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How a US-led Unholy Alliance is Preventing Syria’s Normalisation

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 14.04.2021

If there is major stumbling block to Syrian unification and normalisation back to the pre-war years, it is the continuing presence of foreign forces inside Syria and the support they continue to provide to jihadi elements and militias that continue to seek to overthrow Assad’s government. Their presence, therefore, not only dovetails pretty closely with the underlying logic of the US and Turkish military interventions in Syria, but they continue to be the main instruments of a geo-political game the interventionist force, being led by the US, are playing in Syria against Syria and its principal allies, Iran and Russia. This was recently confirmed by a former US ambassador and special representative for Syria engagement, James Jeffrey, in an interview given to the US government’s Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) channel, where he was quoted to have said that militant and jihadi outfits like Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham remain an “asset” for America’s overall Syria strategy, currently territorially focused on Idlib, against Iran and Russia.

“They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East,” Jeffrey said in an interview on March 8.

It is also a well known fact that Turkey has been supporting such elements in Syria with the sole objective of denying Assad regaining complete control of his country.

Nicholas Heras, Senior Analyst and Program Head for Authoritarianism at the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy recently said in an interview that “HTS cannot survive without Turkish support, it’s that simple,” adding that “Turkey’s significant military investment to protect Idlib is the key factor that protects that region from collapsing back into the control of Assad and his allies.” Accordingly, were Idlib to fall back to Assad, this will fundamentally shake Turkish position in Syria, and further curtail the US ability to use its military forces to control parts of Syrian territory.

To avoid this eventuality, the US continues to send reinforcements and fully loaded trucks with weapons to the Syrian region of Jazirah in northeast. That these weapons could be used to strengthen jihadi outfits is entirely possible, given that the US continues, as mentioned above, to treat groups like HTS as “assets.”

In a separate interview given to the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the head of HTS, Abu Mohammad Jolani, confirmed how the group continues to work to overthrow Assad, and how it repeatedly engages the Syrian and the Russian forces. Jolani confirmed that his group poses no threat to the US.

The PBS report also noted that that for the last couple of years, Idlib has come under attack from Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces, with Turkey backing opposition groups, including, sometimes, Jolani’s.

Turkey’s support for HTS explains why it has so far refrained from targeting the group in a region that has been under its control for quite some time. The US calculations are crude & simple: benefits that emerge from a direct support for groups like HTS outweigh the benefits that more regular and non-radical militias like the Syrian Democratic Forces/Kurdish militias can yield. Maintaining strong ties with groups like the HTS also prevents the US-Turkey alliance from falling into hot water, since Turkey has its own reservations with respect to the presence of Kurdish militias closer to its border regions.

In addition, given the fact that the US-Turkey alliance aims to turn Syrian into a quagmire for Iran and Russia, support for such radical groups remains the key.

In other words, it remains that the Biden administration intends to stick to the erstwhile policy of weakening Damascus in favour of its “assets” based in Idlib. This is evident from the sudden flurry of US establishment media interest in the HTS and Abu Mohammed al-Jolani and the way he and his outfit are not only been appropriated, but also being presented as a “non-threatening” entity that could actually serve the US interests better than other available options.

Controlling the Economy

Whereas the US is using these “assets” to prevent Syria’s territorial unification and its return to normalisation, it also continues to control about 90 per cent of Syria’s oil and other economic resources to hurt its economic recovery as well.

The Syrian oil minister recently said that “The oil sector has been targeted chiefly because it is the main source of income for the Syrian economy.”

Continuing economic crisis, as it stands, makes it easier for outfits like the HTS to find fresh recruits from within the rank and file.

As irony would have it, Syria’s oil that was previously stolen by Daesh is now being stolen under the aegis of an occupying power, causing the Syrian state to lose billions of dollars in revenue.

By controlling 90 per cent of Syria’s oil production, the US not only aims to keep the war-torn country impoverished, but also prevent Russia from stepping into the oil exploration industry in Syria and thus establish itself firmly in the Middle East. Last year in September 2020, Syria’s parliament approved contracts for oil exploration with two Russian companies in an effort to boost production hit industry and generate revenue for post war reconstruction.

However, the fact that the US forces in combination with Kurdish militias continue to control most of the oil means that Syria’s post war recovery through locally generated, albeit scant, resources cannot be possible.

In many ways, therefore, the US & its allies continue to play the same sinister “regime change” game that had actually caused the war to start in Syria in 2011.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 16, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘US, allies have turned OPCW into a tool to pursue anti-Syria objectives’

Press TV – April 16, 2021

Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Faisal Mekdad has categorically dismissed the new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), stating that the United States and its allies have turned the international watchdog into a tool to pursue their political goals against Damascus.

“Despite the difficult situation that Syria is going through, we have stood committed to our membership in the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted Mekdad as saying in a meeting with ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Damascus on Thursday evening.

He added, “Syria and many other countries have acknowledged that the states which supported and funded armed terrorist groups in Syria, particularly the United States, France, Germany and Britain, will use the Syrian chemical file and the OPCW to achieve their hostile goals against Syria.”

Mekdad noted that Syrian government forces continue to score remarkable victories in their battles against the Takfiri terrorist groups, emphasizing that the troops have never used chemical warfare even in toughest operations against the foreign-sponsored militants.

He went on to say that certain Western countries have established the OPCW’s so-called Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) in order to produce reports, which best suit their anti-Syria agenda.

“The French-Western draft resolution, which is to be presented at the 25th meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons later this year, is a new chapter in the series of conspiracies against Syria,” Mekdad pointed out.

The top Syrian diplomat finally called on the OPCW member states to support Damascus and counter the politicization of the organization’s activities by some Western countries.

A report by the OPCW’s so-called investigative arm claimed on Monday that Syria’s air force had dropped a chlorine bomb on a residential neighborhood in the terrorist-controlled Idlib region.

The report further asserted no one was killed when the cylinder of chlorine gas, delivered in a barrel bomb, hit the al-Talil neighborhood in the city of Saraqib in February 2018.

The Syrian foreign ministry, in a statement published on Wednesday, said the OPCW’s “misleading report,” written by “an illegitimate and incredible team,” fabricates “facts” to incriminate the Damascus government.

“This report has included false and fabricated conclusion which represents another scandal for the OPCW and the inquiry teams that will be added to the scandal of the reports of Douma incident in 2018, and Ltamenah in 2017,” it said.

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group claims to be a humanitarian NGO but has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, a charge the Syrian government rejected.

Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has consistently denied using chemical weapons.

