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U.S. News Media Can’t Talk About Adelson Foreign Policy

By Eli Clifton | LobeLog | June 19, 2018

Over the past month, two mainstream news outlets have done in-depth reporting on the grip that Sheldon Adelson, President Donald Trump’s and the GOP’s biggest donor, holds over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. LobeLog has closely followed this important story, so it’s heartening to see The Guardian and CBC highlighting the apparent capture of U.S. foreign-policy decision-making by a billionaire donor.

But there’s a noticeable gap in the coverage of this topic. U.S. news outlets, which routinely “follow the money” when it comes to domestic issues, are almost completely avoiding any reporting on the clear link between Adelson’s campaign contributions and the administration’s pursuit of policies that hew closely to positions espoused by the billionaire casino magnate.

Adelson’s influence over the Trump administration’s foreign policy is hard to overlook. The Las Vegas-based billionaire, and currently the fourteenth wealthiest American, is outspoken about his political views. He has suggested using nuclear weapons against Iran, declared the “purpose of the existence of Palestinians is to destroy Israel,” promoted John Bolton for a senior foreign-policy post, directly lobbied Trump about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Newt Gingrich, himself a recipient of Adelson’s financial support during his failed 2012 presidential big, said that his benefactor’s “central value” is Israel.

Mainstream Media Coverage

Deep in Adam Entous’s excellent New Yorker feature in this week’s issue, he briefly grapples with Adelson’s influence on U.S. Mideast policy. Entous writes:

No Republican candidate can easily afford to ignore him. Adelson considered Obama an enemy of Israel, and, in the 2012 election, he and his wife, Miriam, contributed at least ninety-three million dollars to groups supporting the G.O.P. Officials in the U.S. and Israel said that they learned from American Jewish leaders that Adelson had vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to prevent Obama from securing a peace agreement while in office.

Entous then returns to the thesis of his article—that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are manipulating Trump’s foreign policy team. But the brief acknowledgement that one donor has leveraged legal political spending to control the foreign policy positions of the Republican Party deserves more attention.

Indeed, there’s ample evidence that Trump, who received $35 million in outside election spending from Adelson and his wife, Miriam, listens to what his biggest campaign supporter has to say.

Before winning the GOP’s nomination, Trump quipped that Adelson was seeking to “mold [Marco Rubio] into the perfect little puppet,” but he quickly came around and echoed Adelson’s hawkish positions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after winning the Republican nomination and securing Adelson’s financial backing.

Politico reported that the most threatening line in Trump’s October UN speech—that he would cancel Washington’s participation in the JCPOA if Congress and U.S. allies did not bend to his efforts to renegotiate it—came directly from John Bolton, now Trump’s national security advisor, and with the full weight of Trump’s biggest donor. The hawkish language was not in the original text prepared by Trump’s staff. Politico reported:

The line was added to Trump’s speech after Bolton, despite Kelly’s recent edict [restricting Bolton’s access to Trump], reached the president by phone on Thursday afternoon from Las Vegas, where Bolton was visiting with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Bolton urged Trump to include a line in his remarks noting that he reserved the right to scrap the agreement entirely, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

That was the only mention of Adelson’s influence in the article.

The day after Trump’s violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last month, Adelson visited Trump in the White House. The week before, Adelson cut a $30 million check to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC exclusively dedicated to securing a GOP majority in the House of Representatives. That contribution made Adelson, again, the biggest contributor to the Republican Party in an election cycle.

Politico broke the story of the $30 million contribution but didn’t mention Adelson’s possible foreign policy motivations. In the mainstream news media, only McClatchy’s Peter Stone, reporting on May 14, dedicated an entire article to the obvious influence that the president’s biggest donor appears to hold over U.S. foreign policy. He wrote:

These are heady days for casino billionaire and megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

A passionate and hawkish advocate for Israel with close ties to its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Adelson was in Jerusalem today for a celebration of the U.S. embassy’s relocation to that city, a longstanding priority for the mogul. Similarly, Adelson had pushed hard for President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, which happened last week.

Stone went on to report on Adelson’s White House meeting the day after the JCPOA announcement.

And The New York Times only briefly touched on this issue in a February 23 article on the moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Adelson’s controversial offer to pay for the new facility:

For years, Mr. Adelson, a Las Vegas casino mogul, has pushed the United States government to move its embassy to Jerusalem, the disputed capital that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their own. With an estimated net worth of $40 billion, Mr. Adelson donated heavily to Mr. Trump’s campaign and gave $5 million to the committee organizing the president’s inauguration festivities, the largest such contribution ever.

Progressive Media Coverage

Progressive and left-leaning media have been equally silent about the special interest control over U.S. foreign policy decision-making.

Two days after Trump violated the JCPOA, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes devoted more than eight minutes to the $30 million contribution in which his panelists decried the outsized role of money in politics. Two minutes into the segment, they speculated about how much Adelson’s heirs might benefit from estate-tax reductions in the Republican tax bill, suggesting that Adelson’s contribution might be an investment in influencing tax policy in ways that would personally benefit him and his family.

At the end of the segment, with only two minutes remaining, Hayes said:

There’s also a foreign policy component here. The rich donors might have different foreign policy priorities. Sheldon Adelson has very intense foreign policy priorities as relate to Israel. You can imagine people having intense foreign policy priorities as to Brexit or NATO or Ukraine… You get a US foreign policy where you have to wonder what is guiding it.

None of Hayes’s panelists engaged with that explanation and Hayes did not return to it.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias also speculated about Adelson’s desire to reduce the estate tax and concluded:

Throw in the benefits of the other tax cut provisions and Adelson’s interest in maintaining a business-friendly National Labor Relations Board and the investment is very small and sensible. The same goes for even richer people like the Koch brothers, who are planning to spend even larger sums in the midterms.

There’s no actual evidence that Adelson feels particularly strongly about the estate tax. He hasn’t given public remarks about the estate tax, and he hasn’t contributed large sums of money to think tanks with an anti-estate tax agenda. In other words, Hayes and Yglesias are guessing about Adelson’s motives without acknowledging what Adelson publicly talks about as motivating his political and civic engagement.

ThinkProgress, a site for which I used to work, offers another insight into the progressive media landscape’s refusal to acknowledge Adelson’s capture of Washington’s Mideast policy. Adelson’s name hasn’t appeared in a TP headline for over two years. Housed at the Democratic-Party-aligned Center for American Progress, TP doesn’t shy away from writing about certain other right-wing donors. But it hasn’t put the Republican Party’s biggest donor’s name in a headline since five months before the 2016 presidential election.

By comparison, “Koch” has appeared in 20 ThinkProgress headlines in the same two-year span.

Foreign Media Coverage

It’s not as if mainstream, let alone left-wing, journalists and pundits don’t understand what’s happening. Half of the CBC’s May 20 segment is taken up by Wendy Mesley’s interview with Ken Vogel, a money-in-politics reporter for The New York Times.

Mesley: Why is Adelson so driven on these causes, these mostly Israeli causes?

Vogel: Yeah, he is a cause donor. It’s been really his animating political issue behind his donations for some time. People I’ve talked to trace it to his marriage to his wife Miriam Adelson in the early 1990s. Her parents fled the Holocaust, ended up in Israel where she was raised and so far that reason and others he’s really become a leading donor and a leading figure in this hawkish pro-Israel conservative sort of circle that is so influential in American politics.

Later, Vogel added:

I think what [Adelson] does is act as an enforcer. People are scared, to some extent, to cross him because they fear that if they anger him and fall out of favor with him that his funding, not only funding from him will dry up, funding from this larger circle of Jewish-American donors who give a lot of money in Republican politics.

Vogel’s description of Adelson’s influence was succinct and clearly backed up by Adelson’s own statements, his choice of causes and candidates to support, and the policy positions embraced by candidates who owe their political careers to Adelson’s largesse.

But this explanation was delivered to a Canadian television network instead of The New York Times.

Phil Weiss of the Mondoweiss blog writes that acknowledging Adelson’s motives and influence “smacks of assertions of outsize Jewish influence that were a hallmark of murderous, anti-Semitic campaigns in Europe.” Indeed, Weiss is accurate that discussing Adelson’s influence can often feed anti-Semitic tropes with no basis in facts.

If he’s correct, journalists are actively censoring themselves from discussing how an individual donor, whose views are shared by only a small minority of Jewish Americans, is advocating for foreign policy positions that isolate the U.S. from allies, such as those that supported the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, in favor of a hawkish U.S. agenda in the Middle East.

At the bare minimum, news outlets are expected to report on the facts. In this case, the facts are that U.S. foreign policy is starting to look an awful lot like what Sheldon Adelson has encouraged over the past several years.

Perhaps it’s all a coincidence and Adelson is really engaged in a stealth campaign to reduce the estate tax and pass his $40-billion-plus fortune on to his children.

It makes more sense, however, to take the GOP’s biggest donor at his word. Foreign news outlets have done just that. But the U.S. media appears incapable of wrestling with the new role money is playing in steering Washington’s policy abroad.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

It’s Time for America to Cut Loose Our Useless So-Called ‘Allies’

By James George JATRAS | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.06.2018

US President Donald J. Trump spent the last week or so churning out initiatives that seemed deliberately calculated to set his critics’ hair on fire:

  • He met as an equal with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un – who is a very bad man!
  • He stated again his willingness to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin – an even worse man!
  • He mocked and threatened our trading partners – and slapped tariffs on them!
  • He suggested that an impenitent Russia (a very bad country!) should be let back into the genteel company of the Group of Seven!
  • He topped everything off by suggesting that Russian-speaking Crimea should be part of – Russia!

As summed up by vulgar Republican, Never-Trump apparatchik Rick Wilson:

‘After the last week, Trump is clearly a man who puts the dick in dictator. He’s a fanboy of Putin, Kim, Duterte, and a dog’s breakfast of the worst examples of oppression, thuggery, and anti-Western values the globe has to offer. [ . . . ]

‘[T]his week, Trump’s love of authoritarians, dictatorships and his actions and words came together. Donald Trump first went to the G-7 to wreck the proceedings with a combination of insult-comic schtick, diplomatic demolition derby, Putin cheerleading, and giant-toddler petulance.

‘He followed that with the Singapore Shitshow. It was a monstrous reality TV event, as was intended. But it left our putative allies wondering at the new Axis of Assholes Trump has joined—the CRANK: China, Russia, America and North Korea. By the end, it didn’t feel like he was after denuclearization but management tips from the portly little thug Kim.

‘For the American president to normalize, excuse, and ally himself with the worst of the world’s bad actors while insulting, degrading, and destroying our allies and alliances would be appalling in any circumstance. The fact that Trump acts like a bumbling, eager fraternity pledge, desperate to join Phi Sigma Dictator makes it all the worse.’

For the moment, let’s put aside Trump’s alleged sympathy for authoritarianism and focus on the accusation that Trump is “insulting, degrading, and destroying our allies and alliances,” a view held across the Establishment spectrum, from neoconservatives like Max Boot to far-Left Democratic California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (famed for her concern about Russian aggression in nonexistent Limpopo). How dare Trump threaten such valuable relationships!

Except these so-called ‘allies and alliances’ aren’t valuable to the United States. They’re a positive danger and a detriment.

Let’s get one thing straight: the United States has no real allies. There are countries we dominate and control, more properly termed client states or even satellites. (True, given Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s lock-stock-and-barrel ownership of the American political class, it seems rather that we are their clients, not the other way around…) Conversely, on an almost one-to-one correspondence, countries that are not satellites are our enemies, either currently (Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria) or prospectively (China).

But do we have any actual allies – that is, countries that provide mutual security for the United States, and whose contributions actually make us Americans safer and more secure in our own country?

Try to name one.

Let’s start with the granddaddy of our alliances, NATO. How does having a mutual defense pact with, say, virulently anti-Russian Poland and the Baltic States make America more secure? How does, say, tiny corrupt Montenegro, contribute to US security? Are these countries going to defend America in any conceivable way? Even if they wanted to, how could they possibly?

For that matter, against what ‘threat’ would they defend us? Is Latvia going to help build Trump’s Wall on the Mexican border?

‘Our NATO allies help out in Afghanistan,’ we are told.  NATO-Schmato – it’s Americans who do almost all the fighting and dying. It’s our treasure being wasted there. Maybe without the fig leaf of an alliance mission, we might long since have reevaluated what we still are doing there after 17 years.

But comes the answer, ‘Russia!’ Except that Russia isn’t a threat to the United States. Despite their hype even the most antagonistic Russophobic countries in NATO themselves don’t really believe they’re about to be invaded. And even if they were, that still doesn’t make Russia a threat to us – or wouldn’t except for the very existence of NATO and a forward American presence on Russia’s borders and in the Black and Baltic seas littorals. How does gratuitously risking conflict with the one country on the planet whose strategic arsenal can annihilate us make Americans safer?

As Professor Richard Sakwa has observed, ‘NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.’

Let’s look at other supposedly valuable alliances.

Why do we need South Korea and Japan? ‘China!’ But except for a nuclear stockpile much smaller than our intercontinental deterrent China doesn’t present a military threat to us. ‘Yes, but Beijing poses a danger to South Korea and Japan.’ Maybe, maybe not. But even if that is so why is it our problem?

Why do we need Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and bunch of other Middle Eastern countries? We aren’t dependent on energy from the region as we arguably were when Jimmy Carter proclaimed a vital national interest there four decades ago. ‘Well then, Iran!’ But the Iranians can’t do anything to us. ‘Yes, but they hate Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc.’ Again, what’s that got to do with us?

In each case the argument of a US interest is a tautology. The US ‘needs’ allies for the sole purpose of defense against purported threats not to us but to those very same allies. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone.

It would be bad enough if these faux alliance relationships were only detrimental in terms of getting embroiled in quarrels in which we have no interest, wasting money and manpower in areas of the world where our security is not at stake. But there’s also a direct economic cost right here at home.

Based on the claimed need for “allies” US trade policy since World War II could almost have been designed to undermine the economic interests of American workers and American producers. Starting with Germany and Japan, our defeated enemies, we offered them virtually tariff-free, nonreciprocal access to our huge domestic market to assist with their economies’ recovery from wartime destruction; in return, we would take their sovereignty: control of their foreign and security policies, as well as their military and intelligence establishments, plus permanent bases on their territory.

This arrangement became the standard with other countries in non-communist Europe, as well as some in the Far East, notably South Korea. As much or more than puffed-up claims of military threats (and companies that benefit from inflated military spending) lopsided trade is the glue that keeps the satellites in place. In effect, our “allies” cede geostrategic control of their own countries and are rewarded at the expense of domestic American economic interests. Already of questionable value in its heyday, this pattern not only survived the end of Cold War 1 but continued to grow, contributing to the rise of Cold War 2.

Put into that context, this is where Trump’s tariffs dovetail with his other blasphemies, like expecting the deadbeats to pony up for their own defense. He challenges them to reduce tariffs and barriers to zero on a reciprocal bilateral basis – knowing full well they won’t do so because it would spoil their cozy arrangement at the expense of American workers. He threatens the sanctity of the North Atlantic Treaty’s vaunted Article 5 obligation of mutual defense on whether countries meet a two percent of GDP level of military spending – knowing that few of them will since they don’t in fact face any external military threat and would rather keep the money.

In his own unvarnished, zigzaggy way, Trump is doing what he said he would: putting America and Americans first. As he has said, that does not mean hostility towards other countries, whose leaders have aduty to put their countries and peoples first as well. It means both stopping our allies’ sandbagging us, while restoring to them their unsought-for – and for many of them, undesirable – sovereignty and independence.

In the final analysis, what the likes of Rick Wilson are really afraid of is disruption of a decades-old, crooked racket that has been so lucrative for countless hangers-on and profiteers. As James P. Pinkerton, former aide to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, describes it: ‘[T]he basic geopolitical foundations of the last seven decades are being challenged and shifted – or, as critics would prefer to say, being subverted and betrayed. Yet in the meantime, even as his myriad foes prepare their next political, legal, and punditical attacks, Trump is the man astride the world stage, smiling, shaking hands, signing deals – and unmistakably remaking the old order.’

Let’s get on with it.

June 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Bill on restricting Iran ties to hurt Canada’s interests: Tehran

Press TV – June 14, 2018

Iran has condemned the Canadian House of Commons’ vote in favor of a draft law restricting ties with Tehran, rejecting the claims in the bill, which it says will be to Ottawa’s detriment.

In a hostile move on Tuesday, the Commons approved the bill, introduced by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, which called on the Canadian government to “immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran to restore diplomatic relations.”

The measure also accused Tehran of “sponsorship of terrorism around the world” and designated Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “listed terrorist entity” under the Canadian Criminal Code.

Under Canadian law, a bill is required to through a voting process in the Senate after passing the House of Commons. Once the bill gets the approval of both chambers, it is given Royal Assent and becomes law.

Responding to the move on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was returning from a visit to South Africa, denounced Canada’s “misconceptions and illusions” about the Islamic Republic.

“These polices will be to Canada’s detriment and will not serve international peace and security,” he said, calling on Western countries to adopt independent policies towards Iran.

“Iran has always been on the front line of the fight against terrorism and without our country’s efforts and support, the situation in the region would have been different,” Zarif added.

Additionally, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi expressed dismay at the Canadian legislative body’s pursuit of the anti-Iran motion.

The measure, he said, is still in its initial stages, adding, however, that its “final approval will undoubtedly be a strategic and major mistake entailing destructive consequences.”

The bill shows that Canadian lawmakers lack precise information about Iran’s clear and logical positions on fighting terrorism, Qassemi noted.

He also stressed that the world’s public opinion would never accept “delusional and wrong allegations” against the country.

The spokesman further warned against the repercussions of passing the “injudicious and baseless” measure and expressed hope that the Canadian government would prevent it.

In 2012, the administration of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper severed diplomatic ties with Iran, citing, among other pretexts, what it described as continued threats from Tehran to its ally, Israel.

The House of Commons’ move came while the government of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been voicing willingness to resume ties with Iran almost since it took office in late 2015.

Ottawa had said in late 2016 that it would act “in a speedy fashion” to normalize ties, and diplomats of the two countries have been in talks over the resumption of ties.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Press TV interview with Syria’s President Bashar Assad

PressTV | June 13, 2018

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Pro Israel Neocons Pushed for War in Iraq (Alison Weir)

If Americans Knew | June 11, 2018

Israel partisans in the Bush administration played a central role in pushing the U.S. into the disastrous Iraq war. The video gives specifics and cites the following resources:

“White Man’s Burden,” by Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz, April 3, 2003: http://iakn.us/2ggApnF

“Perles of Wisdom for the Feithful,” by Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz, October 1, 2002: http://iakn.us/2hkzdzo

“The Bush Neocons and Israel,” by Kathleen and Bill Christison, Counterpunch, December 2002: http://iakn.us/2h1ajEi

“Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration,” by Stephen Green, Counterpunch, February 2004: http://iakn.us/2ggBcVi

“The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel​” by Dr. Stephen J Sniegoski: http://iakn.us/2geT2mJ​

“The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War” by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad: http://iakn.us/2hoz4Hn

“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt: http://iakn.us/2gfPFAR

Some additional books with information on this topic:

“Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market​” by Janine R. Wedel: http://iakn.us/2hoBKEW

“Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton”​ by Diane Johnstone: http://iakn.us/2gojmhO

Wedell discusses the “massive and concerted ​’information​’ effort conducted by the Neocon core and their associates, with crucial participation from certain columnists and reporters, that was essential in taking the United States to war in Iraq​.”​

“​….​ beginning in the mid-1970s, they employed methods ranging from the creation of alternative intelligence; to might-be-authorized, might-not-be authorized diplomacy; to setting up pressure groups; to suspending standard government process, always contesting government information, assessments, and expertise. These methods—perfected over the years—would be deployed in full force in the Neocon core’s effort to take the United States to war in 2003.​”

Johnstone states: “… the neocons gained notoriety as architects of the disastrous invasion of Iraq. The main thinker behind this war was Bush’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz​…”

“… two veterans of the defunct PNAC, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, returned in 2009 to found the Foreign Policy Institute (FPI). Robert Kagan is the current leading neocon theorist and the husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, instigator of the Ukrainian coup in early 2014.​​​”

For information on the early roots of the Israel lobby, please see Alison Weir’s book, “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel”: http://iakn.us/AOBJ-book

More information at http://ifamericaknew.org/us_ints/neoc…

For information on the efforts against Iran, please see http://iakn.us/2gUjFif and http://iakn.us/2gUls6T

UPDATE: On December 11, Code Pink said they would post Alison’s testimony on their website. Although we are disappointed that this information was not included in the live-feed testimonies given on Dec. 1-2 in Washington DC, covered by some news media, we’re pleased that it will be on their site.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Oil for Israel: The Truth about the Iraq War, 15 Years Later:
http://iakn.us/2FPFpaF

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

US shows ‘political imprudence’ accusing Russian firm of jet fuel deliveries to Syria – Moscow

RT | June 13, 2018

The United States has again demonstrated its “political imprudence” by accusing the Russian shipping company Sovfracht of aviation fuel deliveries to Syria, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Back in 2016-2017, the US blocked in its banks this company’s money transfers worth $5.5 million and now has made this new infamous step in response to our demands to return these funds,” the ministry said, as cited by TASS.

The aviation fuel whose deliveries were ensured by Sovfracht was “intended for units of Russia’s Aerospace Force,” which are helping to fight terrorist groups in Syria, the ministry added.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Comparing the Korean Peace Process to the JCPOA Betrayal is Neither Apt nor Helpful

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | June 12, 2018

The United States has a long history of betraying “allies” and going back on agreements. A few examples include:

–The decision recognise Philippine independence from Spain only to then replace Spain as the imperial overlord of The Philippines.

–The covert Wall Street funding of the Bolshevik Revolution in the USSR only to then wage a Cold War on the Soviet Union.

–The staunch opposition of the US Congress to going to war with Germany to being an enthusiastic participant in the Second World War.

–The strong US alliance with Saddam’s Iraq followed by two major wars against Saddam’s Iraq.

–The support of the Afghan Mujaheddin and Taliban followed by the Taliban’s overthrow by the US in 2001.

–Fighting Serbian/Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in the early/mid 1990s only to embrace him during the 1995 Dayton Accords and then going to war against him and ousting him in 1999.

–Opposing the the Khmer Rouge in the early 1970s only to covertly support them against Vietnam and the USSR throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

These are just the most strident examples of US betrayal and hypocrisy on a very long list.

Because of this, it goes without saying that the US has set a clear precedent for going back on deals seemingly entered into in a spirit good faith on both sides. Iran just experienced Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) in spite of the UN finding that Iran is fully compliant with the original agreement and in spite of the protestations of Washington’s traditional European allies.

This has led many in Iran to voice a resounding scepticism regarding the Korean peace process insofar as many Iranian commentators do not feel that Kim Jong-un should place an ounce of trust in Donald Trump or any other American leader. While the US may betray the DPRK, using the JCPOA as a specific precedent is ultimately misleading and unhelpful for the following reasons.

The DPRK is geographically fortunate and Iran is geographically cursed

The north east Asian region that is home to the DPRK is among the most stable in the world. South Korea, China, Russia and Japan are nations whose societies and governments are not only wealthy and strong but incredibly stable to the point of being largely predictable. None of these countries are prone to aggressive war and while China and Russia are too powerful for the US to actively destabilise without causing a world war to end all world wars, Japan and South Korea are close US allies.

The fact that the DPRK has not been invaded by the United States since the 1950s is as much because of America’s fear of starting a new war beside the Chinese and Russian nuclear armed superpowers as it is by the DPRK’s own nuclear deterrent which in any case will likely soon be a thing of the past. Likewise, South Korea and Japan have sought to avert such a war as they realise that they would be the penultimate victims of such a conflict, along with North Koreans themselves.

By contrast, the US has invaded and continues to occupy Afghanistan and parts of Iraq with total impunity. Iran’s neighbors to the east and west are therefore filled with US bases, as are the anti-Iranian Arab monarchies a short boat ride across the Persian Gulf. Likewise, with Iraq being the only thing standing between Iran and Syria’s border, it is fair to say that Iran is surrounded by hostile US assets throughout its region.

So while Iran’s region is one that the US has a long history and present stance of treating recklessly, in recent decades, the US has tended to tread more lightly in the DPRK’s region. Because of this, there is less of a danger of the US using the Korean peace process as a delaying tactic before inevitably reverting to a policy of pressure as was the case with the JCPOA from the beginning – however cynical this might sound.

It’s the “Israel” Lobby, Stupid!

While the DPRK has always been a staunch supporter of Palestine and indeed goes much further in terms of rhetorical support for Palestine than most Arab states in 2018, North Korea is ultimately very far removed from the Palestine conflict both in terms of geography and in terms of its ability to influence the situation militarily, financially or diplomatically. As a state whose population is 0% Muslim and 0% Jewish, there is also no strong emotional attachment to the issue in the way that there is in Iran. For the DPRK, the issue is one of many anti-imperialist causes rather than one of opposing confessional imperialism and standing up for the rights of Muslims to worship in some of their holiest sites that are currently under occupation.

By contrast, Iran is not only nearer to Palestine than is the DPRK in terms of geography but Iran has armed allies in Syria and Lebanon, two states which both border occupied Palestine. Because of this, the always powerful and increasingly right-wing “Israel” lobby in the United States leverages its influence against Washington to force the development and implementation of American foreign policy that tends to be a carbon copy of Tel Aviv’s official policies.

Because Donald Trump had close links to many Zionists even before becoming President, it shouldn’t be a surprise that if all US Presidents tend to follow the lead of the “Israel” lobby, that Trump should take things that much further and follow the most extreme elements of the lobby. As Tel Aviv is pursuing stridently anti-Iranian policies under the Netanyahu regime, so too is the United States.

While there is a right-wing staunchly anti-communist Korean lobby in the US, its power is nothing when compared to the “Israel” lobby. Therefore, peace in Korea could be a vote winner because of the clear Cold War style optics of detente, while it could in no way be described as a vote loser the way that anti-Zionist policies could see the “Israel” lobby waging open war against an American political candidate.

The Obama factor

Finally, there is the most petty but nevertheless very real factor of Donald Trump tending to oppose anything and everything championed by Barack Obama and his political allies. While Donald Trump’s peace process with the DPRK has all the trappings of the made for T.V. Presidency that is the Trump administration, Obama’s JCPOA was always a source of contention for Trump. In fact, just about everything from health reform to foreign policy is a source of contention for Trump if the policies in question have anything to do with Barack Obama. Thus, it is not difficult to see why the JCPOA was an extremely easy target for Trump irrespective of any other global developments.

Conclusion

Iran has suffered the perfect storm of living in a neighbourhood that the US treats with less respect even than its Latin American backyard, combined with being on the receiving end of the well oiled and incredibly well funded “Israel” lobby’s wrath. When one then realises that Donald Trump loves most things “Israeli” and hates just about all things Obama, it is frankly surprising that Trump didn’t withdraw from the JCPOA sooner than he did.

By contrast, even if the US rejected the peace process, the US cannot realistically do much more to the DPRK apart from sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions. When one then realises that sanctions clearly cannot go much further than they already have, one realises that a hostile US policy towards the DPRK would amount to little more than a protracted war of words that would not have changed the status quo. Furthermore, China and Russia would simply not tolerate a major war on their border and the South Korean and Japanese people feel exactly the same way, as would the 32,000 American servicemen still stationed in South Korea.

When you combine these harsh realities with the fact that making peace with the DPRK makes Trump look Presidential and strong at home while going against Tel Aviv is something of a political death sentence for any US leader, it is clear that while the JCPOA was doomed from the beginning, the Korean peace process will likely succeed in some form, even if it takes a form less desirable than the optimistic proposals discussed earlier today.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding Jewish Power

Who has helped create a war-addicted America?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 12, 2018

I recently was asked to speak at an online conference entitled Deep Truth: Encountering Deep State Lies. My panel addressed Understanding Zionism: Deconstructing the Power Paradigm and my own topic was How Jewish Power Sustains the Israel Narrative. Working on my presentation, I was forced to confront the evolution of my own views on both the corruption of government in the United States and the ability of powerful domestic lobbies to deliberately distort the perception of national interests to benefit foreign countries even when that activity does terrible damage to the U.S.

My personal journey began half a century ago. I became part of the U.S. national security state after being drafted for the Vietnam War when I graduated from college in 1968. I was at the time, vaguely pro-war, having bought into the media argument that international communism was mounting a major threat in southeast Asia. I also found the anti-war student movement distasteful because I was acquainted with many of its spokesmen and knew that they were chiefly motivated by a desire to avoid the draft, not due to any perception that the war itself was wrong or misguided. I knew a lot about the Punic Wars but precious little about former French Indochina and I suspect that those chanting “Ho-ho-Ho Chi Minh” might have known even less that I did.

Because I spoke some Russian, I wound up in an army intelligence collection unit in West Berlin for three years where I and my fifty or so comrades did absolutely nothing but drink and party. It was my introduction to how government really works when it was not working at all and it did provide me with GI Bill money to go to grad school. After my PhD came a relatively easy transition to CIA given the fact that my degree was so obscure that no one but the government would hire me.

The journey from an army unit that was asleep at the wheel to the CIA, which was in full downsizing crisis mode post-Vietnam, was educational. Whereas the army was too bloated and complacent even to fake it, the Agency was fully capable of creating crises and then acting like the defender of American interests as it worked to resolve the various situations that it had invented. The war against Eurocommunism, which I was engaged in, was hyped and billed as the next great threat against the American way of life after the Vietnam blunder, swallowing up resources pointlessly as neither France, nor Spain nor Italy ever came close to entering the Red orbit.

As I climbed up the CIA ladder I also noticed something else. There was the equivalent of a worldwide conspiracy to promote threats to keep big national security-based government well-funded and in place. When I was in Turkey I began to note considerable intelligence liaison reporting coming from the Israelis and others promoting their own agendas. The material was frequently fictional in nature, but the danger was that it was being mixed in with more credible reporting which gave it traction. U.S. government consumers of the reporting would inevitably absorb the dubious viewpoint being promoted that Arabs and Iranians were fundamentally untrustworthy and were in bed with the Soviets.

There was considerable negative reporting on Saddam Hussein also coming out of Israel and motivated by his support of the Palestinians. Some of this ultimately surfaced in the Pentagon’s Paul Wolfowitz-Doug Feith assessments of “intelligence that had been missed” which eventually became pretexts for the catastrophic Iraq War. I later learned that both Feith and Wolfowitz had a virtually revolving door of Israeli intelligence officials and diplomats running through their Pentagon offices in the lead-up to that war.

It did not take much to connect the dots and realize that Israel, far from being a friend and ally, was the principal catalyst for the many missteps that the United States has made in the Middle East. U.S. policy in the region was being deliberately shaped around Israeli concerns by American Jews ensconced in the Pentagon and White House who certainly knew exactly what they were doing. No one should blame the Israelis for acting in their own self-interest, but every loyal American should blame the Libbys, Feiths and Wolfowitzes for their willingness to place Israeli interests ahead of those of their own country.

After my departure from government in part over my disagreement with the Iraq War, this willingness to place the United States in peril to serve the interests of a foreign country began to bother me, and there is no country that manipulates the U.S. government better or more persistently than Israel. I gradually became involved with those who were pushing back against the Israel Lobby, though it was not generally referred to in those terms before Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer produced their seminal work The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2006.

It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States is deeply involved in a series of seemingly endless wars pitting it against predominantly Muslim nations even though Washington has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary of a coordinated effort mounted by more than 600 Jewish organizations in the U.S. that have at least as part of their programs the promotion and protection of Israel. Ironically, organizations that promote the interests of a foreign government are supposed to be registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA) but not a single pro-Israel organization has ever done so nor even been seriously challenged on the issue, a tribute to their power in dealing with the federal government.

Those who are in the drivers’ seat of the Israel promotion process are what some would describe as the Israel Lobby but which I would prefer to call a subset of the Jewish Lobby, which in itself is supported by something I would designate Jewish Power, an aggregate of Jewish money, control over key aspects of the media and entertainment industries plus easy access to corrupted politicians desirous of positive press and campaign donations. This penetration and control of the public discourse has resulted in the creation of what I would refer to as the official “Israel narrative,” in which Israel, which claims perpetual victimhood, is reflexively referred to as “the only democracy in the Middle East” and “Washington’s closest ally and friend,” assertions that are completely false but which have been aggressively and successfully promoted to shape how Americans view the Israeli-Arab conflict. Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation are invariably described as “terrorists” both in the U.S. and Israel.

Jewish Power is a funny thing. If you read the Jewish media or the Israeli press, to include Forward, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post, you will find frequent references to it, nearly always seen as completely laudable. Bottom feeder Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard recently boasted that “Jews should not apologize for being so rich, controlling the media or influencing public debate…they have earned it… never apologize for using your strength…”

For many Jews like Dershowitz, Jewish power is something to be proud of, but they also believe that it should never be noticed or examined by non-Jews. Gentile criticism of Jewish collective behavior is something that must continue to be forbidden, just as the expression “Israeli Lobby” was largely taboo before Walt and Mearsheimer. Israeli partisans regularly engage in the defamation of individuals, including myself, who do not conform to the taboos as anti-Semites or holocaust deniers, labels deliberately used as weapons to end discussion and silence critics whenever necessary.

So why do I think that we have to start talking about Jewish Power as opposed to the euphemism Israel Lobby? It is because the wars in the Middle East, which have done so much to damage the United States and were at least in part arranged to benefit Israel, have been largely driven by wealthy and powerful Jews. If America goes to war with Iran, as is increasingly likely, it will be all about Israel and it will be arranged by the political and financial services Washington-Wall Street axis, make no mistake.

To my mind, Israel is America’s number one foreign policy problem in that it is able and willing to start potentially catastrophic wars with countries that it has demonized but that do not threaten the U.S. And those doing the manipulating are bipartisan Jewish oligarchs with deep pockets that support the multitude of pro-Israel organizations, think tanks and media outlets that have done so much to corrupt America’s political process. Hollywood producer Haim Saban, a principal Democratic Party supporter, has said that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. Principal GOP funder casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who served in the U.S. Army in World War 2, has said that he regrets that service and would have preferred to be in the Israel Defense Forces. They as well as others, including fund manager Paul Singer and Home Depot’s Bernard Marcus, are Jews laboring on behalf of the self-proclaimed Jewish State while the neoconservatives, fiercely protective of Israel, are also nearly all Jewish. Asserting that the fact that they are Jews acting for a Jewish state should be irrelevant as they are also doing what is good for America, as is commonly done by their apologists, is logically inconsistent and borders on absurdity. As for the frequently cited Bible belt Christian-Zionists who support Israel, they are, to be sure, numerous, but they do not have the access to real power in the United States that Jews have.

Jewish Power is also what has in part driven the United States into a moral cesspit. Israeli snipers shoot dead scores of unarmed Gazan demonstrators and hardly anyone in Washington has anything to say about it. America’s Ambassador to Israel, an Orthodox Jewish lawyer named David Friedman who has multiple ties to Israel’s illegal settlements, uses his position to defend Israel, ignoring U.S. interests. Last week he held a press conference in which he told reporters to “shut their mouths” in their criticism of Israel’s slaughter of Gazans.

When a young Palestinian nurse is deliberately targeted and killed while treating a wounded man, it hardly appears in the U.S. media. Arab teenagers are shot in the back while running away from Israeli gunmen while a young woman is sentenced to prison for slapping an Israel soldier who had just shot her cousin and was invading her home. Heavily armed Israeli settlers run amok on the West Bank, beating and killing Arabs and destroying their livelihoods. That is what Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are all about and that is precisely the kind of a nation that America should not want to become, but unfortunately the role of Washington as Israel’s obedient poodle has our once great country moving in the wrong direction. This has all been brought about by Jewish Power and it is time to wake up to that fact and address it squarely.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

President Assad interview with Mail on Sunday (10 June 2018)

Following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, as of the 31st of March 2018, the total sum of funding that the British government supplied to the White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defense, is GBP 38.4 million. At the same time, Russia accuses Britain of helping stage the attack that took place in Douma via this organization, the White Helmets. Do you, as Syria’s President, believe that’s true?

President Assad: Definitely, without a doubt. Britain, France, and the US are following and adopting the same policy. That said, to be completely frank and stark, Britain and France are political satellites to the US. The UK publicly supported the White Helmets that are a branch of Al Qaeda, al-Nusra, in different areas of Syria. They (Britain) spent a lot of money, and we consider the White Helmets to be a PR stunt by the UK. So yes, definitely, it was staged by these three countries together, and the UK is involved.

Question 2: British Prime Minister Theresa May said she had no doubt the Syrian regime was behind the April 7 chemical attacks and told her critics that Britain’s participation had been right and legal and permitted under international law to alleviate humanitarian suffering. Do states not have a responsibility to protect against war crimes? How is the UK participation in strikes against Syria not justified under international law?

President Assad: So, according to her statements, when Britain and the US attacked Iraq illegally in 2003, killed millions, caused mass destruction, let alone the number of widows and amputees – according to May’s logic, any government has the right to attack the UK or the US if it thought the act was justified, legal and allowed under international law to alleviate human suffering. This is first.

Second, they told a lie; they didn’t provide their own public opinion – the British public – any evidence. After we liberated al-Ghouta, where the alleged attack happened, many foreign journalists, some of them against the Syrian government, asked local people about the chemical attack, and they said “we didn’t see any chemical attack, it didn’t happen.” It was a lie, especially after we liberated that area, our information confirmed that that attack did not take place. The British government should first prove with evidence that the attack happened, and then they should prove who is responsible – of course this did not happen.

There was no attack; this is where the lie begins. Again, it wasn’t about the attack; the crux of the issue is that they need to undermine the Syrian government, as they needed to change and topple the Syrian government at the beginning of the events of the war in Syria. They keep failing, they keep telling lies, and they continue to play a war of attrition against our government.

Question 3: Unconfirmed reports have circulated that the Syrian government captured Western regular forces, as well as British fighters. Can you confirm this or shed light on these reports?

President Assad: There are fighters from all over the world helping the Jihadists. I wouldn’t say we have British fighters who are alive. Most of those fighters, they are dead, they came here to die and to go to paradise, that’s their ideology.

Journalist: But you confirm that they’re dead, and they were from these countries?

President Assad: Yes.

Question 4: Have there been any attempts, even through mediators or third parties, by the British government or its intelligence branches to establish communications with Syria for intelligence for whatever reason?

President Assad: No. We did have communications from different intelligence agencies in Europe, but it was stopped recently because they’re not serious. They want to exchange information despite their governments being politically against ours, so we said when you have a political umbrella for this kind of cooperation, or let’s say when you change your political position, we’re ready. Now, there’s no cooperation with any European intelligence agencies including the British.

Question 5: But there’s been no attempts by Britain to try and open lines of communication, as far as you know, even through mediators?

President Assad: Even if there is a kind of an attempt, we don’t discuss it; it’s trivial, whether there is or not.

Question 6: What are your views on May and Trump’s handling of issues in the Middle East, and in Syria specifically, and what’s the difference between their interventions in the region and those of Putin?

President Assad: Big difference: The Russians were invited by the Syrian government, their existence in Syria is a legitimate existence, the same for the Iranians. While for the United States, the UK, it is illegal, it is an invasion, they are breaching the sovereignty of Syria – a sovereign country. So, their existence is not legal at all, it is an illegitimate existence.

Journalist: But in your view, how have they handled Syria, both May and Trump?

President Assad: It’s not about May and Trump; it’s about the Western politicians in general, the Western regimes in general. They don’t accept anyone who has a different point of view, any country, any government, any personality. That’s the case with Syria; Syria is very independent in its political positions, we work for our national interests, we’re not a puppet state. They don’t accept this reality. So, the whole approach toward Syria in the West is “we have to change this government, we have to demonize this president, because they don’t suit our policies anymore.” This is the situation, everything else is like flavors; they tell lies, they talk about chemical weapons, they talk about the bad president killing the good people, freedom, peaceful demonstration; all these lies are flavors for the main goal, which is regime change.

So, my answer to your question about how I see it is: this is colonial policy, that’s how we see it, and this is not new. They have never changed this policy since the old way of colonialism that existed in the beginning of the 20th century and the 19th century and before, but today it’s covered by, let’s say, a new mask, or different masks.

Question 7: Your main global adversaries today are Trump, Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a lineup of unusual, unpopular characters. Are you suddenly looking good by comparison?

President Assad: I cannot compare myself to anyone, because I wouldn’t be objective judging myself, so you better ask this question to others. But when you want to have an objective answer, you have to look for the real facts, not the propaganda that’s been circulating in the Western media now for seven years. So, at the end, for me I don’t care how I look in comparison to those; for me it’s important how I look in the eyes of the Syrian people, that’s my focus.

Question 8: In 2013, you told me “Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially, and ideologically,” and warned that playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions across the Middle East and Europe.

President Assad: Yes, we’re at the fault line, the last five years have proven that I was right, because look at the repercussions all over the world, look at the terrorism spreading all over the world because of the chaos that is supported by the West in Syria. Look at the different attacks in Europe, in UK, in France, other countries. Look at the refugee crisis in Europe. That’s because of the fault line that I talked about five years ago.

Question 9: Five years on since you told me this, or since you said that, during which ISIS was born, you seem to see yourself as the main bulwark against it, why is that?

President Assad: For ISIS, we are the main party who’s been fighting ISIS with support by the Russians and Iranians during the past years. No other party is doing the same, even partially. If you want to talk about the West and the Western military alliance led by the Americans, actually it has been supporting ISIS, because they’ve been attacking the Syrian Army whenever we attack or we’ve been attacked by ISIS; the last incident happened only days ago, when ISIS attacked the Syrian Army and of course we defeated them, and in response the Americans attacked our troops in the eastern part of Syria.

Question 10: Was the world wrong in isolating you for the last seven years?

President Assad: The concept of isolating a country in general is wrong. In the world, in the modern politics, even in the olden days’ politics, you need communications. When you isolate a country, you isolate yourself from the reality in that country, so you’re becoming politically blind. So, the concept is wrong.

Question 11: Mr. President, some regard you as an international pariah, a dictator, with blood on your hands, give me an argument for why you are not, when in the past seven years, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, arrested, imprisoned, and even tortured?

President Assad: So, the story that you’re talking about, or let’s say the Western narrative, that this is a bad president; he’s killing his own people, and the whole world is against him because he’s an international pariah, but he’s been in his position for seven years while he’s fighting everyone in this world. Can you convince your readers about this story? It doesn’t even hold together, I mean the different factors of this narrative, it’s not logical, it’s not realistic. So, this president is in his position because he has the support of his own people, so how could he have this support while he’s killing these same people? So, the story is not correct. We are fighting the terrorists, and those terrorists are supported by the British government, the French government, the Americans and their puppets whether in Europe or in our region. We are fighting them, and we have public support in Syria to fight those terrorists. That’s why we are advancing. We cannot make these advances just because we have Russian and Iranian support; they cannot substitute the popular support, and the proof of what I’m talking about: Shah of Iran, the Western puppet, he couldn’t withstand the backlash of the Iranian people, and he collapsed, the whole system collapsed in a few weeks, and he had to flee his country.

Question 12: But despite having support of many Syrians, the fact remains that there are thousands, tens of thousands of people that were killed, and have been imprisoned.

President Assad: Of course, you’re talking about a war; there is no good war, there is no peaceful war. That’s why war is bad. So, when you talk about war, the natural and the self-evident result is death and blood everywhere, but the question is: who started this war, and who supported this war? The West. The West supported the war from the very beginning, and it supported the terrorists who started exploding everywhere and killing everywhere and everyone and beheading. The West supported Al Qaeda. So, it’s not enough to say there is killing. Of course, there is killing; that’s self-evident, but who started? The West is responsible first of all.

Question 13: The West is responsible, but some also say that Mr. Assad or President Assad should bear responsibility as well.

President Assad: Any Syrian could bear responsibility because of what’s happening in Syria. That’s another issue, this is a Syrian issue, we don’t discuss it with the West. It’s not the role of the West to tell us who’s responsible in Syria, the president or the government or the army or the terrorists, this is a Syrian issue; we decide who. The West is in no position to tell us, at the end, it’s not its role, but it interfered in a sovereign country and is responsible of the killing in our country, regardless of its narrative and its lies.

Question 14: Russia appears to be making a lot of decisions about Syria, whether about foreign troops withdrawing to deals being struck with Israel over southern Syria, to which weapons you may or may not have. Does Russia now make your decisions?

President Assad: Russia is fighting for the international law, and part of this international law is the sovereignty of different countries, of the sovereign countries, Syria is one of them. Their politics, their behaviors, their values are not about interfere or dictate; they don’t. We’ve had good relations with Russia for more than six decades now, nearly seven decades. They never, during our relation, try to dictate, even if there are differences; because there is a war and because there’s high dynamism now in the region, it’s natural to have differences between the different parties, whether within our government or other governments; Russia-Syria, Syria-Iran, Iran-Russia, and within these governments, that’s very natural, but at the end the only decision about what’s going on in Syria and what’s going to happen, it’s a Syrian decision. No one should have any doubt about this, regardless of the statements that you may hear, because I know on which base the question is.

Journalist: Based on various statements.

President Assad: Exactly.

Question 15: So, why has Russia not given you the S300 they promised for years, at a time when Israel is striking Syria practically every week, and why is Russia coordinating these strikes’ targets behind the scenes with your enemies?

President Assad: Russia never coordinated with anyone against Syria, either politically or militarily, and that’s contradiction; how could they help the Syrian Army advancing and at the same time work with our enemies in order to destroy our army?

Journalist: But they usually know in advance where the attacks are going to happen…

President Assad: No, no, that’s not true, that’s not true, definitely. We know the details. Regarding the S300, why they announced it and then they stopped talking about it, you better ask the Russian officials. It’s a political statement, they have their own tactics. But whether they send it or they’re going to send it or not, this is a military issue; we don’t talk about it.

Question 16: Senior Pentagon officials have warned they will militarily retaliate should you mess with their alliance. Are you ever going to get rid of the US military presence in Syria, are you prepared to fight them directly?

President Assad: Since the beginning of the war, the Americans and their allies haven’t stopped threatening Syria, they haven’t stopped supporting the terrorists, and they haven’t stopped attacking us directly on numerous occasions. But in spite of this we have been advancing against the terrorists, and we have said that we’re going to liberate every inch of Syria regardless of any statement or any attack. This is our land and this is our duty; it’s not a political opinion, it’s a national duty. We’re going to advance in that direction regardless of the military or political position of our adversaries.

Question 17: You’ve said that you will take back every inch of Syrian territory, how long you anticipate this will take you?

President Assad: This is not only about the Syrian Army and the terrorists, or about the events within the border of our country, otherwise I would have given you, let’s say, maybe a precise timeframe. But I have always said that in less than a year we can solve this conflict, it’s not very complicated. What has made it complicated is the external interference. The more we advance, the more support the terrorists have from the West. Look, for example, we were about to achieve reconciliation in the southern part of Syria only two weeks ago, but the West interfered and asked the terrorists not to follow this path in order to prolong the Syrian conflict. So, we think the more advances we make politically and militarily, the more the West, especially US, UK, and France, will try to prolong it and make the solution farther from the Syrians. But in spite of this, we are closing the gap between the two.

Question 18: Mr. President, in three years’ time, you will come to the end of your presidency term now, and it’s been a long seven years and the next two years, do you think you will be running again as president, or you will call it a day and decide that it’s time for you to take a break?

President Assad: It’s still early to talk about it; you’re talking about three years from now. Three years on, no one knows how the situation is going to be in our country. If I’m going to run for the presidency, there are two factors: First of all, will – personal will to take responsibility, and second – which is the most important, the will of the Syrian people. Do they accept that person? Is the mood about me as president still the same, or will the Syrian people change their position? So, in three years, we will have to look at these two factors and then decide whether it’s appropriate or not.

Question 19: How do you think history will remember you?

President Assad: It depends on which history: The Western history? It’s going to be skewed; it’s going to tell lies and lies and lies; the same lies that we have heard not only about our present but also about the past. Our history on the other hand, which I care about, I hope it will remember me as somebody who fought the terrorists to save his country, and that was my duty as president.

Question 20: With the World Cup around the corner, do you have a favorite team?

President Assad: In these circumstances, yes, my favorite team is the Syrian Army, to fight the terrorists.

Journalist: Any favorite British teams, football teams?

President Assad: No, I don’t follow.

Question 21: It’s been seven years of war, what do you do to let off steam, any hobbies?

President Assad: Sports is not a hobby, it becomes a part of your health, and a part of your daily routine, because good health is important to staying active. So, we cannot look at it as entertainment; there’s no time or mood for entertainment. You’re living with the war, the killing, with terrorism. So, this is the only hobby that has become a habit, a daily habit depending on the time and circumstances.

Question 22: Your wife is British, and you’ve lived in London for many years, is there anything in particular that you miss from your days there?

President Assad: I lived in London, I learned as a doctor. It’s impossible for you to live in a city and you don’t feel there is a special link with that city or with the people that you work with on a daily basis. So, you miss maybe this relation, but you live sometimes in contradiction; that the same city that you like is the same country that’s been attacking your country, which is not good.

Journalist: Thank you very much Mr. President.

President Assad: Thank you.

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Video, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

Is Putin Really Ready to “Ditch” Iran?

The Saker • Unz Review • June 7, 2018

The topic of Russian actions in Syria still continues to fascinate and provoke numerous polemics. This makes sense – the issue is exceedingly important on many levels, including pragmatic and moral ones, and today I want to stick strictly to the pragmatic level and set aside, just for a while, moral/ethical/spiritual considerations. Furthermore, I will also pretend, for argument’s sake, that the Kremlin is acting in unison, that there are no Atlantic Integrationists in the Russian government, no 5th column in the Kremlin and that there is no Zionist lobby exerting a great deal of influence in Russia. I will deal with these issues in the future as there is no doubt in my mind that time and events will prove how unfounded and politically-motivated these denials are in reality. But for the purpose of this analysis, we can pretend that all is well in the Kremlin and assume that Russia is fully sovereign and freely protecting her national interests.

So what do we know about what is going on in Syria?

I submit that it is obvious that Russia and Israel have made some kind of deal. That there is an understanding of some kind is admitted by both sides, but there is also clearly more happening here which is not spelled out in full. The Israelis, as always, are bragging about their total victory and posting articles like this one: “In Syria, Putin and Netanyahu Were on the Same Side All Along” with the subheading reading “Putin is ready to ditch Iran to keep Israel happy and save Assad’s victory.” Really?

The chaotic world of contradictory declarations and statements

Let’s look at that thesis from a purely logical point of view. First, what were the Israeli goals initially? As I have explained elsewhere, initially the Israelis had the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces, and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Break up Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and force the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all centers of Shia power in the Middle-East.

Now let’s stop right here and ask a very simple question: if Putin and Netanyahu were on the same side all along, what should Putin have done to aid the Israelis? I submit that the obvious and indisputable answer is: absolutely nothing. By the time the Russians initiated their (very limited but also very effective) intervention in Syria those plans were well under way towards full realization!

The undeniable truth is that Putin foiled the initial Israel plan for Syria.

In fact, Hezbollah and Iran had already intervened in Syria and were desperately “plugging holes” in a collapsing Syrian front. So, if anything, Putin has to be the one to be credited for forcing the Israelis to give up on their “plan A” and go to plan “B” which I described here and which can be summarized as follows:

Step one, use your propaganda machine and infiltrated agents to re-start the myth about an Iranian military nuclear program. (…) If Trump says that the JCPOA is a terrible deal, then this is so. Hey, we are living in the “post-Skripal” and “post-Douma” era – if some Anglo (or Jewish) leaders say “highly likely” then it behooves everybody to show instant “solidarity” lest they are accused of “anti-Semitism” or “fringe conspiracy theories” (you know the drill). So step one is the re-ignition ex nihilo of the Iranian military nuclear program canard. Step two is to declare that Israel is “existentially threatened” and (…) and let the dumb Americans fight the Iranians.

As I have explained it in great detail here, Russia does not have any moral obligation to protect anybody anywhere, not in the Middle-East and most definitely not Syria and/or Iran. I have also explained in great detail here why Putin also has a lot of pragmatic internal reasons for not getting Russia involved in a major war in the Middle-East.

Finally, as I have explained here, the Israelis are clearly baiting Iran by striking Iranian (or, more accurately, Iranian-linked or Iranian-supported) targets in Syria. They hope that Iran’s patience will come to an end and that the Iranians will retaliate with enough firepower to justify not only an attack on (relatively low value) Iranian-linked targets in Syria but on Iran proper, thus leading to a guaranteed Iranian retaliation on Israel and The Big Prize: a massive US attack on Iran.

Now let’s look at Russian actions once again. If Putin was “on the same side with Netanyahu all along”, he would be helping the Israelis do what they are doing, that is baiting the Iranians, right? But what did Putin really do?

It all began with a statement by Foreign Minister Lavrov who declared that all foreign forces must leave Syria. It is my understanding that no direct quote exists from Lavrov’s initial statement, only interpreted paraphrases. Lavrov also made some clarifying comments later, like this one. But let’s not get bogged down in trying to decide which was an off-the-cuff comment and which one was “official”, let us begin by noticing this: even before Lavrov’s comment on “all foreign forces” the same Lavrov also said that “all US forces must leave Syria after the defeat of the terrorist forces.“ May I also remind everybody here that Israel has been illegally occupying the Syrian Golan for years and that the IDF exactly fits into the definition of “foreign force in Syria”? It gets better, according to the Syrians and, frankly according to common sense and international law, the Syrians say that all foreign forces must leave Syria except those legally requested to stay by the Syrian government. So when the Russians say that all foreign forces including Iranians (assuming Lavrov really said that) must leave Syria they have absolutely no legal or other authority to impose that, short of a UNSC Resolution endorsing that demand. Considering that the Israelis and the USA don’t give a damn about international law or the UNSC, we might even see a day when such a resolution is passed, enforced on the Iranians only, and ignored by the Israelis. The trick here is that in reality there are rather few Iranian “forces” in Syria. There are many more “advisors” (which would not be considered a “force”) and many more pro-Iranian forces which are not really “Iranian” at all. There is also Hezbollah, but Hezbollah is not going nowhere, and they are Lebanese, not Iranian anyway. No doubt the Israelis would claim that Hezbollah is an “Iranian force” but that is basically nonsense. And just to add to the confusion, the Russians are now being cute and saying: “of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street.“ I suggest that we can stop listing all the possible paraphrases and interpretations and agree that the Russians have created a holy (or unholy) mess with their statements. In fact, I would even submit that, what appears to be a holy (or unholy) mess, is a very deliberate and crafty ambiguity.

According to numerous Russian sources, all this rhetoric is about the southern part of Syria and the line of contact (it ain’t a border legally speaking) between Syria and Israel. The deals seem to be this: the pro-Iranian forces and Hezbollah get out of the south, and in exchange, the Israelis let the Syrians, backed by Russian airpower and “advisors” regain control of southern Syria but without any attempts to push the Israelis out of the Golan which they illegally occupy. Needless to say, the Syrians are also insisting that as part of the deal, US forces in southern Syria must pack and leave. But, frankly, unless the US plans to have tiny (and useless) US enclaves inside Syrian controlled territory I don’t see the point of them staying. Not only that, but the Jordanians seem to be part of this deal too. And here is the best part: there is some pretty good evidence that Hezbollah and Iran also are part of the deal. And, guess what? So are the Turks.

This sure looks like some kind of major regional deal has been hammered out by the Russians. And if that is really the case, then that would also explain the tense denials in Israel and Iran, followed by more confirmations (also here) And, just to make things even more confused, we now have Stoltenberg (of all people!) saying that NATO would not assist Israel in case of an Iranian attack which, considering that the NATO Secretary General has no power, that NATO is about 80%+ made up of the USA and that the US now has a permanent “tripwire” force inside Israel and could claim to be under attack, is utter nonsense, but still amusing to note as “adding to the chaos”.

And then there is the apparent Syrian plan to kick out the US from northern Syria which, predictably, Uncle Sam doesn’t like too much. So the two sides are talking again.

If all this looks to you like evidence for the thesis that “Putin and Netanyahu were on the same side all along”, then I wonder what it would take to convince you otherwise because to me this looks like one of three things:

  1. some kind of major regional deal has been made or
  2. some kind of major regional deal is in the process of being hammered out or
  3. some kind of major regional deal has been made but nobody trusts anybody else and everybody wants to make that deal better for itself

and, of course, everybody wants to save face by either denying it all or declaring victory, especially the AngloZionists.

So let’s ask the key question: is there any evidence at all that Putin and/or Assad is/are “ditching Iran”?

Away from the realm of declarations and statements and back to the world

Let’s begin with a simple question: What does Iran want above all else?

I submit that the overwhelming number one priority of Iran is to avoid a massive US attack on Iran.

Conversely, triggering such an attack on Iran is the number one objective of the Israelis. They are rather open about that too. The latest idea is to create a “military coalition against Iran” while trying to please NATO by joining anti-Russian exercises in Europe.

Not because of a non-existing Iranian nuclear program threatening Israel, but because Iran offers a most successful, and therefore dangerously competing, alternative civilizational model to both the AngloZionist Empire and the Saudi-Wahabi version of Islam. Furthermore, unlike (alas!) Russia, Iran dares to openly commit the “crime of crimes”, that is, to publicly denounce Israel as a genocidal, racist state whose policies are an affront to all of civilized mankind. Finally, Iran (again unlike Russia, alas!) is a truly sovereign state which has successfully dealt with its 5th columnists and which is not in the iron claws of IMF/WB/WTO/etc types (I wrote about that last week so I won’t repeat it here).

I also submit that Iran also has as a top priority to support all the oppressed people of the Middle-East. Resisting oppression and injustice is a Quranic imperative and I believe that in its Iranian interpretation this also extends to non-Shia Sunnis and even Christians and Jews, but since I know that this will trigger all sorts of angry accusations of being naive (or even a Shia propagandist) I will concede that helping the oppressed Shia in the region is probably more important to the Iranian leaders than helping all the other oppressed. In secular terms, this means that Iran will try to protect and assist the Shia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and I see absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, considering the amazing mercy shown by Hezbollah to the SLA in southern Lebanon in 2000, and the fact that currently, the Syrian security forces are acting with utmost restraint in the parts of Syria which have accepted the Russian deal (this even has some Russian analysts outright worried) I think that Iranian-backed forces liberating Syria from Daesh are the best thing which anybody could hope for.

Furthermore, the truth is that for all its other faults, the Ba’athist regime in Syria was tolerant of minorities and that Hezbollah has always been protective of absolutely all the Lebanese people regardless of confession or ethnicity (others might disagree with me, but having studied Hezbollah and Iran for several decades now I come to the conclusion that they, unlike most other political actors, are actually truthful when they state their intentions).

So who is the biggest threat to the Shia and, I would argue, to all the people of the Middle-East? The Takfiris of Daesh of course.

And what do all the variants of the possible “big regional deal” have in common? The elimination of Daesh & Co. from Syria.

So how is that against the Iranian interests?!

It isn’t, of course.

The truth is that I see absolutely no evidence at all for “Putin and Netanyahu working together all along”. What I do see is that some kind of deal is being worked out between numerous parties in which everybody is probably trying hard to cheat everybody else, Realpolitik at its worst and most cynical – yes. But hardly a betrayal of Iran by Russia.

What everybody seems to be doing is what blacksmith Vakula did in Gogol’s Christmas Story “The Night Before Christmas“: to trick the devil. In Russia, the devil is known as “лукавый” which does not just mean “evil” but also sly/wily/deceitful/wickedly clever. To try to trick the devil is a very, very dangerous and difficult task and I also find it morally very questionable. But in keeping up with our modern value-neutral “realistic” Zeitgeist, we can also debunk the “Putin betrays Iran” on purely cynical and “pragmatic” reasons with no need to appeal to any higher values at all.

For those who have not seen it yet, I highly recommend this (English subtitled) video of Ruslan Ostashko discussing what Israel can, or cannot, offer Russia and Putin:

Ostashko is absolutely right. The truth is that Israel, unlike Iran, has very little to offer Putin or Russia. This does not mean that Israel does not have influence over the Kremlin, it most definitely does, but that influence is all “stick”, no “carrot” (which is one of the conceptual flaws in the position of those who deny the existence of a Zionist 5th column in Russia – they are denying the existence of the “stick” while producing no “carrot” thus making Russian policies appear both contradictory and inexplicable: hence a need for all sorts of mental contortions to try to explain them).

But Israel’s “stick”, while undeniably big, is dwarfed by Iran’s “carrot”: not only immense resources and billions of Dollars/Rubles/Rials/Euros to be made in energy and weapons and also many sectors of the economy. There is also the fact that Iran is truly the number one regional power in the entire Middle-East: maybe not big enough to impose its will on all others, but definitely big enough to bring down any major plan or policy it does not approve of. Furthermore, now that the international sanctions against Iran have been officially lifted (the USA’s reneging on its signature notwithstanding), Iran can join and become an influential member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (along with, possibly, other Middle-Eastern countries). All this makes the Iranian “carrot” very attractive to Russia. There is also a conceptual Iranian “stick”: if Israel gets its way and Iran is massively and viciously attacked by the AngloZionist Empire, and either chaos or a severe crisis result, what would be the impact on Russia and her allies? And, while I don’t think for a second that this is possible, let’s say the Empire overthrows the Islamic Republic and puts a pro-AngloZionist regime in power in Tehran – what would that do to Russian national security? It would be an absolute nightmare, wouldn’t it?

Look at the relationship between Russia and Turkey before the coup attempt against Erdogan. Surely that relationship was much worse than the relationship currently enjoyed between the Islamic Republic and Russia, right? And yet, when the US attempted to topple Erdogan, what did Russia do? Russia gave Erdogan her fullest support and even, according to some rumors, physical protection during a few key hours. If Russia sided with Erdogan against the Empire, why would Russia not side with the Islamic Republic, even if we consider only arguments of Russian self-interest?

For an excellent Iranian analysis of the Russia-Iran alliance, check out this article by Aram Mirzaei.

Conclusion

The simple truth is that regardless of declarations and political statements, China, Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are all dependent on each other and cannot afford to truly betray anybody lest the Empire take them out one by one. To use Franklin’s expression – they all must hang (i.e. stand) together or most assuredly they will all “hang separately”? That does not mean that they all love each other, or always share the same goals? They might also play against each other to some degree, and even try to get some sweet deal “on the side” with the AngloZionists (remember, Assad used to torture for the CIA!), but the facts on the ground and the correlation of forces in the Middle-East will limit the scope of such “mini-betrayals”, at least for the foreseeable future.

True, there is the Saudi factor to take into account. Unlike the Israelis, the Saudis are offering a lot of “carrot”. But the Saudis are way too arrogant, they are already messing with Russian interests not only in Syria, but also in Qatar, and their brand of Islam is truly a mortal danger for Russia. Right now the Atlantic Integrationists and Eurasian Sovereignists have achieved somewhat of an equilibrium in the Kremlin. One is trying to split the EU from the USA and make lots of money, while the other is left in charge of national security issues, especially towards the South, but this equilibrium is inherently unstable and would be immediately threatened by any meaningful AngloZionist attack. So yes, there is a Zionist Lobby in Russia and yes, it does act as a 5th column, but not, most emphatically no, it is not strong enough to completely disregard the financial interests of the Russian business elites or, even less so, fundamental Russian national security interests. That is the biggest difference between the USA and Russia: Russia, while only partially sovereign, is far from being an Israeli protectorate or colony. And as long as Russia retains her even partial sovereignty she will not “ditch” Iran, regardless of Israeli whining and threats.

My personal evaluation is that Putin is playing a very complex and potentially dangerous game. He is trying to trick not one, but many “devils,” all at the same time. Furthermore, if the US Americans have been недоговороспособны (“not agreement capable”) already since Obama, Trump and his Neocon masters have made that even worse. As for the Israelis, they would make Satan himself look honest and are ideologically incapable of honesty (or even decency). Frankly, I don’t trust Erdogan one bit and I don’t think that the Russians will ever trust him either. Call me naive, but I think that Assad has been changed by this war and even if he did, indeed, collaborate with the CIA in the past, I think that he will be a pretty good ally for Russia in the future. As for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah, I see them both as men of honor who will uphold any alliance they formally enter into (informal understandings and temporary mutual interests are a different deal). I also see them as brilliant and wise geostrategists: they fully realize that Iran and Hezbollah need Russia to survive. So Putin’s policy, while dangerous, is not doomed to failure at all: he is trying to save Syria from the AngloZionsts while avoiding a regional war. Time is on his side as Trump’s erratic (and that is putting it mildly) policies (or, really, lack thereof) are inflicting tremendous damage on the Empire on a daily basis (see Dmitri Orlov’s excellent analysis here).

I honestly don’t know if Putin’s dangerous strategy will work or not. I don’t think anybody else does either (except ignorant cheerleaders, of course). But I do know that even if the sight of Bibi Netanyahu in Moscow with a Saint George ribbon was nauseating to my conscience, this absolutely does not indicate that Netanyahu and Putin are working together or that Russia is “ditching Iran”. As always, the Israelis feel almighty and brazenly display their arrogance. Let them. Just remember the inevitable outcome from that kind of Zionist hubris in the past and wait for the inevitable “oy vey!“.

Finally, there is the single most important fact: the AngloZionist Empire and Russia remain at war, and have been so for at least four years or more. That war is still about 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic, but it is a very real war nonetheless, and it is escalating. As long as Russia will retain even partial sovereignty and as long as she will offer an alternative civilizational model, even an imperfect one, she will remain an existential threat to the Empire and the Empire will remain an existential threat for the entire Russian civilizational realm. While hugely important to Israel, the entire Iranian issue is just a sideshow to the transnational leaders of the Empire who see Russia and China as the real main competitors, especially when joined in a symbiotic relationship as they are today. Hence the crises in the Ukraine and on the Korean Peninsula, hence the constant warnings of a possible full-scale nuclear war (see Eric Zuesse latest article here or Paul Craig Roberts numerous article on his website; also check out Dan Glazebrook’s excellent analysis of Trump’s attempt to repeat the “Rambouillet ruse” in Korea here). Even if Putin succeeds in moving the EU closer to Russia and away from a (clearly insane) USA, and even if he succeeds in preventing the AngloZionists from directly attacking Iran, this will only further convince the AngloZionist leaders of the Empire that he, Putin, and Russia, are the ultimate evil which must be eliminated. Those who hope for some kind of modus vivendi between the Empire and Russia are kidding themselves, because the very nature of the Empire makes this impossible. Besides, as Orlov correctly pointed out – the Empire’s hegemony is collapsing, fast. The Empire’s propaganda machine denies and obfuscates this, and those who believe it don’t see it – but the leaders of the Empire all understand this, hence the escalation on all fronts which we have seen since the Neocons re-took power in the White House. If the Neocons continue on their current course, and I don’t see any indication whatsoever that they are reconsidering it, then the question is only when/where this will lead to a full-scale war first. Your guess is as good as mine.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forever AUMF Stalls at Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“War is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.”

By Renee Parsons | OffGuardian | June 7, 2018

As the Forever AUMF 2018 (SJRes 59) (Authority for the Use of Military Force) continues to await action by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one can only imagine the extent of the behind-the-scene efforts underway to sway those few wavering Senators who may be reluctant to go down in American history as voting to eliminate Congress’ sole, inviolate Constitutional authority ‘to declare war’. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11.

The law would remove Congress from its statutory authority as it transfers “uninterrupted” authority on “the use of all necessary and appropriate force” to one individual, allowing the President of the United States to pursue the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and other ‘associated forces” including a proverbial too little-too late report to Congress 48 hours after the use of military force in a “new foreign country,” presumably in the Middle East (other than Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen or Libya).

In addition to pressure within the Committee itself, it can be expected that those who will benefit most from a Forever State of War are currently pounding the Senate’s marble halls, perhaps even stalking members of the Committee as lobbyists from the MIC, AIPAC and other enthusiasts for war, will do whatever it takes to bring adoption of the AUMF to a favorable committee vote.

Since more than half the Committee, fourteen of its twenty one members received a grand total of $3,397,755 from pro-Israel PAC’s as identified by the Center for Responsive Politics, whenever and if ever the final vote comes, it will be positively titillating to compare the vote and the money.

In an interesting reversal of common legislative procedure, the House of Representatives has, as yet, no pending AUMF comparable to the Foreign Relations Committee version while the Senate Committee appears eager to act; perhaps at the behest of one of those aforementioned aficionados of war. If we assume that the Senate Committee adopts the AUMF with the next logical step being a vote by the full Senate, will the Senate create an awkward legislative conundrum without a comparable Forever AUMF 2018 being on a legislative track in the House?

One factor in pushing for speedy AUMF approval might be that there is some new military escapade about to unfold with the need for an unwieldy Constitutionally mandated Congressional debate and vote too onerous, requiring too much effort and consuming a colossal amount of time whereas the Section 8 clause might better inform the American public whether their tax dollars are being efficiently used to improve their lives or might even threaten a halt to the steady drumbeat of war.

Perhaps the delay may be attributed to ongoing negotiations of the finer points in an attempt to create a more perfect air-tight vehicle. Whether there is a sunshine date or some i’s are not dotted or t’s not crossed makes little real difference in the final outcome since the ultimate goal is to allow war to go forward without meaningful Congressional participation while failing to provide the pesky public with information about why their sons and daughters are losing their limbs or lives in some far-away country that is no threat to our national security.

It is difficult to recognize a more ill-considered, reactionary vote of enormous global consequences as adoption of a Forever AUMF which will surely hasten the Final Chapter of the American Empire.

As if the Constitutional violations are not sufficient reason for opposition and while Congress has been less than attentive to its Section 8 duties, a functioning AUMF will not only deny a full and thorough public Congressional debate and roll call vote on the merits of military action but will prevent creation of a historic Congressional record, a journal of which began in 1789 as necessary to providing a formal documentation of all official parliamentary proceedings essential to any operative democracy.

In mid April when the AUMF 2018 draft was introduced, retiring Committee Chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) was optimistic that the AUMF would be approved within a few weeks indicating that a potential Senate floor vote depends on the strength of AUMF support within the Committee. Corker suggested that a wide margin in favor would facilitate Senate floor passage which makes it curious that approval appears to have stalled and brings us back to question why the haste for rapid adoption of a new AUMF.

During the May 24th Committee hearing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) who was HRC’s running mate in 2016, serves on the Senate Armed Service Committee and is a driving force in favor of the AUMF, referred to adoption as little more than a ‘necessary update’ repealing AUMF 2001 and AUMF 2003.

Kaine, who apparently sees no contradiction with an active-service son in the Marines and adoption of the Forever AUMF, stated that there is ‘near unity” on the Committee regarding a bi-partisan effort, military engagement against ISIS and the desire to do a ‘good job,’ none of which should be confused with real-time support for adoption of the AUMF.

While Kaine and other members of the Committee may be untroubled by the discomfort of a contradictory, cognitive dissonance belief system as necessary qualities in order to function as a Senator, the US has become the most violent country on the planet as its legislative representatives exhibit the lack of any functioning global consciousness.

Renee Parsons served on the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Iran Prepares to Start Uranium Enrichment

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 07.06.2018

Iran has launched preparations to boost its uranium enriching capacity. The decision is the result of the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JPCOA). Tehran has begun work on infrastructure to build advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility. It also plans to secure nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed of its plans to increase the enrichment within the limits of the 2015 deal with world powers.

This is a signal that Iran will not comply with the JPCOA if it collapses. Tehran wants European banks to take the risk and safeguard trade. Oil sales must be guaranteed and the losses resulting from US sanctions must be compensated by Brussels. The demand for new negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional policy must be abandoned as these issues are not related to the JPCOA.

The EU is trying to preserve the agreement but it’s hard to see how private companies could be convinced to deal with Tehran running the risk of American punitive measures. Peugeot, Total, and Italy’s Danieli have already halted or are preparing to halt their ties with Iran.

Actually, the chances that Europeans would be able to protect their companies dealing with Iran from the effects of US sanctions are slim at best. If so, Iran has no reason to comply with the deal anymore. Why should it? It was not Iran who tore it up. If it’s not working, then why should Tehran observe its part of it? True, formally the agreement is still effective. Iran said the enrichment will be within the agreed limits but the US and Israel are likely to say it is not. Washington and Jerusalem will raise hue and cry over the announced enrichment to describe it as a breach of the JPCOA, whether the limits stipulated in the deal are exceeded or not. They will cite “intelligence sources” or invent something to justify their claims, no matter what the UN watchdog says.

The trouble is that the US decision to pull out from the deal was not an element of a well-defined policy, there was no plan B. The hope to have the JCPOA renegotiated was a pipe dream from the start. An agreement is an agreement. Iran complied with it. Other controversial issues, such as ballistic missiles, could have been subjects for separate talks. If not, it’s still preferable to have the JPCOA in effect to make sure there will be no nuclear warheads installed on delivery means. But Washington chose the language of ultimatums to spoil it all.

In April, President Trump warned Iran of “big problems” if it resumes the nuclear program. Iranian Bavar-373 air defense systems have already been deployed to protect the related infrastructure. In late May, Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said Israel is the first country in the world to carry out an operational mission with the F-35 stealth fighter, which flew over Beirut undetected. In March, two Israeli F-35s were reported to fly over Iranian air space unnoticed. This was a clear warning to Iran that the resumption of nuclear program would be responded to with force.

In 2012, Israel was ready to strike but was held back by the US. With President’s Trump’s tough stance on Iran, it may be different this time. On the contrary, the US may find the idea to use force against Iran too tempting before the June 12 summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore.

Actually, a war between Israel and Iran is already waged as Israeli aviation regularly strikes what it says Iran’s forces in Syria. The recent success of pro-Iranian Hezbollah in Lebanon brings an armed conflict even closer. The unsettled maritime dispute over the natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean makes it almost inevitable as the profits to be received by the Lebanese government will inevitably enrich Hezbollah. The Hamas attacks in Gaza are also viewed by Israel as a conflict ignited by Iran. It strikes the eye that Israel has changed its tone demanding complete withdrawal of Iran from Syria not just keeping away from the Golan Heights.

There are unconfirmed reports that the US military is building an outpost in the Sinjar mountains of Ninawa province to secure the Syria-Iraq border and prevent Iran from establishing a land corridor linking Iran’s western border to the Mediterranean. If the reports are true, the US is evidently preparing for a military operation. It will not have NATO by its side. America and Israel are on their own. They may be supported directly or indirectly by some Sunni Arab nations.

For instance, Saudi Arabia’s threat to use force against Qatar is another sigh of preparing a multinational war against Iran. The deal to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense systems is used as a pretext though it’s hard to see how these defensive weapon systems could pose a threat to the kingdom. Riyadh is in talks with Moscow on purchasing the systems, why can’t Doha do the same? The real reason is probably the refusal of Qatar to break ties with Iran.

There are very disturbing signs that a war waged by Israel, the US, and probably its Persian Gulf allies is close at hand. The tensions could be eased if diplomacy were given a chance but the US unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA appears to turn such scenario into a very remote possibility.

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment