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Israeli cluster bomb from 2006 war kills Lebanese man in south

Ali Nehme Hamzeh, who was killed on August 22, 2019 in an explosion of an Israeli cluster bomb left over from the 2006 war on Lebanon. (Photo by National News Agency)
Press TV – August 22, 2019

A young Palestinian man has lost his life when a cluster bomb dropped during Israel’s military aggression against Lebanon in the summer of 2006 detonated in the country’s south.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported that the man, identified as Ali Nehme Hamzeh, was working on a bulldozer in a field near the village of Majdal Selm on Thursday, when the bomb exploded.

He was taken to the nearby Tibnin Governmental Hospital, but succumbed to his wounds.

Southern Lebanon is littered with hundreds of unexploded Israeli cluster bombs, and the Lebanese army together with the UN and other international organizations are working to purge the area of the deadly ordnance.

According to the United Nations, the Israeli army dropped some four million cluster bombs on Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war, mostly during the last 48 hours of the conflict.

More than 400 people, 90 percent of them civilians and a third under the age of 18, have been killed by the munitions, while dozens more have been maimed.

Cluster bombs are a type of explosive weapons that blow up in the air and scatter dozens of sub-munitions over a large area.

Cluster munitions are banned in most countries due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapons.

About 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, lost their lives during Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon back in the summer of 2006.

According to a 629-page report of the Winograd Commission, appointed by the Israeli regime itself, Hezbollah fighters involved in defending Lebanon against the Israeli war defeated the enemy, and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

The Winograd Commission was set by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in September 2006 to examine the events during Israel’s 33-day war on Lebanon. It was chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd.

The commission was formed in the wake of public criticism and protest over the fact that the Israeli military had effectively lost the war by failing to achieve its aim of freeing two soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the 2006 war, calls on Israel to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

US officials confirm Israel behind Iraq air strikes

MEMO | August 23, 2019

US officials have confirmed that Israel was behind recent airstrikes on alleged weapons depots in Iraq, which were ostensibly being used by Iran to transfer arms to Syria.

Senior US officials yesterday told the New York Times that Israel has carried out “several strikes [in Iraq] in recent days”, the most recent of which took place on Monday near the Balad Airbase, north of Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The US-based newspaper also quoted a “senior Middle Eastern intelligence official” who said that Israel had struck a separate base north of Baghdad on 19 July. The official claimed that the base was being used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to transfer weapons to Syria, where Iranian-backed groups are engaged in the country’s protracted civil war.

He added that a “cargo of guided missiles with a range of 125 miles” was destroyed during the attack.

The same official also revealed that the 19 July strike was launched from “within Iraq”, raising questions as to how Israeli aircraft were based in a country with which they currently have no formal diplomatic relations.

The US officials’ comments confirm weeks of speculation that Israel was responsible for the multiple attacks on Iraqi targets which have taken place in recent months.

In the past three months, four attacks on weapons depots have taken place. Three of these bases were being used by the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an umbrella organisation of Shia paramilitary groups technically under the authority of the Iraqi Security Forces, though many operate semi-autonomously.

Meanwhile the fourth was being used by Iraq’s federal police, the New York Times explained.

On Wednesday the PMF blamed the US and Israel for attacking its bases in Iraq, saying in a statement that the US had allowed four Israeli drones to enter Iraq. The statement added that the group has “accurate information” which proves the US brought the Israeli drones into Iraqi territory to work as part of the US fleet stationed in the country.

The US Pentagon, however, strenuously denied its involvement in the affair, dismissing the PMF’s statement entirely.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu further added to speculation of US-Israeli involvement yesterday, saying that he had given the armed forces a “free hand” to deal with the alleged Iranian threat.

In an interview with Israel’s Russian-language outlet Channel 9, Netanyahu was asked whether Israel would operate against Iranian targets in Iraq if needed. The prime minister replied: “We are operating – not just if needed, we are operating in many areas against a state that wants to annihilate us. Of course, I gave the security forces a free hand and instructed them to do anything necessary to thwart Iran’s plans.”

The attacks represent a new front for Israel, having previously focused on targeting Iranian positions in Syria. Though Israel has maintained an official policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war and often remained silent in the face of air strike accusations, in January then Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Gadi Eisenkot admitted Israel had in fact struck Syria “thousands of times”.

Israel’s military intelligence threatened in February to expand its operations to Iraq, claiming “Iran may use Iraq as a launching pad to target Israel” after its positions in Syria were destroyed. This, Israel claimed, “would call for a response from Tel Aviv”. US President Donald Trump also expressed similar ideas, telling American news station CBS that he would keep US personnel in Iraq to “keep an eye” on Iran.

Former Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi slammed these suggestions, stressing that “Iraqi sovereignty must be respected [since] we are not proxies in conflicts outside the interests of our nation”. Iraq’s President Barham Salih echoed this sentiment, calling on the US not to pursue its own policy priorities because “we live here”.

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August 23, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

BBC Admits ‘Syrian’ Airstrike in Recent Story on Scarred Boy Turned Out to Be Turkish

Sputnik – August 22, 2019

The BBC has corrected its August 19 news story about a Syrian boy who was severely wounded in a 2018 airstrike, which the broadcasting company first said was carried out by Syrian forces but later admitted could be blamed on Turkey.

Some Twitter users posted screenshots showing that the BBC had actually redacted its text several times.

The headline of the short story, featuring a video about the life of a four-year-old Syrian boy whose face was scarred in the airstrike, originally referred to the incident as “a Syrian airstrike.” The mention of Syria was then deleted with an indication that it was “not clear who was responsible for the attack.” Now the headline refers to it as just “an airstrike,” and the article clarifies that “evidence indicates that Turkey carried out the airstrike.”

Last January, Turkish forces launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in Afrin, a city located in northern Syria, as part of a military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The boy, named Jouma, and his family were fleeing their home in Syria when an airstrike hit the bus they were on.

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, wrote on Twitter that Tolin Hassan, a close friend of the wounded boy’s family, told her that Jouma’s relatives “mentioned over and over to BBC-journo that the car was hit by a Turkish strike after escaping Afrin.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US, Turkey must end illegal military presence on Syria soil: Damascus envoy to UN

Press TV – August 21, 2019

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari has called on the United States and Turkey to end their “illegal military presence” in the Arab country and crimes against civilians.

Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on Middle East peace and security challenges in New York on Tuesday, Ja’afari urged Washington and Ankara to respect the UN Charter’s principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and refrain from using force against them.

“The United States and its allies, including the Turkish occupation forces, must be obliged to end their illegal military presence on Syrian territory and to stop their aggressive practices in support of terrorism and their crimes against Syrians, civilian installations and infrastructure,” he said.

He also criticized Turkey for sending a military convoy carrying ammunition into Syria’s Idlib Province in support of the militants holed up in the embattled region.

The Syrian envoy further highlighted the need for the world body to stay focused on the real root causes of the Middle East conflict, including occupation, acts of aggression and destructive interventions in countries’ domestic affairs — such as those aimed at overthrowing governments by force, investing in terrorism and fabricating crises.

“Success in dealing with the challenges facing the region requires upholding the principles of international law and the provisions of the UN Charter and stopping attempts to distort and manipulate its provisions,” he said.

Ja’afari also described Israel’s occupation of Arab territories as the main reason for the crisis in the region.

“The main cause of the conflicts in the Middle East and the inability to achieve peace and stability has been and continues to be the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, including the occupied Syrian Golan,” he said.

Ja’afari further expressed concerns about Israel’s accumulation of weapons of mass destruction, saying the regime should join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without delay and subject its facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s safeguards regime.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

US praises sanctions for killing Iran’s economy, then blames Tehran for people’s suffering

RT | August 20, 2019

The US State Department can’t seem to make up its mind about the cause of Iran’s economic woes, claiming Tehran’s “Marxist economy” is to blame even as it celebrates the devastation US sanctions have wrought on the country.

Speaking to reporters in New York on Tuesday, US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook assailed the Islamic Republic, demanding an end to its “lethal assistance…to terrorist organizations,” and running down a list of economy-ruining American sanctions currently imposed on the country.

“We have effectively zeroed-out Iran’s export of oil,” Hook said. “We have sanctioned Iran’s export of petro-chemicals, industrial metals, precious metals.”

“We have collapsed foreign direct investment. We have seen significant asset flight leaving the country. Iran is in a recession. Inflation is creeping up near 50 percent.”

However, Hook went on, it would be wrong to suggest that Washington is behind Iranian people’s struggles – despite having just argued precisely that. Instead, the fault was with Iran’s “Marxist economy” and ideological fervor, the envoy said. Sanctions? What sanctions?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighed in on the effects of US sanctions on Tuesday, but was more willing to take credit for their ruinous effects on Iran’s oil-dependent economy. Pompeo bragged to MSNBC that the sanctions continue to remove 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from the global market on a daily basis.

Unlike oil, Washington insists its sanctions do not target Iran’s healthcare system. In a propaganda video created by the State Department last month and addressed to the Iranian people, Hook claimed the idea was a “myth” pushed by the government. That is not to say the sanctions are not having a devastating effect, however. A recent report by Abbas Kebriaeezadeh, professor of pharmacology at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, found that US sanctions “are killing cancer patients in Iran” indirectly, creating dire drug shortages and skyrocketing prices.

Tension between Iran and the United States has soared in recent months, with US sanctions ratcheted back up after US President Donald Trump abrogated Washington’s part of a nuclear pact signed between Iran and world powers in 2015. The US sought to pin on Iran a series of suspicious attacks on commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf earlier this summer, while the shootdown of an American spy drone over Iranian airspace in June nearly triggered a US military response. Washington has since deployed a veritable arsenal to Iran’s doorstep – purely for ‘defensive’ reasons, of course.

August 20, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Russia Warns US Against Economic Blockade on Venezuela – Deputy Foreign Minister

Sputnik – August 20, 2019

Russia has warned the United States against any attempts to impose an economic blockade on Venezuela, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement.

“We will certainly study the situation related to Washington’s boosting of illegal, illegitimate sanctions pressure and attempts to impose blockade [on Venezuela]. We warn Washington against incautious steps in this sphere”, Ryabkov said.

According to the diplomat, the issue of US sanctions against the Latin American nation will be discussed during the course of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez scheduled for 21 August.

Ryabkov said that Rodríguez has already held several rounds of talks and will continue to communicate with Russian officials on various subjects.

Speaking about the bilateral ties between Russia and Venezuela, the diplomat said that the two nations will boost economic cooperation, including in mining and machine engineering.

“We are not discussing economic assistance, but economic cooperation”, Ryabkov said, when asked whether Russia possibly increasing its aid to the Latin American country was on the agenda during Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Moscow. “We’re continuing work on a range of projects. New possibilities have emerged in some areas, such as the mining industry and … machine engineering. We’re continuing work on Russian grain deliveries to Venezuela in quite significant amounts. As I see it, the government already started … such discussions yesterday”.

Earlier this month, Washington imposed a new round of sanctions on Venezuela with National Security Adviser John Bolton saying that the pressure sent a direct signal to all enablers of “Maduro’s dictatorship”. Caracas decried the sanctions as “another serious aggression by the Trump administration through arbitrary economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people”.

Venezuela has suffered a political crisis since the beginning of this year when opposition figure Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president of the country just days after legitimate President Maduro was inaugurated for a second term.

Washington as well as other nations immediately recognised Guaido as Venezuela’s leader. However, Russia among several other nations refused to recognise the legitimacy of the self-styled president’s claim.

President Maduro, for his part, slammed the opposition leader as a US “puppet”, saying Guaido’s recognition by global leaders was a coup attempt staged by the United States.

August 20, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

US tells Greece any help to Iranian tanker may be ‘terrorism support’

RT | August 19, 2019

The US State Department has informed the Greek government of its ‘strong position’ regarding foreign states providing any assistance to Iranian oil tanker that was recently released by Gibraltar despite all Washington’s pressure.

Any attempts to assist the vessel, which was renamed from ‘Grace 1’ to ‘Adrian Darya 1’ and is now reportedly heading towards Greece, could be considered as “providing material support to a US-designated foreign terrorist organization,” a State Department official told Reuters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, criticized Gibraltar’s ‘unfortunate’ decision to ignore US pressure. After it became clear last week there were no reasons to hold the vessel any longer, the US issued own warrant for its seizure, claiming the ship was involved in money laundering and financing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Washington had designated as a terrorist organization.

The British territory explained it was not bound by US laws, pointing out that EU sanctions against Iran are far less sweeping than Washington’s own “maximum pressure” sanctions regime and that the vessel is complying with EU laws.

The Royal Marines seized the Iranian supertanker last month as it passed Gibraltar, accusing the vessel of illegally attempting to transport oil to Syria. Tehran emphatically denied the claim, calling the seizure an act of “piracy” undertaken at Washington’s direction. The Iranian navy has warned it is “ready to escort our tanker” should the US attempt to retake the Adrian Darya.

August 19, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 4 Comments

Daesh Is Curiously Pursuing The Same Strategic Goal As India In Afghanistan

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-08-18

Daesh claimed credit for a suicide bombing at a Pakistani mosque on Saturday that ended up killing the Taliban leader’s younger brother, briefly raising fears that the organization would pull out of its ongoing peace talks with the US in response. Those concerns were quickly dismissed after one of the group’s unnamed representatives told Reuters that “If someone thinks martyring our leaders would stop us from our goal they’re living in a fool’s paradise”, which was met with a sigh of relief by practically everyone in the world, that is, except India. The South Asian state doesn’t support the US’ decision to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, as the author elaborated upon earlier this year in his piece about “Reading Between The Lines: India Has Sour Grapes Over America’s Afghan Peace Talks“, which explained that New Delhi wants Washington to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely since its partner’s military presence guarantees that the landlocked country could be used to expand its “strategic depth” by functioning as a Hybrid War staging ground against the global pivot state of Pakistan.

It’s therefore curious that Daesh’s latest suicide attack in Pakistan could have fulfilled India’s political fantasy of sabotaging the US-Taliban peace talks and thus keeping the Pentagon indefinitely in Afghanistan. One would be inclined to believe that Daesh would prefer for the US to leave the country as soon as possible, yet the world’s most notorious terrorist group defied expectations through its brazen action that could have resulted in the opposite. While Daesh’s rivalry with the Taliban is well known, it’s difficult to believe that it would do what it did at this specific time given the ultra-sensitive context involved relating to the US’ possible withdrawal from Afghanistan if the peace talks succeed, so it certainly makes one wonder whether Indian intelligence might have had a hand in guiding events, at the very least. It wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented either since detained Hybrid War operative Kulbhushan Jadav admitted to organizing terrorist attacks in the Pakistani region of Balochistan, which is where Daesh’s latest one occurred.

There’s no way to know for sure whether this was the case or not, but it’s nevertheless a plausible theory when considering the aforementioned strategic variables at play. Indian intelligence has connections with terrorist groups and is using them as proxies for waging a Hybrid War on Pakistan that’s hitherto mostly been with the intent of sabotaging CPEC, so it’s not inconceivable that some of those same assets could be used to target the Taliban’s younger brother with the intent of provoking the group to pull out of its peace talks with the US. Should that have been the case, then this operation definitely failed, but it would reveal just how desperate India is to keep the American military in Afghanistan that it would resort to orchestrating a carefully calibrated terrorist attack that could have ended up being a global game-changer. It would also speak to just how distrustful India is of its new American military-strategic ally and represent an escalation of the incipient Hybrid War being waged by both of them against the other, albeit with India taking the step to make it kinetic whereas the US had kept it purely within the economic and diplomatic realms for now.

August 18, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Baghdad Says it Will Down Any Vehicle Violating Iraqi Airspace After Depot Blast

Sputnik – August 16, 2019

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Mahdi, following a mysterious blast that hit a munitions depot in Baghdad, has ordered the air defences to immediately bring down any aerial vehicle that will violate the country’s airspace, the government’s press service said on Thursday.

The decision came after a blast hit the ammo depot in the Iraqi capital on Monday, leaving one civilian killed and dozens injured.

Though the causes of the explosion remain unknown, the incident has given rise to a number of theories, including that Israel might have been allegedly behind the airstrike on the depot belonging to the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces.

“The prime minister ordered to revoke all special flight permits in Iraqi airspace for reconnaissance aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft with weapons, fighters, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles of all kinds available to the Iraqi and non-Iraqi sides”, the press service said following the Iraqi National Security Council meeting.

The council also ruled that flight permits would now be issued exclusively by the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, i.e. Mahdi, or officials authorized by him.

“All authorities are required to comply with this order. Any flights that violate this regulation will be considered an aggression, which our air defence will immediately respond to”, the statement added.

It is noteworthy that the decision also comes amid the Turkish Air Force’s regular raids against the Kurdistan Workers Party’s positions in Iraq, which the latter has repeatedly slammed as an assault on its sovereignty.

August 16, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 4 Comments

Israeli Cluster Bomb Kills Lebanese Child in South Lebanon

Eight-year-old Ali Abbas Maatouk was martyred when a cluster bomb submunition detonated (Wednesday, August 14, 2019).
Al-Manar | August 15, 2019

A bomb left over from Israeli 2006 July War on Lebanon exploded Wednesday, killing a child in south Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Eight-year-old Ali Abbas Maatouk was martyred and another child injured when the cluster bomb submunition detonated as they played in the village of Toul in Nabatieh.

They were rushed to Toul’s Sheikh Ragheb Harb Hospital.

Maatouk succumbed to his wounds upon arrival, Hasan Bourgi, an emergency room doctor, told The Daily Star.

“His head injury was too severe, despite resuscitation attempts,” Bourgi said. He added that the other child suffered shrapnel wounds to the stomach but was in stable condition.

The tragedy struck on the 13th anniversary of the end of the 33-day war, during which the Israeli warplanes “rained an estimated 4 million submunitions on south Lebanon, the vast majority over the final three days,” a Human Rights Watch report said.

It called Israel’s use of cluster bombs “indiscriminate and disproportionate, in violation of [international humanitarian law], and in some locations possibly a war crime.”

Some 40 percent of the munitions did not explode, NGO Mines Advisory Group said.

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Punishing the World With Sanctions

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 15, 2019

Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolve the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria [?] in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2nd, Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order “prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit… except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products.” The ban also includes “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance… by international financial institutions,” meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington’s lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing “reliable assurance” that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin’s involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship’s cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington’s raisons d’etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as “serious aggression,” and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela’s basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be “negative consequences.” Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump’s rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations’ leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia’s government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the “Russian threat” and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

August 15, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Gibraltar releases Iran-operated tanker despite US pressure: Paper reports

Press TV August 15, 2019

Gibraltar’s government has reportedly released an Iranian-operated supertanker, which was seized by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4, despite pressure from the United States for the vessel’s continued detainment.

“Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions,” Reuters quoted the Gibraltar Chronicle as reporting on Thursday.

According to the report, the chief justice of Gibraltar’s supreme court, Anthony Dudley, said there was no US application currently before the court.

The Gibraltar Chronicle also claimed that the decision to release the Grace 1 tanker came after receiving formal written assurances from the Iranian government that it would not discharge its cargo in Syria.

Iran has strictly rejected claims that the vessel was ever carrying crude to the Arab country.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry reported after the incident that the UK had seized the vessel at the request of the US, which has been trying to trouble Iran’s international oil vessels as part of its campaign of economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.

Earlier on Thursday, Gibraltar said that the US had applied to seize the Iranian-operated oil tanker after British media reported that the vessel’s release was imminent following a set of diplomatic exchanges between Tehran and London.

“The US Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations which are now being considered,” the Gibraltar government said in a statement.

It added that the “matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) today.”

A diplomatic dispute broke out between Iran and the UK on July 4, when Britain’s naval forces unlawfully seized Grace 1 and its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil in the Strait of Gibraltar under the pretext that the supertanker had been suspected of carrying crude to Syria in violation of the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against the Arab country.

However, reports show the confiscation took place upon a call by the US.

Tehran rejected London’s claim that the tanker was heading to Syria, slamming the seizure as “maritime piracy.”

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization said Tuesday that Britain was expected to soon free Grace 1, after the two sides exchanged certain documents to pave the way for the supertanker’s release.

August 15, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments