Aletho News


Whatever is Wrong with Mike Morell?


By Steve Brown | Ron Paul Institute | January 7, 2021

Obama – er, Biden – pushed hard for the removal of Syria’s Assad and engineered US destabilization of Syria partly at the behest of Israel in 2011 and 2014 , in part to allow Israel free reign to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank, in tandem with Israel’s long-standing annexation of the Golan. Yes, the Israeli Nile-to-Euphrates agenda is alive and quite well, not just among Israel’s 3rd templars, but within Biden’s proto-expansionist regime in the DC wings, too. Now, what’s that again about Russia Russia? Biden’s Russia, Russia? There’s just one problem for the Axis of Evil’s plan going forward: Russia’s continued opposition to the US plan in Syria.

Russia likely anticipated the complete destabilization of the Middle East by the US and its Israeli ally by design in 2014, where Takfiri malign infestation of the region not only threatened Europe, but Russia too, with a further militarist threat to Iran and West Asia. Russia stands in the way of that Imperial agenda, and that’s a big deal for Washington’s elite donor class. Russia also provided succor to Ed Snowden, when the DC shark pit would have crucified him alive; just as the same bloodthirsty pack will crucify Julian Assange too should they ever get their bloody incisors into him.

Now, rather than risk world war, the former US regime chose to tread a fine line with Russia in Syria, although outright war was much closer than the public realized or knew at the time. The current shape-of-things-to-come will test that envelope once more, and in a very big way. By definition, the reappearance of war-criminal and dinosaur Madeliene Albright, to re-blight a thoroughly blighted major media proves that intent. Albright’s abysmal record and advanced years have evidently not prevented her from seeking a new term within the putrefying endless expanse of DC’s Neoliberal cesspool.

Lately the voluble Albright has graced the CIA-corporate-led media to tout all subjects great and small, whether the contagion and failed US foreign policy, to the Balkans  and somewhat erratic behavior of others. Apparently the non-apologetic self-acknowledged child-killer is safe for the time being for the DC establishment to trot out again — after all these years — and Albright holds her CIA-surveillance state brief well, even at the tidy age of 83.

Along with Albright and other foreign policy wonks littering the Biden-Harris space (Jen Psaki, Sam Power, and Wendy Sherman etc) Mike Morell’s reappearance has been as inspired and imaginative as his call to murder Russians (with Iranians thrown in for good measure, of course). Which apparently posed no problem for the incorporated CIA-run major media at the time; and whether Morell’s twitter account was ever suspended then for publicly threatening violence, remains unknown.

Notably the recent storming of the US bastille on January 6th caused our dear Mike to lament this failed example of democracy-in-action via a televised CBS news interview on that day, Mike posing that such brazen acts could be an inspiration for anti-American propaganda to be exploited by none other than… er, well, ahem… the Russians and RT! When a not-so-incredulous but mainly pandering CBS co-host pressed Mike about how Russia could possibly be running the Proud Boys to storm the capitol?? … our dear Mike back-pedaled a bit to say, well, like always (but never proven) the Russians definitely did hack Hillary in 2016 and cost her the election. Leaving hosts and viewers alike somewhat baffled, but fortunately the CBS ‘analyst’s’ cum CIA guy’s conversation moved on, saving further embarrassment.

If public consciousness were not just a few milliseconds, the irony of media claims that Trump’s allegations about voter fraud are baseless since proof has not yet been provided, would not be lost on the public, when compared to US intelligence claims that Russian collusion in 2015 cost Hillary the election when no proof or evidential record of that has ever been provided, either. But then again, Morell is a former CIA spy guy and CBS anchor, so that’s just how he rolls…

In closing we are left with one final perplexing and inevitable question: which CIA-led news network will pick up Gina Haspel and Mike Pompeo as news analysts going forward? CBS too? And who is the next Clinton-Obama dinosaur and war criminal to re-appear and pollute the new regime in DC?

For certain, we shall see.

Steve is an antiwar activist and a published scholar on the US monetary system.

Twitter: @newsypaperz

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Western animosity towards Iran due to its support for Palestinian cause, Yemeni PM says

Press TV | January 8, 2021

The prime minister of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has denounced attempts to form an anti-Iran front as part of a joint Israeli-Arab-US project, emphasizing that such bids aim to counter Tehran’s untrammelled support for the Palestinian cause and oppressed Palestinians.

“The normalization of relations between some regional rulers and the Zionist regime (Israel) is part of the Zionist-Arab-American scheme, and they are now seeking to form an alliance against Iran because it has stood with Palestine,” Abdulaziz bin Habtoor said on Thursday.

He added, “The project of partitioning Arab and Muslim world was drawn more than one hundred years ago in the service of the Zionist plan and the occupation of Palestine.”

Habtoor highlighted that any move that resists the Zionist project in the region will be met with fierce Western opposition.

He said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a specific and shared goal to disintegrate Yemen, besides certain plots to cement their dominance and influence in Yemen.

“The UAE seeks to wrest control over a number of Yemeni cities, islands and bases, and Saudi Arabia wants to dominate other sectors,” Habtoor noted.

The Yemeni prime minister then dismissed attempts by the Saudi-led coalition member states to present a united front as “a big lie,” stating they will turn on each other and clash in the future due to profound differences existing among them.

‘Appointment of Iranian ambassador to Sana’a broke Saudi diplomatic siege’

Separately, a member of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council on Thursday welcomed the appointment of Iranian Ambassador to Sana’a, Hassan Irloo, stating that the step broke the diplomatic embargo that the Saudi-led coalition had imposed on the country.

Major General Sultan al-Samaei pointed to the deeply historical ties between Yemen and Iran, underlining that the Yemeni nation’s resistance embodies the axis of resistance that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen are part of and their common stance against colonial powers, spearheaded by the Israeli regime and its allies.

Irloo, for his part, said Iran will not hesitate to support Yemeni people by transferring its capabilities in all fields.

The Iranian envoy stressed that relations between Tehran and Sana’a will witness broader cooperation in various spheres.

Irloo has recently been appointed as Iran’s ambassador to Yemen. In early November, he submitted his credentials to Mahdi al-Mashat, president of the Supreme Political Council of Yemen. Since then he was in the US and its regional allies’ crosshairs.

On December 8, the US slapped sanctions on the ambassador on allegations that Irloo was “linked” to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), without providing any proof.

January 8, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

UAE rejects ‘wholly false’ reports of foiling Iranian attack against Israeli visitors

Press TV | January 5, 2021

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has vigorously rejected Israeli media reports that its security services arrested a number of Iranians purportedly conspiring to carry out an attack against Israeli tourists visiting the Persian Gulf country.

“The Government of the United Arab Emirates has denied media reports circulating today regarding the foiling of an alleged attack in Dubai,” it said in a statement on Monday.

The Emirati government described the rumors as “wholly false” and urged accuracy in reporting.

It also called upon the public and media outlets “to refer to official sources for information and to avoid circulating unverified reports.”

On Sunday night, Israel’s Hebrew-language broadcaster Channel 12 alleged that Emirati intelligence authorities had arrested a number of Iranians in Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the previous few days on suspicion that they planned to carry out an attack against Israelis.

Thousands of Israelis have traveled to the UAE after Israel’s cabinet ratified a mutual visa exemption agreement with the Arab country on November 22 last year. The UAE had earlier that month given its final okay to the agreement, which was signed after the two sides normalized ties.

The latest reports appear to be yet another attempt by Israeli news outlets to set off a media frenzy following Iran’s pledge to exact revenge for the assassination of one of its most senior nuclear scientists by suspected Tel Aviv-tied terrorists late last year.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, was targeted in a multi-pronged terrorist near Tehran on November 27.

Iran says it has substantive evidence that the Tel Aviv regime has been behind the terror attack and vowed to take revenge, but it has repeatedly clarified that, unlike Israel and the US, assassinations and targeted killings have no place on its political agenda.

The Israeli report also comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran as the latter marked the first anniversary of the assassination of its top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani by the American military in Iraq in January, 2020.

Washington has once again stepped up its campaign of military threats against Iran through deployments of warships and bombers to the Middle East under the pretext that the Islamic Republic may be seeking revenge.

January 5, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

American Tax Payers Spend At Least $23 Billion On Israel Every Year

By Eric Striker – National Justice – January 1, 2021

Last September, Donald Trump accidentally upended an entire generation of myths invented by the left and right that purport to explain America’s costly and unpopular military adventures in the Middle East:

“The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East. You know there was a time we needed desperately oil, we don’t need that anymore.”

As Mondoweiss pointed out at the time, the explosive admission went completely unmentioned in the mainstream media, which traditionally hangs on every one of Trump’s words and reacts hysterically.

Categorizing America’s foreign policy catastrophes as done in the service to Israel has until the Trump era always been dismissed by media tastemakers and political gatekeepers as rank anti-Semitism driven by reductionist, simplistic and conspiratorial thinking, even when intelligence officials like Michael Scheuer and foreign policy experts affirm the view.

Trump’s lack of subtlety when remarking on using American blood and treasure to incrementally advance the interests of the Jewish state is one reason why the Israel lobby, which is perpetually paranoid about the public noticing their activities, is not keen on reciprocating his often suffocating love.

Their paranoia is justified. This year Congress made the mistake of combining its $900 billion dollar coronavirus stimulus bill, which suffering people are closely following the development of, with the yearly $1.4 trillion dollar fiscal budget, which is typically ignored.

A deluge of popular anger was provoked by news that we would only be receiving a $600 dollar check under the guise of budget austerity. At the same time, buried deep in the 5,600 monstrosity was a provision setting aside supposed budget constraints to give Israel the equivalent of $5,000 dollars for each of its citizens.

Jews in the media responded to the controversy by calling indignant American tax payers, including actress Alyssa Milano and various left-wing journalists, “fools” and “anti-Semites.” They doubled down by stating that the $500 million dollars provided to Israel was a drop in a $2.3 trillion dollar bucket. They pointed out that other countries, such as Jordan, were receiving foreign aid as well.

But even critics of Israel do not properly calculate the true price Americans pay for a state that — unlike South Korea or Germany — does not provide any economic or military benefits to the homeland. America does not have military bases in Israel, nor does Israel have anything to trade.

The general figure provided for annual US aid to Israel is $3.8 billion, but as former CIA intelligence officer Philip Giraldi has written, this figure excludes our completely artificial $9 billion dollar trade deficit with that country, as well as the $8 billion provided in “loan guarantees” that are basically giveaways since the US Treasury pays interest and principal on these loans.

The Black Budget

Covert “black budget” funding to the Jewish state is another topic shrouded in mystery.

In 2015 a public interest group, the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, sued the CIA for its refusal to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding records on how much is spent in service of Israel, including in respect to intelligence gathering efforts on American citizens that is then sent to the Mossad.

The Department of Justice fought a ferocious, four year long legal battle to keep this information secret and ultimately won.

Based on publicly available pre-1990 black budget expenses, the CIA is dedicating between $13.2 billion to Israeli interests every year if spending has been tacked to inflation. The number may be even higher under the Trump administration, especially since it has escalated the conflict with Iran.

US Spending To Advance Israel

Rarely discussed is how US foreign aid to Muslim countries is, as Trump has constantly reminded us, nothing more than bribing them into cooperating with Israel. US aid to Israel, by contrast, is unconditional.

All of the nations that share a border with Israel (Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and even to certain players in Palestinians and Syria) receive payments from the United States. Were it not for the peculiar, thankless relationship America has with Israel, US tax dollars would not be bankrolling the entire Egyptian military, nor would we be propping up the basket case monarchy in Jordan by handing them 4% of their GDP every year.

The following is a list of expenses — financial, geopolitical, and human — that the American people must shoulder to guarantee the security, stability and geopolitical expansion of 9 million Israelis.

1) Egypt — $2.2 billion a year

The United States’ foreign aid to Egypt, about $1.3 billion which goes to its military and the rest to its economy, is entirely predicated on the country’s military dictators maintaining a close intelligence and diplomatic relationship with Israel. The country’s current leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, took power in 2014 in an Israeli-backed coup that deposed the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt, which was once a regional superpower that fought the Israelis during the Six Days War, restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 1979 under a US brokered deal.

The single-issue relationship was put on display when Senator Rand Paul attempted to cut aid to Egypt during a 2017 Congressional fight. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), five US Senators and Benjamin Netanyahu himself all intervened to block Paul’s amendment, which was crushed in the Senate by a large majority after Jewish groups penned a letter demanding the aid continue as usual. According to both Netanyahu and AIPAC, America’s payoff to the Egyptian military establishment is the only thing keeping Israel’s formidable neighbor from attacking them.

2) Jordan — $1.5 billion a year

In 1994, Jordan became the second Arab state after Egypt to restore formal ties with Israel.

Prior to 1994, Jordan received a smaller sum of aid from the US, but the country retained relative geopolitical independence, including support for Saddam Hussein during the first Persian Gulf War.

As a state bordering Palestine that for years retained its claim to the West Bank, the Jordanian monarchs have been a useful asset for Israel. The country’s establishment is widely despised by Palestinians, even though the Jordanian public is broadly sympathetic to their plight.

In exchange for breaking solidarity with the Arab world’s boycott of Israel, the United States signed a generous free trade agreement with Jordan, where we prop up their economy by buying 25% of their exports and hand them $1.5 billion a year (close to 4% of their GDP) via USAID.

3) Iraq — $1.1 Billion (Excluding cost of the Iraq war)

The Iraq war, and our continued presence in the country 17 years later, is the product of Jews in Washington primarily loyal to the state of Israel.

This is the opinion of the man who went before the United Nations and went down in history as having sold the weapons of mass destruction lie, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In Karen DeYoung’s 2007 biography of Powell, Soldier, he singles out Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz as the real architects of war. In one interview with DeYoung, Powell even refers to Donald Rumsfeld — the Gentile who is usually blamed alongside Dick Cheney for the Iraq debacle — as a man controlled by the “JINSA crowd” in the Defense Department. The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is an Israel lobbying firm similar to AIPAC.

If JINSA and the “card-carrying Likud members,” as Powell is reported to have remarked once, were not making foreign policy calls in Washington the war would’ve never happened.

It could be argued that the trillions spent on perhaps the most wasteful military conflict in American history was a subsidy to Israel.

4) Saudi Arabia – $1.1 Billion a year

Saudi Arabia, the nation which 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, also lobbies the United States government through AIPAC.

The Trump administration was able to secure public Saudi support for Israel by promising $100 billion dollars in modern weapons, including F-35s, to the Gulf state. AIPAC and the Israeli government are both considered to have been the kingmakers in the deal.

The Saudi government, along with another nation that recently established official ties to Israel the, United Arab Emirates, are both state-sponsors of terrorism, including sending American weapons to Al-Qaeda.

The official sect of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia is Wahhabism, which is the puritanical and violent dogma that inspires both the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda.

To understand how deep terrorist ideology is penetrated in Saudi society, a Saudi Royal Air Force pilot being trained in a $740 million dollar US-funded Pentagon program to learn how to fly the F-35s killed three American servicemen and injured eight others at the Pensacola Air Station in Florida in a quickly memory holed terrorist attack last year. A study from 2014 found that citizens of Saudi Arabia were the largest private donors to ISIS in Syria and beyond.

5) Afghanistan – $5.4 Billion a year

As with Iraq, the 2001 war in Afghanistan and our ongoing presence there, is part of a containment strategy of Iran done in the interest of Israel.

According to former National Security Agency analyst Karen Kwiatkowski, the Pentagon’s logic behind the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was to create a military pincer that would surround Iran. In a 2009 interview, Kwiatkowski stressed that Iran was not a threat to the United States or its interests, but rather only to Israeli regional hegemony,

The Israelis have been using Afghanistan to spy on the Iranian military and engage in various black ops against their country. The Iranians appear to be fighting back, including by restoring ties for their historical nemesis, the Taliban. Israel fears that an unconditional US withdrawal could end up working to the advantage of Iran.

When earlier this year Donald Trump said he wanted to withdraw troops from Afghanistan — a move supported by the overwhelming majority of the American people — JINSA and AIPAC were the sole interest groups to vocalize opposition and began pressuring the Senate to ensure it didn’t happen. The Jewish lobby succeeded, and Rand Paul’s bill last July that would’ve brought our soldiers home was defeated by a bipartisan vote of 60 to 33.

6) Palestine, Lebanon, Syria — Fluctuates

The three nations bordering or occupied by Israel receive aid from the United States in an attempt to present carrots and sticks that prevent factions from fully uniting, but the spigot is turned off and on regularly at the behest of Israel.

Last year, the US State Department cut aid to Lebanon’s military in half after a direct appeal to do so by the Netanyahu government. The complaint was that the Lebanese military was not doing “enough” to undermine Shi’ite military and political power. The US typically funds the Lebanese military as a counter-force to Hezbollah, but after the Shi’ite militia successfully defended Lebanon’s territory from an Israeli invasion in the 2006 war, the group has enjoyed nationalist support across the diverse religious groups in the country.

Hezbollah’s work in defending Christians from ISIS in recent years has also been a political game changer, as traditionally grievances from Christian organizations have been exploited by Israel to leverage against the Palestinian cause.

In Palestine itself, the Palestinian Authority under Mohammad Abbas has enjoyed about half a billion US dollars in aid, both to politically divide him from Hamas controlled Gaza, as well as subsidize the humanitarian costs of Israel’s occupation in the West Bank.

Abbas’ strategy of “negotiating” with Israel through America is in retrospect an abject failure. Illegal settlements in the West Bank have continued uninhibited, and the Palestinians in the territory narrowly avoided the full annexation of their land by Israel. While the annexation project appears to have been put off, experts believe Israel will attempt to do so once Israel has a better foothold in the region.

In Syria, which Wikileaks of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exposed as nothing more than a regime change operation on behalf of Israel, the United States continues to spend close to a billion dollars every year in “humanitarian” relief.

While the coalition of the Syrian Army, Russia and Iran have largely defeated the ISIS and Al Qaeda rebels, the US is combining its humanitarian aid to anti-Assad areas while attempting to starve the country with crippling sanctions. By providing support to certain regions through USAID, Washington and Israel are artificially extending the conflict between Assad and the anti-government fighters, the latter which would’ve totally surrendered otherwise.

Future Expenses Under Trump’s “Israel-First” Agenda

Donald Trump and Jared Kushner have been able to secure support from multiple Muslim nations for Israel by directly offering big payments and controversial favors as a trade.

Here is what this “diplomacy” will cost Americans.

1) Morocco –$3 Billion and the Western Sahara

Under Trump’s deal with Morocco, its king Mohammed VI will receive $3 billion dollars in investments courtesy of the US taxpayer through the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a government entity created by Donald Trump, in exchange for recognizing Israel.

The more concerning aspect of the deal is Trump’s recognition of the disputed Western Sahara as Moroccan, as well as a deal to sell the Moroccan military billions in American arms to give them a strategic edge over Algeria and Western Saharan natives.

The interests of the Western Saharans are represented by the Polisario Front, a nationalist group seeking independence and self-governance. The Moroccans and Polisario Front have been engaging in intensifying armed battles since November, a month before Trump’s outreach to Mohammed VI. With American recognition of the Western Sahara, the Polisario Fronto will have lost diplomatic leverage and potentially have no choice but to fight the Moroccans — thus initiating a potential conflagration in North Africa if Algeria maintains its pro-Saharan position.

2) Indonesia — $2 Billion

Trump’s DFC is reaching out to Indonesia — the world’s largest Muslim nation — to provide $2 billion in US aid in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel.

The offer appears to have been rejected, with Jakarta announcing that it stands firmly behind the Palestinian cause.

Unlike Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Indonesia is a parliamentary democracy. Supporting Israel remains highly taboo among the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, so it remains to be seen if the Indonesian state will end up accepting America’s money.

3) Sudan — $1 Billion and Taken Off State-Supporter of Terrorism List

Sudan is an important flashpoint in Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Iran uses Sudan as a transit point for smuggling arms to the Palestinian resistance.

The Israelis and the United States have exploited racial strife between blacks and Arabs in Sudan — funding the black side in Darfur (South Sudan) — during the country’s bloody civil war. The conflict has been winding down, but the Sudanese state and economy remains in dire straits largely due to sanctions over being a state-sponsor of terrorism.

During the 1990s, Sudan was blamed for housing Osama Bin Laden following the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Under Trump’s deal, Sudan will be absolved of all blame after paying a fine and receive a billion dollars in debt forgiveness and economic aid in exchange for establishing formal relations with Israel.

4) Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, etc — Unknown

The Saudis have been sinking billions of dollars into fellow Gulf States to encourage them to support Israel since 2018, according to leaks to Arab media.

According to the documents, the Saudis were working on behalf of the US government in this endeavor, promising their neighbors a “generous aid package” from America just for collaborating with the Jewish state.

As written before, the Saudis and UAE are receiving over $120 billion in US weapons — an idea that previously would’ve been a non-starter in Washington due to potentially undermining Israel’s qualitative military edge over Arabs.

By showing loyalty to Israel, Saudi Arabia has been able to secure support in Washington for its barbaric war in Yemen. When the US Congress passed a resolution to end US support for the Saudi war effort, Donald Trump vetoed the bill and, unlike the NDAA, no attempt was made to override this decision.

The full extent of what the US plans to provide Gulf States for their internally unpopular backing for Israel is not yet possible to know.

The Real Cost of Israel

While previous packages of US foreign aid to Muslim countries on behalf of Israel were presented as an objective pursuit for “peace in the Middle East,” the Trump administration’s efforts have directly led to new and bloody conflicts (the Yemen war), and opened up the floodgates for new ones around the world.

All that is certain is that Trump’s concessions and arm’s deals pursuit of recognition for Israel is objectively making the world more dangerous and unstable.

A perfect dollar estimate of how much Israel is costing our country is impossible due to the opaque nature of Washington’s servility to the Zionist state.

In spite of this, we can arrive at a range. The on paper cost of Israel, when we include the “loan guarantee” scam and payments to neighboring countries to advance Israel’s interests, is at least $23.1 billion a year.

This figure excludes speculative figures on the black budget in service to Israel, which if correct, would bring that number to $36.3 billion. It also excludes aid to Palestine and Lebanon (which may return next year), as well as costs related to the proxy conflict with Iran, which almost all foreign policy experts agree is entirely motivated by Israeli — not American — interests.

This number will balloon under Donald Trump’s plan, which is expected to be continued uninhibited under a Joe Biden presidency. Trump’s outreach to the Arab world will put us on the hook for at least an extra $6 billion, which again, is an extremely conservative estimate since we are excluding the shady deals with the Saudis and other Gulf States.

Thus, the $3.8 billion figure that already outrages much of the American public is at the bare minimum about $23 billion per year, but could potentially be closer to $50 billion.

This price of this luxury item in the Middle East is almost half of all American foreign aid, and does not serve any humanitarian purpose (often times, the other way around), much less the interests of the American people. Understanding the outrage this sum would provoke among US voters and taxpayers, groups like JINSA and AIPAC, along with the disproportionately Jewish owned media, ensure that it is never accurately reported.

January 3, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen’s Houthis say Saudi pilots will only be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners

MEMO | December 31, 2020

An official in Yemen’s Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG) has reiterated that Saudi pilots currently being held captive will only be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in the kingdom.

In an interview yesterday with Al-Masirah TV, the head of the National Committee for Prisoners Affairs, Abdulqadir Al-Murtadha, stated: “We have assured the other party that the Saudi pilots will not be released from prison except in exchange for the Palestinian prisoners in Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “The negotiation rounds in the prisoners’ issue in 2020 were distinguished by the fact that they ended with implementation, unlike the previous rounds,” noting that 1,087 prisoners of the Houthi-allied Yemeni army and “popular committees” were freed earlier in the year; 670 prisoners through UN brokered agreements and 417 prisoners through local deals.

“The enemy thwarted 30 exchange deals during 2020, which were agreed upon through local parties to liberate more than 600 prisoners from both sides,” according to Al-Murtadha.

“We released 150 prisoners during 2020, including 64 children who were brought into the battles by the forces of aggression, while the rest were released for humanitarian reasons.”

Last year, Saudi Arabia incarcerated 68 Palestinians and Jordanians following a mass trial which has raised concerns by Human Rights Watch (HRW) over issues relating to due process. Some of the detainees had been held without charge for nearly two years.

Among the Palestinians detained is Mohammed Al-Khodari, who is over 80 years old and a high-ranking official from the Gaza-based resistance movement Hamas. Alike the other detainees he was charged on vague accusations relating to terrorism.

In March the leader of the Houthi movement known as the Ansarallah, Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, extended an offer to the Saudis to release Hamas members held in Saudi in exchange for one of the captured Saudi coalition pilots held in Yemen along with four Saudi soldiers. The “much-appreciated initiative” was met with praise by Hamas who in a statement said it valued the “spirit of fraternity and sympathy” for the Palestinian people and their cause.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Why are Tel Aviv and Washington Inflaming the Situation in the Persian Gulf?

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 26.12.2020

During the run-up to the anniversary of the insidious assassination of Iranian General Soleimani – and after one month had passed since the equally controversial massacre of leading nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – Israel and the United States, which are the ones responsible for this atrocity, are demonstratively increasing their military presence in the Middle East, and doing so in demagogic fashion under the guise of fearing “retaliation from Iran”.

The United States, located both at a considerable distance from Iran and outside the range of its missiles, having provoked this crisis clearly fears only a missile attack on its diplomatic mission in Iraq, as well as other American facilities in the region. Washington is trying to validate these fears with reports from American intelligence services, according to which pro-Iranian armed formations that can deliver a “retaliatory strike” have allegedly stepped up their activity in Iraq.

However, on December 21 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh denied these suspicions, which especially resounded in recent statements made by US Secretary of State Pompeo about the alleged complicity of pro-Iranian militia in the latest rocket strikes executed on Baghdad’s “Green Zone”. Along with that, Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter that for Tehran “attacks on diplomatic facilities are unacceptable”.

Washington still dispatched additional warships and a squadron of fighters to the Middle East, and demonstratively conducted a nonstop flight of a B-52 strategic bomber that has the ability to carry nuclear weapons, by doing so intending to “intimidate Tehran”. In addition, on December 21 a US naval unit entered the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz that included a USS Georgia (SSGN 729) Ohio-class submarine, which carries up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and is capable of taking on board up to 66 special operations service personnel, as well as two Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers: a USS Port Royal (CG 73) and a USS Philippine Sea (CG 58). Previously, at the end of November, a USS Nimitz (CVN-68) aircraft carrier was sent off the Persian Gulf “to help contain the enemy”; this was rationalized by the need “to have additional defensive capabilities in the region in case of any unforeseen circumstances.”

As far as Israel goes, it clearly fears a “retaliation strike” from Iran since, given the Jewish state’s modest size, a successful attack on it could actually terminate its existence. This is especially true if the strike were to hit the Dimona Nuclear Research Center, which is considered to be the site where Israeli nuclear weapons originated; Tel Aviv neither confirms nor denies that the center exists. Incidentally, Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi Kermani already delivered a warning to Israel that “if Iran decides to put up resistance, then one missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough”.

It is clear that Iranian missiles will not really be launched at Dimona, since this is fraught with consequences that entail nuclear contamination and destruction not only for Israel, but for Iran and quite a few neighboring countries across the region. And that is why the Iranian media occasionally names another target: the Israeli city of Haifa.

Israel, fearing the hysteria itself that potential military action could unleash, in a speech made by IDF Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi on December 21 cautioned Iran not to attack Israel, stating that “the Jewish state will retaliate against any aggression”.

Along with that, A. Kohavi evidently pointedly forgot to mention that it is not Iran, but Israel itself, that has already demonstrated its aggressive stance toward the Islamic Republic to the whole world by organizing and initiating acts of terrorism and assassinations – and not only against nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. After all, this is far from the first time that Iranian scientists and leading representatives from Iranian society have been killed by an Israeli act of terrorism. For example, in Tehran, five nuclear physicists have been assassinated recently – and this specifically includes Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the architect of Iran’s ballistic missile program. All this points to the systematic destruction of the best Iranian scientists employed in the defense industry, which is being accomplished by the international community with impunity. This series of assassinations of prominent Iranian scientists, politicians, and military personnel – who ended up being unacceptable for the United States and Israel – substantiates the suspicions first voiced long ago that Western intelligence services and Israel have adopted the terrorist practice of eliminating key personnel and various prominent figures in those countries with which they are at war; this is done to weaken their defense systems and technological potential.

In addition to the words it speaks to help deter Tehran, Tel Aviv has taken a series of measures to test the combat readiness of its army against any potential foreign attacks, and is active about consulting with Washington – especially with representatives from the Pentagon – about how to work out joint coordination for the two countries to take military action against Iran. In particular, large-scale, unprecedented exercises came to an end in December, during which the capabilities of the three levels of Israel’s anti-missile defense (ABM) systems to neutralize various air threats were put to the test. Senior Israel Defense Forces officers, according to the Internet publication Breaking Defense, held “negotiations on coordination work” with their counterparts in the US Central Command (CENTCOM, which includes the Middle East) to bolster cooperation between the armed forces in the two countries “against Iran possibly taking revenge in the region”. According to this publication, Israel has reached its highest degree of readiness, in particular with regard to repelling “some of the 140,000 missiles that Iran-backed Hezbollah has in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.” At the same time, it has been reported that although the Israeli command does not disclose the details about how it prepares for war, its tactical and operational anti-missile defense systems, and long-range missile systems, are still on high alert.

In addition, as reported by The Times of Israel, on December 17, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley arrived in Israel as part of his Middle East tour to discuss the threat that Iran poses to Washington’s allies, including the Jewish state.

As part of preventive measures taken against the armed situation in the region potentially escalating, Israel began to actively spread out its naval fleet around Iran. An Israeli Navy Dolphin-class (Type 800) submarine carrying cruise missiles on board passed through the Suez Canal, and on December 21 demonstratively surfaced in the Persian Gulf, in the waters that stretch between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Dolphin is a series of German modified diesel-electric submarines that are specially designed for Israel, and which have from 6-10 torpedo tubes. Besides torpedoes, they are armed with mines and Popeye Turbo SLCM cruise missiles that have a range of up to 1,500 km, and are capable of carrying nuclear charges with a capacity of up to 200 kilotons launched from torpedo tubes. The Israelis regularly keep at least two of their the Indian Ocean, in the immediate vicinity of the Persian Gulf.

Today, in the assessments made by numerous experts, there is reason to presume that in January 2021, before Donald Trump [prospectively] leaves the White House, a joint American-Israeli missile strike could be launched against Iran, primarily to neutralize Iran’s air defense systems, as well as its nuclear industry facilities.

However, while ramping up the degree of military tension in the region Tel Aviv and Washington cannot help but clearly see that Iran does not intend to attack either the United States or Israel. Iran is not in an ideal condition to wage war now, since its economy is seriously undermined by the restrictive measures imposed on its oil sales abroad, as well as by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the deficit inflicting its national budget, and the weakening of its national currency. Yes, military operations “against American and Israeli aggressors” can raise patriotic sentiments in the Islamic Republic for a certain period, but they would quickly drain the Iranian economy and militaristic zeal. In addition, hoping for a change in the attitude taken toward it after the White House administration [potentially] changes, for political and economic reasons it would now be clearly disadvantageous for Tehran to carry out any large-scale “retaliatory strike”. Therefore, the maximum that Tehran is capable of doing today, without causing itself significant damage, is to carry out a special operation against the Israelis involved in the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – or to inflict a targeted strike on American facilities in the region through its “proxies.”

As for the United States, Israel, and their allies taking military action against Iran right now, it should be kept in mind that the Islamic Republic, despite all its existing economic problems, is a pretty tough nut to crack in terms of its military, and aggression against it would have serious costs. And this cost is obviously unacceptable for either Trump or Netanyahu, who intend to keep pursuing their political careers.

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

Top Israeli Rabbi Visits UAE, Inaugurates Jewish School

Israeli rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Al-Manar | December 19, 2020

The Zionist entity’s Chief Sephardic rabbi visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday, marking the first trip by an Israeli senior religious leader to an Arab state.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s itinerary included inaugurating a Jewish day school in Dubai and naming a local chief rabbi, Israeli media outlets reported on Friday.

The rabbi joined over 50,000 Israelis who have already traveled to the Gulf kingdom since commercial flights connected the two sides. The Zionist entity and the UAE also reached an agreement on visa waivers.

Dubai’s Jewish community center has reportedly increased its staff sixfold, from five to some 30 employees, and about 150 restaurants have started serving kosher dishes.

Israel and the UAE normalized ties earlier this year as part of a US-brokered deal that also included Bahrain. The so-called Abraham Accords have paved the way for subsequent Israeli normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco.

December 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

West yet to condemn Iranian nuclear scientist’s assassination

By Robert Inlakesh | Press TV | December 18, 2020

In the wake of the Israeli assassination of Iran’s top scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Western governments and media are yet to actively condemn the terrorist attack which took place in Tehran.

Many analysts speculate that the respective actions of the media have acted to exacerbate regional tensions, rather than de-escalate the situation following the Israeli aggression against Iran.

Following the Israeli regime-sponsored terrorist attack on Iranian soil, what has been dubbed as psychological warfare has also been a tool used to attack Iran. With claims spread throughout the international press, regarding an alleged killing of an Iranian Quds Force commander along the Iraq-Syria border area; An unsubstantiated claim but published nonetheless.

The claim originated first in a Syrian opposition media outlet, known as Step News Agency. The story was changed several times, before it was picked up by Israeli media.

Before long, Saudi owned Al-Arabiyya News had cited an unnamed source, providing a name to the commander allegedly killed. Later Reuters, Daily Mail and even RT picked up on these claims. Showing how far false information can spread, based upon no more than allegations, sourced from untrusted news outlets with political agendas.

Israeli strikes conducted against sovereign nations have long gone under reported and have evaded condemnation from Western nations, sparking criticism that the international community operates on double-standards.

December 18, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

US designates anti-govt. Bahraini group as ‘terrorist’ after Manama inks peace deal with Israel

Press TV | December 16, 2020

The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump has designated Bahraini opposition group Saraya al-Mukhtar as a “terrorist” organization, months after the Manama regime agreed to a Washington-brokered normalization with Israel.

In a statement released on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his office had blacklisted the group as “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” claiming that it was “posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

He alleged that Saraya al-Mukhtar receives “financial and logistic support” from Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and seeks to depose the Bahraini government.

“The group has plotted attacks against US personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials,” Pompeo further claimed.

The designation freezes any of the group’s US assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with it.

Iran has not commented on the claims so far.

The Bahraini government welcomed the US blacklisting of Saraya al-Mukhtar.

The Bahraini Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “commends” what it called “the relentless efforts undertaken by the United States of America in combatting all extremist terrorist organizations.”

Bahraini courts have already sentenced suspects allegedly linked to Saraya al-Mukhtar to years in prison and revoked their citizenship.

Several Bahraini groups have faced accusations of ties to Iran since 2011, when an uprising began in the kingdom against the ruling Al Khalifah regime. Tehran has, however, dismissed such allegations as false.

Analysts see the blacklisting as an American reward to Manama, months after it reached a US-brokered normalization deal with the Israeli regime.

The agreement sparked several angry street protests in Bahrain, with the participants slamming the regime in Manama for turning a deaf ear to the nation’s calls against making peace with the occupiers of Palestine.

In addition to Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and Morocco have also reached similar agreements with Israel.

Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Center Washington DC, told the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal that “the activities of Saraya al-Mukhtar have significantly diminished since 2018 but the Trump administration is standing by those Arab allies who normalized with Israel.”

“While Morocco got US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara and Sudan was delisted as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration is showing support for Bahrain in a designation that has no real impact whatsoever,” he added.

Bahrain — home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet — has seen anti-regime protest rallies since the onset of the uprising. The major demand has been the ouster of the Al Khalifah dynasty and the establishment of a just and conclusive system representing all Bahraini nationals.

In an attempt to stifle those calls, the Manama regime has been pressing ahead with a heavy-handed crackdown against the protesters and persecution of human rights campaigners and political dissidents.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cynical US Policy on Syria Revealed: Block the Russians and Iranians, Destroy the Economy, to Hell with the People

By Peter Ford | 21st Century Wire | December 15, 2020

The Rambo of the State Department is leaving. James Jeffrey, the outgoing Syria envoy, boasts about his achievements in a recent candid interview with Al-Monitor which with no sense of shame opens up to public gaze the cynicism, callousness and sheer power-crazedness of US policy on Syria, conducted as though it were a video game or a game of Monopoly.

US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey at Syria-Turkish border (March 2020 Syriac Press)

Jeffrey makes no bones about it. It’s not about ending the Syrian conflict, it’s about prolonging it:

Basically, first and foremost is denial of the [Assad regime] getting military victory… And of course, we’ve ratcheted up the isolation and sanctions pressure on Assad, we’ve held the line on no reconstruction assistance, and the country’s desperate for it. You see what’s happened to the Syrian pound, you see what’s happened to the entire economy. So, it’s been a very effective strategy….

The point is, this [preserving the SDF] is our plan B. We have a plan A. Plan A doesn’t answer ‘how does this all end?’ Plan A’s whole purpose [is] to ensure that the Russians and Assad and the Iranians don’t have a happy answer to how this all ends, and maybe that will someday get them to accept Plan B. Meanwhile, they’re tied up in knots. They don’t see Syria as a victory.

So, we don’t care a jot if Syrian people are suffering greatly, that’s part of the plan. We are happy to prolong the suffering indefinitely as long as the Russians, Iranians and Assad can’t claim victory.

Plan B, by the way, requires implementation on US terms of UN resolution 2254, which would amount effectively to a suicide note for Assad as under those terms it would allow millions of Syrians outside Syria to vote and thus decide the fate of those still inside.

At no point in this lengthy interview does Jeffrey even mention the Syrian people. The only Syrians (condescendingly) mentioned are the Kurdish militia SDF:

The SDF, they’re clean kids. I’ve gotten to know them and their leadership very, very well. They really are phenomenal, by Middle Eastern standards. They’re a highly disciplined Marxist offshoot of the PKK.

So, let’s get this straight: the US is supporting a bunch of Marxists in North East Syria to stop Assad getting the much needed oil for the Syrian people and is indifferent to the fact that Idlib is controlled by a bunch of Islamist fanatics?

Jeffrey in fact does not say a single word about the character of the opposition to acknowledge their Islamist extremism, or about the likely consequences if Plan B were to succeed and deliver the keys of Damascus to Islamist radicals. In this game – and a game is clearly how callous power-crazed Washington policy makers see it – only preventing victory by the other side matters.

Trump emerges as relatively sensible, which is saying a lot.

The president was uncomfortable with our presence in Syria. He was very uncomfortable with what he saw as endless wars. … Trump kept asking, “Why do we have troops there?”

The reason that Trump pulled the troops out was I think because he was just tired of us having to come up with all these explanations for why we’re in there.

We at the State Department never provided any troop numbers to the president. That’s not our job. We didn’t try to deceive him. He kept on publicly saying numbers that were way below what the actual numbers were, so in talking to the media and talking to Congress, we had to be very careful and dodge around. But the Syria mission is the gift that keeps on giving. We and the SDF are still the dominant force in [northeast] Syria.

‘Not our job?’ The deviousness of this is breathtaking. The US State Department deliberately withheld crucial information from the President in order to get their way on keeping their counters on the Monopoly board which for them is Syria.

It’s no surprise that someone of Jeffrey’s calibre boasts about helping Israel to pulverise Syria:

We then also had the Israeli air campaign. The US only began supporting that when I came on board. I went out there and we saw Prime Minister Netanyahu and others, and they thought that they were not being supported enough by the US military, and not by intelligence. And there was a big battle within the US government, and we won the battle.

The argument [against supporting Israel’s campaign] was, again, this obsession with the counterterrorism mission. People didn’t want to screw with it, either by worrying about Turkey or diverting resources to allow the Israelis to muck around in Syria, as maybe that will lead to some blow-back to our forces. It hasn’t.

All that matters is ‘stabilizing the situation’ to US advantage:

So that was how we put together an integrated Syria policy that nestled under the overall Iran policy. The result has been relative success because we — with a lot of help from the Turks in particular — have managed to stabilize the situation.

The only change on the ground to the benefit of Assad has been southern Idlib in two and a half years of attacks. They are highly unlikely to continue, given the strength of the Turkish army there and the magnitude of the defeat of the Syrian army by the Turks back in March.

It would be hard to disagree with that pessimistic analysis. As long as the US puts stymieing its adversaries ahead of any genuine concern for the suffering and prospects of the Syrian people, including the millions of refugees condemned by this policy to indefinite exile, no end is in sight.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Jeffrey worked with Obama long before he worked with Trump. Anybody who expects a Biden administration to follow a different path on Syria must be seriously deluded, unless by ‘different’ is meant an even more reckless, activist, interventionist policy that goes beyond ‘stabilising’.

And there is no Trump there now to apply the brakes.


Author Peter Ford is the former British Ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) and Bahrain (1999-2002).

December 15, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Latest evasions and cover-ups by Western governments over funding of terrorist groups in Syria are unraveling

People walk past damaged buildings at the Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus © Reuters
By Vanessa Beeley | RT | December 13, 2020

Evidence of Dutch and British funding for extremists who’ve beheaded children & carried out ethnic-cleansing grows by the day. Yet most of the mainstream media – including the BBC – still try to keep this truth silent.

Recently, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte effectively blocked a Parliamentary motion to allow an external independent investigation of Dutch government funding of terrorist groups in Syria.

Rutte initially tried to deny his involvement in the burial of the investigation but tenacious questioning from journalists forced him to admit his personal interference. According to Rutte, such an investigation could result in “tensions with our allies […] the lives of former members of opposition groups could be put at stake.”

Rutte’s protection of illegal armed groups wreaking havoc in Syria is reminiscent of the UK Government’s response to similar Parliamentary questions requesting clarity on the armed groups supported by its Foreign Office (UK FCO). The standard line is, “for security reasons, we do not disclose the names of those moderate opposition groups supported.”

This article will demonstrate that Rutte is very probably preventing tensions with the UK by quashing an investigation, and that the “moderate opposition” promoted by both governments actually consists of savage, extremist gangs who think nothing of conducting ethnic cleansing pogroms in Syria.

Turning ‘non-lethal aid’ into deadly weapons 

In 2018, Dutch officials were accused of providing equipment to terrorist groups in Syria. Equipment that included Toyota and Isuzu trucks that were, probably, later converted into machine-gun carriers by groups such as Jabhat al-Shamiya, considered a “Salafist” group by the Dutch Prosecution Service. This equipment was euphemistically described as non-lethal aid, a convenient caveat for governments ensuring the armed groups are given the means to recast this ‘aid’ into military hardware.

Dutch journalist Eric Van Den Beek has followed this affair from the outset. He wrote recently: “It’s a mystery why the Dutch Public Prosecution Office still has not launched a criminal investigation against current and former political officials who were involved in the support of Jabhat al-Shamiya.”

In October 2020, Dutch media reported that a former leader of a terrorist group operating in Syria had been receiving funding from the Dutch Foreign Ministry for years. The group, Ahrar Al Sham, was designated a terrorist organisation by the Dutch Court in 2019.

It is worth noting that Ahrar Al Sham merged with Nour Al Din Zinki in 2018, to form the “Syrian Liberation Front.” Zinki had been formerly funded as “moderates” by the US, but this aid was withdrawn after the group tortured and beheaded a 12-year-old boy, Abdullah Issa, in Al Ansari square, Aleppo in July 2016.

White Helmets soaked in blood 

Incidentally, the square where this heinous crime took place was only 200 meters from the White Helmet center that featured in the Oscar-nominated promotional movie for the FCO-midwived, terrorist-linked organisation, “Last Men in Aleppo.” The Dutch government only withdrew funding from the White Helmets in 2018, citing lack of assurances that funds would not be funneled to terrorist groups in Syria. Up until this point, the Netherlands had given the White Helmets $14.5 million.

It was Dutch media that broke the story of the suspected involvement of the White Helmets founder, James Le Mesurier, in defrauding Mayday Rescue – the organisation Le Mesurier established to siphon UK and EU funding to his organisation.

The BBC has recently produced a 15-part radio documentary ‘probe’ into the Le Mesurier fraud allegation and the White Helmets. The “Mayday” series, produced by Chloe Hadjimatheou, turned out to be nothing more than an attempt to smear and discredit researchers, academics, scientists and journalists whose work has exposed the White Helmets to be an armed-group-auxiliary, an extension of power for the UK/US-led regime-change coalition, whose failed agenda is the removal of the Syrian government and President Bashar Assad.

Rutte’s denial of a rigorous and transparent investigation into Dutch sponsorship of terrorist groups in Syria is likely to be connected to the BBC-Mayday series and the FCO’s support for sectarian armed groups in Syria as part of an externally managed “political process.” A recent leak of FCO documents has revealed the extent to which the British government and intelligence agencies have been involved in extensive public relations and media operations to clean up the image of bands of war-crime-committing extremist groups.

This context is important to understand why the alleged financial support provided to the leader of Ahrar Al Sham by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, is very likely connected to the UK efforts to create a vast complex of PR and media back-up for these mercenary armed groups in Syria.

The ex-UK student turned fundraiser for Islamism

The former “foreign  affairs minister” of Ahrar Al Sham is a UK-educated, Spanish-Syrian called Labib Al Nahhas. Dutch media has reported that documents show that the country awarded two million euros in subsidies  to the European Institute of Peace (EIP), based in Brussels. Much of this funding went on to the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity (SACD). Al Nahhas is the program director and he, personally, receives 700 euros per day, for an average of more than ten days per month as a senior consultant for EIP. This funding covers 2018-2021.

A recent article by journalist Kit Klarenberg revealed the role that Le Mesurier’s widow, Emma Winberg, played in the PR support for Syrian armed groups. Winberg was co-founder of Incostrat, a FCO-outreach agency funded by the Conflict Stability and Security Fund that also finances Mayday Rescue and the White Helmets. The BBC, curiously, made no mention of Winberg’s involvement in what is effectively a clandestine black-op run by the British government in an effort to destabilise Syria and to effect “regime change.”

Among the groups believed to be provided with PR and media support via Incostrat, are Jaish Al Islam, and, according to French journalist Thierry Meyssan, Ahrar Al Sham. In 2016, The Guardian ran a story on an “ex-UK student clock[ing] up air miles on mission to rebrand Syrian Islamists” (emphasis added). The Guardian admits that Ahrar Al Sham had fought in alliance with Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria) and that their goal was to establish an Islamist theocracy in Syria. The Guardian also reports that one of the original leaders of AS had “personal connections with Osama Bin Laden.”

Al Nahhas had deep connections to the US, EU and UK, where he had established a tech company in a West London suburb. IKPA Communications Ltd was set up in October 2012 and apparently liquidated in 2014. Two other directors were named at Company House, Labib Shalak and Swedish-born UK resident, John Carl Gandeborn. This background builds the picture of someone who would be an ideal candidate for the UK FCO-sponsored agencies to promote as an acceptable frontman of an unacceptably sectarian, brutal armed group.

Al Nahhas resigned as director of his tech company in April 2014, the same year he joined Liwa al-Haq, a faction that merged with Ahrar Al Sham in late 2014. Al Nahhas was appointed Ahrar Al Sham’s “foreign minister” after the assassination of the majority of the armed group’s leaders in September 2014. This event is recorded in the leaked FCO documents, in a submission by Analysis Research and Knowledge (ARK) for the “Rapid Response” contract. ARK was also responsible for the creation of the White Helmets in Turkey and Jordan in 2013, with James Le Mesurier at the helm while an employee of ARK.

Turning a blind eye to outrages 

Immediately after the largely unexplained assassination of Ahrar Al Sham leaders, Al Nahhas was dispatched on a mission to secure US/UK/EU support for the armed group, visiting Western diplomats and publishing “opinion pieces” in the Washington Post and the Telegraph that called on the West to “engage with Ahrar Al Sham”. Former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, accused by Syrian officials of fomenting the armed uprising in 2011, joined the campaign (in 2015) to whitewash Ahrar Al Sham and to distance them from their alliance with Nusra Front.

The access and UK/US state-aligned-media support given to Al Nahhas and the timing of his moves to join armed groups fighting on behalf of the US Coalition in Syria, must lead to speculation that his role was managed by entities like Incosrat with the backing of the FCO and intelligence agencies. Ahrar Al Sham did not cease their ethnic cleansing atrocities in Syria despite the elevation of the group to “political process” status. In May 2016, just before Nour Al Din Zinki beheaded Abdullah Issa, Ahrar Al Sham and Nusra Front carried out the massacre of Syrian Alawite civilians in Zara, in the Aleppo governorate. The UK and US still refused to bow to pressure from Russia to designate Ahrar Al Sham a terrorist group.

Ahrar Al Sham’s involvement with the BBC dates back to the 2013 BBC Panorama report, “Saving Syria’s Children,” when the armed group escorted the BBC production team during the fabrication of what is suspected to be an elaborate hoax based on the forensic analysis of independent researcher Robert Stuart.

As late as 2017, it was reported that Kenan Al Nahhas, Labib’s brother, was appointed the new “political” leader of Ahrar Al Sham. At this time, the group was participating in the brutal siege and daily targeting of Shia Muslim Syrian civilians in the villages of Kafarya and Foua in Idlib. Ahrar Al Sham was also present, with Nusra Front, in Rashideen, Aleppo, in April 2017, when a terrorist suicide car attack massacred recently evacuated children and families from Kafarya and Foua.

The western campaign to rebrand and decriminalise this armed group continued unaffected by the war crimes they were systematically committing against the Syrian people. An opinion piece by Al Nahhas was published by the Guardian in February 2020. The Guardian has also been instrumental in maintaining the criminalisation of the Syrian government, an effort designed to corroborate the FCO’s “regime change” policy. The Guardian was drafted in to posthumously rebrand James Le Mesurier as a “mainstream saint” and was heavily involved in the White Hemet PR industry, alongside the BBC and Channel 4.

Al Nahhas allegedly distanced himself from Ahrar Al Sham in November 2016, but his brother stepped up to lead the armed group. While the Dutch officials involved in the financial sponsorship of a terrorist group profess ignorance of this, opposition members of Parliament say this suggests a lack of robust screening of recipients of government funding. This, combined with the 2018 revelations of the funding of Jabhat Al Shamiya, paint a damning picture of Dutch government involvement in the promotion and material support for violent, criminal armed groups involved in ten years of bloodshed in Syria.

In a curious turn of fate, Chloe Hadjimatheou, the producer of the BBC “Mayday” series, had been “the driving engine” behind a King’s College London, War Department, paper, entitled “The New Jihadism: A Global Snapshot”. The paper concluded that Ahrar Al Sham should be placed alongside Nusra Front and ISIS as a “Salafist,” in other words, a terrorist organisation operating in Syria.

Hadjimatheou refused to answer when asked if she subscribed to the view that the organisation that collaborated closely with the BBC Panorama team was deemed to be a terrorist group. It seems that the promoters, financiers and supporters of terrorism in Syria are not too keen to own up to their involvement in sustaining the illegal war against the Syrian people for ten years.

Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist and photographer who has worked extensively in the Middle East – on the ground in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, while also covering the conflict in Yemen since 2015. Follow her on Twitter @VanessaBeeley

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Caitlin Johnstone: Biden’s prospective new defense secretary is another professional war profiteer

By Caitlin Johnstone | RT | December 8, 2020

Joe Biden’s possible new secretary of defense pick may be celebrated by the MSM, but his nomination only serves to underline the grim truth: corporations are running America’s war machine, and they’re doing it for profit.

The mass media are reporting that the Biden camp has selected former general Lloyd J. Austin III to be the next secretary of defense, assuaging fears among antiwar activists that the position would go to bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy as commonly predicted.

As has become the standard ritual for Biden’s cabinet picks, the mass media are holding a parade to celebrate the fact that Austin would be the first black chief of the US war machine, while virtually ignoring the murderous agendas he has facilitated throughout his career. As head of Central Command, Austin actively campaigned to resurrect the Pentagon’s spectacularly failed program of trying to arm “rebels” in Syria to fight ISIS, and in 2014 he backed immunity for US troops from war crimes prosecutions by the government of Afghanistan. He helped spearhead the Iraq invasion, and he is a member of the same private equity fund which invests in defense contractors as Flournoy and Biden’s warmongering pick for secretary of state, Tony Blinken.

Austin is also a member of the board of directors for the war profiteering corporation Raytheon, where he went immediately after his military career. Raytheon spends millions of dollars a year actively lobbying the US government to advance policies which are beneficial to the multibillion-dollar arms manufacturing giant, which of course means lobbying for military expansionism and interventionism. The previous secretary of defense, Mark Esper, also worked for Raytheon, spending years as one of the top corporate lobbyists in DC under the position of ‘Vice President for Government Relations‘.

And you know what? I say why not.

Seriously, why not? Why shouldn’t the head of the US murder machine come from a corporation which has made billions of dollars facilitating war crimes in Yemen? Why shouldn’t the most depraved and bloodthirsty regime on this planet have its depravity and bloodshed advanced by a professional war profiteer? The mass military slaughter of the US and its allies has only ever been about power and profit, so why not be honest about it?

Hell, why stop there? Why not make Raytheon itself the secretary of defense? Didn’t the Supreme Court rule that corporations are people anyway? Make Raytheon the secretary of defense, make Boeing secretary of state, make Goldman Sachs the secretary treasurer, make ExxonMobil the head of the EPA, make Amazon the CIA director, and Google the director of national intelligence. Then you’d have a completely honest face on the head of the US empire.

It’s absolutely insane that our world is being dominated by war profiteers who actively push for more violence and bloodshed because they make money selling the weapons used to perpetrate it. It’s no less evil than if plutocrats were cruising the world murdering people and selling their skins for money; the same number of people would be killed for the same profit incentive, yet people who would recoil in horror at that idea pay no mind to the fact that functionally the same thing is happening with corporate powers like Raytheon.

The only difference between the US war machine and a band of armed crooks murdering people for money is that the US war machine does it at a far greater scale. As long as that’s going on there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. Hopefully people start looking past the smiley-faced mask of the empire and begin opening their eyes to the blood-spattered face beneath it.

Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

December 8, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment