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Revisiting Stuxnet: The Israeli-American Computer Virus That Started Cyber-Warfare

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | September 8, 2019

New evidence has surfaced to demonstrate how both American and Israeli intelligence services, aided by European partners, have long been targeting Iran in spite of clear evidence that it constituted no threat. The story involves the Stuxnet virus or “worm,” which was first employed in 2007 and eventually identified and exposed by cybersecurity experts in 2010. It constituted one of the first effective uses of a cyber-weapon, carried out in secret by two countries against a third country with which the two were not at war.

Stuxnet was one of a series of viruses developed by Israel and the United States shortly after the turn of the century to target and disrupt specific operating systems in computers by accessing what are referred to as the programmable logic controllers, which operate and manage machinery, to include the centrifuges that are employed in separating and enriching nuclear material. The systems are accessed through Microsoft Windows operating systems and networks, which in turn provide access to the Siemens software that was in use at the Iranian nuclear research facility at Natanz. The centrifuges themselves could be ordered by the virus to speed up and spin wildly, causing them in many cases to tear themselves apart.

The insertion of Stuxnet in the Iranian computers in 2007 by means of a thumb drive reportedly ruined twenty percent of Iran’s existing centrifuges, more than 1,000 machines, but it also spread and infected several hundred thousand computers using Microsoft and Siemens software and eventually wound up in large numbers of machines outside Iran. Though the Stuxnet virus had been designed with safeguards to prevent its spread, it did eventually infect other computers and propagate worldwide. Its use by its developers was regarded as particularly reckless after it was discovered and identified.

Ironically, two comprehensive studies by the American Government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted in 2007 and 2012 determined that no Iranian nuclear weapons program existed and that Iran had never taken any serious steps to initiate such research. Israel was also aware that there was no program but it was active in planting fabricated information suggesting that a secret facility existed that was engaged in weapon development. It has frequently been observed that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning for twenty years that Iran is “six months away” from having an atomic bomb.

Nevertheless, even though the Iranian nuclear threat was known to be a fantasy by 2007 at the latest, the Israeli government, sometimes working in collusion with American intelligence agencies, took steps to interfere with Iran’s existing and completely legal and open to inspection civilian atomic energy program. A multifaceted plan was developed and executed that included using surrogates to identify then kill Iranian scientists and technicians while also developing and introducing viruses into the country’s computer systems. This was in spite of the fact that Iran was fully compliant with international norms on nuclear research and had its facilities regularly inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran was also a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Israel, possessing its own nuclear arsenal consisting of as many as 200 weapons, had refused to sign.

All of the background to Stuxnet has been known for some time, but one mystery remained: how did the virus get introduced into the Natanz computers as the research center was “quarantined” and not connected to the internet so that it could not be attacked from outside? That question has now been answered.

The Dutch external intelligence service AIVD had been approached by the U.S. and Israel in 2004 to provide help in locating a suitable Iranian to be groomed for the project. At that time, Holland had a large expat Iranian community and it was a relatively easy country for Iranian travelers to enter. Eventually, an Iranian engineer was identified, recruited and trained to plant the Stuxnet virus at the Natanz Iranian nuclear research site in 2007, with the objective of sabotaging the uranium enrichment centrifuges in what was to be the first-ever major use of a cyber-weapon.

The actual insertion of the thumb drive was part of a broader operation which began with a thorough debriefing of the engineer, who had previously been a contractor at Natanz, regarding the location of the centrifuges and other hardware within the facility, making it possible to write code that could target the centrifuges and their control systems specifically.

The Israeli-American-Dutch agent/mole, who was responding to an offer of considerable money and resettlement in the West, set up a computer systems maintenance and repair company in Iran that eventually was able to obtain contract work at Natanz. The agent made several visits to the facility to fine-tune his approach to installing the virus prior to actually doing so.

According to the media report, the operation was called the “Olympic Games” after the five-ring Olympian symbol because it wound up including the intelligence agencies of five countries after Germany and France joined in on the effort. It should be noted that Holland, Germany and France all had nominally friendly relations with Iran at the time. Then U.S. President George W. Bush personally approved the attack after his concerns that the virus might escape from Iran and cause a major international crisis were addressed by technical experts.