April 16, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

CIJA Sting Operation Stirs FCDO’s ‘Hotch Potch’ of Spooks

By Vanessa Beeley | UKColumn | April 12, 2021

A recent sting operation carried out by the Commission for International Justice and Accountiblity (CIJA) entrapped an unsuspecting academic member of the Working Group on Syria Media and Propganda (WGSPM) into engaging in a series of email conversations with a fake “Russian agent”. These emails were then supplied to the BBC producer, Chloe Hadjimatheou, who is responsible for a prolonged smear campaign against the Working Group, journalists and former diplomats who are challenging the establishment narratives on Syria — narratives that have sustained the “humanitarian” pretexts used to justify the ten-year proxy war against Syria by hostile states forming the US Coalition. The UK has played a major role in the war to topple the Syrian government and to reassert US/UK rule-by-puppet over the country and, effectively, in the region.

The academic Paul McKeigue, who was targeted by CIJA, was in the process of investigating the organisation’s financial background, their intelligence agency, US State Department and other government connections and their collaboration with extremist armed groups fighting inside Syria. McKeigue’s briefing on CIJA was published shortly after the revelation that he had been the victim of the protracted sting operation launched by CIJA.

Professor Tim Hayward, another member of the WGSPM, has asked important questions about the conflict of basic principles demonstrated by CIJA’s entrapment.

McKeigue’s briefing demonstrates that “in the Syrian conflict, one of the most prominent organizations reported to be gathering evidence of crimes allegedly committed by the Syrian government is the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), established by William Harry Wiley, a Canadian former army officer.” CIJA is at the centre of a number of initiatives to push through charges of alleged “war crimes” against Syrian officials and President Bashar Al Assad himself.

CIJA is a major cog in the wheel of politicised justice designed to crush countries legally that have resisted UK/US-dominated military interventionism, as Syria and her allies have done successfully for ten years. McKeigue’s briefing provides a rigorously researched analysis of why CIJA was incubated, and of the nexus of UK government bodies and intelligence agencies behind the operations in Syria.

My focus in this article is not on CIJA but on an ostensibly minor spin-off from the parent complex. I was intrigued by an “entertainment” company established in November 2019, one week after the death of James Le Mesurier, the former British military intelligence officer who founded the terrorist-linked White Helmets organisation financed by multiple governments invested in regime change in Syria, headed up by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO).

The CIJA sting and McKeigue’s subsequent briefing included the first mention of a company called Hotch Potch Entertainment, established by an erstwhile colleague of Le Mesurier, Alistair Harris, who is an influential fixer for UK FCDO interventionist policies globally. Harris was interviewed by BBC producer, Hadjimatheou, for the Mayday series, a concerted attack against the WGSPM and associated independent journalists who have been questioning mainstream narratives on Syria for years. The timing of the establishment of the company led me to investigate further.

Hotch Potch Entertainment, Alistair Harris and the MI6 spin-offs

Alistair Harris is listed as one of three directors of Hotch Potch Entertainment Ltd (HP), which was set up on 18th November 2019, and has its registered office listed as Lower Newnham Farm in Dorset, UK. Harris has a history of involvement with UK FCDO foreign policy operations in the Balkans, Pakistan, Central Europe, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria.

Harris, with the reversed baseball cap. Photo taken from LinkedIn.

Harris was the founder/director of Analysis Research and Knowledge (ARK) Lebanon in 2009. In 2011, as the “Arab Springs” swept across the Middle East plunging the region into orchestrated chaos, Harris established ARK FZC (registered in Dubai), later renamed ARK Group DMCC, as another of the multiple outreach agents providing intelligence support for UK FCDO foreign policy in nations targeted for regime change.

CIJA was an ARK creation, as were the White Helmets, founded by James Le Mesurier while he was employed by ARK in 2013. Le Mesurier was with ARK from 2011 until 2014, when he established Mayday Rescue (also originally registered in Dubai, later in the Netherlands) as a so-called NGO which acted as intermediary between UK and EU governments and the White Helmets, funnelling funding to that entity embedded with armed groups dominated by Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) in Syria.

Le Mesurier’s second wife, Sarah Tosh — who also conducted work in Lebanon for UK FCDO contractor Siren — was likewise an ARK employee from 2013 to 2020, and his third wife Emma Winberg founded Innovative Communications and Strategies (InCoStrat) together with Paul Tilley, another suspected MI6 agent and former military officer. Incostrat was tasked and funded by the UK FCDO to provide PR and media support for US/UK-backed armed groups in Syria. These groups included Jaish Al Islam (Army of Islam), a group renowned for sectarian brutality and ethnic cleansing pogroms across Syria. Jaish Al Islam admitted using banned chemical weapons against the Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud in 2016, to the north of Aleppo City. Winberg later joined Mayday Rescue as a director alongside Le Mesurier.

After Le Mesurier’s demise (in November 2019), Winberg joined Guernica Chambers, a legal practice co-directed by UK FCDO-contracted lawyer Toby Cadman, who is also on the board of CIJA.

CIJA, the organisation behind the sting operation that effectively entrapped McKeigue, was spawned from Harris’ ARK Group. All these connections demonstrate the incestuous nature of these barely concealed UK government- and intelligence agency-linked networks that provide essential legal, media and intelligence/information back-up for Global Britain’s neo-colonialist, hybrid-war-focused foreign policy.

While Harris appeared to dodge the issue of his potential MI6 connections when interviewed by Hadjimatheou for the BBC’s Mayday series, McKeigue had concluded that Harris is or was very probably a British intelligence operative. His UK FCDO-linked operations certainly reinforce that conclusion.

The activities of Harris’s ARK Group DMCC in the Syrian conflict and in Lebanon are described in detail in batches of leaked FCDO documents that appeared online in September 2020, labelled as Operation HMG Trojan Horse. When the first batch of files revealing the extent of UK FCDO (the recent rebranding of the previous FCO) subversive operations in Lebanon were released on 11 December 2020, the Anon preface to the leaked material included a warning to British Embassy intelligence officers to leave Beirut before the second batch of documents was released. McKeigue points out that Harris did indeed relocate from Beirut to London at this time, “announcing on his LinkedIn profile that on 21 December 2020 he had been appointed to a new post with the Stabilisation Unit’s Civilian Stabilisation Unit.” The British Ambassador to Beirut, Chris Rampling, also resigned “for personal reasons” during the same period; perhaps a coincidence.

The three directors of Hotch Potch and their spy ring potential

In Companies House records, Harris is listed as a “business owner” by occupation, and his country of residence is given as the United Arab Emirates. His co-directors in HP, both appointed on 18 November 2019, are Helen Frances Busby (Solicitor) and Simon Jules Wilson (Consultant). Busby is listed as UK resident, Wilson based in Oman. The registered address of HP is Lower Newnham Farm, Broadwindsor, Beaminster, Dorset, UK.

Tellingly, a Google Maps search for the property reveals that the building has been obscured. This is not necessarily unusual, but the investigation into the other businesses registered at this address and the British government/intelligence links of company directors do increase suspicion. It also reminds me of the Integrity Initiative disused mill scam — yet another military/intelligence operation running (dis)information campaigns, with Russia as a primary target.

Wilson appears on a list of MI6 officers published in 1999, detailed as “Simon Jules Wilson: date of birth 1966; [diplomatic cover postings with year —] 91 Athens, 93 Zagreb, 199 New York, 02 Budapest”. Wilson’s biography confirms these postings, followed by missions in Oman, Iraq and Kuwait. He left the “British Diplomatic” service in 2012 and now works as “an advisor on government relations for a number of companies specialising in the Gulf”. Wilson speaks Russian, Hungarian, Serbian, French, Greek and Arabic. Wilson was appointed OBE in June 1997.

When the spy list was leaked in 1999, the British government tried unsuccessfully to prevent the informations publication on the web. Blame for the breach of security was attributed to Richard Tomlinson, an “embittered” MI6 agent who was released from service in 1995 and later served a jail sentence for “violating Britain’s Official Secrets Act” . The UK Foreign Secretary at the time, Robin Cook, claimed the list was “riddled with inaccuracies” but admitted that some names were indeed those of current MI6 operatives.

After being “let go”, Tomlinson made a number of assertions, some quite impactful, “including accusations that MI6 tried to assassinate the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milošević, in 1992”; that British intelligence was involved in the death of Princess Diana; and that the UK had a “highly placed spy in German’s central bank who leaked secrets over a 12-year period”. Tomlinson was, unsurprisingly, discredited as being “prone to fantasy” by a UK Foreign Office (UK FCDO) spokesperson.

The release of the MI6 agent names led to the withdrawal of operatives from the Balkans, as widely reported in 2004 here and here, and it exposed the murky, clandestine operations of the British government and intelligence agencies as part of NATO operations to destabilise and forcibly partition the former Yugoslavia, a dismemberment perceived by various analysts to be the blueprint for operations against Syria and other target nations.

Harris was also working for the UK FCDO from 1996 to 2002 and his postings included the Balkans, Central Europe and Pakistan. Harris speaks Serbo-Croat and “operational”-level French and Arabic. Harris was appointed an OBE in 2013 “for services to stability in Lebanon”: ironic, as the recent UK FCDO document leak has revealed that Harris was yet again involved in an extensive destabilisation project in a country torn apart by externally-orchestrated sectarian divisions.

Why would two such high level UK FCDO operatives, both suspected MI6 agents, combine to establish a company that purports to provide motion picture and television programme production activities, immediately after the death of James Le Mesurier? It is also worth observing that Le Mesurier’s death on 11 November 2019 followed on from a protracted investigation into suspected fraud and embezzlement by the Mayday Rescue NGO founder and director who had set up the NGO, in 2014, to funnel government funds to the terrorist-embedded White Helmets inside Syria.

There is the possibility of another connection between Le Mesurier and Simon Wilson, namely in Iraq. Wilson was there in 2005 and Le Mesurier was adviser to the Minister of Interior in Iraq around the same time.

Work on the BBC Mayday radio ‘documentary’ began in late 2019; the series was eventually broadcast in November 2020. Harris was interviewed by Hadjimatheou, as was Abdul AlKader Habak, a former ARK-trained videographer and stringer working inside Syria, who was also listed as a researcher for the entire Mayday series. Chloe Hadjimatheou has been asked, by myself and journalist Kit Klarenberg, whether she or the BBC have any connection to Hotch Potch. The response I received, not from Hadjimatheou herself but from a BBC publicist, is as follows:

This programme is the result of independent investigation by an experienced team of BBC journalists and we stand by it and our journalism.

In regards to your specific query regarding Hotch Potch Entertainment, there is no connection between this organisation and the series. Please make this clear.

This response clearly does not address the possibility of a connection between Hadjimatheou and Hotch Potch, a possibility raised in McKeigue’s briefing; it answers a question I did not actually ask. Why?

On 10 February 2021, Wilson and Helen Busby applied for Hotch Potch to be dissolved before accounts would become due, resulting in the disappearance from view of Hotch Potch and a lack of website or any accounts to give some indication of the outfit’s purpose or client base.

The Lower Newnham Farm / Beaminster company cluster

Hotch Potch is not the only company apparently linked to a former MI6 VIP registered at Lower Newnham Farm.

George Busby Ltd

George Busby Ltd was registered at Lower Newnham Farm in April 2015. Listed as a management consultancy (in the sub-category “Activities other than financial management”), its directors are Helen Frances Busby and George Busby. A filing of micro-company accounts in April 2020 show a turnover of £192,189 — as against £473, 016 in 2019. Capital and reserves also dropped from £363,780 in 2019 to £125,558 in 2020.

Apart from the obvious connection to Helen Frances Busby, who was also listed as “solicitor” for Hotch Potch, the George Busby links took us back into MI6 territory.

Busby was named alongside Hotch Potch’s Simon Wilson in the 1999 Balkans MI6 agents leak: “George Benedict Joseph P Busby: [diplomatic-cover postings] 89 Bonn, 92 Belgrade; date of birth 1960; OBE.” Thus, Busby was in Belgrade one year before Wilson was in Zagreb — and the disgraced spy Tomlinson claimed that the MI6 assassination plot against Milošević was in 1992. Busby was appointed an OBE in 2015, when he was serving as Counsellor, British High Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan. The appointment was for services to international security.

An article published in the Nacional, a Serbian daily newspaper, in 2004, alleges the pivotal role played by Busby to further British interests in the Balkans as a senior MI6 operative. He is described as later becoming “one of the six top men in the agency”. After Belgrade, Busby was relocated to Vienna, which, according to Nacional, is considered the main spy headquarters for the Balkans and Central Europe. The Nacional names Busby as one of those most intent on the overthrow of Milošević, alongside another MI6 agent, Anthony Monckton, who is credited with helping to arrange the flight of Milošević to The Hague to face trial for “war crimes” — accusations for which Milošević was posthumously exonerated. The section detailing Busby’s connections to Serbian underworld figures and influential oligarchs has been recorded here.

The Balkan connection

We now have two confirmed MI6 agents, Wilson and Busby, and two suspected MI6 agents, Harris and Le Mesurier, all with connections to the Balkans and the Middle East, all appointed OBEs (Le Mesurier was appointed in 2016) and born around the same time, all acknowledged as “international security” specialists. Le Mesurier founded the UK FCDO-incubated White Helmets while working for Harris at ARK, which then spawned CIJA.

Le Mesurier operated extensively in the Balkans both while serving with the British military and then as policy adviser on security justice to the United Nations mission to Kosovo. In July 1999 and continuing until 2000, Le Mesurier “was appointed Intelligence Coordinator for Priština City, acting as liaison officer between intelligence officers of different national contingents” forming KFOR (the NATO-led Kosovo Force). It was under these auspices that Le Mesurier helped transform, or rather, rebrand the Al Qaeda/Albanian warlords of the Kosovo Liberation Army into the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Burstock Ltd — military-intelligence networking

Burstock is registered at PO Box 9256, Beaminster, Dorset, UK. The company is listed as carrying out “other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified”. It was incorporated in July 2015. Its directors are Helen Frances Busby, George Busby, Sir Barnabas White-Spunner and Lady Amanda White-Spunner. George Busby and Sir Barnabas White-Spunner were the original directors “with significant control”. Helen Busby and Lady Amanda White-Spunner joined in January 2018. Notably, in the company filings another address is also listed: “Lower Sandpit Farm, Drimpton Road, Broadwindsor, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3RS”.

Burstock is one of the few companies among this cluster that actually has a website. Their mission statement reads as follows:

Burstock helps governments, commercial organisations and institutions to achieve their goals. We can help you to understand how the United Kingdom works and how to engage successfully with British partners. We also help British and multinational organisations engage overseas.

It appears that Busby is maintaining his Balkans role as facilitator for overseas oligarchs and corporate interests to gain a foothold in the UK. According to the website, “Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB, CBE served in the British Army for thirty-five years, finishing as the Army Commander. He has extensive experience in the Middle East, Africa and Asia leading both British and multinational forces. Most recently he has run the largest UK rural campaigning group representing the interests of 500,000 people. He is an Honorary Member of the French Foreign Legion and holds the US Legion of Merit.”

White-Spunner served in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, eventually retiring from the Army in 2012. So the links to the Balkans and the Middle East are maintained. White-Spunner commanded the Household Cavalry Regiment in 1996, making four deployments to Bosnia. In 1998, he was deputy director of defence policy at the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). In 2003, White-Spunner became Chief of Joint Force Operations and Chief of Staff of the national contingent in the Middle East. The general later went on to become the British commanding officer in southern Iraq after the country had been decimated by the US/UK-led war against it, justified by the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Further details are found here.

In 2020, Burstock declared £403,000 in the bank/cash in hand, owing £357,414, and the directors’ salaries amounted to £56,172. In 2016/17 the company appeared to be dormant; in 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, Burstock was exempted from audit due to its size as a small company.

On the Burstock Ltd website, there are lofty and vague claims of projects in hand. They are working with an unnamed Central European government, an unnamed Middle East client, an unnamed government, an unnamed African government and an unnamed but major US aviation service corporation. It is curious that a company ostensibly offering “other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified” is not highlighting major government and corporate clients — unless, of course, these collaborations are intelligence-related and must be shrouded in secrecy, despite the public website.

Pillsdown Partners Ltd

Pillsdown Partners Ltd is another management consultancy (non-financial sub-category), incorporated in April 2018, and registered at the same Beaminster PO Box address. The two directors are Busby and Sir Barney White-Spunner, Helen Busby is Company Secretary. Up to 5 February 2021, the company has been dormant; therefore, no audit has been carried out.

Center for Dynamic Research and BNWS Cladding Ltd

The Busby connections lead us on to a cluster of companies, most with links to Beaminster and some to Lower Newnham Farm. According to Companies House, Busby holds a total of seven company appointments. Of those seven, two are registered to a Beaminster PO Box 9256 — namely Pilsdon Partners Ltd (previously Pilsdon Consultancy Services LLP) and Burstock Ltd (previously Burstock Partners LLP, registered at the Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster address). George Busby is registered at Lower Newnham Farm. The Centre for Dynamic Research is registered in Grays, Essex, and BNWS Cladding UK Ltd is registered in Covent Garden, London. A telephone number listings webpage, however, shows BNWS Cladding to be a builders’ merchant based at Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster.

BNWS Cladding Ltd. — registered in Covent Garden, London, and incorporated in July 2020

In October 2020, the company changed its name from Alubond Cladding UK Ltd. to BNWS Cladding Ltd. and the address was changed from Lower Newnham Farm to Covent Garden in the same month. So, Alubond Cladding UK had been registered at the same address as Hotch Potch and George Busby Ltd. The Covent Garden neighbourhood of London’s entertainment district certainly seems a strange relocation for a company registered as “agents involved in the sale of timber and building materials”. A look at the Covent Garden premises on Google Maps shows what appears to be office buildings, some apparently vacant.

The Centre for Dynamic Research has Busby as Director, is registered in Grays, Essex, UK, and was incorporated in April 2018. The company is listed as undertaking “other information service activities not elsewhere classified” and it does have a website and email address — team@c4dres.co.uk.

According to the website, C4DRES (the abbreviated company name given on the website) provides insights and intelligence to give clients the ‘edge’ in their geopolitical decision-making. Its clients are NGOs, government agencies, campaigning bodies and individuals. The company claims to have influenced the Bank of England, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), and a global foundation providing networking and advisory services to former and current world leaders. The company claims to have enabled the countering of propaganda by militaries and governments. Once again, there are no client names disclosed. The website is a single page, indicative of it not being a working site, more of a front cover for what appears to be an intelligence-related operation run by a former top man in MI6.

C4DRES is also listed as a dormant company, and it’s accounts show only £100 cash at hand, which begs the question, how did this ‘dormant’ company influence the Bank of England?.

Walsingham Foundation — named after Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster?

The final piece of the puzzle registered at Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster, UK is a charity that goes by the name of the Walsingham Foundation. This perhaps reveals a little dark humour on Busby’s part: Sir Francis Walsingham was spymaster to Queen Elizabeth I. The charity was registered in February 2020: four months after the death of James Le Mesurier and eight months before the BBC Mayday series was broadcast and was closed down three months later.

Its trustees are George Busby, Helen Frances Busby and Sir Barney White-Spunner.

According to the Charity Commission for England and Wales website, this is how Walsingham will spend its money:

The charity aims to promote, sustain and increase individual and collective knowledge and understanding of intelligence analysis and studies for the public benefit. The funds raised by the charity will be used in supporting academic institutions, granting scholarships and teaching intelligence skills(Emphasis added)

The Walsingham Foundation provides grants to organisations and individuals, provides advocacy, advice and information, and sponsors or undertakes research. The Foundation operates in Wales and England, and, according to the Charities Commission website, it helps mankind. Again, there are no accounts available to afford transparency to the Foundation’s operations. The website reveals nothing regarding sponsors or donors, nor does it specify recipients of the grants. Is it a barely disguised front for intelligence agency activities with undisclosed funding?

Keeping it in the Intelligence family

I asked journalist Kit Klarenberg for his comments on the constellation of companies in Beaminster, and elsewhere in the UK, established by former British spies who operated in similar regions targeted for UK FCDO interference. Klarenberg told me:

There’s an enormous constellation of Whitehall contractors founded and staffed by former military and intelligence veterans — or are they truly former? — engaged in industrial-scale grift, leeching untold millions from the Exchequer [the British taxpayer] each and every year. Despite the number of firms involved, though, the sphere is incestuous in the absolute extreme and there’s a high degree of staff and operational overlap between them all — much like the highly fluid movement of fighters between separate jihadist groups in the Middle East, ironically enough.

Often, individuals running ostensibly separate companies will work on the same or similar projects. These same people will have connections that may go back to education, military, government etc. MI6 is nothing if not an old boys’ club, specifically recruiting from elite institutions.

There is also the issue of spooks setting up companies of undefined origin that never file accounts throughout their existence. In September 2019, I exposed Citizens=Network, a seeming front for private intelligence firm Hakluyt, which is staffed by ex MI5/6 operatives and widely believed to be a façade behind which those agencies operate in secret.

Individuals involved in Citizens=Network have set up dozens of companies across the globe over many years, all of which remain officially dormant, sometimes for years. By definition, we don’t know if these entities are used to siphon and/or distribute illicit government or corporate cash. They could also serve as vehicles to conceal and facilitate fraud.

In April 2017, Le Mesurier and Winberg founded a “resilience solutions” company in the Netherlands, R3covery BV. It has never filed accounts, in breach of Dutch law, and Winberg has refused to answer questions about the entity. One could speculate that the company may have permitted Le Mesurier to funnel money out of Mayday via purchasing “resilience solutions” from himself. It would have shown up on the supposed charitable organisation’s balance sheet as a payment made to an external supplier and slipped beneath an audit radar.

Assumptions of bad faith on the part of these characters should be reflexive. In early 2019, Aktis Strategy, a “conflict resolution” specialist founded by two veteran FCDO operators, went bust, despite multi-million funding from the UK FCDO. A vast number of staff, and subcontractors, are still owed months of pay, expenses, and pension contributions. Yet one of its directors, Andrew Rathmell — former deputy director of the Foreign Office Strategy Unit — lives in a £2 million home in Oxfordshire. He charges members of the public £5 to visit his garden, which the National Garden Scheme describes as a “wildlife haven”.

The sting operation to entrap individuals seeking justice

Questions should definitely be raised as to the purpose of a media company established so soon after the suspicious death of James Le Mesurier and hot on the heels of a financial controversy surrounding the organisation Le Mesurier had established to siphon government funds to the equally controversial White Helmets. Did Mesurier’s former employer, Harris, establish Hotch Potch so soon after the suspicious death of Mayday Rescue’s Founder in order to help with the cleaning up of suspected financial irregularities? Was Hotch Potch involved in providing information for Hadjimatheou’s “investigation” despite the BBC’s denial?

While the BBC is refusing to provide any further details on its involvement, if any, with Hotch Potch, it is clear that the director of the company, Harris, is intrinsically linked to UK FCDO-outsourced intelligence operations that have destabilised multiple countries, including Syria, Lebanon and states in the Western Balkans. Harris is, in fact, at the centre of the web of entities pushing to bring Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

CIJA deployed an unethical sting operation to entrap McKeigue into revealing details about colleagues who are working to expose the black ops that the UK FCDO has planned and carried out against Syria for more than a decade. Who is going to put the boot on the other foot and entrap the BBC, the MI6 spin-off agencies and UK FCDO outreach organisations into revealing the extent of their campaign to destroy Syria and other sovereign nations, concealed beneath the fig leaves of “humanitarian aid”, “diplomacy” and “security solutions”? When will these entities be held accountable or forced to respond to the questions that any thinking person would ask?

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 8, 2021

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting, the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Korb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Korb notes that “… the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Korb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Korb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.

April 9, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli circles cautiously monitor developments in Jordan as reports indicate Tel Aviv, Riyadh involvement in failed coup

Al-Manar | April 5, 2021

The Israeli circles continued monitoring the dangerous developments in Jordan without giving public statements for fear of exacerbating the cold ties with the Jordanian leadership.

Zionist reports indicated that the Israeli intelligence was directly involved in the recent incidents in Amman, adding that the ties between the arrested officials and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, hint at KSA involvement in the coup as well.

The Jordanian intelligence intercepted a phone call between an Israeli Mossad officer and the wife of former crown prince Hamzah bin Al-Hussein who was offered a private jet to leave Jordan into a foreign country, according to the reports.

State media reported citing Jordan’s armed forces on Saturday that former Jordanian crown prince, also a half-brother of King Abdullah II, was told to halt actions undermining national security.

Hasan bin Zaid, a member of Jordan’s royal family and envoy to Saudi Arabia, and King Abdullah’s long-time confidant Basem Ibrahim Awadallah were arrested on Saturday, the state news agency Petra reported, citing a security source.

The Israeli media expressed concerns about the possibility of a considerable shift in Jordan’s strategic policy, citing the cold relation between KIng Abdullah II and the Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

April 5, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

Washington Institute Calls Yemeni Forces as New Hezbollah, Warns against Augmenting Military Capabilities of Ansarullah

Al-Manar | April 4, 2021

The augmenting military capabilities of the Yemeni Armed Forces have been increasingly worrying the United States of America and the Zionist entity, according to The Washington Institute for the Near East Policy.

The study, titled “Yemen’s ‘Southern Hezbollah’: Implications of Houthi Missile and Drone Improvements”, called on the US administration to deal with the “Houthis” as a challenge that will go beyond the war in Yemen.

In light of the recent Yemeni attacks on the Saudi home front, the study concentrated on the development of Yemen’s missile and drone industries, calling on U.S. diplomats and military planners to factor this threat complex into their future calculations beyond the current Yemen war.

The study also considered that the Yemeni armed forces can develop missile/drone assembly industry further range increases, adding that the Yemeni forces would be able to reach new targets if they so desire—perhaps ‘Israel’ given their known enmity toward that country, or even Egypt and Jordan as part of a wider effort to exert themselves in the Red Sea (e.g., hindering international shipping, targeting Suez Canal infrastructure).

The study warned against the possible victory of the Yemeni army and popular committees (Ansarullah) in Marib, considering that either a win or a draw would ensconce the Houthis as “a new ‘southern Hezbollah’ on the Red Sea—mirroring the position of Lebanese Hezbollah on the Mediterranean—with a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones capable of threatening the Suez Canal, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Gulf states, the Red Sea states, and perhaps even ‘Israel’”.

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

How China is Going to Reshape Asia

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 01.04.2021

With China and Iran signing a multi-billion dollar deal for the next 25 years, there remains little gainsaying that the former is going to increase its footprint in West Asia/Middle East in a way that once was thought to be unimaginable for reasons that included China’s own economic policies and West Asia’s too close ties with the West to allow for any players. Forces of economic change that China is unleashing will not only become a massive boost for Iran, but Iran will become a gateway for China’s further expansion into the Middle East, including countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that Iran rivals. For China, its presence and expansion in the Middle East is not merely about economic benefits; this presence is equally driven by the emerging US-China global rivalry and China’s desire to push back against erstwhile US hegemony and domination of the Middle East since the Second World War.

As such, when China’s foreign minister went on a tour to the Middle East last week, he was not merely looking to sign a deal with Iran; he was more interested in and largely focused on introducing new rules of the game that focus, first and foremost, on economic engagement and connectivity. Rather than traditional Gulf tensions. Therefore, while Wang Yi met Saudia’s Crown Prince, MBS, and supported Saudi stance to oppose any “interference” in the internal affairs by any external player, Wang also offered MBS, who is currently not on good terms with the Joe Biden administration, an opportunity to engage with China “to explore and find a path of development that fits its own conditions.” This path, as Wang emphasised in an interview with Saudia’s official news channel, Al Arabiya, can be found only when Gulf countries can “break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and [be able to] independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities.”

As it stands, China has offered Saudi Arabia the same path it has signed up with Iran. Therefore, China, while it does not want to get entangled in the cross-web of geo-political rivalries in the Persian Gulf, aims to chart a new course whereby countries in the region can stick to an agenda that maintains a strict separation between geo-economics and geo-political and/or ideological rivalries including those around Sunni & Shia faiths and organisations like Muslim Brotherhood.

Therefore, while China signed a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran that includes development projects and enhanced oil production and supplies, China’s growing ties with Saudi Arabia, too, include an increasing Saudi desire to enhance Saudi supply of oil to China and secure Chinese investment in fields ranging from petrochemical, nuclear energy and other energy fields, further expanding it into new fields such as 5G, telecommunication and digital technologies. Saudi Arabia, MBS affirmed, is also willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward the free trade negotiations between China and Gulf countries.

Therefore, by offering both rivals a somewhat similar paradigm of economic development that bypasses geo-political tensions and rivalries, China is building an economic landscape that would leave minimum room for external payers, like the US, to continue to manipulate the Gulf to its advantage as it has been doing for the past many decades.

As such, whereas Chinese investment in Iran offers the latter an opportunity to break economic shackles imposed by the US through economic sanctions, for Saudi Arabia, China offers an opportunity to reshape its ties with the US at a time when the Joe Biden administration appears unwilling to accept MBS as the future king.

By offering states in the Gulf an opportunity to diversify their external geo-economic ties and reduce dependence on the US, China is posing a serious challenge to the US position in West Asia, which has mostly relied on using the precarious geo-political scenario to keep itself militarily entrenched and maintain a relationship that served, first and foremost, the US military industrial complex. At the same time, for the Middle Eastern states, China’s economic path is a way out of their decades old reliance on oil as a primary source of national income.

For China itself, it is pivoting to the Middle East at a time when the Joe Biden administration is trying to assemble an anti-China coalition through the QUAD, a group of countries that includes the US, Japan, India and Australia. China, by simultaneously approaching rival countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the UAE, is posing a counter-challenge to the US ambitions, making it more and more difficult for the US to realise its “containment” of China ambitions at the global level.

The fact that China’s multi-billion dollar deals have received a very warm reception speaks volumes about how the Gulf itself is keen to transform its geo-economic landscape. In this sense, China-Gulf ties become, unlike US-Gulf ties, a fruit of a path that converges to serve mutual interests.

China’s pact with Iran and its deepening ties with other Gulf countries, therefore, has the potential to completely upend the prevailing geo-economic scenario. With the Gulf countries’ ability to diversify their ties and radically reduce their over-dependence on the US, the region’s geo-political scenario could also undergo a dramatic change.

Therefore, it would be wrong to grasp China-Iran deal as an isolated event. The fact that Wang has toured Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE shows how China is embracing the region as a whole through a single framework of policy that is very largely underpinned by economic development. The fact that Saudi Arabia, to China’s utter joy, even refused to back the US campaign against China’s alleged “genocide” of Uyghur shows how China, to the disappointment of the US, continues to earn more and more acceptability.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hamas welcomes Turkish-Egyptian detente

Ismail Haneyya
Palestine Information Center – April 1, 2021

ISTANBUL – Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has welcomed the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, expressing confidence that any cooperation between Ankara and Cairo will be in the interest of the Palestinian people and their national cause.

Haneyya made the remarks in an interview conducted by Anadolu Agency after he visited its headquarters in Istanbul.

“We welcome the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, and we believe that more understandings between them and between Arab and Islamic countries will have a positive impact on us in Palestine as well as on the Arab countries,” the Hamas political chief said.

“There are historically known central states in the region that play strategic roles, such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, so any understanding and rapprochement between them will be in the interests of the peoples in the region and the Palestinian cause,” he added.

As for the upcoming Palestinian elections, Haneyya affirmed that his Movement is committed to forming a national consensus government even if it scored a victory in the legislative elections slated for next May.

“Hamas is participating in the elections on the basis of partnership and not with the aim of defeating others. It does not want to dominate the Palestinian political system,” he underlined.

He described the upcoming elections as an important opportunity to improve the current Palestinian conditions and end 15 years of national division.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US-Backed Fighters Seize US-Made Missiles Heading To Other US-Backed Fighters In Syria

South Front | March 28, 2021

In an unusual turn of events in Syria, militants once backed by the US have seized a shipment of US-made missiles that was heading to fighters currently backed by the US.

The missiles, US-made TOWs, were seized on March 28 by the Syrian Task Force, a joint force of the Turkish Police, Counterterrorism Unit and the National Syrian Army (SNA), near the Turkish-occupied town of Azaz in the northern Aleppo countryside.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Interior, the smugglers confessed that they had been trying to transfer weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the town of Manbij in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo.

Beside two TOW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), the weapons shipment included 24 AK-type assault rifles, a designated marksman rifle, two gun tubes and ammunition.

Most SNA factions were once backed by the US, which supplied them with TOW ATGMs until late 2017. The YPG and the PKK, one the other hand, are the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which still receive US support.

Between 2012 and 2017, the US shipped loads of weapons and ammunition to rebels in Syria in an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon led these efforts to arm the Syrian rebels with a direct support from US allies in the Middle East, first and foremost Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

US efforts didn’t only fail to topple the Damascus government, but also ended up turning Syria into a large black market for advanced weapons. Many of the weapons supplied by the US and its allies found their way to the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. Some of these weapons were found in Iraq and even Lebanon.

Today, weapons like TOW ATGMs, are being used by militants once supported by the US against Washington’s current proxies in Syria and vice versa.

The US plans to arm Syrian rebels inflamed the war, threatened neighboring countries and even ended up turning Washington’s tools against each other. Some not very tolerant social media users would call these great achievements a brilliant example of “clusterfuck.”

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Certain groups attempt to create civil war in Lebanon, Hezbollah chief warns

Press TV – March 18, 2021

The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has warned against attempts by certain groups to foment a civil war in the cash-strapped country on economic, racial, and religious grounds, emphasizing that the movement will not allow anyone to realize such a fiendish plot.

Those, who become frustrated in the face of the country’s resistance, could resort to the option of trying to ignite such an internal conflict, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday evening.

“I have information that there are outside forces and some internal ones that are pushing towards civil war … They are looking for the fuel to add to the fire,” he said.

“The chaos in Lebanon is aimed at driving Lebanon into a civil war and this is a red line,” he, however, added.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices are skyrocketing and more than half of the population is now living below the poverty line.

Nasrallah’s remarks came as the country’s major cities are hosting fresh protests at the situation afflicting the economy that is falling apart at the seams. He, therefore, entitled the high point of his address to the domestic woes.

“Lebanon is at the heart of a true and great national economic, livelihood, financial, and also political crisis,” he said, noting, “It can also be described as a crisis of the establishment.”

Nasrallah categorically dismissed that his movement harbored any intention to exacerbate the already explosive situation.

“Some say that Hezbollah is the party, which has weapons [and may start a civil war]. This rhetoric is wrong since the civil war can be waged by light arms and such arms are found everywhere in Lebanon and are in the hands of many people,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Hezbollah has no intention to resort to its weapons in a bid to form a government or to deal with the economic and financial crisis.

Since the Lebanese government formally resigned after a massive explosion in Beirut port last August, domestic political divisions and pressure by some Western states have hindered the formation of a formal cabinet.

‘US pressure main factor behind crisis’

Nasrallah pointed to the pressure that the United States was applying to Lebanon as a main principle driving the country’s crisis.

The United States wants for Lebanon to “be placed in the US-Israel axis” in the same way that such regional countries as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did by normalizing their relations with the Israeli regime through Washington’s facilitation, he stated.

Nasrallah questions dependence on IMF

Without a formal cabinet, the country cannot resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for potential bailout packages.

Even if the country was to be thrown such a lifeline, it would be required by the IMF and the West to enact certain “reforms” in its political structure. The reforms entail introduction of stringent austerity measures, the biggest part of whose burden falls on the people.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri alleged earlier that the only way to stop the country’s economy from total collapse was to re-engage with the IMF.

“The main priority of any government is to prevent the collapse that we are facing today… that we proceed to start halting the collapse with the IMF and regain the trust of the international community,” Hariri said at a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda.

Nasrallah, however, asked whether the Lebanese nation could bear the burden of the IMF’s conditions, including subtraction of subsidies from staples.

He considered the country’s economic policies, including the policy of borrowing money from others, to be one of the reasons that Lebanon had ended up this way.

The American pressure, he added, was aimed at forcing Lebanon into “resorting to certain economic options.”

It was this very fear of Washington that was scaring some inside the country from strengthening its ties with China.

Hezbollah agrees to a technocratic-political government

The Hezbollah leader, meanwhile, signaled his movement’s approval of the formation of a government composed of technocrats and politically influential elements at the same time.

He said if Hariri and President Michel Aoun reached an agreement on formation of such a ruling structure, Hezbollah would agree to it too.

US apparatuses freeing Daesh ringleaders in Iraq

Nasrallah also said there is evidence pointing to US intelligence and security apparatuses establishing contact with the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh’s ringleaders in Iraq’s prisons before enabling their release.

“With every day that goes by, the truth that lies behind the armed Takfiri terrorist groups and the nature of their handler and supporter comes further to light,” he said.

Nasrallah, however, announced, “We stand up to the terrorist groups that are shaped, run, supported, and armed by the American intelligence apparatuses.”

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trade-Off ahead on Syria and Yemen

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog | March 16, 2021

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will be no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectedly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted.

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Intellectually Superior Perpetual Victim Again on Display

By Philip Giraldi | Unz Review | March 16, 2021

Those who have followed developments in the Middle East would likely agree that Israel covers up its war crimes and other human rights violations by regularly invoking its own victimhood. Whether the subject is U.S. aid to the Jewish state or media coverage of the illegal expansion of Israel into the West Bank, one will always find references to the so-called holocaust or claims of anti-Semitism to discredit any criticism. And the results of this assiduous effort to assign guilt are clearly seen as the mainstream media in both the United States and Europe exhibits considerable reluctance to report honestly on what is being done to the Palestinians while politicians in the west sometimes appear to count themselves more as “friends of Israel” than as representatives advancing the interests of their own constituents.

As defenders of all things Israeli go, there is no one more assiduous than Bret Stephens of the New York Times. He is, of course, Jewish, and was the editor of the right-wing Jerusalem Post between 2002 and 2004. The Times employs him as one of its resident conservatives, though he would be better described as a neoconservative. Stephens’ recent piece entitled “California Ethnic Studies Follies” takes aim at California’s controversial diversity program that is being imposed on the state’s public school system.

Stephens’ article is sub-headed “A proposed curriculum magnifies differences, encourages tribal loyalties and advances ideological group think.” While it is clear that “Ethnic Studies,” a precursor to the current Critical Race Theory and similar to programs in a number of other states, does all that and more, Stephens inevitably turns the whole argument around to the alleged victimization of his own highly privileged caste, i.e. American Jews.

Stephens gets into it immediately, beginning his piece with:

“The first time California’s Department of Education published a draft of an ethnic studies ‘model curriculum’ for high school students, in 2019, it managed the neat trick of omitting anti-Semitism while committing it. More than a million Jews live in California. They are also among the state’s leading victims of hate crimes.

“Yet in a lengthy draft otherwise rich with references to various forms of bigotry, there was no mention of bigotry toward Jews. There was, however, an endorsement of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction [BDS] movement, which essentially calls for the elimination of the Jewish state. There was also an approving mention of a Palestinian singer rapping that Israelis ‘use the press so they can manufacture’ — the old refrain that lying Jews control the media.

“The draft outraged many Jews. And they were joined by Armenian, Assyrian, Hellenic, Hindu and Korean civic groups in a statement urging the California Department of Education to ‘completely redraft the curriculum.’ In its original form, they said, the document was ‘replete with mischaracterizations and omissions of major California ethnoreligious groups.’

“Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would mandate ethnic studies as a graduation requirement in California’s high schools, pending further review of the model curriculum. While some maintained that a critical ethnic studies curriculum was a mistake, and not just for Jews, others took the view that, when it came to those revisions, it was better to be at the table than on it. Progressive Jews helped redraft a curriculum that included two sample lessons on the Jewish-American experience, along with testimonials about Jewishness from the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dianne Feinstein. A victory? One can still quarrel with the curriculum’s tendentiously racialized view of the American-Jewish experience. But at least the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist dog whistles have been taken out and the history of anti-Semitism has been put in.”

To be sure, Stephens makes some good points about how the California program, which is again going to be voted on by the Board of Education later this month, is indoctrination and not education. But Stephens is also blind to the reality of what constitutes political power in the United States. He observes that the Irish, Poles and Italians apparently do not need to be supported by inclusion in an Ethnic Studies program while he simultaneously accepts that if there is such a thing Jews have to be carefully protected by it. And based on some of his other articles, his view of his own ethnicity seems to go well beyond that and is flattering to him and those who agree with his apparent view that that Ashkenazi Jews are intellectually and genetically superior to other groups.

One can only imagine what the reaction would have been if Stephens had written instead that whites are superior to blacks. And the points that Stephens raises in support of revising the California document to highlight both Jewish suffering and achievements are, of course, extremely self-serving. They are also deliberately deceptive. Yes, Jews have been “victims” of so-called “hate crimes” but the crimes themselves are very rarely violent. It has been demonstrated that many recent so-called anti-Semitic attacks on Jews involve easily recognizable Hasidic Jews and are actually based on community tensions as established neighborhoods are experiencing dramatic changes with the newcomers using pressure tactics to force out existing residents. And after the Hasidim take over a town or neighborhood, they defund local schools to support their own private academies and frequently engage in large scale welfare and other social services fraud to permit them to spend all their days studying the Talmud, which, inter alia teaches that gentiles are no better than beasts fit only to serve Jews.

Much more often “hate crimes” against Jews consist of graffiti or reaction to criticism of Israel for its brutal suppression of the Palestinians. Indeed, there are now organizations at universities like Canary Mission funded by Jewish oligarchs which encourage Jewish students to claim damages from critics while also “exposing them” on campus on behalf of Israel. A Jewish student walking on a college campus who passes by protesters objecting to Israel’s behavior can claim to feel threatened and the incident is recorded as anti-Semitism, for example, and slurs written on the sides of buildings or grave stones, not necessarily the work of Jew-haters, are similarly categorized. In one case in Israel in 2017, the two street swastika artists were Jews.

One is surprised that Stephens does not raise the issue of the “libel” of “Jews and money,” as if the Republicans actually loved a repulsive toad like Sheldon Adelson, who was dedicated to promoting Israeli interests, and bought the GOP foreign policy for $100 million. And Stephens is way over the top when it comes to characterizing BDS as a hate group that seeks to the “eliminate the Jewish state.” The group is explicitly non-violent and does in fact have significant liberal Jewish membership. It seeks to use economic pressure to compel Israel to behave better towards the Palestinians, similar to what produced change in apartheid South Africa.

But the most interesting aspect of the Stephens piece is the demand that Jews be universally recognized for their unique suffering. He considers it a libel when one maintains that Jews control the media… has he looked around the newsrooms at his own paper, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS and MSNBC lately? And as for bigotry and discrimination, how about consideration of the fact that Jews run Hollywood and the entertainment industry, are the wealthiest and best educated demographic in the country, are grossly disproportionate in high status and high pay jobs, and hold many of the top positions in the Biden Administration. Authorities like Professor Alan Dershowitz are quite outspoken in their praise of Jewish power in the United States. And Jewish organizations already receive more than 90% of the discretionary funding from the Department of Homeland Security to “protect themselves.” American Jews hardly seem to constitute a minority that needs more consideration and breaks because it is under siege, so when will Stephens stop whining?

And as for the claim of widespread anti-Semitism, one recalls the comment by former Israeli Education Minister Shulamit Aloni, speaking about calling critics anti-Semites. She said “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are anti-Semitic. And the organization is strong, and has a lot of money, and the ties between Israel and the American Jewish establishment are very strong and they are strong in this country, as you know. And they have power, which is okay. They are talented people and they have power and money, and the media and other things, and their attitude is ‘Israel, my country right or wrong,’ identification. And they are not ready to hear criticism. And it’s very easy to blame people who criticize certain acts of the Israeli government as anti-Semitic, and to bring up the Holocaust, and the suffering of the Jewish people, and that is to justify everything we do to the Palestinians.”

Shulamit Aloni has described Bret Stephens and the political culture that he comes out of. Criticizing Israel or the sometimes predatory behavior of American Jews is one of the few remaining total taboos in America. One marvels at the recent account of a basketball player who apparently blurted out the word “kike” while engaged in a video game. Even though he apparently did not know that the word referred in derogatory fashion to Jews, he was suspended by his team and fined $50,000 by Adam Silver the NBA commissioner. Does anyone seriously believe that if he had said “Wop,” “Mick,” “Spick” or “Polack” he would have been punished at all? He was also required to publicly express contrition and forced to go through a counseling session with a representative from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is, if I might be so bold as to suggest, the U.S. based enforcement arm of the powerful Israel Lobby.

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

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment