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First principle of international relations should be ‘do no harm’

By Yves Engler · September 20, 2018

Many progressives call for Canada to “do more” around the world. The assumption is that this country is a force for good, a healer of humankind. But if we claim to be the “doctors without borders” of international relations, shouldn’t Canada swear to “first do no harm” like MDs before beginning practice? At a minimum shouldn’t the Left judge foreign policy decisions through the lens of the Hippocratic oath?

Libya illustrates the point. That North African nation looks set to miss a United Nations deadline to unify the country. An upsurge of militia violence in Tripoli and political wrangling makes it highly unlikely elections planned for December will take place.

Seven years after the foreign backed war Libya remains divided between two main political factions and hundreds of militias operate in the country of six million. Thousands have died in fighting since 2011.

The instability is not a surprise to Canadian military and political leaders who orchestrated Canada’s war on that country. Eight days before Canadian fighter jets began dropping bombs on Libya in 2011 military intelligence officers told Ottawa decision makers the country would likely descend into a lengthy civil war if foreign countries assisted rebels opposed to Muammar Gadhafi. An internal assessment obtained by the Ottawa Citizen noted, “there is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war… This is particularly probable if opposition forces received military assistance from foreign militaries.”

A year and a half before the war a Canadian intelligence report described eastern Libya as an “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the anti-Gadhafi stronghold. In fact, during the bombing, notes Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese,Canadian air force members privately joked they were part of “al-Qaida’s  air force”. Lo and behold hardline Jihadists were the major beneficiaries of the war, taking control of significant portions of the country.

A Canadian general oversaw NATO’s 2011 war, seven CF-18s participated in bombing runs and two Royal Canadian Navy vessels patrolled Libya’s coast. Ottawa defied the UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians by dispatching ground forces, delivering weaponry to the opposition and bombing in service of regime change. Additionally, Montréal-based private security firm Garda World aided the rebels in contravention of UN resolutions 1970 and 1973.

The NATO bombing campaign was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations. Western media and politicians repeated the rebels’ outlandish (and racist) claims that sub-Saharan African mercenaries fuelled by Viagra given by Gaddafi, engaged in mass rape. Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising and Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, were unable to find any basis for these claims.

But, seduced by the need to “do something”, the NDP, Stephen Lewis, Walter Dorn and others associated with the Left supported the war on Libya. In my new book Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada I question the “do more” mantra and borrow from healthcare to offer a simple foreign policy principle: First Do No Harm. As in the medical industry, responsible practitioners of foreign policy should be mindful that the “treatments” offered often include “side effects” that can cause serious harm or even kill.

Leftists should err on the side of caution when aligning with official/dominant media policy, particularly when NATO’s war drums are beating. Just because the politicians and dominant media say we have to “do something” doesn’t make it so. Libya and the Sahel region of Africa would almost certainly be better off had a “first do no harm” policy won over the interventionists in 2011.

While a “do more” ethos spans the political divide, a “first do no harm” foreign policy is rooted in international law. The concept of self-determination is a core principle of the UN Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peoples’ inalienable right to shape their own destiny is based on the truism that they are best situated to run their own affairs.

Alongside the right to self-determination, the UN and Organization of American States prohibit interfering in the internal affairs of another state without consent. Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter states that “nothing should authorize intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

A military intervention without UN approval is the “supreme international crime”. Created by the UN’s International Law Commission after World War II, the Nuremberg Principles describe aggression as the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” In other words, by committing an act of aggression against Libya in 2011 — notably bombing in service of regime change — Ottawa is responsible not only for rights violations it caused directly, but also those that flowed from its role in destabilizing that country and large swaths of Africa’s Sahel region.

If Canada is to truly be the “good doctor” of international relations it will be up to Left foreign policy practitioners to ensure that this country lives up to that part of the Hippocratic oath stating, “First do no harm”.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.09.2018

There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy.

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently.

And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out.

The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack.

Any denunciation of sinister intent by Israeli Defense Forces is hollow because if they had not intended to provoke a wider conflict they would have given Russia more than one minute to clear their planes from the area.

That would constitute an attack on a NATO member state and require a response from NATO, thereby getting the exact escalation needed to continue the war in Syria indefinitely and touch off WWIII.

This neatly bypasses any objections to a wider conflict by President Trump who would have to respond militarily to a Russian attack on a NATO ally. It also would reassert NATO’s necessity in the public dialogue, further marginalizing Trump’s attacks on it and any perceived drive of his for peace.

That this took place within the 60 days window of the mid-term elections should also not be discounted.

This attack took place just hours after Presidents Erdogan and Putin negotiated a ‘peaceful’ settlement for Idlib province by declaring a De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) 15-20 kilometers wide which everyone, including Erdogan’s pets Jabhat al-Nusra would have to abide by.

Peace was breaking out in Syria and Israel and the war-hawks in D.C. weren’t standing for that.

By conducting this attack like this Israel and the NATO crowd figured it would be a win/win for them.

If Russia strikes back at France, then NATO invokes Article 5 and they get their wider war.

If Russia doesn’t strike back Putin loses face within Russia, his popularity drops 5 points and John Bolton begins salivating at the prospect of regime change in Russia. Yes, they are that insane.

It was a neat piece of geopolitical maneuvering, almost judo-like. Russia and Syria looked to be on the verge of victory, extending themselves in a major conflict that would result in months of bad press. We were expecting a possible false-flag chemical weapons attack, cries of humanitarian crisis and all the rest of the tired virtue-signaling we can expect by US ‘diplomatic’ officials that has been all too common even under Trump.

What we got was the opposite, a carefully-crafted assault on Russian military forces wherein Russia’s vaunted air-defense systems would be blamed for its own people’s deaths and a mistaken counter-attack that justifies the “Putin is a Vile War-Monger” narrative to justify a US invasion of Syria which has been held in amber since 2013 and Putin’s skillful defusing that situation via diplomatic means.

For once, this almost looked like a well-thought out plan. Not the usual ham-fisted crudities we’ve been treated to over the last few years. But, here’s the rub.

It didn’t work.

By naming names and immediately not responding militarily during the ‘fog of war’ Russia and Putin again prove to be more skilled at this than their adversaries.

Because none of what I just outlined will come to pass. And France, Israel and the US will be the ones to lose face here. And with Israel betraying Putin’s forbearance after April’s air strikes on Damascus, he will have no choice but to upgrade Syria’s air defense systems from S-200’s to S-300’s and possibly S-400’s.

This is Israel’s worst nightmare. A situation where any aerial assault on targets within Syria would be suicide missions, puncturing the myth of the Israeli air force’s superiority and shifting the delicate balance of power in Syria decidedly against them.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Putin so hard over the last two years. But, this incident wipes that slate clean. This was a cynical betrayal of Putin’s trust and patience. And Israel will now pay the price for their miscalculation.

Giving Syria S-300’s does not avenge the fifteen dead Russian soldiers. Putin will have to respond to that in a more concrete way to appease the hardliners in his government and at home. His patience and seeming passivity are being pushed to their limit politically. This is, after all, a side benefit to all of this for the neoconservative and globalist hawks in D.C., Europe and Tel Aviv.

But, the real loss here for Israel will be Russia instituting a no-fly zone over western Syria. Any less response from Putin will be seized upon by and the situation will escalate from here. So, Putin has to deploy S-300’s here. And once that happens, the real solution to Syria begins in earnest.

Because at that point it will be the US’s move to flat-out invade without provocation, now that a solution is in place in Syria between Russia and a NATO member, Turkey.

The only good news in all of this is that US forces were not involved. This still tells me that Trump and Mattis are still in charge of their chain of command and that other forces are conspiring to drag them into a conflict no one in their right minds wants.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Operation Nina – A Conspirator’s View

There’s never a shortage of commentators reporting on how Russia planned the attack on the Skripals, or how Syria planned its chemical weapons massacres. So let’s just turn the tables on these prejudiced and blinkered proponents of the Western narrative…

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | September 17, 2018

The current impasse between the UK and Russia, initiated by the Skripal poisoning on March 4th and crystallized by the identification of two Russian “suspects” this week, calls for new thinking. Despite what appears to most Russians as the complete exposure of the UK’s dirty game, where its “smoking gun” evidence has been trashed by the appearance of the two “guns” on Russian TV, the UK’s leaders and their dutiful media remain unrepentant.

Worse than that, the “spycatchers” are re-invigorated with passionate Russophobia, full of indignation over the “brazen appearance” of their assassins on the BBC’s nemesis, RT.  After they spent so many months combing through 11,000 hours of CCTV footage to put together a picture of the men, whose recorded movements almost coincided with the location and movements of the Skripals, it would be vexing to see that work squandered in less than a week.

Or so it might seem.

But before we feel too sorry for those unnamed individuals who finally found the proverbial needles in the haystack of Russians visiting Salisbury, albeit, at rather a quiet time, we might consider this inconvenient detail: “Novichok” was found on swabs taken at the City Stay Hotel on MAY 4th.

This, of course, was only two months after the attack on the Skripals, when the nerve agent might have been considered “fresh” and possibly dangerous; more recent re-testing found no trace of Novichok, though it was suggested this was because all of the substance had been removed on the swabs in May. Yes.

Given that no-one at the hotel reported being affected by Novichok, one must conclude that police had already identified Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov by the end of April, as Russians who had flown into London on that snowy weekend in March, and who had visited Salisbury while staying at City Stay Hotel.

But before we waste time speculating how and why it took them another four months to release the mug-shots of the suspected “GRU agents”, we should consider how much earlier the two Russians may have been under suspicion as the possible culprits and purveyors of the Nina Ricci perfume “Nouveau Truc”.

If authorities assumed the assassins had come from Russia, with the extensive monitoring and searching capabilities now available to them, might Petrov and Boshirov (their real names) not have been identified within days?

But now here’s the rub.

Accepting that the “Novichok” poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal did NOT take place, neither as claimed by the UK from contact with a Novichok-smeared doorknob, nor in fact from any contact at all, we should now logically consider if these two Russian guys were identified before they came to London.

This is not some “conspiracy theory” – because it’s clear that there was a conspiracy. And with every new piece of “evidence”, and every repetition of the original false and fabricated claims against Russia this conspiracy becomes deeper and more malignant.

It is often useful when accusations are made against countries of – for instance – military expansionism, to reverse the protagonists; would the US be happy to see Chinese warships “maintaining freedom of navigation” between Cuba and Florida? While building military bases in neighboring countries and installing anti-missile defense systems in them?

So in considering the attack on the Skripals, and the apparent connection with false-flag chemical weapons attacks in Syria, it is useful to take what we may call a “conspirator’s eye view”.

Despite the credulity of Western media and its audience in the fabricated stories of chemical weapons use both in Syria and in Salisbury, there is now no alternative but to count these Western populations amongst the victims of a massive conspiracy by the UK and its allies; one that threatens to even exceed the criminality and deception involved in that “Mother of all Conspiracies” that launched the Imperial Wars of Terror seventeen years ago.

Considering this conspiracy, or operation – as it may appear to those who planned and executed the whole deception – from their perspective, opens up a whole new line of inquiry, and interest in past events that may have otherwise been overlooked. It may also take us into a realm of human psychology that is highly discomfiting, and for which it may be better to pretend that this is simply an academic inquiry.

A “what if the Skripal poisoning was staged by GCHQ to frame the Russians and provide a pretext for sanctions, because of their support for the Syrian government?” inquiry. But just remember this is a pretense.

First, we must assume that this operation was well-planned, and at least some months in advance. While considerations of the coming Russian Presidential election and the World Cup Football may have figured, along with Russia’s resistance in Ukraine and on its borders, the key driver behind “Operation Nina” (as we may choose to call it after the UK’s choice of “perfume”) must surely have been the situation in Syria.

This became quite clear when Theresa May delivered the “first use of a chemical weapon in Europe since WW2” accusation against Russia, timed as it was so cleverly only weeks before the staging of the Douma gas attack. Rather than simple guilt by association – supporting the “murderous Assad regime” – Russia could now be framed as a collaborator and user of chemical weapons.

One need only look at the rise in toxic Russophobia, and support for extreme measures against Russia which are entirely unjustifiable, to realize just who benefits from this framing of the West’s chief bugbear, and thus who might consider such an operation.

Russia’s enormous commitment to restoring peace and justice in Syria for the last seven years, and dedication to diplomacy and negotiation, with military action as the last resort, has been completely obscured by the NATO campaign of disinformation and subversive action, and to an extraordinary degree.

Clearly from the conspirators’ point of view, “Operation Nina” and the concomitant “White Helmets” and “Doctors Under Fire” operations in Syria have been a resounding success – even though the presumed goal of regime change still eludes them, whether in Damascus or Moscow. Certainly in terms of intent, and what the opposing parties stood to gain from assassinating Sergei Skripal there can be no argument – Russia only stood to lose, a little or a lot, while the UK and its allies stood to prevail both militarily and politically in their own interests, however morally repugnant and legally unjustified these were.

So we have the motive, and know the details of the bizarre method; what of the planning?

Is it possible that the unwitting Russian “agents”, whose visit to Salisbury has now become the clincher of the UK’s Novichok case, were actually lured to the vicinity of Sergei Skripal’s home, with the conveniently placed chemical weapons labs at nearby Porton Down? Without doubting the innocence of Petrov and Boshirov over any involvement in the BZ attack on the Skripals, might we consider if they were on a different mission, and victims of a “honey trap” not involving women?

This possibility – including their comment that “a friend suggested we visit Salisbury” could explain their slightly evasive and unconvincing answers on why they returned to the city for a second time. While we know that they weren’t caught on CCTV walking along Wilton Road “near the Skripal house” because that was their destination, it’s fair to ask why they chose to walk that way rather than the road north to Old Sarum, which they professed a desire to see.

Old Sarum is about two miles from the city center, so Petrov and Boshirov could have easily visited the site. But perhaps their friend had a different recommendation, and one they understandably would be reluctant to reveal – a venue which appears to be about the same distance from the center, along Wilton Road.

If this explanation for some anomalies in the Russians’ story is true, then it has an ironic twist; at the same time as they were striding off down Wilton Road, the final moves of the conspiracy to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter were taking place back in the city center.

The exact circumstances and timing of the attack – presumably on the park bench on which they were discovered incapacitated – may only be known to those who set it up, but we may be sure nothing was left to chance. This is in contrast to the apparently haphazard behavior and conflicting reports afterward, despite some serious preparations just beforehand.

To anyone familiar with Salisbury, its proximity to the largest Chemical and Biological Weapons research facility in Europe ranks alongside its ancient cathedral and prehistoric sites as a subject of interest, if not as a destination. For some in the past, it proved a final destination, as revealed at an inquest in 2003, fifty years after the death of a MoD guinea pig, RAF volunteer Ronald Maddison, from Sarin poisoning.

The UK government and its agencies will, of course, assure the public that “nowadays” Porton Down is merely involved in research into protection and defense against other states’ chemical, biological and nuclear agents. It gave similar assurances to the 3000 odd volunteers in the ‘50s, telling them they were helping to develop a cure for the common cold, as drops of Sarin were put on their skin.

It seems that nothing much has changed, except that in those days – like Soviet propaganda – no-one really believed Whitehall’s bland reassurances or imagined that Porton Down was full of harmless boffins working for the common good.

What has changed is that the “elite” at the helm of today’s conspiracies has become supremely confident in its ability to deceive the public into believing whatever story best suits their special interests. As is illustrated by the whole crazy “Novichok” story – which has appeared as barely believable even to those who would readily blame Russia for it – the public can now be made to believe in anything, and with conviction.

And so it seems that as in Mossad’s motto – “By way of deception though shalt wage war”; this has become the modus operandi for the UK and its allies in their war on Russia and Syria, and anyone else standing in the way of their hegemonic and demonic ambitions.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

The Death of CENTO’s Ghost: How the US Lost the Four Great Powers of Southwest Asia

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.09.2018

CENTO – the Central Treaty Organization launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1958 is totally forgotten now. Even most regional experts on the Middle East and South Asia remember nothing about it. But it had a surprisingly long afterlife of 60 years, and its final, complete dissolution happening now before our eyes marks an epochal transformation of the Eurasian-Southwest Asia World Island.

CENTO – originally known as the Baghdad Pact or the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) – was formed in 1955 by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and the United Kingdom with the blessing of the United States. The British saw it – farcically as it turned out – as an attempt to retain the phantom, craved after “influence” of their vanishing empire, which had left Pakistan in 1947.

METO did not last long. Within three years, the British –imposed and directed monarchy of the Hashemite dynasty in Baghdad had been literally wiped out in a bloody massacre. Iraq immediately pulled out of METO as fast as it could. METO was renamed CENTO with Eisenhower’s approval in 1958. One of the four “pillars” of the Anglo-American world order in South and Southwest Asia was down: Three to go.

Next to go was Iran in 1979. Its last Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was a megalomaniac egged on by American liberal social engineers who farcically imagined they could recreate President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in Tehran. Millions of people were upended from their homes in enormous industrial and relocation programs while SAVAK, the Shah’s notorious secret police inflicted a reign of torture and terror.

The end result was the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that swept away the Shah and took Iran forever out of the Anglo-American orbit. After that, CENTO was finally officially dissolved. Eisenhower’s dream was dead and gone. But its ghost would endure for another 39 years.

Two down and two to go: For the next 40 years Pakistan and Turkey both remained strong, consistent and important US allies. After 2001, tensions between Washington and Islamabad inexorably grew as the US invasion of Afghanistan and its following endlessly bungled policies to build a so-called modern, democratic and centralized nation backfired in endless war.

This year, Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), simultaneously with its next door neighbor India. Both nations turned their back on US claims of global hegemony and opted instead for a future of cooperation and security with Russia and China in the SCO.

That left only Turkey of the original METO or Baghdad Pact four still in the US orbit. Turkey remains a NATO member as it has been since 1955: The same year it also joined METO. However, since the failed Turkish military coup of June 2016, US –Turkish relations have plunged to their worst state ever. The US Congress seems intent on pouring ever more gasoline of the funeral pyre of the relationship.

Yet Turkey is vastly more important to US, European, NATO and Middle East security than all the tiny and ludicrous nation-building schemes Washington has pursued in the region over the past 25 years put together.

US policymakers – Republican and Democrat alike – remain obsessed with “creating” new “showcase,” supposedly “modern” and “democratic” states in Kurdistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. They see the tiny three Baltic States, Georgia and even Ukraine with its neo-Nazi militias as shining examples that are supposed to inspire the rest of the world to follow the same Washington-directed paths.

None of these American visionary “geniuses” ever stops to remember why Iraq and then Iran opted out of METO/CENTO as fast as they possibly could. None of them stops to consider what the consequences of losing the friendship and trust of nuclear-armed Pakistan with its population of 200 million will be. None of them has ever raised publicly the issue of how totally untenable the reckless US forward naval and strategic deployment in the Black Sea will be if Turkey finally turns its back on the US and NATO.

CENTO is gone. The Baghdad Pact is dead. Now even CENTO’s ghost is dying: The four great buffer powers that the US and the UK looked upon to dominate the northern tier of Southwest and South Asia have abandoned Washington or are about to do so. The consequences of this development – born of a generation of stupid, heedless and selfish US policy bungles – will reshape the world.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook’s Atlantic Council censors are more interested in tanks than thinking

RT | September 13, 2018

Like all foreign policy and military think tanks, the Atlantic Council exists to manufacture consent for the goals of its paymasters. It hit the jackpot when the world’s largest social media network put it in charge of censorship.

While the ubiquitous presence of Atlantic Council lobbyists across the information space already imperilled fair discourse, Facebook’s May move empowered it to endanger freedom of expression. And founder Mark Zuckerberg’s reference to an information  “arms race” in a Washington Post op-ed last weekend exposes the grim reality behind the move.

That said, the spin has been impressive. Headlines such as “US think tank’s tiny lab helps Facebook battle fake social media (Reuters )” and “Facebook partners with Atlantic Council to improve election security (The Hill )”.

But the truth is very different. The Atlantic Council is effectively NATO’s propaganda wing. And it’s funded by arms manufacturers, various branches of the US military, and Middle Eastern autocratic regimes, among others, as it promotes the alliance’s agenda – which was best described by its first secretary-general, Hastings Ismay, as  “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

Let’s be clear. If people don’t believe in the “Russian threat,” NATO is essentially rendered useless. Promoting tensions with Europe’s largest country is an existential matter for The Atlantic Council. And now Facebook has effectively placed the lobby group in charge of political censorship on its platform. This presents chilling dangers to free speech and should worry anybody who believes in fairness and balance in the media. Especially after Zuckerberg admitted in the Washington Post piece how his company is being used by US authorities to control information and combat “foreign actors.” The tech boss also boasted that “we’ve worked with law enforcement to take down accounts in Russia.”

Roll of horror

Founded in 1961, with the mission of “encouraging the continuation of cooperation between North America and Europe that began after the Second World War,” the Atlantic Council slowly evolved from being a sort of forum for socialising to a pseudo-academic lobby group. While it professes to be a “think tank,” its lack of genuine debate and tolerance for dissent means in practice this description isn’t accurate in the classical sense of the term, as the Atlantic Council is clearly more interested in creating a market for tanks than thinking.

Funding comes from dozens of foreign governments and also individual vested interests. They include arms makers Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing, plus wealthy private backers such as Ukraine’s Viktor Pinchuk and Saudi billionaire Bahaa Hariri. State institutions who plough in funds vary from the National Endowment for Democracy to the British Foreign Office and the US Army itself.

The money is mainly used to hire lobbyists, who are known as “fellows.” And some of them are occasionally outsourced to cutouts like the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) – the department which works with Facebook.

Some of the Atlantic Council’s hires have significant media profiles. For instance, Dmitri  Alperovitch (of DNC hack fame), Anders Aslund (a radical economist who has predicted Russia’s collapse twice, and been wrong both times), Michael Carpenter (Joe Biden’s, usually misinformed, Russia-baiting sidekick), Borzou Daragahi (Middle East correspondent of Buzzfeed ), Maxim Eristavi (a pro-American Ukrainian activist), Evelyn Farkas (a rabidly anti-Russian Obama adviser), and Michael Weiss (a CNN ‘Russia analyst’ who has never been to Russia and can’t speak Russian). The DFR Lab is comprised of 11, almost uniformly young, tech enthusiasts from the US and Eastern Europe and previously worked to support NATO narratives in Ukraine and Syria.

Some are long-time Atlantic Council bodies, and others are some fresh recruits. The main men are Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, which specialises in media-friendly investigations of wars from the perspective which suits British and American interests, Aric Toler (a former private intelligence specialist who spent time in Russia on State Department-funded study programmes) and Ben Nimmo, a one-time NATO press officer.

Other censors include ex-Obama administration and NATO staff, with the managing editor, Graham Brookie, having previously worked at the US National Security Council. There is nobody listed as an employee who could be considered, in any way, neutral on Russia. This betrays the unit’s confidence in how the mainstream media won’t scrutinise them, as normally you’d expect at least one token dissenter.

Different times

In normal circumstances, Facebook’s engagement of the Atlantic Council to decide standards of permissible information would seem bizarre. But, in the current US climate, Zuckerberg’s motivations are quite obvious. Betrayed by the speed with which he engaged the pressure group shortly after his testimony to Congress on “election meddling” was widely derided by the establishment last Spring. And how better to avoid a repeat, and turn down the heat, than to engage the ultimate DC insider institution?

After all, an organisation that has helped to rehabilitate George W. Bush can probably rescue any reputation in the American capital.

Some of the stuff the Atlantic Council itself gets away with serves to show its power over the mainstream media. For instance, when Nimmo himself earlier this year ludicrously insisted grammar mistakes were “proof” that social media users critical of NATO were paid Kremlin trolls, and later when he smeared a British man by labelling him a Russian bot, the popular press didn’t bother to question whether he was a fit and proper person for Facebook to engage as a censor. Even after the victim appeared on Sky News to prove he was a real person. Thus, what should have been a warning of the dangers of DFR Lab was essentially ignored.

At the time, after Nimmo, instead of apologising, wrote “interesting to see the real face of Ian56789, rather than the David Gandy one, at last (referring to his Twitter avatar). Not a troll factory account. Rather, a pro-Kremlin troll(definition based on [sic] use of someone else’s picture, systematic use of Kremlin narratives, and repetitive abusive behaviour),”

WikiLeaks challenged the lobbyist. “You literally produced, with money from weapons companies and dictatorships, a fake news story that spread all over the world, defaming a very British retiree, who wants to reduce arms company profits, as a Kremlin bot,” its editors wrote. “So who’s the paid troll?”

Again, despite WikiLeaks’ prominence, no mainstream outlets connected the dots.

Higgins and Nimmo also focused on attempting to discredit the Twitter user ‘Partisan Girl’ (real name Maram Susli). Susli herself insisted an associate of Higgins had even written to her university accusing of her of plotting to make Sarin gas, and she provided evidence to back up her claims.

Susli was also insulted by Atlantic Council “fellow” Michael Weiss. After a group of pro-Syrian jihadist agitators accused her of having had cosmetic surgery, she responded with a photo of herself as a child to prove them wrong. Weiss interjected by asserting how the young Maram looked like a prostitute, writing “so, your parents raised you as a streetwalker? Honey, no wonder you are pro-Assad.”

The CNN contributor seems to have a habit of commenting on women’s physical attributes. A few months earlier, well-known Lebanese American journalist Rania Khalek accused Weiss of promoting a smear about her appearance on Twitter, falsely claiming she used funds donated to her journalistic work to get a nose job. The fact he has received no blowback, in this ‘MeToo’ era, again speaks volumes.

Deflecting dunces

Meanwhile, Higgins himself has been shy about taking on real experts. In Spring, he refused to debate Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at MIT, instead labelling him “an idiot.” Which led to a strange situation where a man with no training in science, whose background is in finance and administration, was smearing a skilled specialist from one of the world’s best universities. Perhaps this is the confidence a man gains by working for NATO’s propaganda adjunct.

His colleague, Weiss, also has a habit of insulting academics with genuine bona fides, running a long campaign of character assassination against Stephen Cohen. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University.

Of course, to advance the goals of its paymasters,  the Atlantic Council also needs to shape the media narrative, and influence journalists, which is presumably why it has engaged the likes of CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto and Buzzfeed Foreign Editor Miriam Elder to moderate panels, in what amount to very profound conflicts of interests.

Nevertheless, while plenty of its press outreach is smooth, sometimes it can appear clumsy and amateurish. Take this tweet from lobbyist Agnia Grigas, for instance. Firstly, she misrepresents Vladimir Putin’s stated goal of making Russia a top five economy by using raw GDP, where the country currently scores badly due to weak exchange rates. In reality, economic experts regard purchasing power parity as a fairer snapshot of fiscal heft and by this measure, Russia was only $163 billion behind fifth-place Germany last year ($4,007.831 billion v $4,170.790 billion, IMF)so it doesn’t have much catching up to do. What Grigas does next with her disinformation is instructive. Because  she tags the Financial Times’ news editor, Peter Spiegel, on the tweet alongside other Atlantic Council lobbyists . Which blurs the lines between supposedly independent media and propaganda, dressed up as scholarship.

Tail wags dog

Anyway, now that you’ve seen the nature of these lobbyists, let’s circle back to the DFR Lab/Facebook link up, and the extraordinary power the social media giant has handed to this gang. Only last month, the same Reuters report quoted at the outset dropped this nugget.

“Facebook is using the group to enhance its investigations of foreign interference. Last week, the company said it took down 32 suspicious pages and accounts that purported to be run by leftists and minority activists. While some U.S. officials said they were likely the work of Russian agents, Facebook said it did not know for sure.”

Read the last line again. “Facebook said it did not know for sure.” But the accounts were removed anyway. Presumably, at the Atlantic Council’s behest.

Here we see the fallout of Mark Zuckerberg’s knee-jerk reaction to pressure from congressional leaders and prominent media talking heads. Instead of asserting his independence, the Facebook founder buckled. And the stakes are impossibly high. Put plainly, this amounts to a merger of the US national security state and Silicon Valley. With implications far beyond American shores.

Read more:

Facebook building a physical ‘war room’ for US midterm elections ‘arms race’

Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors’

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Skripal and Syria… The Imperative of Criminalizing Russia

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 10.09.2018

There is a direct link between Britain’s sensational allegations against Russia in the Skripal affair and NATO’s losing covert war in Syria.

That’s not just the opinion of critical observers. Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations made the explicit link when she called an “emergency meeting” of the Security Council earlier this week.

The Security Council meeting was convened only hours after British counter-terrorism police released video images claiming to identify two Russian men, whom it said were responsible for the alleged poison assassination attempt on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England earlier this year.

The council meeting also followed swiftly on the heels of British Prime Minister Theresa May telling her parliament that the culprits were Russian military intelligence officers acting on orders from the Kremlin. May did not give supporting evidence. It was bald assertion.

In this short clip, Britain’s envoy to the UN Karen Pierce tells reporters the rationale of the British government in convening the emergency session at the Security Council. The envoy reveals more than she intended.

She says that the United Kingdom and its allies would “continue to contest the Russian view of the world in which their state operatives can carry out these sorts of attacks [in England] and can encourage and support the Syrian authorities in their attacks on civilians.”

Pierce added: “So this is actually a continuum, if you like, of contesting that view of the world where you can act outside the norms of international rules and civilized behavior.”

Evidently, the British government is trying to criminalize both Russia and Syria at the same time, over the same alleged crime – unlawful use of chemical weapons.

That would account for why the British authorities have been unduly hasty in accusing the Russian state of culpability in the Skripal affair. By undermining and smearing Russia as a “pariah state”, it is then possible to stifle Russia’s crucial military support for Syria. This is especially urgent given the juncture in the Syria war where NATO-backed militants are staring at final defeat.

The US, Britain and France have all recently threatened to use military power against the Syrian government forces “if” the latter launch chemical weapons attacks. That of course is a cynical pretext for the NATO states to find a legal cover for aggression against Syria.

The allegations of “imminent” chemical weapon use by the Syrian government are also baseless since Damascus no longer possesses any such munitions, or indeed has any military need for such weapons.

What the Skripal affair is therefore trying to do is inculcate in the public mind that Russia has no scruples about using chemical weapons to kill people, which in turn reinforces the notion that Moscow’s Syrian ally also has no scruples about killing people with toxic materials.

The NATO claims of Syrian national forces using chemical weapons have been shown to be false. In recent days, Russian envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia demanded that the US present details of a Pentagon target list of chemical weapons sites in Syria. The US balked.

By contrast, there is a healthy skepticism among the Western public about official allegations against the Syrian government. Pink Floyd’s legendary singer-songwriter Roger Waters speaks for many when he recently called out the NATO-backed so-called rescue group, the White Helmets, as being implicated in orchestrating chemical attacks for propaganda purposes.

In order to overcome the propaganda problem of demonizing the Syrian government and giving itself a pretext for launching military strikes on Syria, the NATO powers therefore have to boost their flagging “false flag” narrative of chemical weapons responsibility.

By criminalizing Russia for allegedly using chemical weapons “on the streets of Britain”, it is a ploy to augment the dubious narrative criminalizing Syria.

Here is British envoy Pierce speaking again: “The reason the Security Council has not been able to act on CW [chemical weapon] use in Syria is because of Russia. There is a circularity here. Russia is the key to upholding the universal ban on CW use. And the world would be better if Russia would join us in making that ban absolutely watertight.”

Britain’s use of the word “circularity” is certainly apt – albeit for a completely different reason. The actual circular logic is to criminalize both Russia and Syria over chemical weapons. Russia, it is calculated, will then not have the authority to use its veto power at the Security Council in order to prevent the three NATO powers on the council from launching their much-desired military attack on Syria to salvage their losing covert war.

The reckless haste by which the British authorities are accusing Russia over the Skripal affair – a haste which makes a mockery of legal due process and diplomatic norms – can plausibly be explained by the urgency of the NATO powers to free up their military plans on Syria.

How can the release of video images allegedly of two Russian nationals in Britain be possibly attributed to the Kremlin? Two Russian men – if indeed that is genuine information – are supposed to be “compelling evidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an assassination. It is a preposterous leap of imagination and a travesty of legal process, but it is revealing of an execrable British prejudice of Russophobia.

One possible theory in the Skripal affair is that the two alleged Russian men were members of organized crime. Reports emerged this week that former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal was working with Spanish state security services to crackdown on Russian underworld gangs. It is possible that the gangs uncovered Skripal’s meddling in their illicit business model, and simply sent a couple of heavies over to Britain to deal with him. But how such a hypothetical account can be twisted by the British authorities to be “proof” of Kremlin involvement is a telling question.

It is significant that the British authorities have flatly refused requests from the Russian side for information to identify the alleged Skripal hitmen. For example, British regulations require fingerprints to be submitted by all visitors to the country. Why have the British refused to give fingerprints to Russian authorities which could then lead to an identification and perhaps explanation of the two alleged suspects?

The British don’t want to know the truth, because their official narrative of criminalizing the Russian state is the imperative one. And that is because of the urgency for NATO to find a legal, political cover for its military aggression against Syria.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The New York Times as Iago

Undermining Peace Efforts by Sowing Suspicion

By Diana Johnstone • Unz Review • September 7, 2018

The New York Times continues to outdo itself in the production of fake news. There is no more reliable source of fake news than the intelligence services, which regularly provide their pet outlets (NYT and WaPo ) with sensational stories that are as unverifiable as their sources are anonymous. A prize example was the August 24 report that US intelligence agencies don’t know anything about Russia’s plans to mess up our November elections because “informants close to … Putin and in the Kremlin” aren’t saying anything. Not knowing anything about something for which there is no evidence is a rare scoop.

A story like that is not designed to “inform the public” since there is no information in it. It has other purposes: to keep the “Russia is undermining our democracy” story on front pages, with the extra twist in this case of trying to make Putin distrustful of his entourage. The Russian president is supposed to wonder, who are those informants in my entourage?

But that was nothing compared to the whopper produced by the “newpaper of record” on September 5. (By the way, the “record” is stuck in the same groove: Trump bad, Putin bad – bad bad bad.) This was the sensational oped headlined “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”, signed by nobody.

The letter by Mister or Ms Anonymous is very well written. By someone like, say, Thomas Friedman. That is, someone on the NYT staff. It is very cleverly composed to achieve quite obvious calculated aims. It is a masterpiece of treacherous deception.

The fictional author presents itself as a right-wing conservative shocked by Trump’s “amorality” – a category that outside the Washington swamp might include betraying the trust of one’s superior.

This anonymous enemy of amorality claims to approve of all the most extreme right-wing measures of the Trump administration as “bright spots”: deregulation, tax reform, a more robust military, “and more” – cleverly omitting mention of Trump’s immigration policy which could unduly shock the New York Times’ liberal readers. The late Senator John McCain, the model of bipartisan bellicosity, is cited as the example to follow.

The “resistance” proclaimed is solely against the facets of Trump’s foreign policy which White House insiders are said to be working diligently to undermine: peaceful relations with Russian and North Korea. Trump’s desire to avoid war is transformed into “a preference for autocrats and dictators”. (Trump gets no credit for his warlike rhetoric against Iran and close relations with Netanyahu, even though they must please Anonymous.)

The purpose of this is stunningly obvious. The New York Times has already done yeoman service in rounding up liberal Democrats and left-leaning independents in the anti-Trump lynch mob. But now the ploy is to rally conservative Republicans to the same cause of overthrowing the elected President. The letter amounts to an endorsement of future President Pence. Just get rid of Trump and you’ll have a nice, neat, ultra-right-wing Republican as President.

The Democrats may not like Pence, but they are so demented by hatred of Trump that they are visibly ready to accept the Devil himself to get rid of the sinister clown who dared defeat Hillary Clinton. Down with democracy; the votes of deplorables shouldn’t count.

That is treacherous enough, but even more despicable is the insidious design to destabilize the presidency by sowing distrust. Speaking of Trump, Mr and/or Ms Anonymous declare: “The dilemma – which he does not fully grasp – is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations” (meaning peace with Russia).

This is the Iago ploy. Shakespeare’s villain destroyed Othello by causing him to distrust those closest to him, his wife and closest associates. Like Trump in Washington, Othello, the “Moor” of Venice, was an outsider, that much easier to deceive and betray.

The New York Times is playing Iago, whispering that Putin in the Kremlin is surrounded by secret “informants”, and that Trump in the White House is surrounded by people systematically undermining his presidency. Putin is not likely to be impressed, but the trick might work with Trump, who is truly the target of open and covert enemies and whose position is much more insecure. There is certainly some undermining going on.

Was the New York Times oped written by the paper’s own writers or by the CIA? It hardly matters since they are so closely entwined.

No trick is too low for those who consider Trump an intolerable intruder on THEIR power territory. The New York Times “news” that Trump is surrounded by traitors is taken up by other media who indirectly confirm the story by speculating on “who is it?” The Boston Globe (among others) eagerly rushed in, asking:

“So who’s the author of the op-ed? It’s a question that has many people poking through the text, looking for clues. Meanwhile, the denials have come thick and fast. Here’s a brief look at some of the highest-level officials in the administration who might have a motive to write the letter.”

Isn’t it obvious that all this is designed to make Trump distrust everyone around him? Isn’t that a way to drive him toward that “crazy” where they say he already is, and which is fallback grounds for impeachment when the Mueller investigation fails to come up with anything more serious than the fact that Russian intelligent agents are intelligent agents?

The White House insider (or insiders, or whatever) use terms like “erratic behavior” and “instability” to contribute to the “Trump is insane” narrative. Insanity is the alternative pretext to the Mueller wild goose chase for divesting Trump of the powers of the presidency. If Trump responds by accusing the traitors of being traitors, that will be final proof of his mental instability. The oped claims to provide evidence that Trump is being betrayed, but if he says so, that will be taken as a sign of mental derangement. To save our exemplary democracy from itself, the elected president must be thrown out.

The military-industrial-congressional-deep state-media complex is holding its breath to breathe that great sigh of relief. The intruder is gone. Hurrah! Now we can go right on teaching the public to hate and fear the Russian enemy, so that arms contracts continue to blossom and NATO builds up its aggressive forces around Russia in hopes that this may frighten the Russians into dumping Putin in favor of a new Boris Yeltsin, ready to let the United States pursue the Clintonian plan of breaking up the Russian Federation into pieces, like the former Yugoslavia, in order to take them over one by one, with all their great natural resources.

And when this fails, as it has been failing, and will continue to fail, the United States has all those brand new first strike nuclear weapons being stationed in European NATO countries, aimed at the Kremlin. And the Russian military are not just sitting there with their own nuclear weapons, waiting to be wiped out. When nobody, not even the President of the United States, has the right to meet and talk with Russian leaders, there is only one remaining form of exchange. When dialogue is impossible, all that is left is force and violence. That is what is being promoted by the most influential media in the United States.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 4 Comments

NATO is an accessory to the crime of forced displacement in Libya

Libya Tawerghan refugees (Tawergha Foundation)
By Mustafa Fetouri | MEMO | September 5, 2018

Tawergha is a small Libyan coastal town roughly 300 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli. Its estimated that 40,000 of its inhabitants are black Libyans who have lived there for hundreds of years and never had any problem integrating into the rest of the country and were never discriminated against. They are as Libyan as any other citizen in any part of the country. Historically, their ancestors are believed to be part of the salve trade from sub-Saharan Africa.

Before 2011 the town used to be just like any other Libyan town; it benefited from free education, free health care, public services, government subsidised housing, infrastructure, businesses and above all security. The town was famous for its handcrafts of clay and handmade home furniture and used to be a hub for trade as it sits on the highway junction that connects the south, east and west of Libya. No one discriminated against the town and its inhabitants, and Libya’s successive governments, since independence in 1951, always considered Tawerghans as Libyans.

All that changed in August 2011 when the NATO supported rebels of armed militias, including terrorist groups, toppled the Gaddafi regime and in the final days of the civil war forced whoever remained in the town to flee at gun point and never allowed them to return.

Since then an estimated 40,000 inhabitants, the entire population of Tawergha, have been living as refugees in dozens of camps scattered around Libya with little hope of peaceful return any time soon. At one point roughly 2,000 people of 355 families lived in a make shift camp on the airport highway just south of the capital Tripoli. When I visited the camp the people I spoke to only wished for one thing – to be allowed to go back to their town and be left alone to live in whatever remained of their homes. It is true that most people of Tawergha cherish the late Gaddafi but the overwhelming majority took no part in the civil war of 2011 at all. One elderly person told me that he remembers how Gaddafi used to stop his convoy at Tawergha and chat with people every time he passed by as he shuttled between Tripoli and Sirte, his hometown.

In August 2011, hundreds of Tawerghan young men were jailed and an unknown number still missing with little information available to their families. International rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have published well documented reports of what happened in August 2011 and how Tawerghans were forced into internal exile inside Libya.

Libya’s successive governments since 2011 have so far failed miserably to tackle the tragedy either, because the militias, who dominated all governments, do not want to provide practical arrangements to help people return to their homes.

In the early days of the war in 2011 the regime was accused of using paid black African mercenaries to fight the NATO supported rebels but like many other wild accusations it turned out to be part of a propaganda campaign to further demonise the regime. Since Tawerghans are black skinned Libyans it was easy to portray them as mercenaries making them legitimate targets by the rebels even after they fled their town. The whole town was destroyed and its entire buildings, including schools and mosques, were deliberately and extensively damaged. Today, Tawargha is not only a ghost town but an open landfill as nearby Misrata militias deliberately make the town uninhabitable again.

Between 2012 and 2014 it was almost a taboo to talk about Tawergha openly inside Libya but the atmosphere relaxed in later years as it became apparent that the so-called revolution is no more than a disaster for Libya as whole, not just for Tawergha.

So why are Tawerghans still displaced after so many years and who could be held responsible for their misery? The primary responsibility for this crime rests with militias and politicians of the city of Misrata which is less than 30 kilometres west of Tawergha and whose militias took the initiative in forcing the civilian population out in 2011. They still refuse to allow them to go back in peaceful manner despite agreements worked out between the two sides between 2015 and June 2018.

In justifying their criminal position Misrata militias claim that people from Tawergha committed heinous crimes, including mass rape, within Misrata itself during the war. However no proof has been produced to support such a claim and not a single judiciary proceeding has ever been initiated against any person from Tawergha based on such allegations.

Misrata recently accepted a deal whereby it allows Tawerghans to return home but only if, among other conditions, the Government of National Accord (GNA) agree to compensate Misrata for the suffering it claims to have endured during the 2011 war, despite the fact that Tawerghans are not collectively responsible for whatever crimes claimed to have been committed.

According to the latest deal, signed last June between the local councils of both Misrata and Tawergha with the help of the GNA, Misrata accepted the return of civilians to Tawergha while receiving an undisclosed sum thought be worth millions of US dollars in compensation. The deal was hailed as a good step on the long road to national reconciliation in war shattered Libya. However, three months later and the number of returnees is far smaller than expected.

Marbuk Eswasi, an activist from Tawergha and director of a local charity named Patience, told me that no more than 100 people have actually returned and all of them live in a school yard as their homes are uninhabitable. He also pointed out that over 90 per cent of homes and business in town are damaged beyond repair and have to be rebuilt if they are ever to be used again.

Some observers also believe that NATO is partially responsible for this humanitarian disaster and is an accessory to such crime against humanity. They say, had it not been for the huge military help provided by NATO to the rebels they would not have been able to win the war and eventually displace thousands of civilians.

Others think that Misrata will never allow the return of the Tawerghan to live next to them simply because the accusations against Tawerghans for being mercenaries for the former Gaddafi regime is still widely believed as an important source of legitimacy for the entire so-called revolution of Libya in 2011, however false it has been proved.

September 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Ambassador Kurt Volker: US to Drastically Expand Military Assistance to Ukraine

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 03.09.2018

Washington is upping the ante in Ukraine. Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, said in an interview with the Guardian published on September 1 that “Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists.” According to him, the Trump administration was “absolutely” prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces than the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April. “They need lethal assistance,” he emphasized. Mr. Volker explained that “[t]hey need to rebuild a navy and they have very limited air capability as well. I think we’ll have to look at air defense.” The diplomat believes Ukraine needs unmanned aerial vehicles, counter-battery radar systems, and anti-sniper systems. The issue of lethal arms purchases has been discussed at the highest level.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 allocated $250m in military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal arms. The US has delivered Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Kiev but this time the ambassador talked about an incomparably larger deal. Former President Barack Obama had been unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision, in view of the widespread corruption there. This policy has changed under President Trump, who — among other things — approved deliveries of anti-tank missiles to Kiev last December.

Ukraine has officially requested US air-defense systems. According to Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, the Ukrainian military wants to purchase at least three air-defense systems. The cost of the deal is expected to exceed $2 billion, or about $750 million apiece. The system in question was not specified, but it’s generally believed to be the Patriot.

Volker’s statement was made at a time of rising tensions in the Sea of Azov, which is legally shared by Ukraine and Russia. It is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait. The rhetoric has heated up and ships have been placed under arrest as this territorial dispute turns the area into a flashpoint. Russia has slammed the US for backing Ukraine’s violations of international law in the area. According to a 2003 treaty, the Sea of Azov is a jointly controlled territory that both countries are allowed to use freely.

The US military already runs a maritime operations center located within Ukraine’s Ochakov naval base. The facility is an operational-level warfare command-and-control organization that is designed to deliver flexible maritime support throughout the full range of military operations. Hundreds of US and Canadian military instructors are training Ukrainian personnel at the Yavorov firing range.

NATO has granted Ukraine the status of an aspirant country — a step that is openly provocative toward Russia. Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are also aspirant nations. Last year, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution recognizing full membership in NATO as a foreign policy goal. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine along with Georgia should become full-fledged members. In March, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia announced the formation of an alliance to oppose Russia.

The US is to render substantial military assistance to a country with an economy in the doldrums, reforms that have foundered, a democracy that is in question, and corruption that is widespread. It will be no surprise if those weapons fall into the wrong hands and are used against the US military somewhere outside of Europe. It was the US State Department itself that issued a report this year slamming Ukraine’s human-rights record. The UN human-rights commissioner tells the same storySo do human-rights monitors all over the world.

By supplying the weapons that Special Representative Volker talked about in his interview, the US will become an accomplice to a conflict that has nothing to do with its national security or interests. The situation in the Donbas is being used by Kiev to distract public attention from the country’s worsening domestic problems. But to Washington Ukraine’s government is the apple of its eye, a bastard but it’s our bastardthat is ready to do what it’s told.

The move is provocative and it may have consequences. For instance, Russia could supply the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine with up-to-date weapons systems in quantities sufficient to deter any military action on the part of Kiev. Once the Minsk accords are no longer functional and cannot command obedience, Moscow could recognize those republics as independent states that are eligible for military cooperation agreements, which would include stationing military bases on their soil. If their governments invited the Russian armed forces to be deployed inside their borders, it would be quite natural to agree to those requests. No international law would be breached. In a nutshell, if the US crosses that red line, Russia will act accordingly. Nobody seems to want a war raging in Ukraine, but that’s what the US weapons supplies would promote, egging the Ukrainian government on to seek a military solution. And what if it loses? Washington would be to blame for such a scenario. By the way, is it a coincidence that Mr. Volker’s interview appeared just as Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the Donetsk self-proclaimed republic, was assassinated? Just asking.

September 3, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

US: NATO Think Tank Continues Pre-Election Interference

By Rick Rozoff | Ron Paul Institute | August 29, 2018

On August 24 what is in effect the social media warfare division of the Atlantic Council published an article  accusing the Russian television and print news outlet RT of running a one-sided attack against the Democratic Party and several leaders thereof ahead of this November’s politically pivotal Senate and House of Representatives elections. (Thirty-five Senate seats and all 435 House seats are being contested.)

The Atlantic Council, until recently kept comparatively in the shadows for obvious reasons, is a think tank that has more than any other organization effected the transition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from a seeming Cold War relic with the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the world’s only and history’s first international military network with 70 members and partners on six continents currently. All thirteen new full member states are in Eastern and Central Europe; four of them border Russia.

Three months ago it began collaborating with Facebook to police and censor that and (presumably) soon after other social media companies which in recent decades have become the major sources of information and communication for the seven billion citizens of the planet. No modest undertaking.

This is by way of follow up to a Directive on Social Media issued four years ago by NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the bloc’s military command in Europe (which also oversees activities in Israel and until the activation of U.S. Africa Command ten years ago almost all of Africa).

Excerpts from that directive  include:

One key challenge is the need to keep informed regarding social media ‘discussions’ on NATO and global security matters in order to maintain situational awareness. Key vulnerabilities include security concerns and the ease by which information can be transmitted globally using social media tools.

It also addresses  use of social media for what it calls “operations,” which frequently is a euphemism for bombings, missile attacks and all-out war. Witness Operation Allied Force (Yugoslavia 1999), Operation Unified Protector (Libya 2011), NATO Training Mission-Iraq (starting in 2004), International Security Assistance Force/Operation Resolute Force (Afghanistan from 2001 to the present) and Operation Atlantic Resolve (aimed at Russia since 2015).

The recent article on the website of the Atlantic Council was the creation of the think tank/planning body’s Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which, employing the sort of puerile humor one has come to expect from NATOites, describes its mission under the heading of Digital Sherlocks (after the Arthur Conan Doyle detective):

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is building the world’s leading hub of digital forensic analysts tracking events in governance, technology, security, and where each intersect as they occur.

It accuses the Russian news outlet of menacing, egregious, Cold War-era enormities like…unbalanced coverage. That animal, of course, is not known in the US corporate media.

To wit: “This unbalanced coverage was so systematic that it appeared to constitute an editorial policy of attacking the Democrats while boosting the Republicans. While editorial bias can be seen in many commercial US outlets, RT is neither commercial, nor a US outlet.”

And: “Its one-sided midterm coverage strongly suggests that the Kremlin is still attempting to influence American elections through editorial bias in its highest-profile English language media outlet to date  – RT – which gets approximately 15,000,000 visits from American readers every month.”

Indeed RT is not an American outlet. In fact all of its features on YouTube have under them the small-case letter i in a circle followed by “RT Is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government,” with a Wikipedia link.

The Atlantic Council item is transparently biased itself, as RT routinely runs news critical of members of both major US political parties.

The author of the piece focuses attention on November’s elections (“attempting to influence American elections through editorial bias,” above), yet he bemoans allegedly less-than-kind portrayals of Hillary Clinton (whose first name is consistently spelled Hilary), who last heard is not at the moment running for public office.

To illustrate how the Atlantic Council and its loyal minions (members routinely move in and out of the State Department, Defense Department, National Security Council, White House, etc.) reverse the threat that exists in relation to Russia, see this from a recent article on its site on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and the resultant war with Russia:

Exactly ten years ago, Russian forces attacked Georgia, bringing to a violent end a nearly two-decade long advance of a Europe whole and free. In the wake of NATO’s failure to agree on how to advance the membership aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine at its Bucharest Summit months earlier, Moscow acted to block those prospects with its invasion. Moscow’s actions in Georgia ten years ago previewed its far deadlier attacks on Ukraine, which continue today.

Ten years on, the NATO Summit in Brussels July 11-12 offers the prospect of reversing the shortcomings of Bucharest and restoring momentum to NATO’s Open Door policy.

That is, bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO as full member states and court a US-Russia war with all that would entail.

The homepage of the site features a tribute to John MaCain with these words of his on the occasion of receiving its annual Freedom Award in 2011 with which he adds Belarus to the list:

I also want to pay tribute to my fellow honorees here tonight for the contribution they have made to the success of freedom – from here in Poland, to neighboring Belarus, to farther away in Egypt. These champions of liberty are the defenders, supporters, and authors of peaceful democratic revolutions – both those that have been successfully made and those, as in Belarus, that have yet to come, but surely will….

It’s more than American elections that the Atlantic Council and its social media partners intend to influence.

August 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Giants Enter NATO Service

By Rick Rozoff | Ron Paul Institute | August 28, 2018

On August 22 Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that they had arbitrarily removed 652 accounts, groups and pages allegedly linked to Russia and Iran for “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” by which we’re safe in assuming is meant political information inconvenient for the US power structure and its “Euro-Atlantic” elite allies in Europe and elsewhere.

The purpose pursued and the criteria employed are both explicitly political, focusing especially on federal elections. Facebook boasted of recent successes in this regard in France and Mexico.

There are historically-decisive Senate and Congressional elections this November 6th in the US.

At the beginning of this month several major conservative and libertarian Facebook, YouTube and other social media accounts were closed by the above and other parties in a heavy-handed, coordinated manner. The sites and individuals banned are ones that have urged cooperation between the US and Russia and warned against worsening political and potential military conflict between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

What connects the two unprecedented social media purges is an agreement reached in May of this year between Facebook and the Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council of the United States was established in 1961 by former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter to bolster support for NATO. Atlantic Councils were set up in other member states for the same purpose, and at the present time they now number more than 40 in NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. The name is derivative of North Atlantic Council, the highest governing body of NATO.

Due to its efforts, NATO has grown from 16 to 29 members since the end of the Cold War and in addition has recruited at least forty military partners throughout the world. With Colombia joining its Partners Across the Globe program earlier this year, NATO now has members and partners on all inhabited continents.

The partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council was described by the Atlantic Council’s president and CEO Fred Kempe as follows:

This partnership will help our security, policy and product teams get real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. It will also increase the number of ‘eyes and ears’ we have working to spot potential abuse on our service – enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world.

The collaboration, like NATO and Facebook themselves, are not only avowedly political but unabashedly global in scale.

In the interim Facebook has announced it’s hired “additional third-party reviewers” for the purpose advancing the aforesaid political censorship and furtherance of NATO’s international agenda.

Failing such methods, there are also those proposed by then-president presumptive Hillary Clinton two years ago: “As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Reactivated US 2nd fleet returns to North Atlantic ‘ready to fight’… guess who?

RT | August 25, 2018

Just seven years after shutting down operations, the US 2nd Fleet has been officially reactivated, with its admiral seeking to turn it into a menacing force “ready to fight” any “bad actor” it may sail into in the North Atlantic.

Fearing that “some bad actors” on the world stage “threaten the very birthright freedoms that we hold sacred” and are looking to “undermine and rewrite” the US-established world order, Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, promised to “build a fleet that is ready to fight” along a stretch that extends from the East Coast of the US all the way to the Barents Sea, just off the coast of Norway and Russia, near the Arctic Circle.

“We are going to aggressively and quickly rebuild this command into an operational warfighting organization,” Lewis announced, as he took charge of the Second Fleet at the establishment ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

The fleet, which previously had 126 ships and submarines in service, will once again “help to maintain America’s maritime superiority,” chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson noted on Friday. “A new Second Fleet increases our strategic flexibility to respond – from the Eastern Seaboard to the Barents Sea.”

After the fleet was disestablished in 2011 to save costs during the Obama administration’s proposed “reset” with Russia, most of its personnel, warships and responsibilities were transferred into Fleet Forces Command.

While it has yet to be announced which hardware will be transferred back under its command, at one point the Second Fleet had more than 90,000 personnel assembled between carrier strike groups (CSG) and amphibious ready groups (ARG). The fleet’s Aegis-capable ships also projected the American maritime ballistic missile defense capabilities overseas.

Over the past few years, especially after the outbreak of ‘Russiagate’ with the arrival of the Trump administration, the US and its allies have been increasingly accusing Russia of aggressive posturing and of threatening neighbors, slowly and gradually increasing their own military capabilities along its borders under this pretext.

Moscow insists that it has been forced to reform its military and develop new weapons systems, following US disregard for Kremlin concerns when Washington unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty in 2002. Russia continues to treat the global anti-missile system, including sites in Alaska, Romania, and Poland, as well as the Aegis-capable ships, as a potential national security threat that undermines mutual deterrence and power parity – and may lower the threshold of nuclear weapons use by giving Washington a false sense of invincibility.

Meanwhile, the reactivated 2nd Fleet will now once again sail close to the Arctic where Russia, compared to the US, has much more territorial waters and thus strategically invested interests, including utilization of the region’s rich natural resources. The country is also conducting infrastructure projects along the Northern Sea Route and has built a number of military outposts to seal the northern frontier that was left virtually defenseless after the fall of the Soviet Union.

READ MORE:

US ABM shield in Europe may lead to sudden nuclear attack on Russia, Moscow says

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment