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Turkish troops, allied militants cut off drinking water to people in Syria’s Hasakah, environs

Press TV – July 5, 2020

Turkish military troops and allied militants have once again cut off drinking water supplies to about a million people living in and around the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah by stopping a border water pumping station, a report says.

In an interview with Syria’s official news agency, SANA on Sunday, Director General of Hasakah Water Company Mahmoud al-Ukla said that Turkish soldiers and Ankara-backed militants stopped Alouk Water Station on Saturday evening and barred workers of the station from entering the facility.

The major water station is located in the vicinity of the border town of Ra’s al-Ayn, which Turkish troops and their allied militants seized in October 2019 during the so-called Peace Spring Operation.

Ukla warned that the inhumane move was threatening the lives of inhabitants of the city and its surrounding residential neighborhoods in northeastern Hasakah province.

He added that the criminal act came as the people of the affected areas are in the utmost need for the water from the Alouk station, the only source for guaranteeing the drinking water for them.

The water station has so far been forced to stop several times by the invading Turkish troops and their allied militants.

Back in March, the Syrian foreign ministry sent two identical letters to the chief of the United Nations and the UN Security Council in protest against the repeated inhumane move. It noted at the time that the Turkish military forces shelled the water station during their cross-border military operation last October, putting it out of service.

Furthermore, Syrian officials, accordingly, presented a briefing to the UNSC in February, informing the international body of a water outage in Hasakah.

July 5, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

The American War (Vietnamese Perspective)

Ezgi Cihan | Film production 2009

The core of this film is to investigate the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese who fought in that war. How did they sustain their morale in the face of such. Project for U.S. History class. I do not own any of the songs or images used in this video. Special thanks to Mr. Nguyen for the interview and Mr. Hoffman.

Notice

Age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines)

July 4, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

The Empire Bombed Serbia to Seize Kosovo in 1999

Tales of the American Empire | July 2, 2020

The American Empire faced downsizing in the 1990s after the Warsaw Pact disbanded and Soviets troops withdrew home. American politicians demanded a reduction in military spending and the closure of most military bases in Europe. The solution was to start a war in Europe. Serbia (which was called Yugoslavia before 2006) openly resisted demands to open its economy to western banks and corporations and refused to join the European Union. As a result, Serbia was demonized and targeted for destruction. An ongoing rebellion by some Albanian immigrants in Serbia’s province of Kosovo was chosen as a NATO cause. The American CIA began shipping arms to the Islamic Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and transported hundreds of al Qaeda mercenaries to Kosovo to attack Serbs. This was politically awkward since the KLA was on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist groups. Serbian soldiers were dispatched to their southernmost province to repel these Islamic invaders. This increased the level of violence and Serbia was blamed.

____________________________

“Let Slobbo speak for himself”; (no evidence of serious Serb atrocities); John Laughland; The Spectator ; 2003; http://www.antiwar.com/spectator/spec…

“We Bombed the Wrong Side” in Kosovo; Major General Lewis MacKenzie; The National Post (Canada), Apr. 6, 2004; http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~leonardo/pub/m…

“Destruction of Yugoslavia was an operation planned by the CIA”; Klagemauer TV: Feb. 28, 2016; https://www.kla.tv/7811

“NATO’s Bombing of Yugoslavia Was Textbook State Terrorism”; Marko Marjanovic; Ant-Empire; March 24, 2019; https://www.anti-empire.com/natos-bom…

“Why Does Camp Bondsteel Still Exist”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil; 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/bondsteel.htm

“Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, indicted on war crimes charges ahead of planned White House meeting”‘; Michael Birnbaum; Washington Post ; June 24, 2020; https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/…

“Kosovo Indictment Proves Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities”; Jim Bovard; Libertarian Institute; June 25, 2020; https://libertarianinstitute.org/arti…

July 3, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Senate kills bipartisan bill to end war in Afghanistan & repeal 2001 Terror War authorization

RT | July 1, 2020

The US Senate has voted to table a bill that would have ended the war in Afghanistan and repealed the 2001 law authorizing the War on Terror, shooting down a rare attempt to wind down the longest conflict in American history.

Lawmakers voted 60-33 on Wednesday to kill legislation introduced by Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) as an amendment for a broader defense spending bill. Dubbed the AFGHAN Act, the measure would have directed the Pentagon to begin an “orderly withdrawal” from Afghanistan and pay a $2,500 bonus to American soldiers.

Ahead of the vote, Senator Paul castigated the nearly 20-year-old conflict as wasteful of American lives and tax dollars, urging lawmakers to send the troops home.

“It is not sustainable to keep fighting in Afghanistan generation after generation,” Paul said on the Senate floor, noting that some of the soldiers taking part in the conflict were not even born when it was launched in 2001. “Many people have said we should end the war. Today you get to vote.”

First introduced last year, the amendment also would have repealed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted in response to the September 11 attacks, which has been invoked to justify military action around the globe. Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, the AUMF has been cited dozens of times to authorize deployments, bombings or other armed operations in at least 14 countries.

Though a deal struck between Washington and the Taliban earlier this year initiated a phased withdrawal of the roughly 12,000 US soldiers stationed in the country, some 8,600 troops still remain there. The administration has reportedly mulled removing another 4,000 by the fall, but has yet to announce a decision. While US officials, including CENTCOM commander Frank McKenzie, say the Taliban has avoided attacks on coalition forces in recent months, ongoing disputes between the militant group and the Afghan government still threaten to derail the withdrawal deal.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?

By Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo | Palestine Chronicle | June 29, 2020

In the past, there have been many attempts at holding accused Israeli war criminals accountable. Particularly memorable is the case of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, (known, among other nicknames, as the ‘Butcher of Sabra and Shatila’) whose victims attempted to try him in a Belgian Court in 2002.

Like all other efforts, the Belgian case was dropped under American pressure. History seems to be repeating itself.

On December 20, the International Court of Justice (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, resolved that she had sufficient evidence to investigate alleged war crimes committed in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The ICC’s unprecedented decision concluded that there were “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice”.

As soon as Bensouda made her decision, although after much delay, the US administration swiftly moved to block the Court’s attempt at holding Israeli officials accountable. On June 11, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping sanctions on members of the global judicial body, citing the ICC’s investigations of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

Will the US succeed, once more, in blocking another international investigation?

On June 19, we spoke to Dr. Triestino Mariniello, a member of the legal team representing the Gaza victims before the ICC. Mariniello is also a Senior Lecturer at the John Moore University in Liverpool, UK.

There has been much doubt about whether the ICC was serious, willing or capable of pushing this case forward. Later, technical questions arose regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction over occupied Palestine. Have we moved beyond these doubts?

Last December, the Prosecutor decided to ask the Pre-Trial Chamber the following question: “Does the ICC have jurisdiction, that is to say, is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute –  not, in general, under international law, but at least under the founding Statute of the ICC? And, if yes, what is the territorial jurisdiction of the Court?”

The Prosecutor argued that the Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This request to the Pre-Trial Chamber was not necessary, for a very simple reason: because the situation is being referred by the State of Palestine. So, when a State party refers a situation to the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor does not need authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber. But let us analyze things within a wider context.

The formal engagement of the State of Palestine with the ICC began in 2009, following the Gaza war (“Operation Cast Lead”). At the time, Palestine had already accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC. It took more than two years for the former Prosecutor to decide whether Palestine was a State or not. After three years, he said: We don’t know if Palestine is a State, so we don’t know if we can accept the jurisdiction of the ICC. Thereafter, this question was raised before the UN General Assembly and the Assembly of State Parties. In other words, they delegated the answer to political bodies, and not to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

That investigation was never conducted and we never had justice for the victims of that war.

In 2015, Palestine accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, and it also became a State Party. Still, the Pre-Trial Chamber decided to involve a number of states, civil society organizations, NGOs, scholars and experts to ask them the question: Is Palestine a State under the Rome Statute? The response was, The Pre-Trial Chamber will decide on this, after it receives the views of the victims, of states, of civil society organizations … and it will decide in the next few weeks or months.

Aside from the Trump Administration, other Western countries, such as Germany and Australia, are lobbying at the ICC to drop the investigation altogether. Will they succeed?

There are at least eight countries that are openly against an investigation of the Palestinian situation. Germany is one. Some of the others came as a surprise, to be honest, for at least four other countries, Uganda, Brazil, Czech Republic, and Hungary had explicitly recognized that Palestine is a State under international law, yet are now submitting statements before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber saying that this is not true anymore.

Of course, the issue is a little bit more complex, but the substance is, these countries are raising political arguments before the ICC which have no legal basis. It is surprising that these states, on the one hand, claim to be supportive of an independent International Criminal Court, but on the other hand, are trying to exercise political pressure (on that very legal body).

On June 11, Trump signed an executive order in which he imposed sanctions on individuals associated with the ICC. Can the US and its allies block the ICC investigation? 

The answer is “no”. Trump’s administration is putting pressure on the ICC. By pressure, we mainly refer to the Afghanistan situation, and also to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. So, every time there is a statement by Trump or Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in relation to the ICC, they never forget to mention the Afghanistan case.

In fact, the Prosecutor is also investigating alleged war crimes committed by CIA members and US soldiers. So far, this pressure has not been particularly effective. In the case of Afghanistan, the Appeal Chamber has directly authorized the Prosecutor to start an investigation, amending a decision taken by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Successive US administrations have never been very supportive of the ICC, and the major problem in Rome when the Statute was drafted in 1998 was specifically regarding the role of the Prosecutor. The US opposed, from the beginning, an independent role of the Prosecutor, where the Prosecutor could start an investigation without the authorization of the UN Security Council. This opposition goes back to the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations.

Now, though, we are witnessing an unprecedented situation, with the US administration willing to issue economic sanctions and visa restrictions to individuals associated with the ICC and, perhaps, to other organizations as well.

Article 5 of the Rome Statute – the founding document of the ICC – has an extended definition of what constitutes ‘serious crimes’, that being the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.  It could be argued, then, that Israel should be held accountable for all of these ‘serious crimes’. Yet, the ICC opted for what is known as the ‘narrow scope’, thus the investigation will only be looking at the single component of war crimes. Why is that?

If we look at the request by the Prosecutor to the Pre-Trial Chamber, particularly paragraph 94, surprisingly, the scope of the investigation is quite narrow, and the victims know that. It only includes (as part of its investigation into war crimes) some incidents related to the Gaza war of 2014, crimes committed within the context of the ‘Great March of Return’, and the (illegal) Jewish settlements.

It is surprising not to see any reference to the alleged committing of ‘crimes against humanity’, which, as victims say, is widely documented. There is no reference to the systematic attacks put in place by Israeli authorities against the civilian population in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem or in Gaza. The ‘narrow scope’, which excludes crimes against humanity, is something the Prosecutor should look back into. The overall situation in Gaza is largely ignored; there is no reference to the 14-year long siege; there is no reference to the overall victims of the Gaza war in 2014.

That said, the scope of the investigation is not binding for the future. The Prosecutor can decide, at any moment, to include other crimes. We hope it will happen because, otherwise, many victims will never get justice.

But why is Gaza being excluded? Is it because of the way that the Palestinians presented the case or the way the ICC has interpreted the Palestinian case?

I do not think that the blame should be placed on the Palestinians, because the Palestinian organizations submitted (a massive amount of) evidence. I think it is a prosecutorial strategy at this stage, and we hope this will change in the future, particularly with reference to the situation in Gaza, where even the overall number of victims has been overlooked. More than 1,600 civilians were killed, including women and children.

In my personal opinion, there are several references to the concept of conflict itself. The word ‘conflict’ relies on the presumption that there are two parties that are fighting each other on the same level and there is not enough attention given to the Israeli occupation itself.

Additionally, all the crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners have not been included, such as torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. Also not included is Apartheid as a crime against humanity. Again, there is massive evidence that these crimes are committed against Palestinians. We hope that there will be a different approach in the future.

Walk us through the various scenarios and timelines that could result from the ICC investigation. What should we expect? 

I think if we look at the possible scenarios from the perspective of the Rome Statute, of the law which is binding, I do not think that the judges have any other option but to confirm to the Prosecutor that Palestine is a State under the Rome Statute and that the territorial jurisdiction includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

I would find it very surprising if the judges reach any other conclusion. The Palestinian State was ratified in 2015, so you cannot go back to the Palestinians and say: No, you are not a member anymore. Meanwhile, Palestine has taken part in the Assembly of State Parties, is a member of the Supervisory Committee of the ICC, and has participated in important decisions.

The likelihood is that the Prosecutor will receive a green light by the Pre-Trial Chamber. If this does not happen, the Prosecutor can (still) move forward with the investigation.

Other possible scenarios can only be negative ones because they would prevent the victims from getting any justice. The reason that the case is at the ICC is because these victims have never received any justice before domestic courts: the State of Palestine is unable to try Israeli nationals, while Israeli authorities are unwilling to try individuals who have committed international crimes.

If the ICC judges decide not to accept the jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine, this would prevent victims from having access to the only possibility of getting justice.

A particularly dangerous scenario would be the decision by the judges to confirm the ICC jurisdiction over some parts of the Palestinian territory while excluding others, which has no legal ground under international law. It would be very dangerous, because it would give international legitimacy to all the unlawful measures that Israeli authorities – and now even the Trump Administration – are putting in place, including the (illegal) annexation plan.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

 – Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation. 

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

Rewriting History and Rehabilitating George W. Bush

By Nat Parry · ESSENTIAL OPINION · June 25, 2020

The liberal rehabilitation of George W. Bush is now virtually complete, with his successor Barack Obama declaring this week that the 43rd president was committed to the rule of law, despite all evidence to the contrary. In an online fundraiser for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden Tuesday night, Obama stated that Bush “had a basic regard for the rule of law and the importance of our institutions of democracy.”

Obama, who ran for president in 2008 with promises to restore habeas corpus and uphold the rule of law, went on to claim that when Bush was president, “we cared about human rights” and were committed to “core principles around the rule of law and the universal dignity of people.”

Obama’s comments surely came as a shock to anyone who still has a functioning memory of the Bush years and hasn’t succumbed entirely to the effects of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Rather than being a champion of democratic principles, when Bush left office, he left behind a shameful legacy of upended human rights norms including due process and the legal prohibition against torture.

If 2008 Obama could speak today with 2020 Obama, he might remind himself that Bush had started a “dumb war” in Iraq in violation of the UN Charter, launched a warrantless surveillance program of Americans and that he had established a penal colony in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

As Obama himself said in 2013, during the Bush years, “we compromised our basic values – by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

At the heart of Bush’s approach to the “rule of law” was the rejection of any independent court evaluation of its detentions. Without judicial review, the U.S. government didn’t need to present any evidence to show that a person actually had ties to al-Qaeda or was otherwise guilty of a crime. The Bush position also held that once designated as al-Qaeda members, individuals have no legal protections against torture.

He dismissed provisions of the Geneva Conventions as “quaint” and offered legal rationales that justify torture in cases of “military necessity.”

Bush’s approach to the “war on terror” was in fact a steady descent into the “dark side,” as Vice President Dick Cheney had called it. A subsequent Senate investigation found that the torture program instituted by the Bush administration following 9/11 employed gruesome techniques such as near drowning, forcing detainees to stand on broken legs, threatening to kill or rape detainees’ family members, forced “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration.” It also offered disturbing details on a medieval “black site” prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit, where at least one detainee froze to death.

The brutal interrogation sessions lasted in many cases non-stop for days or weeks at a time, leading to effects such as “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation,” and produced little to no useful information. CIA agents had illegally detained 26 of the 119 individuals in CIA custody, and the interrogation techniques used on detainees went beyond the methods that had been approved by the Bush Justice Department or CIA’s headquarters (guidelines that were likely overly permissive in the first place).

When the Senate torture report was released in late 2014, it was met with calls for accountability from around the world. The United Nations, the European Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as numerous governments, all demanded that those responsible for the illegal torture program face justice. The U.S. was reminded that as a matter of international law, it was legally obligated to prosecute the perpetrators of the torture program.

Some of the strongest words came from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson, who stated unequivocally that senior officials from the Bush administration who sanctioned crimes, as well as the CIA and U.S. government officials who carried them out, must be brought to justice. “It is now time to take action,” the UN rapporteur said.

Needless to say, no one was ever prosecuted by the Obama administration’s Justice Department. And now, Obama not only excuses these abuses, but he actually claims that Bush was committed to “the rule of law and the universal dignity of people.” A charitable explanation for Obama’s comments is that he was trying to draw a distinction between the Trump administration and every other president, and to draw this distinction, he made a clumsy attempt to draw an exaggerated contrast.

But considering that six in 10 Americans now have a favorable view of Bush, almost twice as much as the 33% who gave him a favorable mark when he left office in 2009, it should be appreciated how impressionable Americans are and how damaging comments such as Obama’s can be. Much of Bush’s ascent to popularity has come from Democrats, 54% of whom now approve of the Bush presidency. Democrats’ change of heart appears to be primarily motivated by Bush’s opposition to Trump, which apparently has absolved him of his many failings while president.

This historic shift in attitudes was abetted by many liberals who have helped refurbish Bush’s image, including daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

To hear Barack Obama now making the claim that Bush was committed to the rule of law and human rights is just the latest betrayal of a Democratic Party that has systematically prevented a reckoning for the crimes of the 43rd president, a party that is clearly uninterested in truth or accountability, and is more than willing to rewrite history to advance its political goals.

Only time will tell how America is affected in the long term by this rewriting of history.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

American taxpayers’ money funds MKO terrorist group: Iran Foreign Ministry

Press TV – June 28, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has lambasted both Europe and the United States for aiding and abetting the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Iranian ministry said the MKO “is by all means a terror cult,” adding that while European countries are sheltering the terrorist members of this group, the United States is funding their anti-Iran activities.

“Europe is home to this rogue entity & American taxpayers’ money has funded the atrocities of this corrupt grouplet,” it said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry concluded by saying that as a result of their full support for the MKO, Europe and the US “both have [their] hands in the massacre of innocent Iranians” by this terrorist organization.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, had already condemned Western countries for their unbridled support for this terrorist cult, saying the MKO supporters have the blood of thousands of Iranians on their hands.

Mousavi made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, which marked the 39th anniversary of a deadly attack by the MKO terrorists, which killed scores of Iranian officials, including then head of Supreme Judicial Council Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti.

The MKO has carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials since victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attacks over the past four decades, about 12,000 have fallen victim to MKO’s acts of terror.

Washington and the European Union have removed the MKO from their lists of terrorist organizations. The anti-Iran terrorists enjoy freedom of activity in the US and Europe, and even hold meetings with American and EU officials.

June 28, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Too little, too late: Kosovo President Thaçi’s indictment for war crimes 20 years ago isn’t justice for Serbia, it’s a travesty

By John Laughland | RT | June 26, 2020

Of the many criticisms I’ve made over the years of international tribunals, the most painful is surely the human cost of the terrible slowness with which they operate.

I’ve often quoted the case of the commander-in-chief of the Rwandan gendarmerie during the genocide of 1994, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who was arrested in 2000 but acquitted of all charges in 2014. That meant an innocent man spent 14 years of his life in prison – time that he’ll never get back.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of trials at international tribunals that drag on for so long that they violate the right to the ‘prompt’ appearance before a judge and to a trial ‘within a reasonable time’ outlined as basic rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.

A sad illustration of this general truth came on June 24, when it was announced that an obscure international court had indicted the serving president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, for murder and war crimes committed in 1998–1999, when he was commander-in-chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

As someone who strongly and vocally opposed the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, which was justified in the name of ‘human rights,’ and as one of the last Western journalists to have met and interviewed the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, in his cell in The Hague, before writing a book about his trial after he died in custody, it could be expected that I would welcome this announcement.

During and after the bombing of Yugoslavia, I drew attention to NATO’s war propaganda, which wildly exaggerated and misrepresented atrocities committed by Serb forces against Albanians in Kosovo. I also drew attention to atrocities committed by the KLA, which NATO propaganda never mentioned. In December 1999, for instance, I wrote that the KLA was “a brutal drugs-running terrorist force which is even now carrying out ethnic cleansing by attacking and killing Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, Muslims and ‘disloyal’ Albanians.”

Mine was a nearly lone voice crying in the wilderness. In June 1999, Kosovo was occupied by NATO forces, after Yugoslavia was bombed into submission, and the KLA commanders, whom the USA and other Western countries had armed to fight the Serbs, became the new political leaders of the province.

Thaci had been wooed by State Department officials such as James Rubin, the then spokesman, who, after June 1999, swaggered around Pristina with him, wearing the same gangster uniform of black leather jacket, T-shirt and sunglasses. He later wowed Washington – a famous picture shows the dashing and tall Thaci kissing the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. He was also photographed fraternizing with the British commander of NATO forces, General Sir Mike Jackson, the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, and the American supreme commander of NATO, Wesley Clark.

Less than ten years later, when, in 2008, again with Western support, Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia – an independence recognized by all but five EU states and, of course, by the USA – Hashim Thaci became prime minister and then president. He has been in power since then.

It was not until 2011 that a report by the Council of Europe detailed some of the more gruesome allegations against Thaci and his gang. The worst was that Serbs had been murdered for their vital organs, which were harvested from the corpses to be sold.

This report led to the creation of a small special tribunal in The Hague, which has now issued the indictment against Thaci. Unfortunately, the indictment is not yet public, so we have to guess what crimes are in it, but the court’s press statement speaks of “nearly 100 murders.”

The immediate effect of this announcement has been that Hashim Thaci has withdrawn from a meeting at the White House, where he was due to discuss a land swap with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic. The Trump administration had been very keen to broker a deal between the two countries, and this has now suffered a major setback. It is a textbook case of how, far from promoting peace, the obsessive search for ‘justice’ can often be an obstacle to it.

Personally, I believe Thaci is guilty, and that Serbia has been the victim of a terrible injustice. But a prosecution now, even if successful, will not undo the catastrophic physical, economic and political damage done by NATO’s crazed bombing of that small country back in 1999, any more than the acquittal of Ndindiliyimana gave him back the lost years of his life.

Indeed, to ‘rectify’ that injustice now, 20 years after the events, is not justice but instead – to quote the title of my book on the Milosevic trial – a travesty.  It would be like glossing over the original injustice and pretending it had been absolved. Serbia has lost 20 years, like an innocent man sent to prison.

Justice is the award to each person of his due. It requires the power of the state to be administered: criminals must be punished by force. International justice is the same: it can exist only if force is used to apply it.

But as Prince Metternich’s secretary at the 1814 Congress of Vienna, Friedrich von Gentz, wrote, “It is impossible to accept that a state can voluntarily submit to a sentence by a superior court. Just as within a state violence often has to be applied to execute law, so in conflicts between peoples it would be necessary to implement judicial decisions by punitive measures. But a punitive measure against a state is nothing other than war.”

So, just as NATO sought to punish Serbia by force, thereby, in fact, committing a gross injustice, so Thaci’s conviction could occur only if the court wielded police or military power in Kosovo. Thaci and his supporters will resist any attempt to arrest him, so the issue, like all such ultimate political questions, can only be settled by violence.

The violence might perhaps be justified if the cause is just. But violence is the opposite of peace. ‘International justice’ is a chimera that excites people’s passions, encourages them to commit violence or wage war, and that should be abandoned.

John Laughland, who has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and who has taught at universities in Paris and Rome, is a historian and specialist in international affairs.

June 26, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

UN Warns Many Will “Starve to Death” in Yemen as Saudi Fuel Blockade Hinders COVID-19 Battle

By Ahmed AbdulKareem | MintPress News | June 26, 2020

SANA’A, YEMEN —  The streets of Sana’a have retained much of their character throughout the past six years of war. This, despite the ever-present threat of Saudi bombardment and the myriad viruses methodically working their way through the population, most recently COVID-19. The afternoon rush hour still brings out the buses, taxis and private vehicles that choke Haddah Street in northern Sana’a. Horns blare at junctions as drivers switch lanes, looking for any advantage they can find in a ritual that, until recently, brought a sense of welcome normalcy to a country faced with constant uncertainty. But six years of war have finally caught up with one of the last semblances of routine in Yemen.

In move undertaken by Saudi Arabia that is sure to exacerbate the country’s already-dire situation, the oil-rich U.S. ally is preventing oil tankers from delivering much-needed fuel to Yemen’s hospitals, water pumps, bakeries, cleaning trucks, and gas stations, plunging it, particularly its northern districts, into an acute fuel crisis.

According to a statement released by the Yemen Oil Company, at least 15 tankers carrying over 419,789 tons of fuel have been trapped at sea for over a month despite being checked and issued permits by both the Saudi-led Coalition and the United Nations. Now, the situation in the war-torn country is no longer tolerable.

The CEO of Yemen Oil said in a press conference held in the front of the United Nation office in Sana’a on Wednesday that the company’s remaining reserves won’t last for more than a few days. A statement issued by the company’s branch in Hodeida confirmed that its reserve stock had reached a critical stage and is no longer sufficient to supply the most important sectors in the country.

“One of the biggest threats in the past 100 years”

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has triggered a fuel crisis in Yemen, however, this blockade is significantly larger than previous ones and comes at a time when Yemen is battling COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly across the country. “It is the worse than what we expected to happen,” taxi driver Mohammed Abdullah Masoud said from beneath his mask, bags under his tired eyes. He had been waiting in line for two days for petrol. His older brother died last week from COVID-19 and he is now responsible for providing his brother’s wife and children with food and medicine as they stay quarantined at home. “My brother’s family needs bread and some vegetables. Nobody except me can provide them with essential necessities to stay alive. If I don’t have the fuel by the end of the day, something bad could happen to them.” he told MintPress.

The Saudi fuel blockade has not only forced thousands of Yemenis already struggling against an unprecedented explosion of famine, disease, and epidemics to wait for days in lines as far as the eye can see, it has also left water pumps, hospital generators, and transport vehicles without fuel and that lack of fuel has accelerated the spread of the COVID-19 as empty generators shut down facilities including an oxygen factory, hospital, nurseries, and a kidney failure center, all which need uninterrupted and stable electricity 24 hours a day.

Cholera, dengue fever, and malaria rates have also spiked, particularly in Hodeida, Sadaa, and Hajjah where summer temperatures can reach 129 degrees and the lack of fuel has left residents unable to escape the heat as the generators used to power air conditioners sit idle.

The price of food and medicine is also skyrocketing and the already negligible crops in Yemen are at risk of dehydration as farmers are unable to power the wells and pumps needed o to irrigate their fields. At least 80 percent of Yemen’s 28 million-strong population is reliant on food aid to survive in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the decimation of the remaining agricultural sector is likely to increase that figure.

On Wednesday, Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told a closed UN Security Council meeting that many more people are likely to starve to death, succumb to COVID-19 and die of cholera, adding that the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across Yemen and about 25 percent of the country’s confirmed cases have died – “five times the global average.”

He added, “We have never before seen in Yemen a situation where such a severe acute domestic economic crisis overlaps with a sharp drop in remittances and major cuts to donor support for humanitarian aid – and this of course is all happening in the middle of a devastating pandemic.” For her part, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande described COVID-19 in Yemen as “one of the biggest threats in the past 100 years.”

The Saudi blockade comes amid sustained Saudi-coalition bombing runs. Warplanes have been hovering over Sana’a and other provinces and have targeted several areas in Bydha, al-Jawf, Marib, and Sana’a, killing and injuring dozens of people. On Thursday, at least five people were killed and dozens were injured when Saudi warplanes destroyed four cars traveling on public roads in Radman and Qaneih.

The only effective option

Despite the challenges, Yemenis have strong morale and a seemingly unbreakable will to continue to withstand the Saudi ambitions for their country. “We die silently but with glory. We will never give in to Saudi Arabia,” 37-years-old Hamid told MintPress as he stood in a fuel line at a gas station in Sana’a. It has become a weekly ritual for Hamid, who queues in line for hours to get 30 liters of fuel every seven days. Hamid and the others waiting in line were gleefully checking their social media feeds and celebrating news reports that explosions were taking place in the Saudi capital following attacks bu the Houthi-led Yemeni Army.

In retaliation for the fuel embargo and the continued airstrikes on their country, the Houthi-led Yemeni army carried out large-scale attacks on a number of strategic sites in Saudi Arabia using a barrage of ballistic and winged missiles and drones which targeted the headquarters of the Saudi Defense Ministry and the General Intelligence Agency as well as King Salman Air Base, among other military targets in the capital Riyadh and the southern regions of Najran and Jizan. For many, retaliation against the Kingdom represents the only effective option to quell the Saudi attacks and blockade on their country.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesman and chief negotiator for Ansar Allah, the political wing of the Houthis, emphasized that the operation was aimed at restoring stability to the country and securing an end to the Saudi-led blockade. He said that Yemenis have no option but to confront and resist Saudi Arabia and urged international bodies to pressure the Saudi regime into ending the offensive.

The Saudi-led coalition has acknowledged the attacks but claims that the missiles and drones were intercepted and destroyed but provided no evidence to back that claim. Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki called the strike a “deliberate and systematic operation to target civilians and civilian objects,” adding later that the coalition had “ intercepted” eight bomb-laden drones and three ballistic missiles. A high-ranking Houthi official told MintPress that the raids did indeed hit their intended targets, adding the army used a new weapon in the attack that will be soon be revealed.

The United States and other countries, including France and Britain, condemned the attack on their Saudi ally. They have thus far remained silent on the recent Saudi attacks and fuel blockade on Yemen which preceded the attacks on Saudi Arabia. Yemenis have accused Western countries of abandoning their much-touted commitment to human rights ​​in exchange for Saudi arms deals. “We are killed by weapons belong[ing] to these countries, and get nothing from them except dirty statements that offend their [own] people,” a Yemeni tribal leader who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told MintPress in response to the U.S. condemnation.

For their part, Ansar Allah censured statements condemning their retaliatory attacks. Abdulsalam said that “condemnations of our operations are no longer effective. They come within the framework of political courtesies and are in part funded by Saudi Arabia.” He insisted that Western countries should instead pressure the kingdom to stop the war. “The American administration practices the most heinous looting of Saudi money,” he added, “The statement of the American mission in Saudi Arabia following our operation is a kind of blackmail, nothing else.”

The Yemeni attacks are the tip of the iceberg as multiple high-ranking officials in the Houthi-backed Yemeni Army revealed to MintPress that they are preparing more attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia, including on oil facilities, royal palaces, military bases, airports, Saudi oil carriers, and other “sensitive targets” that they declined to mention. The consequences for Saudi Arabia will be dire until the blockade is lifted and the offensive comes to an end, they promise. “We should not let Saudi Arabia starve us and carry on enjoying stability and wealth.”

The Saud-led Coalition is heavily backed by Western countries, especially the United States, Britain, and Frace, which have used systematic economic strangulation as a weapon of war — targeting jobs, infrastructure, the agricultural sector, fuel and water pumping stations, factories, and the provision of basic services, as well as imposing a land, sea, and air embargo.

Meanwhile, as a direct result of the oil blockade, many Yemeni officials say that they are already seeking assistance from Iran, hoping that the Iranian government will come to their aid as they did in Venezuela, where six Iranian vessels carried fuel, food, and medicine to Caracas in defiance of U.S. sanctions. They asked Ansar Allah to work with Iran to circumvent the blockade and supply the vital facilities in the country with fuel. If such a move is carried out, Tehran will no doubt win the hearts and minds of Yemenis wary of any foreign intervention, all thanks to the Saudi-led coalition and the United States which in large part are carrying out the war with hopes to limit “Iranian influence” in Yemen.

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

June 26, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Israel honors cyber-terrorists behind May attack on Iranian port

PressTV – June 26, 2020

The Israeli military has honored units, which had been involved in a May cyberattack against Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port on the coast of the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz.

The units that took part in the terrorist operation against the Iranian port have received “certificates of appreciation” from the head of Tel Aviv’s military intelligence apparatus Tamir Hayman.

The elements honored by the Israeli military include troops in the regime’s Unit 8200, which is Israel’s cyber spy agency.

A statement by the Israeli military claims that the cyberattack, carried out on May 9, has yielded “a unique and impressive operational achievement.”

However, Iranian officials said at the time that the attack briefly knocked computers at Shahid Rajaee port terminal offline.

Mohammad Rastad, managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, said the terrorist attack “failed to penetrate the PMO’s systems and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems at the ports”.

According to intelligence and cybersecurity officials, cited by the Washington Post, the attack was carried out by Israeli operatives. It came after the occupying regime said it had been the target of an attempt to penetrate the computers that operate water distribution systems in Israel.

The sprawling Shahid Rajaee port facility is the newest of two major shipping terminals in the Iranian coastal city of Bandar Abbas, on the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has been the target of US and Israeli cyber terrorism for a decade, including attempts to remotely sabotage the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

In 2010, US and Israeli intelligence agencies unleashed a computer worm called Stuxnet on Iranian uranium-enrichment plants in an attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. The Washington Post reported two years later that the US National Security Agency (NSA), its spy service CIA, and Israel’s military had worked together to launch Stuxnet against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The attack was followed by Mossad’s assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists.

Iranian officials have said the attacks worked to the US and Israeli detriment, helping improve the Islamic Republic’s readiness against acts of sabotage.

June 26, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

What Secrets Do Foreign US Bio Labs Hold?

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 26.06.2020

Secret US bio laboratories are strewn across multiple countries in Africa, Asia, and even Europe. This is a global problem that is the attention of various media outlets as of late.  More and more frequently, the numerous articles published on this issue voice questions such as: what secret programs (even supported by the country they are located in) are these US military bases pursuing? What if they are concocting a biological weapon to be used on their opposition, and they are the ones behind this entire coronavirus pandemic in the first place?

Emerging from recent discussions on whether the coronavirus is natural or artificially altered, comes information that CDC biologists from the US have been conducting unstable experiments on bats, which nearly all sources agree, trace back to the origin of the virus. They were raising and incubating entire colonies of bats, infecting them with deadly viruses, to study how the carriers of many infections handled them, and how infections can spread. The NCBI website has actually published three scientific works on the experiments carried out by CDC biologists involving infected bats, who have significant populations in South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, and across Asia. The first scientific work on this topic was published in 2015, while the latest – in 2020. In particular, these experiments by CDC biologists and the Pentagon were a joint effort involving colleagues from the Ministry of Defense (sic!) were conducted in 2017, while research on bats passing the infection to people was partially mentioned in March 2020. The results of completed experiments were similar: bats carry viruses, never get sick themselves, but can pass them on to humans.

We know that the USAID’s (which has undeniable ties with the Pentagon and CIA) EPT program was launched in 2009. It was to support US monitoring and laboratory opportunities in the chosen nations for studying wildlife and people coming in contact with animals, to discover new and already known virus agents, that can present a serious threat to people’s health. In Asia especially this program took root in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, and China. In China, for instance, partners of this program were chosen by the government program of the Wuhan institute of virology, and the American non-government organization – EcoHealth Alliance. The specifics of what the Americans were into in Wuhan can be partially found in several scientific works posted on the NCBI website. Of course, the true secrets behind such deals are never made public. Thus, China became a complete doormat for American biologists testing viruses.

However, many countries have been manipulated in such a way. US military bio laboratories work on creating bacterial weapons in the Ukraine, stated Renat Kuzmin from the Oppositional Platform for Life. He thus confirmed, as did Ukrainian political figure Aleksander Lazarev the criminal activities of 15 bio labs sanctioned by the Pentagon on Ukrainian soil. Kuzmin noted that they are carrying out intelligence measures, as well as creating bacterial weapons and testing several harmful diseases on Ukrainians. Ukrainian MPs Victor Medvedchuk and Renat Kuzmin sent a formal complaint to the UN for US bacterial labs illegally functioning on Ukrainian soil. In a recently increasing wave of protests against the activities of US bio labs in Ukraine, experts note that in 2001, the US declined to sign an international protocol naming 33 microorganisms as potential agents of biological warfare, suddenly finding 37 articles that were not in the interests of the United States, obviously creating a loophole for themselves to continue secret bio weapon work on foreign soil.

The media has repeatedly published material proving a number of incidents with dangerous viruses and toxins, leading to the death of innocent citizens in countries unwittingly hosting secret US bio labs. A significant amount of such materials has been in a US bio laboratory named the Lugar Research center (Alekseevka, Tbilisi), confirming the concerns about illegal US activities in Georgia. Secret experiments are being conducted at the facility. Some research is even done on people, who are isolated in special units and subsequently infected with the most dangerous diseases. “The proof of this lies in the experiments carried out in this bio lab directed towards using insects as carriers for highly dangerous biological agents, and infections, as well as equipping weapons with poisonous substances and infected agents,” read a statement on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation’s website.

Since 2008, the Pentagon has created nearly a dozen bio labs in Armenia. Reports in local media reveal that the research involves pathogens that have long been studied by DARPA as potential bio weapons: anthrax, brucellosis, plague, African swine fever and tularemia. Armenia is a country that has witnessed sparks of mutating viruses over the past ten years, that have also spread through all of Transcaucasia, giving the Pentagon sufficient proof of concept of how bio weapons might work naturally, both on Russia’s southern border as well as in Iran. Pentagon bio laboratories in Armenia employ a number of US military contractors, the foremost of which being CH2M Hill, which has already spent $50 million from DTRA in 2018. CH2M Hill is famous for organizing bio labs in Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan and southeast Asian countries. CH2M Hill’s sub contractors have expressed significant interest in Black&Veach, which runs US bio labs in Ukraine, Germany, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Thailand, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. Namely, the Battelle Memorial Institute and Southern Research Institute. Both companies are old partners of the Pentagon and CIA. Between 1952 and 1996, the Battelle Memorial Institute acquired 11 US army contracts and still conducts research and tests with the use of extremely toxic chemical substances and pathogenic bio active substances. One of Battelle’s joint operations with the CIA is Clear Vision in 1997 and 2000, while a low caliber bomb with anthrax was constructed as part of the operation to study the spreading principles of the virus after an explosion. This shines a light on the data from a partially classified presentation of the US Minister of Defense in 1981, where the economics of the three scenarios of possible biological attack in a big city are laid out. 16 simultaneous attacks using infected yellow fever mosquitoes through the air and aerosol attacks with spraying tularemia will lead to minimal losses. If 625,000 deaths occurred, the Pentagon would lose 29 cents per person.

This is why the activities of secret US bio labs located in numerous nations worldwide as well as proof of private company involvement such as CH2M Hill, Battelle, Metabiota and a number of others conducting research on dangerous anthrax bacteria, tularemia, hemorrhagic fever and a whole range of harmful viruses cannot go on unnoticed, and should be presented to the international public.

June 26, 2020 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Biden And His Ventriloquists Keep Out-Hawking Trump

By Caitlin Johnstone | June 22, 2020

Joe Biden keeps trying to out-warmonger Donald Trump, and by Joe Biden I of course mean the team of handlers who are animating the dementia-ravaged corpse of the Biden campaign like a ventriloquist operating a wooden dummy.

In response to Trump suggesting an openness to scaling back his administration’s murderous Venezuela policy and meeting with President Nicolás Maduro, whoever runs Biden’s Twitter account for him seized upon the moment to assert that the former vice president will be doing no such thing if elected commander-in-chief.

“Trump talks tough on Venezuela, but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro,” tweeted Biden Incorporated. “As President, I will stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy.”

“Translation: if Trump retreats from his current policy of trying to sanction and suffocate Venezuela into submission, Biden will make sure to revive it,” journalist Aaron Maté said in response.

“To be clear, Joe Biden is now attacking Donald Trump from the right on Venezuela,” said journalist Walker Bragman.

As FAIR’s Alan MacLeod accurately observed last year, this phrase “the Venezuelan people” is only ever invoked by the political/media class of the US-centralized empire for sloganeering purposes in support of US-led regime change interventionism in that nation, despite an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans opposing all US interventionism including sanctions.

This tactic of attacking Donald Trump for being insufficiently warlike is nothing new for Biden Inc, nor is it limited to Venezuela.

During the primary debates Biden attacked Trump for being insufficiently hawkish toward North Korea, claiming the president was wrong to meet with Kim Jong Un because it gives the leader “legitimacy”, whatever that means.

An  accused the president of being too soft on China by failing to force Beijing to allow US government officials into Wuhan to monitor the governing of a sovereign nation during a pandemic outbreak.

“Trump praised the Chinese 15 times in January and February as the coronavirus spread across the world,” says the ad’s narrator in an ominous voice. “Trump never got a CDC team on the ground in China. And the travel ban he brags about? Trump let in 40,000 travelers from China into America after he signed it. Not exactly airtight.”

Biden has attacked Trump’s partial troop withdrawal from Syria, using talking points from the so-called war on terror to absurdly claim during a primary debate that the president is putting America at risk of a terrorist strike from ISIS.

“We have ISIS that’s going to come here,” Biden said. “They are going to damage the United States of America. That’s why we got involved in the first place.”

And of course Biden & Co have been attacking Trump for being too soft on Russia, despite this administration’s many, many dangerously hawkish new cold war escalations against Moscow.

“We need a President who will stand up to the Kremlin, push back against Putin, and take immediate steps to ensure the security of our elections,” Biden’s Twitter account said last year.

This line of attack is so ubiquitous in the Biden campaign that it sometimes just takes the form of a vague, general swipe at Trump’s unwillingness to be more warlike, with an April tweet reading simply “Donald Trump says he’s a wartime president — it’s time for him to act like one.”

Again, this is Donald Trump these people are talking about. The same president who imprisoned Julian Assange for exposing US war crimes, killed tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, vetoed attempts to save Yemen from US-backed genocide, is working to foment civil war in Iran using starvation sanctions and CIA ops with the stated goal of effecting regime change, nearly started a full-scale war with Iran by assassinating its top general, occupied Syrian oil fields and implemented devastating sanctions with the goal of preventing Syria’s reconstruction, greatly increased the number of troops in the Middle East and elsewhere, greatly increased the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reduced military accountability for those airstrikes.

The second-to-last thing the world needs is political pressure placed on Donald fucking Trump to be more warlike. The very last thing the world needs is a US president who ends up being even more warlike than Trump.

America is a war machine on top of a police state on top of a mass media psyop. Only people who are willing to keep these psychopathic mechanisms in place are permitted to ascend to presidential candidacy. While all the news cameras focus on the relatively minor differences between presidents and presidential candidates, you can learn a lot more about America and what drives it by looking at their similarities.

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment