one person with those of another as though it were some kind of commodity to be bartered. The rights and claims of Palestinian refugees on the state of Israel cannot be wiped away by rights that Jews may or may not have over Arab states. The simple truth is that there is not, and never has been, any parity between the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since 1947, and the exodus of Jews from Arab states. As a lawyer, Theresa Villiers should know that but, as a strong supporter of the State of Israel, like many others she chooses to ignore it as she tries to deny Palestinians of their legitimate rights.

June 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

June Madness Strikes Washington. Iranians, Russians and Britons Beware!

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 20, 2019

It has been a lively June so far in light of Washington’s apparent zeal to remake the world in its own image. There is considerable buzz among those networking in ex- or current government circles that the White House is preparing to “do something” about Iran. The recent incidents involving alleged attacks on Norwegian and Japanese tankers in the Gulf of Oman were immediately attributed to Iran by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with so little regard for evidence that even the compliant American media was left gasping. In its initial coverage of the story The New York Times inevitably echoed the administration’s claims, but if one went to the readers’ comments on the story fully 90% of those bothering to express an opinion decided that the tale was not credible for any number of reasons.

Several commenters brought up the completely phony Gulf of Tonkin incident of 1964 that led to the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, a view that was expressed frequently in readers’ comments both in the mainstream and alternative media. Others recalled instead the fake intelligence linking Iraq’s Saddam Hussein with the 9/11 conspirators as well as the bogus reports of an Iraqi secret nuclear program and huge gliders capable to delivering biological weapons across the Atlantic Ocean.

There were a number of questionable aspects to the Pompeo story, most notably the unlikelihood that Iran would attack a Japanese ship while the Japanese Prime Minister was in Tehran paying a visit. The attack itself, attributed to Iranian mines, also did not match the damage to the vessels, which was well above the water line, a detail that was noted by the Japanese ship captain among others. Crewmen on the ship also reportedly saw flying objects, which suggests missiles or other projectiles were to blame, fired by almost anyone in the area. And then there is the question of motive: the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates all want a war with Iran while the Iranians are trying to avoid a B-52 attack, so why would they do something that would virtually guarantee a devastating response from Washington?

What is going on with Iran is certainly front-page material but there are two other stories confirming that brain-dead flesh-eating zombies have somehow gained control of the White House. The first comes from David Sanger of The New York Times, who reported last week that the United States had inserted malware into the Russian electrical grid to serve as both a warning and a possible response mechanism should the Kremlin continue with its cyberwarfare ways.

The astonishing thing about the story is the casual way it is presented because, after all, inserting malware into someone’s electrical grid might well be considered an act of war. The White House responded to the story with a tweet from the president claiming that “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…” though he did not state that the account was untrue. In fact, if it was actually treason, that would suggest that the news article was accurate in its description of what must be a Top Secret program. But then Trump or one of his advisors realized the omission and a second tweet soon followed: “….. ALSO, NOT TRUE!”

Assuming that Sanger did his job right and the story is actually correct, a number of aspects of it might be considered. First, interfering with a country’s electrical grid, upon which so many elements of infrastructure depend, is extremely reckless behavior, particularly when the activity has been leaked and exposed in a newspaper. Sanger explained the genesis of his story, revealing that he had been working at it for several months. He wrote: “The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.”

The Sanger story elaborates: “Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid. But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow. The commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, has been outspoken about the need to ‘defend forward’ deep in an adversary’s networks to demonstrate that the United States will respond to the barrage of online attacks aimed at it. President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to warn anybody ‘engaged in cyberoperations against us.’ ‘They don’t fear us,’ he told the Senate a year ago during his confirmation hearings.”

If the Sanger tale is true, and it certainly does include a great deal of corroborative information, then the United States has already entered into a tit-for-tat situation with Russia targeting power grids, largely initiated to “make them fear us.” One might suggest that the two countries are already at war. That is in no one’s interest and the signals it sends could lead to a major escalation very rapidly. Interestingly, the article states that President Donald Trump does not know about the program even though it could potentially lead to World War 3. That the piece appeared at all also inevitably makes some readers wonder why Sanger has not been arrested for exposing national security information a la Julian Assange.

The final story dates from early June when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was privately meeting with American Jewish leaders who expressed concern about the possibility that British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn might become prime minister. Corbyn has been targeted by British Jews because he is the first U.K. senior politician to speak sympathetically about the plight of the Palestinians.

Pompeo was asked if Corbyn “is elected, would you be willing to work with us to take on action if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the U.K.?” He replied: “It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

There are certain ambiguities in both the question and the response, but it would appear that American Jews want to join with their British counterparts to either bring down or contain a top-level elected politician because he is not sufficiently pro-Israel. The American Secretary of State agrees with them that something must be done, to include quite possibly taking some presumably covert steps to make sure that Corbyn does not become prime minister in the first place. As Pompeo might just be thinking of subverting the institutions of America’s closest ally, it is a huge story that is being largely ignored in the media.

And June is not over yet! The good news is that the United States has not yet invaded Venezuela despite calls by America’s boy-Senator Marco Rubio and the demented Senator Lindsey Graham to do so.

June 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 2 Comments

4 Times the US Threatened to Stage an Attack and Blame it on Iran

corbettreport | June 18, 2019

The US has threatened to stage an attack and blame it on Iran over and over in the last few years. Don’t let a war based on false pretenses happen again. Please share this video.

Watch this video on BitChute / YouTube

TRANSCRIPT

1) PATRICK CLAWSON ON “CRISIS INITIATION”

CLAWSON: I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran. Which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming, that the traditional way of America gets to war is what would be best for US interests.

Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into World War II. As David mentioned, you may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War I. You may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall they had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked, which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing would the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.

[…]

I would just like to suggest that one can combine other means of pressure with
sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean, look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Someday one of them might not come up. Who would know why? We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I’m not advocating that, but I’m just suggesting that this is not an either-or proposition of, you know, it’s just sanctions has to succeed or other things. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.

SOURCE: Patrick Clawson Responds to Questions, Full Video – 9/21/2012

2) ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI WARNS OF “A TERRORIST ACT BLAMED ON IRAN”

BRZEZINSKI: A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the bench marks followed by accusations of the Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the United States blamed on Iran culminating in a “defensive” US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

SOURCE: Zbigniew Brzezinski The Senate Foreign Relations Committee

3) GARY HART WARNS IRAN ABOUT “ANOTHER GULF OF TONKIN”

WE ARE CHANGE: Yes, you recently wrote a letter to the President of Iran in which you urge them to study the gulf of tonkin incident which we now know is a staged event used to justify war in Vietnam andyou also raise the question “Does America provoke provocations?” Sir, was this not an . . I have the letter right here sir if you want to read it I have it on me right here Oh sir I mean that’s mainstream media has been published in many publications do you deny writing that letter sir you say I can read it to you right now okay you said on presuming that you are not actually ignorant enough to desire war with the United States you might you might be well advised to read the history of the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1998 and the history of the gulf of gulf of tonkin

HART: I’m sorry that was a blog or nothing to most I did not literally write a letter it was a mock letter read failed in doublespeak that the United States could stage an event to go to war with Iran no no then well what I was come in cheek saying was that we have an administration in Washington that is dying for a reason to bomb Iran and so in a mock blog letter to the Iranian government not the president of the Iranian government I just simply said if unless you people want to be bombed you better be careful about cross border incursions and I think I explicitly said keep the Republican Guard and revolutionary whatever it’s called away from the Iraqi border I was trying to communicate to the American people what our own government was trying to plan and that was to find a reason for bombing Iran and I was simply saying in effect to the American people through this mock letter be very careful about this administration creating a USS Maine incident or a Gulf of Tonkin incident that would justify popping around that’s all

SOURCE: Gary Hart WARNING – WeAreChange

4) SEYMOUR HERSH: CHENEY’S PLAN TO STAGE AN INCIDENT

FAIZ SHAKIR: There’s a bit at the end of this latest article that you wrote that I found actually most interesting. And the article hasn’t got that much attention but I want to get your take on this. And this relates to a stray or an incident that happened a couple months ago. Many of you remember. It was in the Strait of Hormuz. There was an incident where an American carrier almost blew a couple of Iranian speedboats out of the water and perhaps would have started the next war against Iran or potentially a World War III. And it was averted, thankfully, at the last second. We later learned that there was really nothing to be terribly concerned about—the incident was overblown—and that there was a vice admiral in charge of the fleet in the Strait of Hormuz who said basically there was no concern there. That it was overblown.

HERSH: But yeah, the second part basically. He was concerned but they were never a threat.

SHAKIR: They were never a threat. And you talked about—this his name is Kevin cosgrove and in article you write:

Nonetheless, Cosgriff’s demeanor angered Cheney, according to the former senior intelligence official. But a lesson was learned in the incident: The public had supported the idea of retaliation, and was even asking why the US didn’t do more. The former official said that, a few weeks later, a meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. “The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,” he said.

What you’re writing there is that Cheney—there was a meeting in the White House where Cheney presided over looking to cook up the next war. A false war based on false intelligence.

HERSH: My oldest son is a lawyer and when I sent him this story before it was published—basically in a final form, just a day—and he he wrote back and he said “You really buried the lead in this one,” about casus belli. Um, how many press are here?

Anyway, there was a meeting. Among the items among the items considered and rejected—which is why The New Yorker did not publish it, on grounds that it wasn’t accepted—one of the items was why not . . . There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger war. The one that interested me the most was: Why don’t we build in our shipyard—build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats, put navy seals on them with a lot of arms and the next time what about those goes through the Straits of Hormuz start a shoot up. Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. But that’s the kind of that’s the level of stuff we were talking about: provocation.

But that was rejected so I could understand the argument of not writing something that was rejected. Maybe. I, basically—my attitude always towards editors is they’re mice training to be rats. But the point is jejune, if you know what that means. Silly, maybe, but potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the incident was the American public—if you get the right incident, the American public will support, you know, bang bang kiss kiss. You know, we’re into it.

SOURCE Dick Cheney’s false flag attack idea to start the war with Iran

MIKE POMPEO: But in terms of how you think about problem sets, I – when I was a cadet, what’s the first – what’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (Laughter.) It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. (Applause.)

SOURCE: Secretary Pompeo Participates in Q&A Discussion at Texas A&M University

POMPEO: Good afternoon. It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

SOURCE: Secretary Pompeo Delivers Remarks to the Media

June 18, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 2 Comments

The Gulf of Credibility

By Craig Murray | June 17, 2019

I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neo-cons.

The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.

It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control.

That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous allegation. They are however very much the targets that the USA allies in the region – the Saudis, their Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues, and Israel – would target for a false flag. It is worth noting that John Bolton was meeting with United Arab Emirates ministers two weeks ago – both ships had just left the UAE.

The USA and their UK stooges have both immediately leapt in to blame Iran. The media is amplifying this with almost none of the scepticism which is required. I cannot think of a single reason why anybody would believe this particular false flag. It is notable that neither Norway nor Japan has joined in with this ridiculous assertion.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Guilty or Not, Iran’s Fate Is in Trump’s Hands

By Tim Kirby | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 17, 2019

The USS Maine sank, someone shot something at somebody during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and many non-Iraqis triggered the invasion of Iraq by flying planes into skyscrapers. The media hyped attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seem like another blatant attempt to pull the US into yet another war based on questionable pretenses. The information war regarding the incident is already very hot but ultimately the future of Iran is in Donald Trump’s hands.

The Mainstream Media has already come out in force to push the narrative that Iran was probably behind the attacks on the oil tankers even though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no actual evidence whatsoever to support his claim that the Persians did it. (Since then grainy video has come out showing nondescript men trying to attach or detach something presumably to the tanker from what is supposedly an Iranian vessel).

From a legal or moral sense it would have been much more proper if Pompeo would have waited long enough to provide solid proof that the Iranians did it before making a public condemnation of them. But then again, if his objective was to simply plant the idea that the Iranians did it into the Mainstream Media (and thus into the minds of the masses) then he played it perfectly as evidence is not required to achieve this objective.

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one’s version of the “truth” first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of “innocence until proven guilty” or the “right to a fair trial”.

Pompeo’s objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the “Iran obviously did it” narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn’t do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain’s testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of “let’s gather the evidence and then see who did it”, which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21st century arms will sink civilian ships guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran’s goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these “attacks” seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

Then again perhaps the Iranians do want to provoke the US into a war with them, by “kind of but not really” attacking these ships. Maybe they do want to fight a war they will ultimately lose destroying everything they have built after the revolution, but this seems highly unlikely. The Iranians for decade after decade have taken a reactive stance to US aggression and encirclement, why would they change that policy right now in order to go on offense against an enemy they cannot defeat in direct confrontation?

What may be reassuring to some but terrifying to others is that the final result of what is to be done about these “attacks” lies in the hands of Donald Trump. So far Trump has agreed with the Pompeo/Mainstream Media view of the incident. But Trump like all politicians says “a lot of things” and what really matters are his actions. As the President he can take this convenient incident and use it as a casus belli or he can simply and safely “condemn” Tehran with rhetoric and literally ignore the situation until it goes away which seems to be The Donald’s preferred method of keeping the peace. He has scolded many a nation but not actually pushed for a full fledged military response against any of them.

Proving who is guilty for the attacks on the tankers may take a long time or ultimately be impossible, but how this incident will be used by Washington will prove who Trump is… a patriot who wants to Make America Great Again by ignoring the chance to jump into foreign conflicts or yet another cowardly warmonger sitting in the Oval Office ready to waste US lives and resources without a care in the world.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments

‘Japan dismisses US claim that Iran attacked tankers’

Press TV – June 16, 2019

Japanese officials say Tokyo has dismissed a claim by the United States that Iran attacked two oil tankers — both of them carrying “Japanese-related” cargo — in the Sea of Oman.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency cited informed state officials as saying Tokyo had demanded that Washington examine the case further, and that grainy video footage released by the US as supposed evidence was unclear and could not be used to prove anything.

One official said the Japanese government was not convinced by the material, which the official called “nothing beyond speculation.”

The official said Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono had in a Friday phone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded more data in the case.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian-owned Front Altair oil tankers were struck by explosions near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday morning. Japan’s government said both vessels were carrying “Japanese-related” cargo.

Shortly after the two tankers were hit by the explosions, Pompeo blamed Iran. A day later, US President Donald Trump made a similar claim. Neither offered any evidence, and the footage that was released was said by US officials to show Iranian personnel removing an “unexploded” mine.

Iran has rejected the allegations.

Experts have said the explosions could have been false flags to implicate Iran at the time of a historic visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran, a first of its kind in more than 40 years. Prime Minister Abe was meeting with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei when the explosions happened.

According to Kyodo, a source close to Prime Minister Abe also said that the footage did not prove an Iranian attack.

Separately, a Japanese Foreign Ministry source said the attack being sophisticated was no reason to blame Iran. Such a characteristic, according to the source, could also implicate the US and Israel — Iran’s main adversaries.

The Japanese operator of one of the tankers also said it had been hit by “a flying object,” not a mine.

A short while after the incident, Iranian rescue officials picked up a distress signal sent by the tankers and scrambled a vessel, which then safely removed the crew from the waters around their burning ships.

‘The video means nothing!’

Independent intelligence experts have expressed doubts about whether the footage released by the US incriminates Iran, as US officials have claimed.

William Church, a former military investigator for the United Nations Security Council, told Newsweek on Saturday that the US had doctored evidence before.

“The US track record on ginning up evidence for war is not good,” he said. “It lied in the run-up to the Vietnam war [by inventing a North Vietnamese attack on a US Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964], and it lied about WMD (weapons of mass destruction) before the Iraq war. So when these tanker attacks happen, we have to ask why and what’s the motivation in addition to examining the evidence.”

Church said much more needed to be known.

“The video means nothing. We need to know how it was taken, when was it taken, what was the total sequence. Then you’d have to talk to the people in the video to get their view of what happened. I would check to see if the video was doctored. You would need to do everything that a trained investigator would do,” he said.

Ayham Kamel, the head of Middle East analysis for the Eurasia Group, an international risk analysis consultancy, suggested that Saudi Arabia might have carried out attacks on the tankers to blame them on Iran because Riyadh was increasingly under pressure from retaliatory strikes by Yemeni Houthis, whom the Saudis claim are Iranian-backed.

“The Saudis are alarmed [by the retaliatory Yemeni strikes,” Kamel said. “Their response is going to be to try to pressure the US into action.”

Anthony Cordesman, a strategic analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also raised the possibility that Riyadh, or Abu Dhabi or Daesh, could have been behind the incidents.

“One has to keep asking the question, well, if it isn’t Iran, who the hell is it?” he said. “You come up with the possibility that ISIS (Daesh) carried out the attack as trigger to turn two enemies — the United States and Iran — against each other. Or you’re watching Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates create an incident that they can then use to increase the pressure on Iran.”

“The truth of the matter is either you have evidence, or you don’t,” he added. “Is there hard evidence that Iran is guilty? The answer is no.”

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Iran can be Trump’s nemesis

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | June 15, 2019

What a coincidence that a leaked document from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) just exposed that the chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria in April, 2018 was most likely staged. In security parlance, it was a false flag operation — stage-managed cunningly to create the alibi for a ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the West in Syria.

As it happened, the US and France did stage a missile strike at Syrian government targets in July that year, alleging that Damascus was culpable for what happened in Douma, ignoring the protests by Russia.

False flag operations are not uncommon, but the US holds a PhD on that genre. The most famous one in modern history was the Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 1964 where the US government deliberately misrepresented facts to justify a war against Vietnam.

Prima facie, there is enough circumstantial evidence to estimate that the attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 has been a false flag operation. The attack on the two tankers with cargo heading for Japan took place just as the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe sat down for the meeting yesterday with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

The fact of the matter is that Abe was on a delicate mission to try to kickstart talks between the US and Iran. It is one of those delicate moments when a slight push can derail or even undermine the nascent move for dialogue. True, in the first round, Khamenei rejected talks with the US. But, as Abe said later, more efforts are needed for easing tensions between the US and Iran.

Therefore, as regards the incident yesterday in the Gulf of Oman, the question to be asked is: Who stands to gain? Most certainly, it cannot be Iran, which has just laid on the table in plain terms what it takes for negotiations to commence between the US and Iran — President Trump abandoning what Tehran calls the US’ ‘economic terrorism’ against it. Khamenei told Abe with great frankness that it is futile to negotiate with the US, which keeps resiling from international agreements. No doubt, Trump has been highly erratic by making overtures to Iran on the one hand and tightening the screw on the other hand. (See my blog Abe’s mediatory mission to Tehran hangs in the balance.)

Simply put, Iran has no axe to grind by undermining Abe’s mission, especially since Japan is the only western power, which, historically speaking, never ever acted against Iran but on the contrary consistently maintained friendly ties and showed goodwill. (Once in 1953, Japan even ignored the British-American embargo against Iran and went ahead to import Iranian oil.)

However, this much cannot be said about certain regional states  — which Iran has called the ‘B Team’ — that are bent on perpetuating the US-Iran standoff and incrementally degrade Iran to a point that a military confrontation ensues at some point in which American power dispatches that country to the “Stone Age”, as the present US National Security Advisor John Bolton once put it.

In this rogues’ gallery, apart from Israel, there is also Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Bolton, of course, is mentored by Israel and it is an established fact that he has received money for services rendered from the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the anti-Iran terrorist group based in France, which espouses the overthrow of the Islamic regime in Tehran.

Iran has sounded warnings in recent weeks, including at the level of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif,  that this ‘B Team’ would at some point stage false flag operations to ratchet up tensions and/ or precipitate a crisis situation, that would in turn prompt Trump to order some sort of military action against Iran.

To be sure, the stakes are very high for Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE if Abe’s mission advances further and the current tensions begin to ease. An added factor for the ‘B Team’ is that time is the essence of the matter. It increasingly seems that Bolton’s job as NSA is in danger. Trump has hinted more than once that he does not subscribe to Bolton’s warmongering. The well-known ex-CIA officer and commentator John Kiriakou wrote this week that the White House has “very quietly and discreetly begun informal meetings with a list of a half-dozen possible replacements for Bolton.” (See the commentary in Consortium News titled JOHN KIRIAKOU: Bolton’s Long Goodbye.) It is crucial for the ‘B Team’ that Bolton keeps his job in the White House. And there is no better way to hold back Trump from sacking his NSA when a crisis situation looms large in the Middle East.

Be that as it may, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Iran is responsible for the incident in the Gulf of Oman. He claimed in a statement, “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

Now, doesn’t Israel too have the intelligence capability, weapons and expertise to execute such a false flag operation? Read Pompeo’s statement carefully and its laboured tone gives away that the ex-CIA Director (who recently even bragged openly about the art of lying in diplomacy and politics) was  far from convincing.

So, where’s the beef? Pompeo has instructed that the UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen raise the matter in the UN Security Council. There is an eerie similarity to what once one of Pompeo’s predecessors as state secretary, Colin Powell did — manufacturing evidence of WMD program by Saddam Hussein to pave the way for the US to invade Iraq.

What needs to be factored in is that the US anticipates that in another fortnight, Iran’s 60-day deadline for the European countries to come up with concrete steps to fulfil their commitments under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will expire. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s visit to Tehran last week was a calculated attempt to persuade Iran to accept the stark reality that it must unilaterally fulfil its commitments under the nuclear deal while there is little the EU can do in practical terms to defy the US sanctions. Maas tried to persuade Iran to accept the US’ demand that non-nuclear issues (such as Iran’s missile programme, regional policies, etc.) also be negotiated under a new pact. Quite obviously, the European powers, despite their bravado (in words), are falling in line with Trump’s strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran.

If Iran decides to reject the idea of unilaterally observing the 2015 deal (without any reciprocal acts by the international community), the US and its western allies will want to take the matter to the UNSC to revive the UN’s past (pre-2015) sanctions against Iran. The big question is whether Russia and China would allow such a turn of events. Tehran has categorically denied any involvement in yesterday’s incident. And Iran is playing it cool. President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif left Tehran for Bishkek on June 13, as scheduled previously, to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation summit.    

Meanwhile, the US has made an additional deployment to the region. But then, the US Central Command has also signalled to Tehran in a statement: “We have no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. We will defend our interests, but a war with Iran is not in our strategic interest, nor in the best interest of the international community.”

At this point, the logical thing to do will be to insist on an impartial investigation by the UNSC on the incident. But, curiously, no country is willing to bell the cat. Russia, which is usually quick on demanding facts before reaching any definitive opinion on such murky situations, is also not in a hurry to demand investigation. Can it be that everyone understands that this was a false flag operation and could only be Bolton’s last waltz with Netanyahu?

Trump is walking a fine line. He has blamed Iran, but refrained from saying what he proposed to do. The fact remains that a highly dangerous situation is developing in and around the Straits of Hormuz, which is a choke point for oil tankers.

An entanglement with Iran’s Pasdaran is the last thing Trump would want as he plans to announce shortly his candidacy for the 2020 election. The situation is fraught with grave political risks, if one recalls how the Iran crisis spelt doom for Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign in 1980.

Trump has bitten more than he could chew, as the strong rebuke Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei administered to him underscores. Iran may turn out to be Trump’s nemesis.

Read the CNN ‘analysis’ here taunting Trump to walk the talk on Iran.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Does Not Make Sense’: Fallout From Oil Tanker Attack Benefits Emiratis, Saudis, Not Tehran

Sputnik – 15.06.2019

In an interview with Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear, Mohammed Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, dismissed the US accusation that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, saying Tehran had nothing to gain from such a move.

“There is obviously a great deal of skepticism [in Iran], because the first attack that was carried out about a month ago on a number of ships near the port off the UAE [United Arab Emirates] coast happened almost immediately after [US National Security Adviser John] Bolton said that he had received intelligence from the Israelis that Iran wants to carry out attacks on US interests,” Marandi told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

Bolton previously accused Iran of attacking tankers located off the coast of the Emirati port of Fujairah earlier this month. On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were targeted by acts of sabotage in the UAE’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Oman. According to Bolton, the four oil tankers were targeted by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”

On Thursday, the “Front Altair” oil tanker, owned by Norwegian company Frontline, and the chemical tanker “Kokuka Courageous,” owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo, were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and one of the most important passageways for world oil supplies.

“Now as the Japanese Prime Minister comes to Iran after 41 years … he is on his way to see the [Iranian Supreme] leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] in the morning, and as he’s getting ready, two ships are hit right outside that are linked to Japan,” Marandi explained. “These attacks seem, again, to be designed to harm Iranian interests, because the Iranian leader, in the meeting with the prime minister, called Japan a friend of Iran. So why would Iran attack targets affiliated or associated with Japan at a time when the prime minister is in Iran? It simply does not make sense.”

On Friday, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking the tankers, claiming that a video released by the US military proves Tehran’s culpability. Just a day prior, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the attacks were executed with such a high degree of sophistication, with all 44 crew members of the tankers being safely evacuated, that Iran was the only power in the region that could have been behind them.

However, on Friday, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, refuted the US version of events, claiming that crew members on the Japanese ship saw a flying object right before the attack.

“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship,” Katada said, according to Japanese media.

“I’m glad to know that people think that when Iran carries out an attack, they’re very careful not have people killed. I guess that means that they expect the Israelis and Americans to kill innocent people in such attacks,” Marandi told Sputnik.

“But I don’t think that is a credible argument. In fact, it runs in contrast to American claims. Americans are claiming that Iranian oil exports are down to zero, which is not true, but if that’s the case, what’s the use in driving up the price of oil?” Marandi asked.

Following the attacks Thursday, oil prices rose by 4% with Brent Crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, spiking to $61.99 a barrel. The US has previously threatened to reduce Iranian crude oil exports “to zero” via sanctions.

“[The rise in oil prices] only benefits the Saudis and the Emiratis. It would make the vast amount of oil that they export more expensive,” Marandi noted.

“The most important point [that one] can make about Iranian responses to the US is a) that the Iranians will restart elements of the nuclear program, and they will decrease their commitment to the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] JCPOA, and that will put pressure on the US and the Europeans; and b) I am very confident that the Iranians are helping the Yemenis in their fight against Saudi and Emirati aggression,” Marandi added. “And the amount of damage that the Yemeni armed forces are doing to the Saudis has gone up dramatically. We have seen how sophisticated the Yemeni defense capabilities have become over the last couple of years, and I think that the transfer of tech to the Yemenis has been from friendly countries like Iran.”

In May 2018, Trump announced the US’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, reinstating harsh sanctions against Tehran. Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would begin stockpiling low-enriched uranium and heavy water, which can be used to build nuclear weapons in nuclear reactors. He also said the country would start enriching uranium to higher levels than permitted under the terms of the JCPOA.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 2 Comments