There were several arrests and executions at Natanz after the virus was discovered and it is not known if the Dutch mole ever collected on his money and the promised resettlement. More recently, Iran entered into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the U.S., the United Nations, Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia in 2015. President Donald Trump withdrew from the arrangement last year for reasons best described a fatuous and, as of now, JCPOA is still in place but under considerable strain from all sides.

One might argue that the continuing Iran nuclear crisis all started with the reckless deployment of Stuxnet, which was based on a flawed assessment, did not have to be done, and was executed for all the wrong reasons, primarily consisting of pressure from Israel on Washington to “do something.” It also demonstrated that cyber-warfare was for real and could do great damage to infrastructure, a genie that has been let out of the bottle and has made the world a much less safe place. It has, in fact, become a global problem that continues to vex politicians and national security experts worldwide.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington’s Nord Stream 2 Sanctions May Have Boomerang Effect on US Interests – German Media Reports

By Svetlana Ekimenko – Sputnik – 27.08.2019

The US Congress has moved forward with legislation to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project in defiance of criticism from Washington’s allies in Europe, as the joint venture brings together Russia’s Gazprom, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

Possible US sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could potentially harm US oil and gas projects in the Gulf of Mexico, writes the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

“From the point of view of Germany, the name of the US proposed sanctions bill, ‘Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act’, is in itself an insolence”, writes the author.

The US is pushing to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2 despite likely consequences that such restrictions may have.

Thus, European companies involved in laying the pipeline and targeted by Washington’s sanctions play a key role in the global energy market.

For a long time, these companies worked in the Gulf of Mexico as subcontractors of the American corporations Chevron and Exxon Mobil, recalls Handelsblatt.

Therefore, if they are included in the sanctions lists, projects in the Gulf of Mexico will be disrupted, since it is impossible to quickly replace such highly specialised firms.

Overall, the US economy views the proposed sanctions against Nord Stream 2 critically, the author points out. Such restrictions would also be likely to harm US gas exporters, prompting European buyers to reduce LNG imports from the United States and increase supplies from other countries.

Proposed US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2

The Nord Stream 2 project has long drawn opposition from a number of countries, with the United States, which is trying to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas to overseas allies, insisting that the project will make Europe dependent on Moscow – claims that Russia has repeatedly rebuffed.

Moscow has insisted that the pipeline project is strictly commercial, ultimately seeking to boost Europe’s energy security.

Nevertheless, in early August, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill on sanctions against companies providing vessels for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

The document prohibits entry into the US for anyone involved in the “sale, lease, provision or assistance in providing” ships for laying Russian offshore pipelines at a depth of 30 metres or more, as well as the freezing of their assets in US jurisdiction.

Companies from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland, and Sweden may fall under the sanctions.

The project is being implemented by Nord Stream 2 AG, with Gazprom investing half of the funds, and the remainder being contributed by European partners: Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

Germany has been strongly behind Nord Stream 2, emphasizing the commercial focus of the project.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she supported the BDI’s (Federation of German Industries) stance that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for delivering Russian natural gas to Europe is necessary given the German initiative to stop using nuclear and coal energy.

Austria, which is interested in reliable supplies of fuel, and Norway, whose government owns 30 percent of the shares of Kvaerner, one of the gas pipeline construction contractors, also spoke in favor of the project.

Nord Stream 2 Project

The 745-mile-long (1,200 km) Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden to deliver Russian gas to European consumers.

The completed project will double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline network, allowing a total of up to 110 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas to be transported to Western Europe via pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

According to a statement made by project operator Nord Stream 2 AG on 26 August, the pipeline is 75 percent complete.

August 27, 2019 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guaido returns to Venezuela to the welcome of foreign ‘bodyguard’ envoys

RT | March 4, 2019

Self-declared “interim president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, returned from his South American tour on Monday, arriving into the loving (and protective) arms of ambassadors from the foreign governments backing him.

Despite Venezuelan authorities making it clear he could face 30 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the government and violating a travel ban, Guaido chose to arrive directly to an airport in Caracas.

The risk of arrest was notably mitigated by the presence of ambassadors from Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and several other countries which gathered at the arrival gate to huddle around him like a high-profile human shield. While Guaido was all smiles, his Western-world entourage seemed a bit on edge.

While the media fretted that Maduro might make good on threats to arrest Guaido, the opposition leader passed through customs without incident and headed straight to a rally in central Caracas.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence warned the Venezuelan government that Washington protects its investments, stressing how important Guaido is to them, and threatening a “swift response” if anyone tries to bully him.

Shortly after moving unhindered through the airport, Guaido arrived at a demonstration he called for on Twitter the week before. Addressing crowds in the country’s capital city, he called on his supporters to take to the streets for continued demonstrations next Saturday.

While Guaido toured South America and met with his most critical support base – foreign governments – the US ramped up pressure on Maduro’s government, imposing intensified sanctions and revoking visas for state actors.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

US, EU Hindering Global Ban on Malicious Software – Russian Cyberthreat Centre

Sputnik – December 11, 2018

The deputy head of Russia’s National Cyberthreat Response Centre has said that an international ban on malicious software would be a major step in boosting security for ordinary users, but suggested that the US and Europe were dragging their feet on the issue.

Nikolai Murashov, deputy director of Russia’s National Cyberthreat Response Centre, has charged the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union with hampering efforts to introduce an international ban on the creation of malicious software. At the same time, he said, statistics on the geographical distribution of cyberattacks between 2016 and 2017 show that locations in the US and the EU are global cyberattack source hotspots.

Speaking at a cybersecurity briefing in Moscow on Tuesday, Murashov pointed out that the Russian criminal code already has an article categorising the creation of computer viruses as a crime.

“But not many states have followed suit. Almost everywhere [else], there is no ban on the development of similar software. Moreover, officials in the US, UK, and the EU do everything to hamper the approval of any recommendations on the criminalisation of such activities at forums where global information security is discussed”, the official said, clarifying that such resistance has included foot dragging at the UN.

According to the cybersecurity official, Washington has in fact “unilaterally blocked” the functioning of mechanisms on cooperation with Russia to ensure security in the fields of information and communication technologies, despite a 2013 agreement on the joint tackling of threats in this sphere. Nevertheless, Russia remains ready to “resume constructive dialogue” in this area, pending that it is based on “open and equal cooperation”.

Russia Ready to Publish Correspondence on Alleged Russian ‘Meddling’ in US Elections

The Russian side is ready to publish correspondence on the subject of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections via the hack of the Democratic Party servers, pending agreement from the American side, Murashov said.

“The first message was received only on 31 October 2016, as far as I can recall. After that there were a number of additional messages containing certain technical information about the hacking [of the DNC servers] that had taken place. We analysed all of this information, and even before [Donald] Trump’s inauguration as president, sent the American side what we judged to be an exhaustive response”.

The Russian side cannot share this information with the public without approval from the US side, in accordance with intergovernmental agreements, the official noted. “Accordingly, we are prepared to publish all available correspondence if the American side gives its agreement”, Murashov added.

Foreign Intelligence Behind Cyberattacks on Russian Internet on Election Day

Foreign intelligence agencies stood behind the cyberattacks which affected Russian cyber-infrastructure on the day of the “Direct Line With Vladimir Putin” programme in 2017, as well as voting day in presidential elections in March, Murashov said.

“Since June 2017, we recorded an attack against the entire [Russian] national segment of the internet. The first peak of this attack came on the day of the ‘Direct Line’ programme with the Russian president”, i.e. 15 June 2017, the official said. The attack used a new modification of the “Russkill” group of viruses, he noted.

“After evaluating the capabilities embedded in this modification, we came to the conclusion that we are dealing with a special service of a foreign state, which has perfect knowledge of the algorithms of root DNS servers”, Murashov said. “We realised that in the near future, we should be prepared for more powerful attacks. And this is what ended up happening. The peak of a new wave of the attack fell on the day of the presidential elections in Russia in March of this year”, he added.

Software Manufacturers Share Blame for Software Vulnerabilities

Murashov noted that one of the major problems in the field of cybersecurity today lies in the fact that software makers are rarely held accountable for the security of their products, with software vulnerabilities resulting from products being rushed to markets prematurely leaving the door open for the creation of new viruses designed for mass hacking attacks. The official stressed that an explicit global ban on the creation of malicious software could go a long way in ensuring user security.

Having studied research compiled by Symantec and Webroot in the US, Japan’s NTT Security, and China’s CNCERT/CC cybersecurity centres between 2016 and 2017, Murashov pointed out that the US, France, and the Netherlands ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the geographic distribution of cyberattacks. “This data makes it clear that according to these companies the United States and the European Union are the main sources of malicious activity”, he said.

According to Russian National Cyberthreat Response Centre figures, large scale cyberattacks involving the viruses WannaCry, NotPetya, and BadRabbit affected users in nearly 100 countries in 2017, infecting over 500,000 computers, more than 60 percent of them in Russia. These viruses, using advanced encryption methods, affected not only ordinary users, but components of Russia’s information infrastructure as well, Murashov said.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Canada joins international chorus accusing Russia of ‘malicious cyber attacks’

RT | October 4, 2018

The Canadian government has joined its allies to accuse Russia of being behind a slew of recent “malicious” cyber attacks, including on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The move from Canada comes as the US introduces new charges against a number of alleged Russian intelligence officers which it accuses of hacking the anti-doping agency.

A statement issued on Thursday by Global Affairs Canada said that “a series of malicious cyber-operations by the Russian military” had been exposed, including an alleged attempted hack on the organization responsible for investigating the Salisbury poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March — an attack which the Russian government has denied involvement in and which British authorities have not been able to conclusively blame Moscow for.

The Global Affairs statement said the acts “form part of a broader pattern of activities by the Russian government” which lies “outside the bounds of appropriate behavior” and demonstrate “a disregard for international law and undermine the rules-based international order”. Canada called on countries that value “international order” to “come together in its defence.”

“Some of these acts have a connection with Canada,” the statement added, suggesting that Canada was also a target for alleged Russian cyber attacks and citing a 2016 attack on the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport whose systems were compromised with malware which enabled unauthorized access to the organization’s network. “The Government of Canada assesses with high confidence that the GRU was responsible for this compromise,” the Canadian statement said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Netherlands said it had expelled four Russian intelligence officers in April who they alleged had targeted the Hague-based OPCW.

Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said the operation was disrupted on April 13 and the four men in question had later been expelled from the country. Russia has denied any involvement in hacking and has called the recent allegations ‘spy mania’.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Illegal US Nuclear Weapons Handouts

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | September 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

What nuclear sharing means in practice

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

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

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

How Do the US and its Allies Explain their Lawlessness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran summons European envoys over terrorist attacks in Ahvaz

Press TV – September 22, 2018

Iranian authorities have summoned ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark as well as chargé d’affaires of the British embassy in Tehran after terrorists with alleged links to the European countries carried out attacks during a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the department for European affairs of the ministry summoned the three diplomats separately at the evening time on Saturday to declare Tehran’s strong protest to the role their countries might have played to support elements who carried out the terror attacks in Ahvaz earlier in the day that led to the killing of some 25 people.

The al-Ahvaziya terror group, whose recruits are believed to be scattered in several European countries, including in the Netherlands and in Denmark, claimed responsibility for the attack in Ahvaz.

The terror outfit, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, has a record of carrying out sabotage acts in Iran’s Khuzestan province, which encompasses Ahvaz and some other Arab-dominated towns.

Qassemi said Iran expected the two European countries to extradite the “criminal perpetrators” of the terrorist act in Ahvaz.

“It was reiterated to the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark that the Islamic Republic of Iran had earlier warned about the residence of these individuals in these countries and has called for their arrest and prosecution,” said Qassemi in a statement, adding that the ambassadors of the two countries declared that their governments were ready to share any information with regards to the terrorists and their records.

The official said that Iranian authorities had also passed their strong note of protest to the chargé d’affaires of the British embassy in Tehran about an interview aired by a Britain-based TV channel after the attack in Ahvaz in which the spokesman of the al-Ahvaziya had condoned the terrorist act.

Qassemi said the British diplomat condemned the attack and said that he would accordingly relay Iran’s message of protest to the authorities in London.

Three of the terrorists were shot dead at the scene while a fourth was arrested and later succumbed to his wounds, armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said.

Iran declared Monday to be a day of national mourning in which a funeral ceremony will be held for the victims of the attack in Ahvaz.

All but one of the 25 people killed in the attack have been identified. Some 60 people were wounded in the attack, most of them civilians. Authorities said the death toll could rise as some injured were in critical condition.

September 22, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

Dutch state channel caves to pressure from pro-Israel group over Gaza, Iran

MEMO | June 22, 2018

A Dutch state TV station has apologised twice following complaints from Jewish groups that its coverage was biased against Israel.

According to Israeli sources, NOS, Netherlands’ main public broadcaster, made two retractions within the space of two weeks amid protests by Dutch Jews and others who complained that the state-funded organisation has an institutional anti-Israel bias.

Though a senior NOS spokesperson has denied accusations of anti-Israel bias, the broadcaster has been forced to retract comments about Israel’s occupation and suggesting that Iran and Israel face the same level of threat from each other.

NOS retracted comments, which described Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza as a protest for the right to return to areas that were occupied by Israel after 1948. The broadcast said that those taking part in the “March of Return” wanted to “return to areas that since the establishment of Israel in 1948 are occupied.”

In their retraction, NOS said that the land that came under the control of the Jewish state following the 1949 armistice that ended its war of independence is internationally recognised as belonging to Israel.

The revised statement appears to endorse the Israeli line, which claims that the Palestinians protesting in Gaza have no legitimate rights to return to the land from which they were expelled by Israel in 1948 and the various wars that followed.

Under international law, an armistice line to end hostilities is not the final border, which is to be agreed through negotiations. Israel’s non-declaration of its borders is one of the means by which it has continued to expand its colonies outside what is internationally regarded as the armistice line. The non-resolution of the refugee question also, under international law, means that they have every right to demand a return to their land and receive compensation for their expulsion and loss.

In its second retraction, NOS withdrew the comment that “Iran and Israel are arch-enemies that regularly threaten one another with destruction.” According to the retracted statement Iranian officials have often spoken about Israel’s destruction but Israeli have not. NOS acknowledged this after protests by the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), a pro-Israel group.

The retraction demanded by the pro-Israeli group sent the message that Israel and Iran are not mutually calling for each other’s destruction; which they alleged was only coming from the Iranians. “Israel sees Iran, which regularly threatens to destroy Israel, as a grave danger,” the corrected text reads. Israel has threatened repeatedly “to intervene, also with bombing of Iranian targets”.

Dick Jansen, the chief editor of international news at NOS, said the original phrasing was “insensitive”.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Dutch vote to reject ‘Big Brother’ legislation expanding surveillance powers of security agencies

RT | March 29, 2018

The Dutch population does not want security agencies to receive more surveillance powers, official results of the referendum showed. Although only advisory, the vote sends a strong signal to the government pushing for the law.

The Electoral Council said 49.4 percent of the voters spoke out against the Intelligence and Security Law during the March 21 referendum. The legislation was supported by 46.5 percent, with four percent of those participating casting blank ballots, it added.

The addition of the law on the ballot boosted voter turnout to almost 52 percent, far exceeding the minimum turnout of 30 percent required for a plebiscite to be declared valid.

The new legislation, which the opponents dubbed the ‘Big Data Law,’ or data mining law, provides additional powers to the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD).

Among other things, it would allow the country’s two security agencies to tap telephone and internet traffic on a large scale, which would include reaching an alleged perpetrator by hacking devices of those not under suspicion.

The data obtained through such surveillance would be stored for up to three years, and the AIVD and the MIVD would be granted the right to share this information with foreign colleagues, even without performing any preliminary analysis themselves. The law would also enable the Dutch security agencies to store DNA material for people.

The legislation has already been approved by the government and was set to go into effect on May 1. The referendum was non-binding and the Dutch ministers have the right to ignore the public concerns, leaving the legislation unchanged. However, they would still have to revisit the legislation and debate it once again next month.

Dutch Interior minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Thursday that the cabinet wanted “to do justice” by the referendum and that the Intelligence and Security Law will be re-evaluated carefully and in the shortest time possible, NOS reported.

Last week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte also promised that the legislation will be revised, but refrained from providing any specifics.

Back in 2014, when the Dutch voted against approving the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, authorities in the Netherlands opted to secure an additional agreement between the 28 EU member-states, which it said addressed the concerns of the no-voters. However, it did not change the wording of the EU-Ukraine association agreement in any way as it was passed by the Dutch authorities.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Dutch Lies Over Putin’s ‘Aggression’ Expose NATO War Agenda

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 15.02.2018

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte was this week forced to bear a parliamentary vote of no confidence after his foreign minister finally came clean over a dangerous lie he has been telling for two years concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Halbe Zijlstra quit in shame on Monday as the country’s foreign minister after admitting that a story he had peddled about personally hearing Putin plotting to create a “greater Russia” was false. That then forced premier Rutte to endure a “no confidence” motion from parliamentarians. In the end, Rutte survived the vote. If a majority had voted against his leadership, his coalition government may have collapsed.

But the deep damage done to the Dutch authorities will not be so easily repaired by Rutte’s survival as premier. What has been exposed this week is a senior member of government recklessly telling bare-faced lies in an attempt to slander Russia, poison international relations, and ratchet up already dangerous geopolitical tensions.

Zijlstra had claimed two years ago, in 2016, that he had personally witnessed Russian leader Vladimir Putin boasting about creating a “greater Russia” which, it is claimed, would incorporate Ukraine, the Baltic states, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The newly resigned Dutch top diplomat claimed he heard Putin making the remarks while present with others at the Russian leader’s dacha (summer house) back in 2006.

This week, Zijlstra finally came clean and admitted before parliament that he hadn’t in fact been present at the alleged gathering. He still maintains, however, that a confidant who was among the guests at Putin’s dacha informed him of the alleged “greater Russia” plan. But how can we now trust the word of a self-confessed liar?

Zijlstra’s boss, Prime Minister Rutte, also sought to downplay the debacle, claiming that his foreign minister had made “a big mistake” – but that “lying was not a deadly sin”.

Rutte is in for a rude awakening due to his complacent thinking. For indeed his government has been caught telling a very grave lie whose ramifications concern issues of war and peace in Europe.

Disgraced former minister Zijlstra stands accused of gross distortion of Russia’s foreign policy.

Since the US and European-backed illegal coup in Ukraine in early 2014, geopolitical reality has been turned upside-down. American and European corporate media have peddled relentless anti-Russia propaganda accusing Moscow of “aggression” and “expansionism” in Europe.

This torrent of Russophobia spewed out by Washington, the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union has created the worst crisis in relations with Russia since the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago. There are real fears that the mounting crisis could escalate into an all-out war involving nuclear powers.

Zijlstra’s offense therefore is not merely a “mistaken” lie. His flagrant public distortion has contributed directly to the grave deterioration in geopolitical relations. One could even argue such reprehensible remarks amount to incitement of war, which is a cardinal crime under Nuremberg legal principles.

Lamentably, the mendacious senior Dutch politician is not an isolated case. Recall how former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski was caught out telling similar defamatory lies about Russia in 2014.

Sikorski, who has been an ardent supporter of NATO force build-up against Russia, reportedly claimed that he personally overheard Vladimir Putin in 2008 plotting to annex Ukrainian territory in a covert plot. Sikorski claimed that he heard Putin propositioning then Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk with a carve-up deal of Ukraine between Poland and Russia.

Sikorski was obliged to swiftly retract the claims published in US media, and awkwardly admit that he was not present at the alleged meeting with Putin, and that his quoted remarks were meant as a “surreal joke”.

But, again, this is no joke or mistake. It is deadly serious disinformation by senior government officials, which is recklessly inciting war tensions with Russia. Sikorski is prominently associated with pro-NATO think-tanks like the hawkish American Enterprise Institute. He is married to Anne Applebaum who makes a living from writing anti-Russian screeds for news outlets like the Washington Post.

Zijlstra and Sikorski join the ranks of Russophobia regurgitated by other European foreign ministers like Britain’s Boris Johnson who issued the outlandish claim earlier this year that Russia is “targeting” British infrastructure; or French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who has impugned Russia for chemical weapons use in Syria – only for the French President Emmanuel Macron to admit this week that his government has actually no evidence about the use of such weapons in Syria.

Macron has made his own contribution to Russophobia by leveling unsubstantiated allegations that his presidential election campaign last year was “hacked” by Kremlin agents. He has since banned Russian news media from attending his press conferences.

All these senior government figures are irresponsibly fueling a climate of demonization against Russia which is compounding other unhinged claims made by politicians in Washington and the Baltic states. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, for example, recently claimed that Russian Iskander missiles based on Russian sovereign territory of Kaliningrad were targeting half of Europe, an alarmist claim which has been amplified by US secretary of defense James Mattis in the Pentagon’s recent Nuclear Posture Review.

The climate of hysteria – based on false, fevered official claims – is militating against normal political and diplomatic relations, which is, in turn, exacerbating the war in Ukraine and leading to wider war tensions with Russia across Europe.

A good question is why the ousted Dutch minister decided to own up this week to his lies about Putin.

The answer may be related to the bigger credibility crisis of the Dutch government and its NATO allies with regard to the whole Russophobia propaganda war.

Next month, the Netherlands is to hold a national referendum on extending powers of Dutch state intelligence to monitor public electronic communications. To convince the Dutch public to vote for more snooping powers, the authorities are relying on the hackneyed claims about Russian “meddling” and “interference”.

It seems significant that Dutch media reported last month that the country’s secret services allegedly “hacked into” Russian state hackers who were allegedly penetrating the American Democratic party’s databases during the US presidential elections back in 2015-2016. As usual, no evidence was provided to support the claims. We know from other credible reports that the Democratic party was quite possibly not hacked at all, but rather was leaked from inside by a Democrat staffer. So the Dutch intel story smearing Russia is highly dubious.

But it seems that the purported “good deed” performed by the Dutch intelligence services was pitched in the media as a way to ingratiate bona fides with the Netherlands public. The aim being to dispose the public toward voting in the referendum next month to give the Dutch state more intrusive powers over citizens to “protect” them from “nefarious Russians”.

Now, if the Dutch minister had held on to his office any longer there was a risk that his lies may have become public embarrassingly close to the March referendum, which could have resulted in the public rejecting the authorities’ desire for more snooping powers.

Perhaps then the decision was taken in high office for the minister to take the fall now in order to get rid sooner of an embarrassing story concerning his lies over Russia.

Whatever the explanation about the timing, the admission of Dutch government lying about Russian aggression in Europe is nevertheless an illuminating and appalling insight into how Russophobia and war is being fomented by the US and its European NATO allies.

Abominably, European government officials are willing to risk plunging millions of citizens into a war with Russia based on lies and warped, self-serving prejudices.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

RT | December 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over 120 UN Member States Adopt Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons

Sputnik – 07.07.2017

UNITED NATIONS — More than 120 UN member states on Thursday adopted a treaty to categorically prohibit nuclear weapons although the world’s nuclear powers boycotted the entire process.

“Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to… Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,” the treaty, approved by a 122-member majority, stated.

All nine nuclear powers did not participate in the conference, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council: Russia, the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Four others known or suspected to possess nuclear weapons — Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea — also refused to partake.

Other notable countries that declined to engage in the process include Japan, which was on the receiving end of two US atomic bombs, and South Korea, which borders a recently very active nuclear state.

Netherlands, the only NATO member state to participate in the proceedings, voted against the treaty while Singapore abstained.

According to the convention, it will be open for signature by states at the United Nations in New York on September 20, 2017 and will come into force 90 days after it is ratified by 50 countries.

In March, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the United States abandoning nuclear weapons at this time would put the world at risk because of North Korea’s nuclear activities.

In October 2016, the UN General Assembly voted to negotiate and conclude a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The first negotiation session took place at the United Nations in New York City in March and lasted a week. The second session opened on June 15 and is due to close today, July 7.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment