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Who Rules America? The illusion of Self Rule

By Greg Felton | Institute for Political Economy | January 22, 2020

A government, whatever its nature, rules as an imperial power over its people. The surest way to exercise this control is to prop up the illusion that it acts in the public interest. Paul Craig Roberts and Alvin Rabushka spelled out this salient fact in the March 1973 issue of Public Choice, in their article “A Diagrammatic Exposition of an Economic Theory of Imperialism,” and what they wrote is no less relevant today.

The act of voting is one of the props that sustains the delusion of self-rule. People do vote, but the candidates are decided by the oligarchy of organized interest groups. This is also the conclusion of a 2014 study by Princeton University professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page about the extent to which U.S. government policy reflects public preferences. Gilens and Page found that voters are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant to their own “democratic” government:

“[The] preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy . . . Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it” (Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 575, 76).

Instead of representing the common interest of the people, government answers to organized interest groups. Gilens and Page cite the dominance over policy of special interests who use public policy to serve their interests rather than the public’s. We see the effects of this plutocracy in the sharp rise in the inequality of income and wealth, a gap which has grown into a chasm.

Gilens and Page’s analysis of the Unelected Plutocracy of America is on the money, but their understanding of the threat to America’s democracy does not consider foreign policy, which is partly, if not largely, in the hands of a foreign country—Israel. It is not enough to lay the decline of American democracy at the feet of vested interests such as Wall Street, big banks, and the military–security complex, because it is not in their interest to have the government pursue foreign policy contrary to the national interest.

But operating contrary to the national interest is precisely what Washington has been doing. In the 21st century, Washington has squandered trillions of dollars on military aggression. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel have been killed, maimed or driven to suicide. The U.S. has derived no benefit from provoking the enmity of Muslim people, bullying NATO allies into abetting this belligerence or persecuting those who expose associated crimes. Even Donald Trump, who ran for the presidency on ending wasteful wars of aggression, continues this self-inflicted economic and political harm, most recently by waging economic war against Iran and sabre-rattling to provoke a shooting war.

The Trump administration is a continuation of decades of Washington’s kowtowing to the Israel Lobby. To appreciate the lack of independence of US foreign policy requires an act of intellectual courage, but few Americans are equipped for the trauma of knowing the truth. To borrow from The Matrix, not many are willing to take the “red pill” to see the reality behind the controlled explanation. “Blue pill” existence comes with a ready-made worldview based on controlled explanations in which believers find comfort, meaning and belonging. Anything that challenges this illusion, is discounted as conspiracy theory or anti-semitism.  Comforting beliefs can take precedence over US national interests.

To “take the red pill” requires an inquisitive mind to reject illusion and to question fundamental assumptions. If it is irrational for a democratic state like the U.S. to harm its own people, damage its own economy and invite hostility by provoking needless wars, perhaps the U.S. is not really a democratic state and not really in charge of its own policy. From an American standpoint, the seemingly inexplicable acts of U.S. belligerence and punishment of those who pose no threat to America can be understood as the consequence of permitting Israeli money and influence to shape US foreign policy in the Middle East and to some extent elsewhere if it bears on Israeli interests.

The U.S. that was founded in 1776 is not the same U.S. that exists today. The founding fathers warned against foreign entanglements, but Washington has sought entanglement. Since the late 1940s, the U.S. has gotten entangled in the service of Israel’s interests. The importance of Israel’s interest to U.S. foreign policy has been elevated by a pervasive Christian prejudice, in which Jews are seen as religiously kindred and Muslims as religiously hostile.

In 1948 President Harry Truman took an infamous $2 million election campaign bribe from an American Zionist to support the creation of Israel. By doing so Truman became midwife to an ongoing war crime that has resulted in Washington aiding and abetting Israel’s theft of Palestine. Washington blackmailed and intimidated several UN delegations into supporting the 1947 partition of Palestine. For a country that boasted of its commitment to democracy and support for the UN Charter, Washington’s conduct made no sense. However, if one recognizes that Washington was acting in behalf of Israel, it becomes understandable.

With a foothold gained from Truman’s electoral opportunism, the domestic Israel Lobby gradually gained influence over the U.S. government to the point that today Washington serves Israel’s interest without thinking of its impact on US national interests and without regard to the adverse effects on American interests or those of other people.

After years of Washington’s growing service to Israel, President George H.W. Bush tried to pull back. President Bush thought that he could bring about a final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in Madrid based on “land for peace.”

Bush’s assertion of foreign policy independence infuriated Israel, which proceeded to stage overt and covert attacks on Bush. The overt attack occurred on Feb. 26, 1992, when the domestic Israeli pressure group calling itself, absurdly, the “The Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East,” took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to excoriate Bush for “pressuring” Israel to enter into negotiations. Its signatories included neoconservative Israel-firsters like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Elliott Abrams.

According to a former Mossad agent, the covert attack took the form of a planned assassination of President Bush. Victor Ostrovsky in his book, By Way of Deception (pp. 281-282), writes that on Oct. 1, 1992, he received a nervous call from Ephraim, a Mossad officer of his acquaintance, who opposed the assassination: “They’re out to kill Bush… I mean really kill, as in ‘assassinate.’… during the Madrid peace talks.” Ephraim asked Ostrovsky to leak the plot in hopes the American government would act to prevent it. Ostrovsky did so in an Oct. 1, 1992, speech in Ottawa. From there, the leak made its way to former California congressman Pete McCloskey, the Secret Service, the State Department, the CIA, the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, and finally the press. The assassination was called off.

Bush’s assertion of independence from Israel resulted in Israel’s meddling in the 1992 presidential election which cost Bush re-election and marked the last time that a U.S. president would dare challenge Israel’s self-proclaimed right to murder, torture, dispossess and displace Palestinians.

The eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency saw a consolidation of Israel’s power over Washington. Clinton showed his willingness to act in Israel’s interest by agreeing to set amounts of aid to Israel––imperial tribute in the view of some––even before he was sworn in as president. It was the Clinton administration that responded to Israeli pressure for action against Iraq by creating the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which caused the death of 500,000 Iraqi children. When asked about this by a reporter, Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “the price was worth it.” In other words, the death of a half a million Iraqi children served American and Israeli interests.

Israel’s influence over US foreign policy reached a zenith with George W. Bush. In the name of the “war on terror,” that is, the war on Israel’s enemies, the Bush regime subverted the US Constitution. The Bush government was filled with neoconservatives associated with the Project for a New American Century. The PATRIOT Act, drafted, according to his own admission three weeks prior to the events of September 11, 2001, by neoconservative Philip Zelikow, who later headed up the 9/11 Commission, became law despite the US Congress having no time to read and discuss the tyrannical legislation before passing it. The fact that a draft of the PATRIOT Act existed prior to 9/11 raises many questions. The passage of the act told Americans that Muslims were such a threat that Americans would have to accept  infringements on their civil liberties. President Bush made that even more clear when he announced that he was setting aside the US Constitution and suspending habeas corpus.

During the Obama administration Israel dramatically demonstrated its power over the US government when the US Congress intervened in the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu over whose power was supreme in American politics, the power of the American president or Israel’s. Repudiating their own president, Congress invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the House and Senate and responded to Netanyahu with many standing ovations.

Trump has perpetuated Israeli control over US foreign policy. Trump broke universal policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He gave Syria’s Golan Heights to Israel, which was not Trump’s to give. He cut off aid to Palestine. He accepted Israel’s policy of illegally incorporating occupied Palestine into Israel.

Trump’s appointment of Project for a New American Century Zionist David Wurmser, an architect of Washington’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, is the latest indication that Israel continues to dominate American policy in the Middle East. According to a report in Mint Press News, Trump admitted that his belligerence toward Iran is driven by Israeli, not U.S., interests.

Trump’s subservience to Israel brings into focus the famous words of Patrick Buchanan, Washington is “Israeli occupied territory.”


Greg Felton is the author of The Host & The Parasite––How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, 3rd edition, available from thehostandtheparasite.com.

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 26 Comments

Aftermath: The Iran War After The Soleimani Assassination

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | January 23, 2020

“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.”Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”

In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.”

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” And it ain’t over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here’s what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani “a total monster.” His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It’s virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said, when talking about what a “proportional response” might be: ”[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? ‘Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob?… ‘All of their heroes are cartoon characters — they’re all fictional.” Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: “the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders.”

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80%) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still “watching” ISIS advance and using it as a tool to “manage” their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS—and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He’s a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he’s operated, the people he’s worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn’t, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad,…the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad…

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren’t for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven’t forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you’d have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I’m exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah:

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani’s strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance—the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a “justifiable” full-scale, regime-change—actually state-destroying—military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the “w” state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody’s book, that is an act of war—and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran’s Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post, this marked a “departure for the Pentagon’s mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement” or make “any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen.”

Of course, because it’s known as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Pentagon wants to avoid “publicly” bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen with drone strikes, special forces operations, refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It’s such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony “imminence” excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump says “doesn’t matter,” or the “bloody hands” justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let’s not forget: Soleimani was “talking about bad stuff.”

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we will keep our army in Syria to “take the oil,” and in Iraq to… well, to do whatever the hell we want. “Rules-based international order”? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.’ determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn’t over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that’s ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We’re now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and “finishing off” with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It’s work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their “interests.”

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It’s that one big “endless” war that’s been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it’s their party’s President in charge), denounce (if it’s the other party’s POTUS), or just bemoan as “senseless.” But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims—it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it’s “senseless,” and remain mired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel’s interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it’s all so “senseless.”

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized Zionist imperative) in this war­ is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians—from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing—by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction—any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of “Iranian proxies,” I’d say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized Zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel’s proxy.

It’s also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil’s) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel’s, and depends entirely on KSA’s complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives—as a matter, they think, of virtue—as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare “I am a Wahhabi,” or a U.S. President say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Saudi Arabia—with nobody even noticing. The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. “doubling down on its Saudi allegiance.” So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what’s unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran—the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been “agitating for.” The idea—borrowed, perhaps from Israel’s campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists—is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence, the Soleimani assassination “was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration’s Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran.” It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some “bloody nose” strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will “obliterate” Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I’ve said before, how little damage—especially in terms of casualties—Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran’s strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone—and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were ”stunned” that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes. It’s to the eternal shame of what’s called the “left” in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump’s bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran’s leaders that “any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.” Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what “proxy” and “interests” means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other “ally” by anybody—including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader—will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center. That Center replaced a group of “Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran,” because “Trump’s people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group.” The purpose of this—as of any—Mission Center was to “elevate” the country as a target and “bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action” against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran’s “increased capacity to deliver missile systems” to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran’s increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D’Andrea, who is perceived as having an “aggressive stance toward Iran.” D’Andrea, known as “the undertaker” and “Ayatollah Mike,” is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his “central role in the agency’s torture and targeted killing programs.”

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel “to take on Iran,” which took place, according to Israeli television, at a “secret” meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate “steps on the ground” against “Tehran and its proxies.” The biggest threats: “Iran’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon,” and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret “dramatic understandings” would have “far greater impact” on Israel than Trump’s more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to “take on” Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran’s growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence—specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled “Iranian aggression.”

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn’t take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles. One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says: “Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides… if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country.”

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of “praying for war with Iran” Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together “urged” Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife’s pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn’t stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the “brainchild” of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions—propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians—that Iran will return to what’s described as “unconditional” negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran’s absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a “snapback” of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have “always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program.” Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is “not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict” and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are—as FDR did to Japan—imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It’s deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that—as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate—made it a trap for Iran. [And Obama never implemented the US obligations negotiated under JCPOA, the agreement was invalidated prior to his leaving office.]

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing—and can easily demonstrate—is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-Zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his “reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle” and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both “quick to praise” his action and “having a crisis of confidence” over Trump’s ability to “manage” a conflict with Iran—an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician’s “Soleimani was a terrorist, but…” statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn’t the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-Zionist narrative. There is no “good”—non-thuggish, non-repellent—way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it’s done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump’s leadership. But not a one will abandon the Zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable—about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can “never” have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports, “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for.” It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran—which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it’s becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that’s not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 4 Comments

In the name of ‘Israel’s security’, retreating US gives it billions more in military aid

By Ramzy Baroud | The Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2020

Billions of US taxpayers’ dollars will continue to be funnelled into Israel in the next fiscal year, and for many years in the foreseeable future. Republican and Democratic Senators have recently ensured just that, passing a Bill aimed at providing Israel with $3.3 billion in aid every year.

The Bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, was passed on 9 January, only one day after Iran struck US positions in Iraq. Enthusiasm to push the Bill forward was meant to be an assurance to Tel Aviv from Washington that the US is committed to Israel’s security and military superiority in the Middle East.

Despite a palpable sense of war fatigue among all Americans, regardless of their political leaning, their country continues to sink deeper into Middle East conflicts simply because it is unable – or perhaps unwilling — to challenge Israel’s benefactors across the US government. “What’s good for Israel is good for America” continues to be the supreme maxim within Washington’s political elites, despite the fact that such irrational thinking has wrought disasters on the Middle East as a whole, and is finally forcing a hasty and humiliating American retreat.

The latest aid package to Israel will officially put into law a “Memorandum of Understanding” that was reached between the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Barack Obama administration in 2016. At the time, Obama had offered Israel the largest military aid package in US history.

Senator Rubio explained the passing of the recent Bill in terms of the “unprecedented threats” that are supposedly faced by Israel. Coons, meanwhile, said that “the events of the past few days [the US-Iran escalation], were a stark reminder of the importance of US assistance to Israel’s security.”

What is particularly odd about Coons’ statement is the fact that it was not Israel, but US positions in Iraq that were struck by Iranian missiles, and that they were fired in response to the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Yet, the American taxpayers’ funding of Israel’s military adventures continues unabated, despite the rapidly changing political reality in the Middle East, and the shifting US role in the region. This confirms further that the blind US support of Israel is not motivated by a centralised, distinctly American, strategy that aims to serve US interests. Instead, the unconditional – and, often, self-defeating — US government funding of the Israeli war machine is linked largely to domestic American politics and, indeed, the unparalleled power wielded by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States.

According to the public policy research institute of the United States Congress, the Congressional Research Centre (CRS), between 1946 and 2019 (including the requested funds for 2020) US aid to Israel has exceeded $142 billion. Most of this immense sum of money — over $101 billion — went directly to the Israeli military budget, while over $34 billion and $7 billion went to Israel in terms of economic aid and missile defence funding respectively.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the US no longer possesses a well-defined and centralised strategy in the Middle East; President Donald Trump changes American priorities from one speech or tweet to the next. However, the one consistent key phrase in whatever political agenda happens to be championed by Washington in the region at any particular time is: “Israel’s security”.

This precarious term seems to be linked to every American action pertaining to the Middle East, as it has for decades under every American administration, without exception. Wars have been launched or funded in the name of Israel’s security; human rights have been violated on a massive scale; the five-decade — and counting — military occupation of Palestine, the protracted siege of the impoverished Gaza Strip and much more, have all been carried out, defended and sustained in the name of Israel’s security.

US aid to Israel — the occupying state — continues, while all American aid to the Palestinians — the people under Israeli occupation — has been cut off, including the $300 million annual donation to the UN Agency responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. The Agency has provided education, healthcare and shelter for millions of refugees since 1949, but is now, bizarrely, seen by both Israel and the US as “an obstacle to peace”.

Inexplicably, Israel receives roughly “one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though (it) comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes,” wrote Professor Stephen Zunes in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

This massive budget includes much more than the $3.3 billion of annual funding, but the other amounts and perks rarely make headlines. Anywhere between $500 million to $800 million is given to Israel every year as part of a missile defence package; an additional $1 billion benefits Israel in the form of tax-deductible donations, while $500 billion is invested in Israeli bonds.

Then there are the loan guarantees, where the US government assumes the responsibility for billions of dollars that Israel can access as a borrower from international creditors. If Israel defaults on its loans, it is the legal responsibility of the US government to offset the interest on the borrowed money.

Since 1982, Israel has been receiving US aid as a lump sum, as opposed to scheduled payments, as happens with other countries. To fulfil its self-imposed obligations to Israel, the US government borrows the money, and is thus left to pay interest on the loans. “Israel even lends some of this money back through US treasury bills and collects the additional interest,” Zunes explained.

US relations with Israel are not governed by the kind of political wisdom that is predicated on mutual benefit. But they are not entirely irrational either, as the American ruling classes have aligned their interests, their perception of the Middle East and their country’s role in that region with that of Israel, thanks to years of media and official indoctrination.

Despite the fact that the US is retreating from the region, lacking strategy and future vision, lawmakers in Washington are congratulating themselves on passing yet another generous aid package to Israel. They feel proud of their great feat because, in their confused thinking, a ‘secured’ Israel is the only guarantor of US dominance in the Middle East. That is a theory that has been proven false, time and time again.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Welcome, swamp monsters! How Bush-era warmonger David Wurmser is helping Trump take down Iran

By Robert Bridge | RT | January 20, 2020

Despite Trump’s pledge to ‘drain the swamp’ and reduce the US military’s global footprint, a chief architect of the 2003 Iraq War has the ear of the White House on Iran. What could possibly go wrong?

As Donald Trump’s first term dwindles, it appears his new campaign slogan will be “if you can’t beat the swamp, join it.” That much seems evident not only from the Trump administration’s courting of diehard hawks – gung-ho guys like Elliott Abrams and Mike Pompeo – but by the recent news that David Wurmser was offering counsel to John Bolton, former National Security Advisor to the White House.

It should be briefly recalled that Wurmser contributed heavily to the report that argued Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction. That claim was eventually proven to be ‘bad intelligence,’ but not before a whole lot of damage was done.

Wurmser gets another shot  

According to journalist Eli Lake, Wurmser built the case for “regime disruption” against Iran in a series of memos sent to Bolton in May and June 2019, a period when tensions between Tehran and Washington were peaking in the Persian Gulf. Lake, who says he was privy to the memos thanks to a high-level source, provides a glimpse into Wurmser’s hawkish thought processes, revealing he told Bolton that offensive military action against Iran would “rattle the delicate internal balance of forces… which the regime depends for stability and survival.”

On another occasion, after Iran had downed a US drone, Wurmser suggested in a memo (dated June 22) a retaliatory attack “on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies.” Judging by Bolton’s well-known aggressive stance on Iran, however, he probably did not require much convincing from Wurmser to go after Tehran with both guns blazing.

The revelation that Wurmser was feeding Bolton advice sheds a much-needed light – albeit an opaque one – on Trump’s inexplicable decision in early January to “take out” General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force. That high-risk move, carried out on the territory of Iraq, prompted Tehran to respond days later with calibrated strikes on two US military bases inside of Iraq. Today, the situation remains volatile as rhetoric between the two sides has replaced – at least for the time being – outright violence.

Now the question: what could have compelled Trump to place any trust in Wurmser, whose resume reads like that of a bull in a china shop? One possibility is that Trump had no idea Wurmser was feeding Bolton and other members of his administration what amounted to yet more regime change shenanigans in the Middle East. This seems plausible considering the contradictory messages the White House was sending immediately following Soleimani’s cold-blooded murder.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for example, claimed the US had specific information on “imminent” Iranian attacks “against American facilities, including American embassies [and] military bases.” Trump, meanwhile, didn’t sound any more confident with regards to the “imminent threat” of an Iranian attack when he told Fox News, “probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.”

Stranger yet, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, perhaps being more forthcoming than is usual for a military man with secrets to protect, admitted “I didn’t see [evidence], with regard to four embassies” being targeted for attack by Iran. Esper eventually came around to saying that he “shared the president’s view” of an imminent attack from Iran.

It seems plausible that the Trump administration could not get its story straight on where the information about Iran and an “imminent attack” had originated, because admitting it had derived from ‘the swamp’ would not have sat well with their voters. That is certainly no small consideration in an election year.

Why court neocons in the first place?

When Trump hired John Bolton as his National Security Advisor in March 2018, he wasn’t just opening the corridors of power to the notorious hawk, as he may have imagined. The US leader opened the door to all of Bolton’s former colleagues and confidants who share Bolton’s dangerous obsession with going to war with Iran. As a side note, it is worth pondering whether Trump was compelled to hire Bolton because he understood he is not at liberty to abandon ‘the swamp’ as it simply wields too much power in Washington.

What is more likely is that Trump overestimated himself, believing that he was smart enough to stay one step ahead of Bolton and his swamp contacts – like the shadowy Washington insider Wurmser, who in 1996 co-authored another report, entitled, ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.’ Drafted specifically for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the paper promoted the idea of preemptive strikes against Iran and Syria.

So why would Trump take on such a risk? Why not bring in some fresh red-blooded conservative policymakers who genuinely want to see US troops extracted from quagmires around the Middle East and North Africa? Why all this talk about ‘draining the swamp’ when the worst of the swamp creatures are awarded such powerful positions? Perhaps Trump imagined that Bolton’s mustachioed scowl would be enough to bring enemies around to the negotiating table – gaining “leverage” before confronting your opponents, as the real estate developer advised in ‘Art of the Deal.’

Whatever the case may be, the US leader seriously underestimates the fact that there are people out there – the John Boltons and David Wurmsers of the world – who are not looking for the ‘deal of the century’. These people have spent their entire careers lobbying for military confrontation and regime change, as General Wesley Clark revealed with the “seven countries in five years” plan. They will pull any trick in the book to get their wars – and all of the lucrative defense contracts that follow.

Although Trump may have squeaked by – so far – without full-blown military confrontation in places like North Korea, Syria and Venezuela, sooner or later he may get a bad roll of the dice. In fact, he may already have gambled wrongly with the warmongers he allowed into his administration, thereby setting Iran and the United States, and possibly the world, on a deadly crash course.  In that case, Trump would have nobody to blame but himself.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

A New Definition of Warfare

Sanctions can be more deadly than bullets

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • January 21, 2020

Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of “extreme pressure” on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about “regime change.” In Pompeo’s twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become “normal countries.”

The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America’s imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S. sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked, forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to survive.

The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December 29th to January 3rd, the American military, which operates out of two major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation of the country’s government and that invitation had just been revoked by parliament.

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S. forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS, but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.

Washington’s response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time table to create a “withdrawal mechanism” the Secretary of State made it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department written response entitled “The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq” asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a “force for good” in the Middle East and that it is “our right” to maintain “appropriate force posture” in the region.

The Iraqi position also immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about “sanctions like they have never seen,” with the implication that the U.S. was more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that description.

After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian, a United States representative from the National Security Council named Richard Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: “The question for prime minister Johnson is: ‘As you are moving towards Brexit … what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?’ It’s absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain’s interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe.”

And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John Bolton protégé anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation, posits “Consider the following scenario: A Washington, DC–based, tax-exempt organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the enhancement of a foreign country’s reputation within the United States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as ‘fellows’) embedded within the White House national security staff in order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization, which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.”

The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran, including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the president’s ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House advocating a policy of “regime disruption” with the Islamic Republic that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to the assassination of Soleimani.

The good news, if there is any, is that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels, where much of the development and implementation of policy actually takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of state.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trudeau toes imperial line on Iran

By Yves Engler · January 19, 2020

While the current Liberal government claims to be progressive and in favour of a rules-based international order, promotion of democracy and world peace, its actions regarding Iran demonstrate that the primary drivers of Canadian foreign policy remain US Empire geo-political interests and the rich and powerful.

(This previous article argues this has long been the case.)

While Israeli nationalists and Conservatives demand new measures targeting Iran, the reality is ordinary Canadians will not benefit from war with the 18thmost populous country in the world. The families of Iranian Canadians will certainly not benefit.

Despite election promises to the contrary, Justin Trudeau’s government has continued important components of the previous Conservative government’s ‘low-level war’ against Iran.

Ottawa has no diplomatic relations with Iran, maintains a series of sanctions on the country and lists Tehran as a state sponsor of terrorism. Canadian troops are also stationed on Iran’s border partly to counter its influence and Canada recently gifted $28 million worth of Iranian assets in this country to Americans who lost family members to purported Hamas and Hezbollah attacks decades ago.

The Liberals repeatedly promised to restart diplomatic relations with Iran. Before becoming prime minister Trudeau told the CBC, “I would hope that Canada would be able to reopen its mission [in Tehran].” In May 2016 foreign minister Stéphane Dion said, “Canada’s severing of ties with Iran had no positive consequences for anyone: not for Canadians, not for the people of Iran, not for Israel, and not for global security.” Five months later Trudeau added, “Canada must return to Iran to play a useful role in that region of the world.”

While the Liberals have dialed down the Harper government’s most bombastic rhetoric against Tehran, they have not restarted diplomatic relations or removed that country from Canada’s state sponsor of terrorism list.

The Trudeau government has criticized Iranian human rights abuses while mostly ignoring more flagrant rights violations in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies. In January 2018 foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said, “Canada is deeply troubled by the recent deaths and detentions of protesters in Iran” and four months later tweeted, “our government is committed to holding Iran to account for its violations of human and democratic rights.” Two months ago Global Affairs stated, “Iran must ensure that its people enjoy the rights and freedoms they deserve.”

In June 2018 Liberal parliamentarians supported a Conservative MP’s private member’s motion that “strongly condemns the current regime in Iran for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world, including instigating violent attacks on the Gaza border.” In effect, the resolution claimed Iran was responsible for Israel killing Palestinians peacefully protesting the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem, siege of Gaza and historic theft of their land. The motion also called on Canada to “immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran to restore diplomatic relations” and to make the highly provocative move of listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. A demand B’nai B’rith and the Conservative party have restated in recent days.

Ottawa has continued to present a yearly UN resolution critical of the human rights situation in Iran. In response to Canada targeting it, Iran’s Deputy Representative to the UN, Eshaq Al-e Habib, said in November 2019, “how can a supporter of apartheid in Palestine pose itself as a human rights defender in Iran?”

Similarly, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development participates in the annual “Iran Accountability Week” on Parliament Hill, which showcases individuals such as Foundation for the Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz, who helped kill the Iran nuclear deal and pushed harsh sanctions against any country doing business with Iran. Dubowitz was a senior research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. In 2015 Global Affairs gave the Munk School’s Digital Public Square $9 million to expand an anti-Iranian initiative.

While they ostensibly backed the “p5+1 nuclear deal” with Iran, the Liberals’ promoted a one-sided view of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the US, France, Germany, Russia and China. Canada put up more than $10 million for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and verify Iran’s implementation of its commitments under the JCPOA. Iran has consistently been in compliance with JCPOA’s strict rules regarding its uranium enrichment. Nonetheless, the Donald Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed tough new sanctions on other countries’ companies doing business with Iran.

For their part, the Western European signatories to the agreement have largely failed to stand-up to US pressure by creating the space for their companies to do business with Iran and three days ago the UK, Germany and France delivered a further blow to an agreement on life support. In a January 14 release titled “Canada supports diplomatic efforts established for Iran to return to full implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” Global Affairs expressed “support” for the UK, Germany and France “activating the Dispute Resolution Mechanism” under the JCPOA and “urged Iran to immediately restore its full commitments to the JCPOA.” But, this position amounts to calling on Iran to abide by a deal it receives no benefits from as its economy is crippled by sanctions.

The Liberals also legitimated the illegal US sanctions on Iran when they arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou,at the Vancouver airport 13 months ago.The US claimed Meng’s company defied its illegal sanctions against Iran. But, between when the US judicial system sought her detention and the Trump administration requested Ottawa detain her, Meng traveled to six countries with US extradition treaties. Only Canada arrested her.

At the military level Ottawa also aligned with the US-Saudi-Israeli axis stoking conflict with Iran. An April 2016 Global Affairs memo authorizing Light Armoured Vehicle export permits to the House of Saud noted, “Canada appreciates Saudi Arabia’s role as a regional leader promoting regional stability, as well as countering the threat posed by Iranian regional expansionism.” At the November 2019 Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Al Meinzinger, participated in a panel titled “Watch out Iran!” A year earlier Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance told a parliamentary committee that Iran was “an interested party and, in some cases, a malign agent in Iraq.”

Five hundred Canadian troops are in Iraq partly to counter Iranian influence. Specifically, the Canadian-led NATO Mission Iraq is designed to weaken the influence of the Iranian aligned Popular Mobilization Forces, Shia militias that helped defeat ISIS.

In the fall Canada seized and sold $28 million worth of Iranian properties in Ottawa and Toronto to compensate individuals in the US who had family members killed in a 2002 Hamas bombing in Israel and others who were held hostage by Hezbollah in 1986 and 1991. The Supreme Court of Canada and federal government sanctioned the seizure under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which lifts immunity for countries labeled “state sponsors of terrorism” to allow individuals to claim their non-diplomatic assets.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi called the seizure “illegal” and in “direct contradiction with international law” while a spokesperson for Iran’s Guardian Council, Abbasali Kadkhodaei, accused Canada of “economic terrorism”. A senior member of Iran’s parliament said the country’s military should confiscate Canadian shipments crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

In a right side up world, the Iranian asset sale would lead to various more legitimate seizures. Relatives of the Lebanese-Canadian el-Akhras family Israel wiped out, including four children aged 1 to 8, in 2006 were certainly at least as worthy of Canadian government-backed compensation. Ditto for Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener, a Canadian soldier part of a UN mission, killed by an Israeli fighter jet in Lebanon in 2006. Or Palestinian Canadian Ismail Zayid, who was driven from a West Bank village demolished to make way for the Jewish National Fund’s Canada Park.

There are hundreds of Canadians and countless individuals elsewhere who have been victimized by Israeli, Canadian and US-backed terror more deserving of compensation than the Americans paid with Iranian assets for what Hamas and Hezbollah purportedly did decades ago. Should Israeli, US and Canadian government assets be seized to pay them?

The Trudeau government failed to speak against the asset seizure. It could have undercut this obscenity by delisting Iran as a “state sponsor of terror” or repealing Harper’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. But, it didn’t even keep its promise to restart diplomatic relations with Iran. As such, the Liberals have empowered US-Israeli hawks hurtling towards a major conflict.

While there is much to dislike about the government in Tehran, progressive-minded, peace-loving Canadians should reject Ottawa’s aggressive anti-Iranian policies.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is It an Act of War to Designate Iran’s IRGC as a Terrorist Organization?

The Israel Lobby’s Relationship to Trudeau, Trump and NATO

By Prof. Anthony Hall | American Herald Tribune | January 19, 2020

The Israel Lobby in Canada is demanding that the government of Justin Trudeau follow the lead of Netanyahu and Trump, the notorious duo of anti-Iranian warmongers. Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, has been leading the drive to have Canadian law brought into conformity with US and Israeli prototypes of post-9/11 terrorist designations.

At a press conference on January 13 in Canada’s Parliament, the Canadian branch of the US and Israeli-based ADL, demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) be designated as a terrorist organization. Canada has already designated the Quds division of the IRCG as a terrorist group. Iranian General Qassem Suleimani was the leader of the Quds force until he was assassinated on January 2 of this year.

Mr. Mostryn presented the Canadian government with something of an ultimatum with the following comment. “We are asking for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist group in Canada within the next 30 days. No further delays will be accepted by Canadians on this important public safety issue.”

There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates that Mr. Mostyn does not speak for all Jews in Canada or even for most of them. Certainly, this well paid functionary of the Israel Lobby does not speak for all Canadians when it comes to the issue of Canada’s relations with Iran. After the assassination of General Suleimani, Canadians have added cause to be skeptical about adopting the extravagant language and principles of the Israel Lobby as elevated to pre-eminence following 9/11.

After January 2, Canadian citizens and members of the global community generally are coming to understand better the lethal booby traps attached to pinning the status of “terrorist” on individuals and organizations without any due process whatsoever. The post-9/11 adoption of the principles of pre-emptive warfare promotes the ethos of shoot to kill first, worry later (if at all) about proof, justification and adherence to the older principles of international law. This ethos of kill first, deal with proof later, has essentially eliminated the legal principle that people, whether they be princes or paupers, are innocent until proven guilty.

The Displacement of Well-Founded Principles of International Law with the Pseudo-Laws of the Global War on Terror

The kind of agenda that Mr. Mostyn wants to import into Canada from Israel and the United States undermines the integrity and enforceability of international law. The United Nations and the International Criminal Court at the Hague are basically sidelined as credible organizations. The result is that officials effectively lack the capacity to command accountability from war criminals at the highest level.

The still-misrepresented events of 9/11 ushered in many transformations dramatically for the worse in the global community. These transformations include the negation of much of the juridical inheritance emanating from centuries of evolutionary progress in the community of nations. For the time being this juridical inheritance has been pretty much swept into the garbage bin leaving the world a much more dangerous place. Atrocities like the Israeli treatment of indigenous Palestinians or the extrajudicial Baghdad drone strikes of 2 January 2020 epitomize the subordination of the rule of law to the law of the jungle.

Benjamin Netanyahu has continued the longstanding Israeli practice of trying to push the United States and its supposed allies into invading Iran in order to conduct regime change. That priority was emphasized immediately after 9/11 when the Canadian Zionist neocon, David Frum, wrote the words of a pivotal speech for US President George Bush. Frum had Bush refer to Iran as part of the “axis of evil.” David Frum’ sister, now a Canadian Senator, has continued her brother’s preoccupation. She has long been working with Michael Mostyn and Benjamin Netanyahu “in advocating for the listing of the IRGC in its entirety as a terrorist organization.”

Setting Up NATO Soldiers and Iranian Soldiers to Kill Each Other to Advance Israel’s Expansionary Ambitions

The decades-old Israeli push to pressure the United States and its “allies” into war with Iran was renewed in April of 2019. As reported in The Times of Israel, just days before an Israeli general election, Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Donald Trump for increasing his chances of being re-elected. Netanyahu’s thank you was for Trump’s political decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. In a Hebrew language tweet Netanyahu thanked Trump for “acceding to another one of my important requests.”

As Tamar Pileggi reported in The Times of Israel

Trump said his administration’s “unprecedented” designation “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”…. Since taking office, Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

There is cause to be suspicious about the deadline announced for the Trudeau government’s ratification of the B’nai Brith Canada’s demand. To designate the whole armed forces of a foreign country as a “terrorist organization” is basically to declare war on the host country of that military organization. How is it in Canada’s interests or in the interests of the United States for that matter to give way to Israeli pressure pushing North America into a war with Iran?

The issue of time comes up because of recent announcements from the White House that Trump and Pompeo want to see NATO troops, including those of Canada, take over from US troops in Iraq. Trump needs this concession from NATO countries to meet an election promise. He has to have some symbolic bringing of US soldiers home from the Middle East prior to the US presidential election later this year.

Is it the goal of the Israel Lobby to push Canada and other NATO countries into a war posture with Iran after Trump bragged about assassinating “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world.” At the bidding of Trump, the NATO countries are pushed to enter a Middle East after it has been transformed by the criminal drone strike on the Iranian people’s most popular and beloved war hero?

Indeed, the admiration of General Suleimani, a real foe, not a pretend foe, of the Daesh proxy army is not limited to Iran, to the Muslim world or the Middle East. I can think of no military figure in the Western world that commands anything like the degree of respectful recognition that General Suleimani earned even from some that consider themselves enemies of the polities that the Quds force fought to help.

Is the issuing of the 30-day time limit by B’nai Brith Canada based on insider knowledge? Does the Israel Lobby in Canada know that there will soon be an influx of Canadian soldiers to replace US soldiers in Iraq? After the events of January 2, these US soldiers in Iraq and throughout the Middle East have had targets painted on their back by the war mongering of their Israeli-puppet Commander In Chief in the White House.

Is the rush to get the Canadian government to accept the terrorist designation part of a plan to encourage young NATO soldiers to kill young Iranian soldiers if they encounter one another in Iraq? Are we witnessing a plan to assemble NATO fighting forces in Iraq with the view that they would then be in a more strategic position to invade neighboring Iran?


Anthony James Hall has been Editor In Chief of the American Herald Tribune since its inception. Between 1990 and 2018 Dr. Hall was Professor of Globalization Studies and Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge where he is now Professor Emeritus. The focus of Dr. Hall’s teaching, research, and community service came to highlight the conditions of the colonization of Indigenous peoples in imperial globalization since 1492.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What’s the Point of NATO If You Are Not Prepared to Use It Against Iran?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 16, 2020

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance commits all members to participate in the defense of any single member that is attacked. An attack on one is an attack on all. Forged in the early stages of the cold war, the alliance originally included most of the leading non-communist states in Western Europe, as well as Turkey. It was intended to deter any attacks orchestrated by the Soviet Union and was defensive in nature.

Currently NATO is an anachronism as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but the desire to continue to play soldier on an international stage has granted it a measure of life support. Indeed, the alliance is regularly auditioning for new members. Its latest addition is Montenegro, which has a military consisting of 2,000 men and women, roughly one brigade. If Montenegro should be attacked, the United States is obligated to come to its assistance.

It would all be something like comic opera featuring the Duke of Plaza Toro but for the fact that there are certain things that NATO does that are not really defensive in nature but are rather destabilizing. Having expanded NATO right up to the border with Russia, which the U.S. promised not to do and then reneged, military exercises staged by the alliance currently occur right next to Russian airspace and coastal waters. To support the incursions, the myth that Moscow is expansionistic (while also seeking to destroy what passes for democracy in the West) is constantly cited. According to the current version, Russian President Vladimir Putin is just waiting to resume control over Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic States in an effort to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. This has led to demands from the usual suspects in the U.S. Congress that Georgia and Ukraine be admitted into the alliance, which would really create an existential threat for Russia that it would have to respond to. There have also been some suggestions that Israel might join NATO. A war that no one wants either in the Middle East or in Europe could be the result if the expansion plans bear fruit.

Having nothing to do beyond aggravating the Russians, the alliance has gone along with some of the transnational abominations initially created by virtue of the Global War on Terror initiated by the loosely wrapped American president George W. Bush. The NATO alliance currently has 8,000 service members participating in a training mission in Afghanistan and its key member states have also been parts of the various coalitions that Washington has bribed or coerced into being. NATO was also actively involved in the fiasco that turned Libya into a gangster state. It had previously been the most developed nation in Africa. Currently French and British soldiers are part of the Operation Inherent Resolve (don’t you love the names!) in Syria and NATO itself is part of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

NATO will now be doing its part to help defend the United States against terrorist attack. Last Wednesday the alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke with President Donald Trump on the phone in the wake of the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport. The killing was apparently carried out using missiles fired by a U.S. Reaper drone and was justified by the U.S. by claiming that Soleimani was a terrorist due to his affiliation with the listed terrorist Quds Force. It was also asserted that Soleimani was planning an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and would have killed “hundreds” of Americans. Evidence supporting the claims was so flimsy that even some Republicans balked at approving the chain of events.

Nine Iraqis also died in the attack, including the Iraqi General who headed the Kata’Ib Hezbollah Militia, which had been incorporated into the Iraqi Army to fight against the terrorist group ISIS. During the week preceding the execution of Soleimani, the U.S. had staged an air attack that killed 25 Iraqi members of Kata’Ib, the incident that then sparked the rioting at the American Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Bearing in mind that the alleged thwarted terrorist attacks took place seven thousand miles away from the United States, it is hard to make the case that the U.S. was directly threatened requiring a response from NATO under Article 5. No doubt the Mike Pompeo State Department will claim that its Embassy is sovereign territory and therefor part of the United States. It is a bullshit argument, but it will no doubt be made. The White House has already made a similar sovereignty claim vis-à-vis the two U.S. bases in Iraq that were hit by a barrage of a dozen Iranian missiles a day after the killing of Soleimani. Unlike the case of Soleimani and his party, no one was killed by the Iranian attacks, quite possibly a deliberate mis-targeting to avoid an escalation in the conflict.

In spite of the fact that there was no actual threat and no factual basis for a call to arms, last Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke by phone with President Donald Trump “on developments in the Middle East.” A NATO press release stated that the two men discussed “the situation in the region and NATO’s role.”

According to the press release “The President asked the Secretary General for NATO to become more involved in the Middle East. They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism.” A tweet by White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere later confirmed that Trump had “emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East.” Prior to the phone call, Trump had announced that he would ask NATO “to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

As the Trumpean concept of a peace process is total surrender on the part of the targeted parties, be they Palestinians or Iranians, it will be interesting to see just how the new arrangement works. Sending soldiers into unstable places to do unnecessary things as part of a non-existent strategy will not sit well with many Europeans. It should not sit well with Americans either.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Steps Back From the Edge. Neocons Rage Accordingly

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 15, 2020

Trump’s response to the attack on two US military bases showcase a hopeful about face on a dark age agenda which many thought could lead nowhere but World War III in the immediate days following Soleimani’s murder on January 3.

Immediately after the Iranian counter-attacks occurred on Wednesday morning at the same hour of Soleimani’s assassination, Iran’s Foreign Minister stated: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.” Iran’s retribution was more moderate than many analysts imagined as fore notice was delivered to the Iraqi government 30 minutes before rockets were launched giving American military personnel in the bases ample time to seek shelter.

In Trump’s remarks the following day, the President stated: “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world… ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.”

Although Trump’s speech characterized Iran as a “major supporter of terrorism” and Gen. Soleimani as a “top terrorist”, his assertion that a common interest exists between the USA and Iran in the combat of ISIS is a spectacular break from the neocon agenda. This break is also one of many in a long line of internal struggles emanating from the corridors of American power in the days since Soleimani’s murder. This includes the memo written to the Iraq government by William Seely, commanding general of the Iraq Task Force saying: “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” Seely’s memo created a major crisis amongst the radical war hawks like Mark Esper and Mark Milley who raced to deny the memo’s validity.

Recent revelations published in the Wall Street Journal demonstrating the incredible back channel discussion set up by Trump through the Swiss embassy in Tehran in the hours after Solemenei’s murder also play into this “movement of sanity” within the USA.

The Paradox of America Resolved

This contradictory behaviour is undoubtedly not so confusing for leading figures among Eurasia’s intelligentsia who are not ignorant to the battle occurring within America between nationalists who genuinely wish to end “the forever wars” in the Middle East vs those Pax Americanists embedded throughout the neoconservative and neo-liberal establishments who would rather burn the earth than abandon their dark age ideology. Trump’s many calls for positive relations with Russia and China over the past 3 years terrify these groups, and this potential US-Russia-China alliance has represented a real threat which today’s London-steered impeachment debacle, and years of Russia-gating has always aimed to derail.

With the impeachment bill now sitting in the republican-dominated Senate, the neocons loyal to the Military Industrial Complex which Trump has so loudly criticized have major leverage on the President and are using it. If you are thinking “why would any republican ruin their careers by supporting a democrat-driven impeachment bill against a republican leader?” then you haven’t realized that the drive for war with Iran (as well as Russia and China) is not a matter of “practical politics” for our later day fanatics of the evangelical pre-millennial garb like John Hagee or Benny Hinn who sincerely believe it is man’s duty to usher in Armageddon and fulfill their twisted view of prophecy. Nor is it an issue for their Israeli counterparts who believe essentially in the same prophecy with the small exception that the Savior’s arrival amidst the fires of war will be occurring for the first time rather than the 2nd. If you are reading this thinking “certainly no one could be so nuts”, then let this televised prayer led by Rev. John Hagee and Benny Hinn cause you to think twice:

Bill Kristol, a leading figure behind the neocon cult and co-author of the dystopian Project for a New American Century Manifesto has already poured tens of millions of dollars into billboards, commercials and lobbying teams gunning for Trump’s impeachment. Kristol tweeted on October 17, 2019 that “If Trump is not impeached and removed, the corruption will get even worse, the White House even more lawless, the violations of norms even more routine. The case for impeachment isn’t merely retrospective; it’s prophylactic. And it isn’t merely just; it’s urgent.”

The most recent commercial promoting Trump’s impeachment which Kristol’s think tank Republicans for the Rule of Law released raised the argument that since republicans supported Nixon’s impeachment in 1973, republicans should impeach Trump today.

This argument obviously overlooks the problem that while Nixon actually appeared to have committed crimes, nothing even approximating illegal activity has occurred in Trump’s case.

Things are not as black and white as many believed until recently. Iran’s recent military exercises with Russia and China have demonstrated clearly in the minds of saner Americans that no war with Iran is possible without taking Russia and China on as well. Putin’s brilliant maneuvers in the Middle East have led to the destruction of the Anglo-American plot to grow radical Islam as a geopolitical tool first against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and then against nation states more generally since the Soviet Union’s collapse. For this reason, Putin’s enemies throughout the neocon world and British intelligence have never forgiven him. Although China has not brought much military might to bear in the Middle East, the Belt and Road Initiative has provided a gateway to a durable peace which cannot be overlooked, as BRI projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and beyond have given the Middle East a new chance for a future.

The question still remains whether or not Trump can continue to move away from the WWIII agenda and into this positive alliance.

January 15, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 19 Comments

How Europe betrayed Iran: By triggering JCPOA dispute mechanism, EU helps Trump finish job of killing the Iran nuclear deal

By Scott Ritter | RT | January 15, 2020

Europe could have saved the Iran nuclear agreement. Instead, it abused the rule of law by inappropriately triggering its dispute mechanism, all but ensuring the agreement’s demise.

Disingenuous diplomacy

On January 5, 2020, Tehran announced that it would no longer comply with its obligations under the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s actions are in response to the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the re-imposition of economic sanctions by the US which had been lifted when the deal came into force.

In response to the Iranian actions, the governments of France, Germany, and the UK – all parties to the deal, along with the European Union (EU) – invoked provisions within the JCPOA, known as the Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM), in an effort to bring Iran back into compliance.

The triggering of the DRM by the European countries, however, is a disingenuous move designed to provide diplomatic cover for the EU’s own failures when it comes to JCPOA implementation.

Moreover, given the likely outcome of this process, a convening of the UN Security Council where economic sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran by default, the Europeans have all but assured the demise of the JCPOA, with their so-called diplomacy serving as little more than a facilitator of a larger crisis between Iran and the US that, given the heightened tensions between these two nations in the aftermath of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, precipitously increases the prospects for war.

Big powers always had an easy way out of deal

When the JCPOA was finalized in July 2015, the world was given hope that the crisis over Iran’s nuclear enrichment capability, which had been threatening to boil over into war, had been resolved, and diplomacy had prevailed over armed conflict.

The JCPOA codified a number of restrictions on Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, including the numbers and types of centrifuges that could be used, where enrichment could take place, what level of enrichment could occur, and how large of a stockpile of enriched nuclear material Iran was allowed to maintain, and an intrusive comprehensive inspection regime designed to verify Iran’s compliance.

These restrictions were designed to ease over time through a series of so-called “sunset clauses,” until all that remained was an enhanced inspection process. In short, the JCPOA legitimized Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes while simultaneously recognizing the concerns of some within the international community regarding the potential for Iran to abuse this enrichment capability for military purposes.

The JCPOA was, in effect, a comprehensive confidence building mechanism intended to build trust between Iran and the international community over time, consistent with the agreement’s preamble, which declared “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”

Prior to the implementation of the JCPOA, Iran had been subjected to stringent economic sanctions levied under the authority of the UN Security Council. In exchange for entering into the agreement, these sanctions were lifted.

However, the deal recognized that disputes could emerge regarding the implementation of the agreement, and put in place a dispute resolution mechanism which, if no satisfactory solution was found to an identified problem, would result in these sanctions being automatically re-imposed.

A key aspect of this mechanism was that if any party to the agreement used its veto in the UN Security Council to block a vote related to nonperformance on the part of any party to the agreement, then the economic sanctions would automatically be reinstated.

Washington sabotages JCPOA

For the first two-plus years of the deal’s existence, from July 2015 through to May 2018, Iran was found to be in full compliance with its commitments.

In May 2018, however, the US precipitously withdrew from the agreement, claiming that the eventual expiration of the “sunset clauses” paved the way for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, and as such the JCPOA was little more than a facilitator of Iranian nuclear malign intent.

The US began re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran, all of which included so-called secondary sanctions which applied to any nation that violated the US sanctions. Iran rightfully viewed the re-imposition of sanctions by the US as a violation of the deal.

Furthermore, when EU companies began balking on their willingness to do business with Iran out of fear of US secondary sanctions, Iran rightfully found the EU to be in violation of the JCPOA as well.

Iran gave the remaining parties to the JCPOA six months following the US withdrawal to develop the necessary mechanisms needed to sidestep the impact of the US economic sanctions.

By November 2018, however, no such mechanisms had been implemented, and when the US targeted Iran’s economic lifeblood by sanctioning oil sales, Iran responded by invoking its rights under Article 26 and Article 36 of the JCPOA, which allows Iran to “cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, in whole or in part”, for either the re-imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, or “significant nonperformance” of obligations under the JCPOA, or in this case, both.

Since that time, Iran has been gradually stepping away from the restrictions imposed on it, noting each time that its measures were immediately reversible should the underlying issues be resolved in a manner that complied with the letter and intent of the JCPOA.

Europe’s cowardice

In short, Iran demanded that the EU live up to its obligations to stand up to the US economic sanctions. The EU has consistently failed to do so, resulting in Iran’s gradual backing away from its obligations, leading to the current state of affairs where all of the restrictions imposed by the JCPOA, not including international inspections, which continue unabated, have ceased to be in operation.

When it comes to levying fault for the current state of affairs, there is no “chicken or egg” causality up for debate. Blame lies squarely on both the US for withdrawing from the deal, and the EU for failing to live up to its obligations under the JCPOA regarding economic engagement with Iran.

Iran has long warned the governments of France, Germany, and the UK not to invoke the DRM, noting that the JCPOA does not permit such a move if, as is the case today, Iran is exercising its legal right in response to the illegal and unilateral actions of the US.

There is no realistic expectation that Iran will change its position in this regard. Russia and China have already indicated that Iran is fully within its rights within the JCPOA to back off its obligations regarding restrictions imposed on its nuclear program, citing US and EU non-performance.

By invoking the DRM, the Europeans have, knowingly and wittingly, initiated a process that can only have one outcome, the termination of the JCPOA. In doing so, the EU has breathed life into unfounded US allegations of Iranian nuclear weapons intent, setting up an inevitable clash between the Washington and Tehran that has the real potential of dragging the whole world down with it.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

January 15, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Non-commitment probe into Iran by France, Germany & UK ‘groundless,’ only increases tensions around nuclear deal – Russia

RT | January 14, 2020

The European trio’s accusation that Iran violates the key restrictions of the nuclear deal are unjustified, the Russian Foreign Ministry said urging the countries not to increase tensions that could endanger the pact.

Paris, Berlin and London officially reported Iran’s non-compliance with the 2015 agreement to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism. This step could potentially lead to the UN Security Council being forced to decide on whether or not to bring back sanctions against Tehran.

“We can’t rule out that the ill-considered actions of the European trio will lead to a new escalation around the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and make the return to the implementation of the ‘nuclear deal’ in its initially agreed format unachievable,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Iran rolled back on its uranium enrichment constraints detailed in the international agreement earlier this month after one of its top military commanders, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in an American drone strike in Iraq.

Tehran’s decision to put its commitments on hold was a response to the actions of the US, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reintroduced restrictions against Iran, the ministry reminded. However, the country keeps allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors to its nuclear sites – and “the transparency of the Iranian nuclear program has been one of the key clauses of the nuclear deal.”

Despite vocally rejecting the US campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, France, Germany and the UK are “either not ready or can’t afford to” work on finding effective ways of bypassing the hurdles to the deal created by Washington.

There are also “serious problems” with implementing the side of the deal on the part of the European trio, the ministry said. When all those issues are settled, “Iran would have no reason to retract from the initially agreed framework of the JCPOA.”

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iraqis must resort to resistance if US forces refuse to pull out: Senior Nujaba official

Press TV – January 14, 2020

The deputy secretary general of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Movement says the Iraqi nation must choose the path of resistance in case the parliamentary bill demanding the withdrawal of all US-led foreign military forces from the country is not implemented.

“The Iraqi people must opt for the path of resistance unless the parliament’s decision on the pullout of foreign forces is carried out,” Nasr al-Shammari said in an exclusive interview with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Tuesday.

He added that the decision to expel foreign forces from Iraq does not need a parliamentary mandate, stating that the US-led military coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terrorist group entered Iraq at the request of Baghdad government and can be removed by a letter from the government as well.

“The decision concerning the removal of foreign forces from Iraq is the only decision taken away from sectarian fault lines. A person of sound mind cannot accept the presence of a foreign state that imposes its own authority on a sovereign country. If getting foreign forces out of Iraq is a charge, then we consider it as an honor for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren,” Shammari pointed out.

He then noted that all Iraqi resistance factions are united to end the presence of foreign troops in the country, saying, “The United States must respect the sovereignty of states and decisions of peoples, and adhere to them.”

“Iraq will not accept being ruled by any country. Any failure to implement the parliament decision on the withdrawal of foreign forces will give the green light for the start of resistance operations,” Shammari highlighted.

The Nujaba official went on to say that Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, have become more coherent and solid in the wake of the recent US assassination of the second-in-command of PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

“The death of Muhandis does not mean the end of Hashd al-Sha’abi and its role in the region,” Shammari said.

He added that Iraqi resistance groups are indebted to Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

“The resistance against US forces will soon attain its goal of removing foreign troops from the Iraqi soil. The blood of martyrs will finally bring about the demise of the Zionist entity, and the end of its occupation of Arab lands,” Shammari concluded.

Baghdad moving to internationally prosecute US for crimes in Iraq

Meanwhile, a member of the Iraqi Parliamentary Human Rights Committee said the Baghdad government was preparing to prosecute the United States at international courts of law for its crimes in Iraq, noting that the offenses amount to genocide.

“The United States has been committing the most heinous war crimes since 2003 up until now. The invasion of Iraq, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, the Nisour Square massacre and the emergence of Daesh (Takfiri terrorist group) besides the attack on the leaders of Hashd al-Sha’abi are all crimes classified as genocide,” Ahmed al-Kanani said in a statement on Tuesday.

Kanani added, “All the crimes that America has perpetrated against the Iraqi nation are documented, and that there are bids to prosecute Washington for its crimes against Iraqis before international courts.”

On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

Late on January 9, Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

According to a statement released by the Iraqi premier’s office, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament’s decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The prime minister said Iraq rejects violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the airstrike that assassinated Lt. Gen. Soleimani, Muhandis and their companions.

Abdul-Mahdi asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament’s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,” the statement said.

“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.

The US State Department bluntly rejected the request the following day.

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment