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“Yellow Vests” Protesters Gather in Brussels

Sputnik – 08.12.2018

According to a Sputnik correspondent, Brussels police had blocked the passage to certain busy streets in order to prevent groups of protesters from entering. Special units of the Brussels police are traveling across the city in trucks, while police are also patting down all suspicious individuals coming from the city’s train stations.

Brussels police on Saturday faced off against about 100 “Yellow Vests” protesters on Rue de la Loi, denying them access to the European Quarter, where the demonstrators intended to hold an unauthorised rally.

“Around 100 people have already been detained,” Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van De Keere said.

Law enforcement officers had already detained about 70 people earlier on suspicion that they intended to join protesters in various areas of the capital, Ilse Van De Keere told reporters.

On Saturday, Belgian police prepared a thousand special forces officers to combat riots in Brussels. As Ilse Van de Keere emphasised, police had “tried to contact the organisers of the protest rallies scheduled for Saturday to warn about unauthorised gatherings of people, but could not do this because they did not find anyone responsible for organising the protest”.

Many trains this Saturday did not stop at Brussels Central Station; Parc metro station is closed in the centre of the city near government offices. The rest of the city’s subway system is still functioning normally.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , | 3 Comments

The Nuclear Lies of NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg. Brand New “Precision Guidance” Nukes Deployed All Over Europe

By Manlio Dinucci | Global Research | November 30, 2018

“Russian missiles are a danger” – the alarm was sounded by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in an interview with Maurizio Caprara published in the Corriere della Sera*, three days before the “incident” in the Sea of Azov which added fuel to the already incandescent tension with Russia. “There are no new missiles in Europe. But there are Russian missiles, yes”, began Stoltenberg, ignoring two facts.

First: as from March 2020, the United States will begin to deploy in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Holland (where B-61 nuclear bombs are already based), and probably also in other European countries, the first nuclear bomb with precision guidance in their arsenal, the B61-12. Its function is primarily anti-Russian. This new bomb is designed with penetrating capacity, enabling it to explode underground in order to destroy the central command bunkers with its first strike. How would the United States react if Russia deployed nuclear bombs in Mexico, right next to their territory? Since Italy and the other countries, violating the non-proliferation Treaty, are allowing the USA to use its bases, as well as its pilots and planes, for the deployment of nuclear weapons, Europe will be exposed to a greater risk as the first line of the growing confrontation with Russia.

Second: a new US missile system was installed in Romania in 2016, and another similar system is currently being built in Poland. The same missile system is installed on four warships which, based by the US Navy in the Spanish port of Rota, sail the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea close to Russian territory. The land-based installations, like the ships, are equipped with Lockheed Martin Mk41 vertical launchers, which – as specified by the manufacturer himself – are able to launch “missiles for all missions: either SM-3’s as defence against ballistic missiles, or long-range Tomahawks to attack land-based objective”. The latter can also be loaded with a nuclear warhead. Since it is unable to check which missiles are actually loaded into the launchers parked at the frontier with Russia, Moscow supposes that there are also nuclear attack missiles, in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which forbids the installation of intermediate- and short-range missiles on land bases.

On the contrary, Stoltenberg accuses Russia of violating the INF Treaty, and sends out a warning:

“We can not allow the Treaties to be violated without punishment”.

In 2014, the Obama administration accused Russia, without providing the slightest proof, of having tested a Cruise missile (SSC-8) from a category forbidden by the Treaty, announcing that “the United States are considering the deployment of land-based missiles in Europe”, in other words, the abandon of the INF Treaty. This plan, supported by the European allies of NATO, was confirmed by the Trump administration: in the fiscal year of 2018, Congress authorised the financing of a programme of research and development for a Cruise missile to be launched from a mobile platform.

Nuclear missiles of the Euromissile type, deployed by the USA in Europe during the 1980’s and eliminated by the INF Treaty, are capable of hitting Russia, while similar nuclear missiles deployed in Russia can hit Europe but not the USA. Stoltenberg himself, referring to the SSC-8’s that Russia had deployed on its own territory, declared that they are capable of reaching most of Europe, but not the United States. This is how the United States defends Europe.

And in this grotesque affirmation by Stoltenberg, who attributes to Russia “the highly perilous idea of limited nuclear conflict”, he warns:

“All atomic weapons are dangerous, but those which can lower the threshold for use are especially so”.

This is exactly the warning sounded by US military and scientific experts about the B61-12’s which are on the verge of being deployed in Europe:

“Low-powered, more accurate nuclear weapons increase the temptation of using them, even to using them first instead of as a retaliation”.

Why is the Corriere della Sera not going to interview them?

Source: PandoraTV

This article was originally published in Italian on Il Manifesto.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Note

*The Corriere della Sera is a historical Italian daily newspaper, founded in Milan in 1876. Published by RCS MediaGroup, it is the most important Italian daily in terms of distribution and the number of readers.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany approves extradition of Iran diplomat over bomb ‘plot’ – court

RT | October 1, 2018

Germany has approved the extradition of an Iranian diplomat over a suspected bomb plot, according to a statement by a local court. The 46-year-old man, arrested on German soil in July, will be handed over to Belgium.

The diplomat, identified as Vienna-based Assadollah Assadi, is suspected of plotting an attack on an Iranian opposition group near Paris, according to AP. He was detained in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant.

Now, a superior regional court in a Bavarian town of Bamberg said in a statement that it had approved the extradition of Assadi to Belgium. The man “cannot cite diplomatic immunity” to oppose the extradition because he was detained outside of his host state, Austria.

Also, Assadi was not traveling “between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the court has said.

Back in July, Assadi had allegedly contracted an Antwerp-based couple and gave them a device containing 500 grams of TATP, a homemade explosive produced from easily available components.

The couple in question, identified by the media as a 38-year-old man, Amir S., and a 33-year-old woman, Nasimeh N., were stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding the explosives in their car. The pair were then charged with attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act.

Soon after the news on Assadi broke, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced the allegations as a foiled terrorist plot, calling them “a sinister false-flag ploy.” He said the timing of Assadi’s arrest was particularly notable.

“How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested,” Zarif tweeted. He stated that Tehran “unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere.”

October 1, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Illegal US Nuclear Weapons Handouts

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | September 27, 2018

The US military practice of placing nuclear weapons in five other countries (no other nuclear power does this) is a legal and political embarrassment for US diplomacy. That’s why all the governments involved refuse to “confirm or deny” the practice of “nuclear sharing” or the locations of the B61 free-fall gravity bombs in question.

Expert analysts and observers agree that the United States currently deploys 150-to-180 of these nuclear weapons at bases in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey and Belgium. The authors of the January 2018 report “Building a Safe, Secure, and Credible NATO Nuclear Posture” take for granted the open secret that nuclear sharing is ongoing even though all six countries are signatory parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

In a paper for the journal Science for Democratic Action, German weapons expert Otfried Nassauer, director of Berlin’s Information Center for Transatlantic Security, concluded, “NATO’s program of ‘nuclear sharing’ with five European countries probably violates Articles I and II of the Treaty.”

Article I prohibits nuclear weapon states that are parties to the NPT from sharing their weapons. It says: “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly….” Article II, the corollary commitment, states says: “Each non-nuclear weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly … or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices….”

What nuclear sharing means in practice

The five NATO countries currently hosting US H-bombs on their air bases are officially “non-nuclear weapons states.” But as Nassauer reports, “Under NATO nuclear sharing in times of war, the US would hand control of these nuclear weapons over to the non-nuclear weapon states’ pilots for use with aircraft from non-nuclear weapon states. Once the bomb is loaded aboard, once the correct Permissive Action Link code has been entered by the US soldiers guarding the weapons, and once the aircraft begins its mission, control over the respective weapon(s) has been transferred. That is the operational, technical part of what is called ‘nuclear sharing.’”

This flaunting of the NPT is what peace activists on both sides of the Atlantic refer to when calling the US bombs in Europe “illegal.” Nassauer notes, “The pilots for these aircraft are provided with training specific to use nuclear weapons. The air force units to which these pilots and aircraft belong have the capability to play a part in NATO nuclear planning, including assigning a target, selecting the yield of the warhead for the target, and planning a specific mission for the use of the bombs.”

“NATO nuclear sharing,” Nassauer writes, “was described in 1964 by one member of the US National Security Council … as meaning that ‘the non-nuclear NATO-partners in effect become nuclear powers in time of war.’ The concern is that, at the moment the aircraft loaded with the bomb is on the runway ready to start, the control of the weapon is turned over from the US, a nuclear weapon state, to non-nuclear weapon states. … To my understanding, this is in violation of the spirit if not the text of Articles I and II of the NPT.”

How Do the US and its Allies Explain their Lawlessness?

An undated, 1960s-era letter from then-US Secretary of State Rusk explained the US ‘interpretation’ of the NPT. The pretext for ignoring the treaty’s plain language, the Rusk letter “argues that the NPT does not specify what is allowed, but only what is forbidden. In this view, everything that is not forbidden by the NPT is allowed,” Nassaure explained.

In its most absurd section, Rusk simply denies the treaty’s obvious purpose and intent. “Since the treaty doesn’t explicitly talk about the deployment of nuclear warheads in countries that are non-nuclear weapon states,” Nassaure writes, “such deployments are considered legal under the NPT.”

It is so easy to show that the United States and its nuclear sharing partners are in violation of the NPT, the governments involved work hard pretending there is nothing to worry about, no lawbreaking underway, no reason to demand answers. This is why so many activists across Europe have become nonviolently disobedient at the air bases involved.

The transparent unlawfulness of NATO’s nuclear war planning is also the reason why prosecutors in Germany don’t dare bring serious charges against civil resisters; even those who have cut fences and occupied hot weapons bunkers in broad daylight. Some Air Force witness might testify at trial that US nuclear weapons are on base.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Claims against Iran diplomat, false flag ploy: Zarif

Press TV -July 2, 2018

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the claims about an Iranian diplomat arrested over allegations of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the notorious anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), in France constitute a “sinister false flag ploy.”

Belgian authorities said on Monday that the Iranian diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on the meeting in Paris attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.

Taking to his official Twitter account on Monday, Zarif said, “How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested.”

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that the Islamic Republic “unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere, and is ready to work with all concerned to uncover what is a sinister false flag ploy.”

A joint statement by the Belgian prosecutor and the intelligence services claimed that the two suspects in Belgium were intercepted by Belgian police on Saturday, with 500 grams of TATP, a home-made explosive produced from easily available chemicals, as well as a detonation device found in their car.

It added that the diplomat at the Iranian embassy in the Austrian capital, Vienna, was arrested in Germany. The statement gave no further details about the diplomat other than saying the diplomat was suspected of having been in contact with the Belgian pair arrested.

Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier on Monday at the invitation of his Swiss counterpart, Alain Berset. Switzerland is the first leg of Rouhani’s European tour, which will also take him to Austria.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 1 Comment

US should have withdrawn its estimated 200 nukes from Europe long ago – Moscow

RT | December 18, 2017

The US should withdraw the nuclear weapons it has deployed in Europe rather than upgrading them, a senior Russian diplomat has said. Moscow is concerned that the upgrades are making the bombs more suitable for actual combat.

The US stores an estimated 200 of its B61 nuclear bombs in countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing program. Russia has long considered the continued presence of American nuclear weapons in other nations as a hostile gesture after the Cold War.

“Russia has long withdrawn its nuclear weapons to its national territory. We believe that the American side should have done the same a long time ago,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the non-proliferation and arms control department in the Russian Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti.

“They are actually planning to upgrade them to be, according to some retired American military officials, ‘more suitable for combat use’ thanks to better precision and somewhat reduced power,” the diplomat said, adding that Moscow suspects that the US may have plans to deploy additional nuclear bombs to Europe under the guise of an upgrade.

In August, the US National Nuclear Security Administration announced a second successful test of the B61 – the 12th version of the bomb with no nuclear warhead. The first test was conducted in March. The Mod12 version is meant to replace a number of older designs by refurbishing them, with the process expected to start in 2019.

Moscow criticized the US not only for keeping nuclear weapons in non-nuclear nations, but also for training its NATO allies in their deployment. Such actions, Russia believes, violate the spirit of America’s non-proliferation commitments.

The Trump administration plans to spend over $1 trillion upgrading America’s nuclear arsenal, claiming it is necessary to keep up with Russia.

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 European leaders call for new arms deal with Russia

RT | November 26, 2016

Fifteen European countries, headed by Germany, have issued a statement pushing for the reopening of “a new structured dialogue” with Russia aimed at preventing a possible arms race in Europe, according to the German foreign minister.

The countries, all belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), have expressed their deep concern over the current situation in Europe and support the relaunch of a conventional arms treaty with Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Die Welt newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

“Europe’s security is in danger. As difficult as ties to Russia may currently be, we need more dialogue, not less,” Steinmeier said.

The ongoing conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and the fact that Crimea joined Russia in 2014, a move most often dubbed as “annexation” by western officials, have put the question of war in Europe back on the table, Steinmeier continued. Fragile trust between Russia and European countries has suffered a significant setback and a “new armament spiral” is hanging over the continent, the foreign minister warned.

The statement contains strong anti-Russian rhetoric, blaming Moscow for violating arms deals as far back as 1990.

“The Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which led to the destruction of tens of thousands of heavy weapon systems in Europe in the years following 1990, is no longer being implemented by the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

Russia put its participation in the treaty on hold in 2007 and then fully walked out of it last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the suspension of the treaty following a US decision to locate missile defense facilitates in the neighbouring Czech Republic and Poland. On top of that, President Putin noted that some of the NATO members did not join or ratify the treaty and there was no point in Russia abiding by the agreement.

Later Putin signed a decree suspending the treaty due to “extraordinary circumstances … which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures,” having notified NATO and its members of the decision.

Since then NATO has taken no steps to upgrade the treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in September, 2016, adding that Moscow is ready for dialogue on the subject. However, it is not planning to be the one to initiate it.

The statement names a number of other documents that need to be overviewed, including the OSCE’s Vienna document, stipulating the exchange of information on military movements, and the Open Skies treaty, enabling the monitoring of other countries’ ground forces. The documents are either neglected or in need of modernization.

The countries that spoke in favor of Steinmeier’s initiative include France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Portugal.

The group of the European foreign ministers is planning to meet again on the sidelines of a OSCE meeting in Hamburg on December, 8-9.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radar data proves Belgian F-16s attacked village near Aleppo, killing 6 – Russia

RT | October 20, 2016

Russia insists two Belgium warplanes flying from an Air Force base in Jordan attacked a village in Syria, citing radar data. Belgium denies conducting any airstrikes.

Brussels’ continued denial of the jets movements in the area is Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput “deliberately deceiving people in Belgium and elsewhere in the world, or his subordinates and the Americans are lying to the leadership of Belgium,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said.

An airstrike on the village of Hassadjek in Aleppo province reportedly killed six civilians on Tuesday. Russia has now reiterated its accusations against Belgium, saying data from Russian and Syrian radar stations confirm it.

The two Belgian F-16 jets accused of the attack flew from the Muwaffaq Salti Airbase in Jordan, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that they were immediately identified.

“Every aircraft type has a unique identifiable signature,” he said.

The Belgian warplanes delivered their strike at the village at 12:35 GMT, about two hours after the take-off, the general said. The attack left six civilians killed and four others injured. The jets were later refueled by a US KC-135 tanker, continued patrolling around the city of Azaz in northwestern Syria and then flew towards Iraq, Konashenkov added.

Belgium earlier denied Russia’s accusations, saying none of its six warplanes contributing to the US-led coalition had flown over the region. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Brussels to voice its protest.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Syria’s Heroic Fight Against Western Imperialism

By Andre Vltchek – New Eastern Outlook – 01.10.2016

It is hard to imagine a more resilient, more heroic nation than Syria!

With only 17 million inhabitants (according to the 2014 estimate), Syria is now facing the mightiest coalition on Earth – a coalition that consists of virtually all traditional Western colonialist and neo-colonialist nations.

It is also facing some of the cruelest and deadliest inventions of the West – the extremist and murderous post- and pseudo-Islamic groupings, similar to those that were already unleashed against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan.

Because of the tremendous determination of its people, Syria is still standing! But it is standing against all odds. Its Golan Heights are illegally occupied by Israel, its borders constantly violated by the Turkish military, and by the West’s ‘special forces’ and air force.

Syria’s “political opposition” was created, then groomed and financed by the United States and Europe, in the style of “Color Revolutions”, as has happened in all other socialist countries that the West has been trying to destabilize and return under its deadly rule. Millions of Syrian people have been, during the last six deadly years, terrorized, slaughtered and intimidated by jihadi cadres, implanted by the West and its regional allies: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel and others.

It is a terrible and uneven fight! Some of the greatest historical cities on Earth, like Aleppo and Palmira, now lie in ruins and ashes. What the European Christian crusaders failed to fully destroy, is now collapsing under the imperialist onslaught. Like everywhere else on Earth, everything that dares to struggle against Western colonialism is being consistently devastated and burned. Almost everyone who resists is mercilessly slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian people have already lost their lives. And with each new day, the awful count is rising.

But Syria is standing!

5 million Syrian people have already been forced to leave their country. Now they are being scattered all over the Middle East: throughout Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey. Some have even gone as far as Europe, Canada and Chile.

How much more can one country endure?

And how can the rest of the world just stand by and watch as it is put through hell?

The answer is obvious: the rest of the world does not know; it does not understand! The propaganda coming out of the Western mass media outlets and indoctrination-spreading institutions is so thorough, so professional, that to most people all over the world everything related to Syria appears to be blurry, murky, and incredibly complex. President al-Assad is demonized on a daily basis. Heroic resistance is called the “regime’s brutal actions”, pro-western terror groups are described as “moderate opposition.”

In reality, Syria is suffering because it is refusing to kneel; because it is unwilling to prostitute itself; because it will never beg its torturers to stop, allowing them to grab everything above and under the surface.

The Empire never forgives disobedience. Its fundamentalist terror methods are the most brutal ever invented and implemented on Earth.

All around Syria, countries already lie in ashes. The Middle East hardly exists, anymore. And most of the Syrian people understand: it is perhaps better to die standing, than to live in shackles, on one’s knees, controlled by the kleptomaniacal Western colonialist states!

*

The more terrible the terror that the West is spreading worldwide in general and in this part of the world in particular, the more vicious its vitriolic propaganda is, the brainwashing indoctrination that flows incessantly from London, New York and Paris.

If one watches the BBC, there is no hint of objectivity left, anymore. The ranks are closed and the West is united in its final drive to discredit absolutely everything that is still fighting for survival, against its global terrorist exploits.

President al-Assad of Syria, the heroic Syrian army and the closest Syria’s allies – Russia and Iran – are being relentlessly demonized, as if it were them who began that monstrous war! And Hezbollah, which is fighting countless epic battles against the ISIS, sits firmly on the West’s terrorist list.

Everything seems to be twisted and perverted, upside down.

But what really should one expect from the expansionist hordes, from the bastions of imperialism? Or has the British (or French) propaganda been any different, when their colonialist countries have for centuries been grabbing and devastating countless foreign states and territories, slaughtering hundreds of millions of innocent people? Wasn’t anyone who resisted Western conquest always thoroughly ridiculed and demonized?

Countries like UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal and others, have centuries of experience in how to humiliate victims, how to justify their own heinous acts, how to brainwash their own populations and even some of their victims! And the United States, the direct product of Europe, its muscular offspring, is just using the same, only a bit more vulgar, propaganda tactics.

Nothing rational and objective can be expected from the people of Europe or North America, anymore. Except for a few of those insignificant protests and rebellious acts, the Western population is in a total slumber, indifferent towards the horrors that are being administered by its regime all over the globe. There is hardly any pressure to stop acts of terror against Syria. The only thing that seems to matter to Europeans is how to stop the flow of refugees from the devastated countries.

What a shame! What a thorough shame, people of Europe and North America! Your regime is murdering millions, in one country after another, and you are not even capable of recognizing what goes on… instead you are blaming the victims and those rushing to their rescue!

Now your biggest enemy is Russia. Because Russia (same as China) is clearly unwilling to dance to your fatal tune! Because Russia, for many decades, stood by almost all oppressed countries, and supported the de-colonization of the world, in all of its corners. Like China, Cuba and North Korea have always done.

Russia is now defending Syria. Not because it needs natural resources, not because it wants to plunder. It is doing so simply because it is right thing to do. It does it because if the world is abandoned fully to Western imperialism, there will actually soon be no world at all, or at least there will be no world worth inhabiting!

*

“Our country is a socialist country. For us it’s more important to consider the benefits to the entire nation than to particular individuals. I have spent more than 50 years dedicating my life to education, which is the backbone of our country, especially now… Sometimes I feel like quitting my job and returning to teaching at Damascus University, but I know that I am still needed where I am now,” I was told by Dr. Farah Motlak, Deputy Minister of Education of the Syrian Arab Republic.

We met in Cairo, Egypt, at a regional conference. I asked him about the Western propaganda against his country. He replied, shaking his head:

“I am not even angry… I am just endlessly sad. The media attacks; the propaganda that is pouring from the West is clearly designed to destroy our country. But we have hope, and we will continue our struggle.”

The international meetings and conferences clearly show how divided even the Arab world is itself. Syria is a symbol. To some, it is a symbol of resilience, of heroism. To others, mainly to those who are funded and consequently conditioned by the West, it represents everything that is evil.

*

But Egypt itself (where I’m writing this essay), just three years after the pro-Western military coup, is in ruins. Economically it has become a basket case. It is completely devastated, socially.

Of course its destruction is on a “lighter scale”, compared to Iraq, Libya or Yemen. But it is still bad enough: during the coup in 2013, at least 1,000 but most likely 2,000 people were murdered by the junta, while tens of thousands were injured. An estimated 10,000 people are now in prisons all over the country; most of them in terrible conditions; many are being tortured, women prisoners are habitually raped.

“The counter revolution has triumphed,” explained Dr. Mohammed Shafik, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Movement. “All opposition parties and organizations have been squashed. Thousands of revolutionaries have been imprisoned; hundreds executed by court orders or liquidated by the police… Neoliberalism is taking hold… people are suffering.”

But Western propaganda shows no appetite for criticizing the Egyptian military junta. It is, after all, essentially pro-Western; it is capitalist and to a great extent it is submissive to the Empire and to its allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

As with almost all ‘client’ states of the West, Egypt will never be able to truly improve the lives of the majority of its citizens. The country is already stuck deeply and has been, for decades, in a perpetual social slumber. Those benefiting from the situation are the Western powers and their regional allies, as well as the servile Egyptian elites and the grotesquely colossal, omnipotent military.

If Syria were to surrender, the Egyptian scenario would be ‘the best’ it could hope for. But most likely, it would meet the terrible fate of Iraq or Libya.

*

62 Syrian soldiers were reported killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on the Syrian military base Deir el-Zour, on September 17, in Eastern Syria.

The planes destroyed the base housing soldiers that were involved in a battle with ISIS. Almost immediately, the ISIS took over the hill and the area, in what appeared to be a clearly coordinated operation between the West and the “Islamic State”, against the Syrian government forces.

A few days later, a humanitarian convoy was hit near the city of Aleppo. Without presenting any evidence, the West immediately pointed a finger at the Syrian government and Russia. But the Russian Ministry of Defense released images of a US predator drone operating in the area during the attack, and called for a thorough investigation.

The war goes on. The suffering of Syrian people continues.

There is one simple point that is being constantly overlooked by the West:

The legitimate government of Syria invited Russia, its close ally. It asked Moscow for help, to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups implanted by the West and its allies.

Nobody invited the West!

Or perhaps those groups that the West itself created and supported inside Syria invited it?

Both Syrian government forces and Russia are fighting brutal foreign invaders who are attempting to destroy one of the oldest nations on Earth and take control over the entire Middle East.

Syria is at the frontline of the battle against Western imperialism. And so is Russia. And also Iran, while China is joining!

The sacrifice made by the Syrian people is tremendous. But against all odds, the deadly advance of the imperialists may be stopped here, after all.

As I wrote earlier, the price may be terrible. Aleppo is turning into the Middle-Eastern Stalingrad. But the heroic Syrian nation has made its choice: it will fight brutal and barbaric invaders, as it fought the crusaders under the leadership of great Sultan Saladin.

The alternative would be slavery, something unacceptable for the Syrian people!

October 1, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putin signs bill allowing reciprocal impounding of foreign nations’ property

RT | December 30, 2015

President Vladimir Putin has signed amendments to a bill that restricts foreign states’ right not to observe certain Russian legal procedures if these states themselves introduce measures restricting Russia’s legal immunity.

The amendments would change Russian civil and arbitration codes by introducing the principle of limited legal immunity for a foreign state. They detail the procedure of initiating a lawsuit against a foreign nation and serving court warrants to its representatives. The document also prescribes the role of various Russian state agencies in court cases against foreign states.

The amendments are a part of a law that was signed in early November and will come into force on January 1. It allows Russia to impound the property of foreign states, so long as Russian courts rule that these nations have damaged the economic or other interests of the Russian Federation. Before this act was introduced, such steps were only allowed on condition the government of the country in question agreed to them.

The new bill was drafted by the government as a reciprocal measure after several countries this year executed the rulings of international courts and impounded the assets belonging to the Russian state.

For example, in early July, the media reported that Belgium and France had frozen Russian state companies’ assets and curtailed their agencies in these countries. The move was in connection with the June 2014 ruling by the International Criminal Court in The Hague that ordered Russia to pay compensation of $39.9 billion, $1.85 billion and $8.2 billion, respectively, to three companies connected to the once-powerful oil giant Yukos, which was dissolved in 2007.

The Russian Foreign Ministry described these steps as blatant violation of international law and promised to contest these decisions. Vladimir Putin said that Russia would challenge the decision to seize its assets. The president added that the country didn’t recognize the ruling of the Hague court, as it doesn’t participate in the European Energy Charter.

In comments to the newly introduced law on reciprocal impounding of foreign states’ assets, the Justice Ministry wrote that the main idea behind it was to ensure a “jurisdiction balance” between Russia and foreign states. “The number of lawsuits against the Russian Federation is constantly growing and this happens without asking for our agreement for participation in these cases,” a government source told Kommersant daily. Therefore, recognizing rulings by foreign courts is equivalent to conceding national sovereignty, the source added.

Also in July, the Russian Constitutional Court decided that no international treaty or convention has precedence over national sovereignty, and decisions by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) should be upheld only when they don’t contradict basic Russian law. In mid-December, President Putin signed into law a bill allowing the Constitutional Court to overrule the decisions of international courts if such decisions contradict the principle of supremacy of the Russian Constitution.

December 30, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Tribute to Belgian King Behind Congolese Genocide Sparks Outrage

teleSUR – December 16, 2015

A public commemoration of Leopold II in Brussels has sparked indignation in Belgium this week for celebrating a man responsible for the Congolese genocide that left over 10 million dead during colonial rule.

A public-funded parade and meeting at the city hall was meant to take place this Thursday to mark 150 years since the crowning of King Leopold II. Outrage over the event forced its cancellation on Tuesday, however. The commemoration is now to be held behind closed doors.

“A tribute to Leopold II in Brussels is a spit on the Congolese people and its diaspora. It is an insult to all colonized peoples,” the groups New Anti-Colonial Way (JOC) and Intal Congo stated in response to the event, according to RTBF.

“In (his) forty year presence in Congo, the bloody King eliminated more than half of the Congolese population; that is over 10 million people. The consequences of colonization are still felt today. Belgium has its hands stained with blood due to its actions in the past but also in the present. We will not silence the cries of our deaths, we will not silence history. We will not let you walk over our dignity. We believe it is our duty to mobilize for the memory, for the recognition of history and to end the hegemony of colonial thinking,” the groups added.

While the commemoration has been cancelled, protests to honor the victims have been organized at the city council on Thursday, where a statue in tribute to the man responsible for the Congolese holocaust still stands.

“(It’s) an unfortunate controversy” said Geoffroy Coomans Brachène, the organizer behind the tribute, who added it was “only to salute the exceptional mark of Leopold II on urbanism, architecture and regional planning in Brussels.”

For decades, Belgium exploited Congolese natural resources and enslaved its people through detention and forced labor camps, where the local population was subjected to bodily mutilations, torture and executions. The Congo did not achieve independence from Belgium until 1960.

Leopold II has become a symbol of western moral hypocrisy for many marginalized racial and ethnic communities. They see the absence of his crimes and colonial legacy in history books and public commemorations telling of whose lives are considered worthy, and whose lives aren’t.

“You see, when you kill ten million Africans, you aren’t called ‘Hitler’. That is, your name doesn’t come to symbolize the living incarnation of evil. Your name and your picture don’t produce fear, hatred and sorrow. Your victims aren’t talked about and your name isn’t remembered,” Liam O’Ceallaigh noted on the blog Walking Butterfly.

December 16, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments