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PLO: US puts pressure on Sudan to settle Palestine refugees

MEMO | September 28, 2020

The United States is putting pressure on Sudan to accept settling Palestine refugees on its soil, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Bassam Al-Salhi, was reported saying by Anadolu yesterday.

“Special sources told me that the ongoing normalisation talks between Washington, Israel and Sudan include Sudan’s possibility to resettle [Palestine] refugees on its soil as part of the deal of the century,” Al-Salhi said, in reference to the US ‘peace deal’ for the region.

He stated that “this is part of the conspiracy against the Palestinian cause,” stressing the issue between Israel and Sudan goes beyond the normalisation of ties.

The PLO official called on Sudan “to reject being dragged into these American-Israeli plans in order to maintain its interests and future.”

Resettling Palestine refugees had been raised dozens of times by Israel and the US mainly in Egypt and other host countries; however, Al-Salhi said, proposing to resettle them in Sudan is new.

Sudan did not issue an immediate comment on the remarks, but the country’s officials have several times denied reports about the possible normalisation of ties with Israel despite several meetings between Sudanese and Israeli officials.

September 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dark Side of the 1991 Gulf War

Tales of the American Empire | November 22, 2019

The 1991 Gulf war is remembered as a great war. In reality, worldwide sanctions would have forced Iraq to peacefully withdraw. The Gulf war cost billions of dollars, killed or sickened a million people, left the region much worse off, assisted Iran, and caused a worldwide economic recession.

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The creation of oil-rich Kuwait by Britain; Keesing’s; July 8, 1961; http://web.stanford.edu/group/tomzgro…

“Gulf War Documents: Meeting between Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie”; Wikileaks/Global Research; March 5, 2012; https://www.globalresearch.ca/gulf-wa…

Stephen C. Pelletiere’s Jan 31, 2003 New York Times OpEd on the evidence that Iran was responsible for the gassing of 5000 Kurds at Halabja, not Iraq: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/31/op…

“Overwhelming Force – What happened in the final days of the Gulf War?”; Seymour Hersh; New Yorker; May 22, 2000; http://cryptome.org/mccaffrey-sh.htm

“Lucky War; Third Army in Desert Storm”; Richard M. Swain; US Army Command and General Staff College Press; 1994; https://history.army.mil/html/bookshe…

Video of tons of foreign munitions blown up at the Iraqi Khamisiyah storage area in 1991: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzrqj…

September 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Remembering Israel’s botched attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshaal

MEMO | September 25, 2020

What: On 25 September, 1997, Israelis from the Mossad spy agency attempted to assassinate Palestinian political leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman, the capital of Jordan. The brazen attempt on the life of the then 41-year-old head of the Hamas Political Bureau sparked a diplomatic row which threatened to wreck the newly-signed peace deal between Jordan and Israel. The crisis ended with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a number of humiliating concessions.

Where: Amman, Jordan.

When: 25 September, 1997.

What happened?

In an attempt to cripple the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Netanyahu, then in his first term as prime minister, authorised the assassination of Meshaal. The little-known Palestinian leader was born in 1956 in Silwad, which was then in the Jordanian administered West Bank. In 1967, Meshaal’s family and 300,000 other Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Israeli occupation forces in a second wave of ethnic cleaning that came to be known as the Naksa (Setback). Netanyahu is said to have personally picked Meshaal from a number of Hamas operatives for Mossad agents to kill. The attempt on Meshaal’s life came in the wake of a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

A six-member Mossad team arrived in Amman a week before the assassination using false Canadian passports. The plan was clear: kill the exiled Hamas leader using a lethal toxin without leaving any trace of the killers. The idea was that after the toxin had been administered covertly, Meshaal would go about the rest of his day as normal and then, when tiredness overcame him, he would take a nap, never to wake up again; he was expected to die within 48 hours.

On the morning of the assassination attempt, two of the six agents moved into position to deliver a lethal dose of toxin — identified later as fentanyl — as Meshaal entered his office. The other four Israeli agents are said to have been deployed around the block either as drivers or as lookouts.

The Mossad agents delivered the toxin using an aerosol device and fled from the scene. One of Meshaal’s bodyguards gave chase and managed to apprehend the assassins after some hand to hand combat. Their capture was to have major ramifications.

Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas political bureau

What happened next?

Hours after the arrest of the two agents by the Jordanian authorities, the Israelis hatched a plan to diffuse the situation. With the diplomatic consequence of his actions dawning on Netanyahu, he attempted to conceal the botched assassination attempt from the rest of the world. He dispatched Mossad head Danni Yatom to plead with King Hussain of Jordan for the agents’ release. Yatom’s pre-emptive disclosure and plea for help from the Jordanian monarch exploded in Israel’s face, sparking a diplomatic crisis with the Hashemite Kingdom, which had normalised relations with the Zionist state three years earlier.

While the Israelis tried frantically to keep a lid on the botched plot, Meshaal’s health deteriorated. The toxin had done its job and within 48 hours he would be dead. King Hussain warned Israel that if the Hamas leader died, the Mossad agents would be hanged as murderers. The King had gone out on a limb to sign a peace treaty with Israel against the wishes of his people, so he called US President Bill Clinton to enlist his support. It was said that US anger was such that no one within the normally pro-Israel White House was willing to make Netanyahu’s case for him. “This man is impossible,” Clinton is reported to have said upon hearing that the Israeli Prime Minister had authorised the assassination attempt with little regard for Jordanian sovereignty, and thus endangered the fragile peace treaty.

Having been stonewalled by Netanyahu for the antidote to the toxin at the first time of asking, an angry King Hussein relayed his message through Clinton, insisting that the Israelis must deliver a vial of the antidote, which was the only way to save Meshaal’s life. “If Meshaal dies, the peace treaty dies with him,” he insisted. With the US applying pressure, Israel had no choice but to comply. A light aircraft delivered the antidote.

The indignity for Netanyahu did not end there. The two Mossad agents were still under arrest facing a death sentence and the Israeli Embassy in Amman, in which the other four members of the six man Mossad team had taken refuge, was surrounded by Jordanian security forces. In exchange for allowing them to leave Jordan, King Hussain was determined to exact a heavy price. He demanded a prisoner exchange, which was agreed.

Under the deal, Israel released the ailing Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the quadriplegic founder and spiritual leader of Hamas who was one of the most notable Palestinians in its prisons, along with 70 other Palestinian prisoners.

Meshaal was saved with just hours to spare. His reputation grew within the Palestinian resistance movement as “the man who wouldn’t die”. He became the leader of Hamas when Israel assassinated Yassin in 2004.

Meanwhile, a chastened Netanyahu was forced to apologise. His act of contrition came two days later when he arrived in Amman to pledge that Israel would not make another attempt on Meshaal’s life. This was not the end for the humiliated Israeli Prime Minister. He lost his bid for re-election in 1999, after which he retired temporarily from politics.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Are You Feeling Safer? ‘War of the Worlds’ Pits U.S. and Israel Against Everyone Else

By Philip Giraldi – Strategic Culture Foundation – September 24, 2020

The media being focused on an upcoming election, coronavirus, fires on the West Coast and burgeoning BLM and Antifa unrest, it is perhaps no surprise that some stories are not exactly making it through to the evening news. Last week an important vote in the United Nations General Assembly went heavily against the United States. It was regarding a non-binding resolution that sought to suspend all economic sanctions worldwide while the coronavirus cases continue to increase. It called for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.” It was a humanitarian gesture to help overwhelmed governments and health care systems cope with the pandemic by having a free hand to import food and medicines.

The final tally was 169 to 2, with only Israel and the United States voting against. Both governments apparently viewed the U.N. resolution as problematical because they fully support the unilateral economic warfare that they have been waging to bring about regime change in countries like Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Sanctions imposed on those countries are designed to punish the people more than the governments in the expectation that there will be an uprising to bring about regime change. This, of course, has never actually happened as a consequence of sanctions and all that is really delivered is suffering. When they cast their ballots, some delegates at the U.N. might even have been recalling former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s claim that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions had been “worth it.”

Clearly, a huge majority of the world’s governments, to include the closest U.S. allies, no longer buy the American big lie when it claims to be the leader of the free world, a promoter of liberal democracy and a force for good.  The vote prompted one observer, John Whitbeck, a former international lawyer based in Paris, to comment how “On almost every significant issue facing mankind and the planet, it is Israel and the United States against mankind and the planet.”

The United Nations was not the only venue where the U.S. was able to demonstrate what kind of nation it has become. Estimates of how many civilians have been killed directly or indirectly as a consequence of the so-called Global War on Terror initiated by George W. Bush are in the millions, with roughly 4 million being frequently cited. Nearly all of the dead have been Muslims. Now there is a new estimate of the number of civilians that have fled their homes as a result of the worldwide conflict initiated by Washington and its dwindling number of allies since 2001. The estimate comes from Brown University’s “Costs of War Project,” which has issued a report Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars that seeks to quantify those who have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The project tracks the number of refugees, asylum seekers applying for refugee status, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the countries that America and its allies have most targeted since 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. All are predominantly Muslim countries with the sole exception of the Philippines, which has a large Muslim minority.

The estimate suggests that between 37 and 59 million civilians have become displaced, with an extremely sharp increase occurring in the past year when the total was calculated to be 21 million. The largest number of those displaced were from Iraq, where fighting against Islamic State has been intermittent, estimated at 9.2 million. Syria, which has seen fighting between the government and various foreign supported insurgencies, had the second-highest number of displacements at 7.1 million. Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgent Taliban, was third having an estimated 5.3 million people displaced.

The authors of the report observe that even the lower figure of 37 million is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.” And it is also important to note what is not included in the study. The report has excluded sub-Saharan Africa as well as several Arab nations generally considered to be U.S. allies. These constitute “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

Yemen should be added to that list given U.S. military materiel assistance that has enabled the Saudi Arabian bombing attacks on that country, also producing a wave of refugees. There are also reports that the White House is becoming concerned over the situation in Yemen as pressure is growing to initiate an international investigation of the Saudi war crimes in that civilian infrastructure targets to include hospitals and schools are being deliberately targeted.

And even the United States Congress has begun to notice that something bad is taking place as there is growing concern that both the Saudi and U.S. governments might be charged with war crimes over the civilian deaths. Reports are now suggesting that as early as 2016, when Barack Obama was still president, the State Department’s legal office concluded that “top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners” that have killed more than 125,000 including at least 13,400 targeted civilians.

That conclusion preceded the steps undertaken by the Donald Trump White House to make arms sales to the Saudis and their allies in the United Arab Emirates central to his foreign policy, a program that has become an integral part of the promotion of the “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Given that, current senior State Department officials have repressed the assessment made in 2016 and have also “gone to great lengths” to conceal the legal office finding. A State Department inspector general investigation earlier this year considered the Department’s failure to address the legal risks of selling offensive weapons to the Saudis, but the details were hidden by placing them in a classified part of the public report released in August, heavily redacted so that even Congressmen with high level access could not see them.

Democrats in Congress, which had previously blocked some arms sales in the conflict, are looking into the Saudi connection because it can do damage to Trump, but it would be far better if they were to look at what the United States and Israel have been up to more generally speaking. The U.S. benefits from the fact that even though international judges and tribunals are increasingly embracing the concept of holding Americans accountable for war crimes since the start of the GWOT, U.S. refusal to cooperate has been daunting. Last March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague authorized its chief prosecutor to open an investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan the White House reacted by imposing sanctions on the chief prosecutor and his staff lawyer. And Washington has also warned that any tribunal going after Israel will face the wrath of the United States.

Nevertheless, when you are on the losing side on a vote in a respected international body by 169 to 2 someone in Washington should at least be smart enough to discern that something is very, very wrong. But I wouldn’t count on anyone named Trump or Biden to work that out.

September 24, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

UAE signs contracts with Israel firms on UN blacklist

MEMO | September 24, 2020

Emirati companies have signed contracts with Israeli firms and banks blacklisted by the United Nations (UN) for supporting illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, an investigation by Anadolu Agency revealed on Wednesday.

In February, the UN released a database of 112 companies on its blacklist for doing business inside Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

On 13 August, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalise their relations. The move was followed by a series of announcements on agreements and contracts between companies from both countries.

However, Anadolu Agency found that some of the deals struck between the two sides included Israeli companies and banks on the UN blacklist.

Pro-settlement banks

Among the contracts announced by Emirati media was one struck with Bank Leumi, one of the banks on the UN blacklist.

According to official Emirati media, this Israeli bank has signed agreements with three of the top Emirati banks: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), First Abu Dhabi Bank and Emirates NBD.

Bank Hapoalim, another Israeli bank blacklisted by the UN, has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with Emirates NBD, an agreement celebrated as the first between Israeli and Emirati bankers, according to Emirati media outlets.

Film production companies

The agreements that UAE companies have signed with blacklisted Israeli companies were not limited to banks. The Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) announced that it has reached an agreement with the Israel Film Fund (IFF) and the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School (JSFS), for promoting tolerance and cultural cooperation between the Emirati and Israeli people.

The IFF is supervised by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and the Israel Film Council.

In November 2019, Israeli newspaper Haaretz announced that the IFF approved the establishment of three new cinema funds, including one in the occupied West Bank settlements.

Many international companies have suspended their dealings with their Israeli counterparts on the UN blacklist for fear of being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is expected to soon decide on launching a criminal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinians have long called for an immediate halt of dealings with the blacklisted Israeli companies.

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Serious Security Threat’: Beijing Claims US Spy Planes Posed as Airliners Over 100 Times in 2020

By Morgan Artyukhina – Sputnik – 22.09.2020

In light of increased attention being brought on the activities of US spy planes near China, Beijing has accused the US of disguising them as civilian airliners more than 100 times in 2020 alone, calling the practice a “serious security threat” and warning it poses a danger to actual civilian aircraft.

Several times over the last few weeks, observers have noticed US intelligence aircraft seeming to “disappear” in mid-flight on international flight-tracking programs, only to be replaced by what seems to be a civilian aircraft broadcasting what turns out to be a fake transponder code. These “civilian” aircraft then fly typical spy plane routes, patrolling intensively over an area for several hours, before mysteriously turning back into US spy planes on their return flights.

On September 16, a Chinese government official confirmed those suspicions, saying the US has made the practice routine over the last year.

“It is the old trick of the US military to use a transponder code to impersonate civil aircraft of other countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters last Wednesday.

“According to incomplete data, since the beginning of this year, the US reconnaissance aircraft have electronically impersonated civil aircraft of other countries in the South China Sea for more than a hundred times. This above-mentioned practice is egregious, which has severely violated international aviation rules, disrupted the aviation order and safety in relevant airspace, threatened the security of China and countries in the region. China firmly opposes that,” he said.

“We urge the US side to immediately stop such dangerous, provocative behaviors to avoid accidents in the air and at sea. China will continue work with regional countries to firmly safeguard the freedoms and safety of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea as well as the peace and stability in the region,” Wang added.

A September 18 report by the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a think tank connected to Peking University, further corroborated the claims by citing multiple, independently verified sources that arrived at the same conclusions.

The practice has continued since: on September 21, a US Air Force RC-135W Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft, built by Boeing and based on a modified version of its 707 passenger aircraft, was spotted using a fake transponder hex code to fly through the South China Sea near China’s Hainan Island and the Paracel Islands, China’s claims of control over which are disputed by Vietnam.

​Then on Tuesday, an RC-135S Cobra Ball, an aircraft specialized for observing ballistic missile launches, flew from the US Air Force’s Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan, bound for the Yellow Sea, where it, too, adopted a bogus hex code, as multiple observers confirmed. Hilariously, a KC-135 Stratotanker was even spotted flying out to refuel this aircraft that was supposedly not a US spy plane. The refueler didn’t bother to disguise itself, however.​

The South China Morning Post reported on September 19 that an unnamed source had told the paper about a US Air Force E-8C spy plane doing the same thing near the coast of China’s Guangdong Province, which faces the South China Sea. The report did not say when the incident took place. The E-8 is also modified from a Boeing 707 airliner and resembles it closely.

Another observer recorded a US Air Force RC-135U Combat Sent, which collects information on radar arrays, broadcasting a fake hex code in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia’s constituent Republic of Crimea on September 21. It was one of several aircraft watching Russia’s Kavkaz-2020 drills.

As Sputnik reported, the US spy planes must be turning off their International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) transponders, which broadcast unique information about the aircraft to other planes as well as receivers on the ground in hexadecimal format. They then turn on another transponder, making it look like they’re really another plane in the sky. For many of the US’ intelligence-gathering aircraft, like the RC-135W Rivet Joint and E-8C Joint STARS, the masquerade is only helped by their exterior appearances, which closely resemble a civilian airliner.

When asked about the practice, US Air Force Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, only said that “we follow the rules for international airspace, and we were following the rules that day.”

Technically this is true. Steffan Watkins, an open-source intelligence researcher based in Ontario, Canada, noted on Twitter that Wilsbach’s statement amounts to an admission, despite his attempts to dissimulate.

​“He’s confirming that yes, they do whatever they want in international airspace, because there is no law preventing them from changing their ICAO hex mid-flight,” Watkins wrote. “He’s also right, it wasn’t an isolated occurance; the #USAF has done so many times before. See, as a state aircraft they can do whatever they want. They’re not *breaking* any laws, because they’re above the law, essentially. See how that wordplay works?”

Indeed, the ICAO’s regulations specifically note that they “are not applicable to State aircraft (military, police or customs) in general,” and that “there are no requirements for State aircraft to comply with civil requirements in international airspace,” but also notes that it “requires States to ensure that military aircraft do not endanger civil aircraft.”

Since Malaysia seems to be the nation of choice for US spy planes to disguise themselves as being from, it’s possible Kuala Lumpur could claim the US is unreasonably endangering its civil aircraft by doing so. The southeast Asian nation has historically had close economic ties with China, but in recent years Washington has attempted to drive a wedge between them using their competing claims over parts of the South China Sea.

In May, the US delivered the first six of 12 ScanEagle unmanned surveillance aircraft to the Royal Malaysian Navy, which will be used for maritime patrols.

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

US requires Kenya to publicly back Israel or forget FTA: Nairobi

Press TV – September 22, 2020

The United States has required Kenya to support Israel’s commercial and political interests or forget a free trade agreement (FTA) with Washington, with activists warning that the inclusion of Israel in the bilateral deal would undermine the Kenyan reputation.

Washington and Nairobi recently resumed trade pact talks after a several-week halt. The US has set a raft of conditions in the ongoing negotiations for the bilateral deal.

In its objectives seen by the Kenyan newspaper East African, Washington has indicated that the conditional deal should, with respect to commercial partnerships, discourage actions that prejudice or discourage business between the United States and Israel.

The White House argues that the FTA should “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.”

The US also wants the “elimination of politically motivated, non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on Israel; and the elimination of State-sponsored, unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel.”

“The United States published its negotiating position before negotiations began for all to see. We are negotiating with transparency and openness,” said the US ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, when asked about the inclusion of Israel in the trade talks.

“This is how we have treated the numerous other countries with which we have concluded successful free trade agreements benefiting both parties.”

The inclusion of Israel as a third party in the negotiation agenda has sparked criticism from activists who warn that the agreement could be too risky for Kenya.

The East African Tax and Governance Network (EATGN) and East African Trade Network (EATN), the groups who have been following developments on the matter, said Nairobi was being “entrapped” in the Palestine-Israeli conflict.

“Due to Kenya’s own special relationship with Israel and its pragmatic approach in dealing with issues like tensions in the Middle East, US demands for such political connotations in the USFTA would undercut the country’s reputation,” said Leonard Wanyama, the co-ordinator of the EATGN and vice-president of the International Relations Society of Kenya, a lobby for foreign policy experts in Nairobi.

This week, the Tax Network said Washington’s demand could place Nairobi in a difficult situation. It called for officials to reject the demand.

Nairobi’s own published objectives indicate the agreement must be discussed within the limits of the East African Community (EAC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.

Kenya also wants a deal that takes into consideration the “special and differential treatment applicable to Kenya as a developing country,” according to the report.

Traditionally, Kenya has often recognized Israel, but rarely makes a public statement endorsing one side or the other and supports the so-called two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It allows Palestine to establish a representative office in Nairobi.

Last year, Israel’s Channel 13 said in a report that Israeli commandos were training local forces in more than a dozen African nations where Israeli arms exporters are already accused of being complicit in war crimes.

The channel showed footage of Israeli officers coaching Tanzanian troopers in hand-to-hand krav maga, hostage operations and urban combat, saying there was a dramatic rise in Tel Aviv’s military activities in Africa.

Tel Aviv’s policy to spice up ties with Africa, the report said, also features combined efforts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, military, the Mossad spy agency and the regime’s security agency Shin Bet.

The report named Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana as the African countries that Israel was seeking to stake out a niche with.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made inroads into Africa a key part of his agenda, becoming the first Israeli leader to visit the continent in 50 years in 2016.

The US demand for protection of Israeli interests means that Washington seeks to counter the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which targets Israel, according to the East African report.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations and later turned international. It is meant to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law” and end its occupation of Palestinian lands.

The BDS, which was inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, has claimed several recent successes in isolating Israel.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , | 3 Comments

American Mass Bombings of Chinese Cities in World War II

Tales of the American Empire | May 12, 2019

The United States Army Air Forces destroyed most Japanese cities during World War II, and a few cities in China as well. These were not precision airstrikes but mass bombings designed to destroy the city and kill residents.

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 The Fog of War – Lesson #5; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOCYc…

US Army Air Forces in World War II; https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/…

September 20, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Rights groups: UAE hired 450 mercenaries to carry out assassinations in Yemen

UAE mercenaries in Yemen [Twitter]

UAE mercenaries in Yemen [Twitter]
MEMO | September 19, 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hired thousands of mercenaries and deployed 450 of them in Yemen to carry out high-profile assassinations, the International Institute for Rights and Development, and the Rights Radar Foundation revealed on Thursday.

These remarks came in a statement that the International Institute for Rights and Development and the Rights Radar Foundation read during the 45th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council held in Geneva.

“The International Institute for Rights and Development and Rights Radar Foundation are deeply concerned about the escalation of assassination cases in Yemen by the mercenaries,” the statement read.

It added:

The UAE hired American mercenaries to carry out high-profile assassinations in Yemen. They conducted several operations in Aden and several cities, resulting in the assassinations of dozens of politicians and public figures during the past five years of conflict in Yemen.

According to the statement: “Among 30,000 mercenaries from four Latin American countries hired by the UAE, at least 450 mercenaries have been deployed to Yemen after they received training by US trainers.”

“They take advantage of the UN’s disregard for their human rights abuses in Yemen to continue their crimes with no accountability.”

In the statement, the rights groups confirmed that: “Over 80 per cent of Yemeni politicians, lawmakers and media professionals have been displaced locally or globally, seeking safety as they become potential targets for assassination.”

The rights groups warned that “the right to life in Yemen is in extreme danger,” stressing that the situation: “Needs the UN to offer effective action not just kind words. Enough is enough.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

2,000 Days Since It Began, the War in Yemen Is Poised To Turn Even More Deadly

By Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News | September 18, 2020

Another grim milestone has just passed in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia’s war against the poorest country in the Middle East reached its two-thousandth day. Ostensibly, the war was launched to restore President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power after he was ousted following Houthi-led popular protests amid the Arab Spring.

Realistically, the war has become little more than a pretext to control Yemen’s strategic sites and natural wealth. Saudi Arabia and the UAE now occupy entire southern provinces from al-Mahara to the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Somehow, though, they have not yet allowed Haddi and his old guard to return.

Grim statistics

The numbers are astonishing. Since 2015, Saudi-led coalition warplanes have pounded the country with over 250,000 airstrikes. Seventy percent of those have hit civilian targets, killing more than 100,000 people since January 2016, according to a report by the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project (ACLED). Those numbers do not include those who have died in the humanitarian disasters caused by the war, particularly starvation and thousands of tons of weapons, most often supplied by the United States, have been dropped on hospitals, schools, markets, mosques, farms, factories, bridges, and power and water treatment plants.

Unexploded ordnance has been left scattered across populated areas, particularly in the urban areas of Sana’a, Sadaa, Hodeida, Hajjah, Marib, and al-Jawf, and have left the country one of the most heavily contaminated in the world.

As the war officially passes its two-thousandth day, the Eye of Humanity Center for Rights and Development, a Yemeni advocacy group, issued a report on where some of the estimated 600,000 bombs have landed. According to the non-governmental organization, those attacks have destroyed more than 21 economically-vital facilities like factories, food storage facilities, fishing boats, markets, and food, and fuel tankers and have damaged 9,000 pieces of critical infrastructure, including 15 airports, 16 seaports, 304 electrical stations, 2,098 tanks and water pumps, and 4,200 roads and bridges. At least 576,528 public service facilities, including more than 1,000 schools, 6,732 agricultural fields, and 1,375 mosques have been destroyed or damaged.

The blockade and bombing of civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals, have also crippled Yemen’s health system, leaving it unable to deal with even the basic public health needs. Eye of Humanity reports that the coalition has destroyed 389 hospitals and health centers while most of the country’s estimated 300 remaining facilities are either closed or barely functioning as COVID-19 spreads through the country like wildfire.

Household food insecurity now hovers at over 70 percent, with fifty percent of rural households and 20 percent of urban households now food insecure. Almost one-third of Yemenis do not have enough food to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Underweight and stunted children have become a regular sight, especially among holdouts in rural areas.

This is Yemen after 2,000 days of war. A dirty war and a brutal siege on a forgotten people subsisting in unlivable conditions. If one is able to dodge death from war, starvation, and COVID-19, they face unprecedented levels of disease. Yemen’s average life expectancy now hovers at around 66, one of the lowest in the world. The Saudi blockade has imposed tight control over all aspects of life, severely restricting not only the movement of aid and people but also of UN flights. Last week, both the Ministry of Transportation and the General Authority of Civil Aviation and Meteorology announced that Sana’a International Airport was no longer equipped to receive the official airplane of UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffith.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is still preventing fuel tankers from delivering much-needed fuel to Yemen’s hospitals, water pumps, bakeries, cleaning trucks, and gas stations, plunging it, particularly northern districts, into a fuel crisis. The blockade has not only forced thousands to wait for days in lines as far as the eye can see but has forced many facilities to shut down altogether. All while Saudi Arabia and its local militias plunder crude oil in Marib, Shabwah, and Hadramout.

After normalization, the UAE steps up attacks

For many Yemenis, there is little reason for optimism entering what feels like the third phase of the war against their country, as Israel ostensibly enters the fray. They believe that the situation will escalate as a result of normalization between the UAE and Israel, and indeed, Tel Aviv’s entrance into the already convoluted theater appears to have already opened the door for further escalation.

Since normalization, UAE warplanes have intensified airstrikes against populated areas throughout the country’s northern provinces. In Sana’a, approximately 20 aerial attacks hit densely populated neighborhoods and brazenly targeted the Sana’a Airport, a military engineering camp, and a poultry farm, among other targets.

UAE warplanes are believed by locals to be receiving logistical support by Israel, although no evidence has yet surfaced yet to substantiate those fears. In a stark departure from the UAE’s more conciliatory tone in Yemen over the past year, UAE aircraft have carried out more than 100 airstrikes since August 13, when Trump announced the normalization between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. They also pounded the oil-rich province of Marib, located east the country, where UAE jets dropped more than 300 bombs targeting transport trucks, fuel stations, homes, and farms. Advanced military sites belonging to the Ansar Allah-led were also targeted.

Reinforcing the hopelessness is that the United States continues to neglect Yemen’s suffering, despite its designation by the United Nations calling it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Even with the 2020 election looming and President Donald Trump leaning heavily into his foreign policy accomplishments, the U.S. role in Yemen has been noticeably absent from the discussion. Biden has been no better, leaving little hope that the December elections could bring an end to the war.

Half-hearted attempts at peace

There are efforts underway to bring some semblance of peace to Yemen by parties in both Qatar and Oman. Secret negotiations have been held in Sana’a, but they seem aimed at stopping the Houthi advance in Marib and not the war in general.

In reality, international voices are loudest when the war begins to affect Saudi Arabia, as they were last September when Saudi oil facilities were attacked, or when a Houthi advance threatens the Saudi border as it did in August of 2019 when an operation captured 4,000 square kilometers of Saudi territory in Najran.

Qatari and Omani efforts are not the only ones on the ground. The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is leading other efforts aimed at stopping the Houthi advance in Marib. Griffiths said during a recent Security Council session that, “The situation in Marib is of concern. Military shifts in Marib have ripple effects on conflict dynamics. If Marib falls, it’d undermine prospects of convening an inclusive political process that brings about a transition based on partnership and plurality.”

Neither the efforts in Qatar nor those by the UN even purport to be focused on bringing an end to the war or mitigating the blockade, instead, they seem only concerned with assuring the Coalition retains its competitive advantage.

2,000 days of war, in fact, have proven an insufficient term to bring peace to the war-torn country. With the exception of a fragile ceasefire in Hodeida and a small number of prisoner releases, negotiations between the two sides, even on minor issues, often reach a dead end. Numerous negotiations between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia have failed, including UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland last year.

The Houthis grow stronger

When the war began over five years ago, Saudi leaders promised a decisive victory in a matter of weeks, one or two months at most. Yet the Houthis remain steadfast in their resistance and, in fact, have grown even more powerful leading to consternation in the Kingdom, with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz dismissing the leader of the Coalition forces Fahd bin Turki and a number of senior officers following a series of recent Saudi battlefield failures.

On Thursday, Houthi forces carried out drone strikes against the al-Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern province of Asir. The operation was the fifth against the airport and a sign that half of a decade of war has done little to bring security to the Kingdom.

In fact, the Houthis now seem intent on moving the frontline into Saudi Arabia and UAE territory and have even promised retaliatory action against Israel should they continue to escalate their involvement in the war. According to Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam, “the Saudi-led war on Yemen the price the Arab nation is paying for taking a firm stance against Israel,”  adding “Israelis are involved in most of the conflicts plaguing the region, including the Riyadh-led aggression against Yemen.”

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

September 18, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

How USA and Turkey Plunder and Loot Syria with Impunity

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | September 16, 2020

While President Trump lashes out at rioting and looting in Portland and Kenosha, half way around the world, the USA and Turkey are plundering and looting Syria on a vastly greater scale with impunity and little publicity.

Turkey Loots Syria, then Disrupts Safe Water Supply  

Turkey has been plundering the Syrian infrastructure for years.  Beginning in late 2012 and continuing through 2013 some 300 industrial factories were dismantled and taken to Turkey from Aleppo, the industrial capital of Syria. “Machinery and goods were loaded on trucks and carried off to Turkey through the Cilvegozu and Ceylanpinar crossings. Unfortunately, ‘plundering’ and ‘terror’ have become permanent parts of the Syrian lexicon when explaining their saga.”

In October 2019 Turkish forces invaded Syria and now occupy a strip of land in north east Syria. The area is controlled by the Turkish military and pro Turkish militia forces misnamed the “Syrian National Army”. Turkish President Erdogan dubbed the invasion “Peace Spring” and said the goal was to create a “safe zone”. The reality was that 200 thousand Syrians fled the invasion and over 100 thousand have been permanently displaced from their homes, farms, workplaces and livelihoods.

The industrial scale looting continues. As reported recently in the story headlined Turkish-backed factions take apart power pylons in rural Ras Al-Ain: “Reliable sources have informed SOHR that Turkish-backed factions steal electricity power towers and pylons in ‘Peace Spring’ areas in Ras Al-Ain countryside.”

Turkey now controls the border city of Ras al-Ain and the nearby Allouk water treatment and pumping station.  This is the water station supplying safe water to the city Hasaka and entire region. The Turkish forces are using water as a weapon of war, shutting down the station to pressure the population to be compliant.  For over two weeks in August, with daily temperatures of 100 F,  there was no running water for nearly one million people.

With no tap water, civilians were forced to queue up for hours to receive small amounts from water trucks. Unable to buy the water, other civilians took their chances by drinking water from unsafe wells. According to Judy Jacoub, a Syrian journalist originally from Hasaka, “The residents of Hasaka and its countryside have been pushed to rely on unsafe water sources ….Many residents have been suffering from the spread of fungi, germs and dirt in their hair and bodies as a result of using well water that is not suitable for drinking and personal hygiene. The people of Hasaka remain vulnerable to diseases and epidemics because of the high temperatures and spread of infectious diseases. If the situation is not controlled as soon as possible, the spread of Corona virus will undoubtedly be devastating.”  A hospital medical director says many people are getting sick from the contaminated water.

Judy Jacoub explains what has happened most recently: “After Syrian and international efforts exerted pressure on the Turkish regime, 17 wells and three pumps were started . The main reservoirs were filled and pumping was started toward the city neighborhoods.  However, despite the Turkish militia’s resumption of pumping water again, there is great fear among the citizens.”

USA Loots Syrian Oil and Plunders the Economy

The USA also has occupying troops and proxy/puppet military force in north east Syria. The proxy army is misnamed the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF). How they got that name is revealing. They took on this name as they came under the funding and control of the US military. As documented here, US Army General Ray Thomas told their leadership, “You have got to change your brand. What do you want to call yourselves besides the YPG?’  Then, he explained what happened: “With about a day’s notice they declared that they are the Syrian Democratic Forces. I thought it was a stroke of brilliance to put democracy in there somewhere.”

There are numerous parties and trends within the Syrian Kurdish community. The US has been funding and promoting the secessionist element, pushing them to ally with Turkish backed  jihadists against the Damascus government.  The violation of Syrian sovereignty is extreme and grotesque.

Prior to the war, Syria was self-sufficient in oil and had enough to export and earn some foreign revenues. The primary oil sources are in eastern Syria, where the US troops and proxy forces have established bases. It is desert terrain with little population.

To finance their proxy army, the US has seized control of the major Syrian oil pumping wells. It is likely that President Trump thinks this is brilliant bold move – financing the invasion of Syria with Syrian oil.

In November 2019 President Trump said, “We’re keeping the oil… The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.”  Recently, it was revealed that a “Little known US firm secures deal for Syrian oil“. Delta Crescent Energy will manage and escalate the theft of Syrian oil.

What would Americans think if another country invaded the US via Mexico, set up bases in Texas, sponsored a secessionist militia, then seized Texas oil wells to finance it?  That is comparable to what the US is doing in Syria.

In addition to stealing Syria’s oil, the US is trying to prevent Syria from developing alternate sources. The “Caesar sanctions” on Syria threatens to punish any individual, company or country that invests or assists Syria to rebuild their war damaged country and especially in the oil and gas sector.

The US establishment seems to be doing everything it can to undermine the Syrian economy and damage the Syrian currency. Due to pressure on Lebanese banks, plus the Caesar sanctions, the Syrian pound has plummeted in value from 650 to 2150 to the US dollar in the past 10 months.

North east Syria is the breadbasket of the country with the richest wheat and grain fields. There are reports of US pressuring farmers to not sell their wheat crops to the Syrian government. One year ago, Nicholas Heras of the influential Center for New American Security argued “Assad needs access to cereal crops in northeast Syria to prevent a bread crisis in the areas of western Syria that he controls….Wheat is a weapon of great power in this next phase of the Syrian conflict.”   Now, it appears the US is following this strategy. Four months ago, in May 2020,  Syrian journalist Stephen Sahiounie reported, “Apache helicopters of the US occupation forces flew low Sunday morning, according to residents of the Adla village, in the Shaddadi countryside, south of Hasaka, as they dropped ‘thermal balloons, an incendiary weapon, causing the wheat fields to explode into flames while the hot dry winds fanned the raging fire.

After delivering their fiery pay-load, the helicopters flew close to homes in an aggressive manner, which caused residents and especially small children to fear for their lives.  The military maneuver was delivering a clear message: don’t sell your wheat to the Syrian government.”

To better loot the oil and plunder the Syria economy, in the past weeks the US is sending more heavy equipment and military hardware through the Kurdish region of Iraq.

In the south of Syria, the US has another base and occupation zone at the strategic Al Tanf border crossing. This is at the intersection of the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. This is also the border crossing for the highway from Baghdad to Damascus. The US controls this border area to prevent Syrian reconstruction projects from Iraq or Iran. When Syrian troops have tried to get near there, they have been attacked on their own soil.

Meanwhile, international funds donated for “Syrian relief” are disproportionately sent to support and assist the last strong-hold of Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib on the north west border with Turkey.  The US and its partners evidently want to sustain the armed opposition and prevent the Syrian government from reclaiming their territory.

Flouting International Law and the UN Charter

The USA and Turkey have shown how easy it is to violate international law. The occupation of Syrian land and attacks on its sovereignty are being done in broad daylight. But this is not just a legal issue. Stopping the supply of safe drinking water and burning wheat fields to create more hunger violate the most basic tenets of decency and morality.

With supreme hypocrisy, the US foreign policy establishment often complains about the decline in the “rule of law”. In actuality, there is no greater violator than the US itself.

In his speech to the UN Security Council,  Syrian Ambassador Ja’afari decried this situation saying “international law has become like the gentle lamb whose care is entrusted to a herd of wolves.”

• Author’s note: To see good political and military maps of Syria,  go to southfront.org

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who has visited Syria several times since 2014. He lives in the SF Bay Area and can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Arrests ‘CIA Spy’ on Oil Refinery ‘Stakeout’

By Paul Dobson | Venezuelanalysis | September 14, 2020

Mérida – Venezuelan authorities have charged a US citizen with terrorism after he was arrested on a “stakeout” near the country’s largest oil refinery complex.

According to the police investigation, Matthew John Heath is a former US marine who served as a communications operator in a “secret CIA base” in Iraq between 2006 and 2016, where he was hired by Virginia-based private security contractor MVM. MVM services include offering “secret agents […] primarily to the US government.”

Heath was detained by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) on Thursday afternoon in Falcon State alongside three Venezuelans, including a GNB sergeant major and an army soldier.

The four men were reportedly collating information about the nearby Amuay and Cardon refineries, and were caught in possession of “specialised weapons,” including an AT4 84mm grenade launcher, an UZI 9mm submachine gun, four blocks of C4 explosives, large amounts of US dollars, and a satellite phone, which Heath has reportedly refused to unblock. The former marine was allegedly arrested without a passport, but in possession of photos of the refineries and Venezuelan military installations, as well as a badge which “connects him to the CIA.”

Confiscated items from US ex-marine Matthew John Heath. (Tareck William Saab)

During a press conference Monday, Venezuela’s Attorney General Tareck William Saab told reporters that Heath formed part of a “US intelligence operation” which sought to “collect strategic information regarding military, electrical and oil-based installations” in order to “infiltrate US intelligence agents” from Colombia and carry out “acts of sabotage.”

The four detainees, as well as four more Venezuelans who were subsequently arrested in Maracaibo City in connection to the operation, are to be charged with terrorism, illegal arms trafficking and criminal association.

Following the bust, President Nicolas Maduro urged oil workers to “tighten external and internal security” at the refineries to counter the “US imperialist war of vengeance which looks to stop Venezuela from producing oil derivatives.”

US agencies have not commented on the arrests so far.

Thursday’s bust comes only weeks after a Venezuelan court sentenced two former US green berets to 20 years in prison for leading a failed mercenary incursion in May. According to televised confessions from the former soldiers, ‘Operation Gedeon’ looked to kidnap Maduro and trigger a coup. US private security firm Silvercorp was hired by the Juan Guaido-led opposition to carry out the operation.

The Amuay and Cardon refineries form the world’s second largest refining complex, with a joint capacity to produce 955,000 barrels of gasoline a day, but are currently working at 10 percent capacity. With the country facing an increasingly severe nationwide fuel shortage, the government announced efforts to reactivate the refineries in June. However, production has been repeatedly halted by technical failures and queues at the gas stations have worsened since.

Venezuela’s oil output has fallen from 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 to 339,000 bpd in August under the weight of punishing US sanctions. In recent years, the industry also has been beset by a range of problems, including corruption, mismanagement, underinvestment and brain drain.

Apart from denouncing the US blockade, Maduro’s government has frequently pointed to acts of “sabotage” against the industry as evidence of US meddling, including the 2012 fire at the Amuay refinery which killed 55 people. US officials have also publicly admitted to targeting the country’s oil industry as part of Washington’s efforts to oust the Maduro government.

September 16, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment