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Iran Is No One’s Colony

By Christopher – New Eastern Outlook – Black 24.04.2019

The American aggression against Iran is escalating to a level that threatens world war. On Monday April 22, the USA declared that it has withdrawn “waivers” given to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, under the illegal US economic warfare campaign being conducted against Iran under the name of “sanctions.” The stated objective is to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, crippling the Iranian economy, damaging the economies of countries that purchase Iranian oil and raising the price of oil for the rest of the world suppliers, including of course the US and Saudis, that have pledged to fill the gap, at a higher price of course.

The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared, with all the arrogance of Herr Garbage in Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator,

The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets.”

In other words, “we are going to bring Iran to its knees while we make a pile of dough doing it.”

Iran responded by stating that it will continue to ship oil and both Turkey and China quickly stated that they do not accept the US actions and will continue to buy Iranian oil. Italy and Greece have said nothing, but they kowtowed months ago and have not purchased Iranian oil despite being given the waivers by the US. It has to be assumed that they knew what was coming and so sought oil supplies elsewhere.

The Iranians have threatened to close the Straight of Hormuz if the waivers are suspended and the Americans use force to block Iranian oil shipments which would mean the blocking of oil shipments from the Arabian peninsular, thereby threatening oil supplies to many nations in the world that depend on those supplies, including Europe and North America. An attempt to block the Straight of Hormuz would result in the Americans trying to eliminate the Iranian naval vessels closing the passage, major naval engagements and outright war. It may be that the US is hoping to provoke such a clash to give it the pretext for war against Iran. Everything points to that conclusion.

Armed action to block Iranian exports of oil is the logical step the US will have to take if the illegal “sanctions” are ignored and the US maintains its threat to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Any such action would not only be aggression against Iran, it would also be an act of aggression against China and the other nations relying on that oil. But armed conflict and the risk of a major war is a risk the US seems willing to take. Whether they are reckless or that is the American objective is difficult to say but if it comes to that it won’t much matter for the consequences will be terrible and world wide. But, looking at US actions, real war, not just economic, appears to be their objective.

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal a few months ago and immediately reimposed its panoply of “sanctions” against Iran affecting Iranian trade, banking, shipping, transportation and communications. It has since declared a formation of the Iranian armed forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be a “terrorist organisation” a bizarre action since the armed forces of any nation cannot be considered “terrorists” in any sense. Iran quickly retaliated by declaring American armed forces as “terrorists,” and so it goes.

On April 3 the Pentagon repeated Wikileaks’ claims from 2010, which were also based on US Army sources, that Iran was responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq when, in fact, it was the Iraqi Resistance forces, that fought the Americans so valiantly, who inflicted the casualties on the US forces in Iraq.

On October 22, 2010, The Columbia Journalism Review commented on the Wikileaks release of documents and their use in the media on that date regarding Iraq that,

Just as it focused on Pakistan’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan in its reporting on WikiLeaks’s July dump, The New York Times focuses heavily on the involvement of Iran in the Iraq War logs released today.”

And,

The Times’s current online lead WikiLeaks story is “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias” which details the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ backing of Iraqi militias.

The piece draws on specific incidents from the logs to demonstrate that Iran’s Quds Forces mostly maintained a low-profile, arranging for Hezbollah to train Iraqi militias in Iran, and financing and providing weaponry to insurgents. Other times the Iranian forces sponsored assassinations; at others, they sought to influence politics, and otherwise coordinated attacks on US forces in Iraq.”

All these claims, based on US Army sources, were accepted without question by Wikileaks and the major newspapers that published them such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and are now resurrected by the Pentagon and the media to fan the flames of hostility towards Iran in a more visceral way. Syria stated the claims were suspicious. Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharaova stated that Russia was surprised by the allegations, that Washington had some explaining to do and that the US better not use the claims as a pretext for conflict.

The objective of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and resurrecting the dubious US Army-Wikileaks claims that Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq is of course to criminalise the Iranian government in the eyes of the western, particularly American public. Criminalisation of the enemy is always a sign that an attack is coming. They painted Manuel Noriega as a criminal. They did the same with Slobodan Milosevic, with Saddam Hussein, with Muammar Ghaddafi. Negotiations, diplomacy are not possible with “criminals” is the US refrain and their targets end up dead or in an American prison.

The same logic applies to Iran. They are portraying the Iranian government as criminals and no matter how much Iran bends its principles in order to avoid war it will never be enough so long as Iran tries to act as an independent country. The economic warfare will continue for as long as the Americans have the power to wage it.

The excuse will vary with the time and circumstance but the strategy will remain. This is war, illegal and immoral, against an entire people, for the private gains of the elites in the west whose only concern is to make profit at the expense of everyone else.

I have said this before but it needs repeating that I have used the word “sanction” in parentheses because the word, “sanction,” means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition; obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.

This is the definition yet every day we hear of the “sanctions” imposed on Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those who inferior to them.

Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade set up against Iran by the United States and its subject states in the NATO alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter they are economic war crimes, economic aggression for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.

It is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does this power exist.

Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It is clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Iran is an attempt to “punish” Iran for defending its strategic position, independence and sovereignty. Once a war has started it can only proceed to its logical end. Iran has the legitimate right to defend itself against the economic warfare and threat of war presented by the United States for Iran is no one’s colony, and never will be.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Top 51 Fake News Russiagate ‘Bombshells’ Spread By The MSM

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 04/23/2019

Following the release of the Mueller report, the mainstream media tried to pull a fast one – absurdly claiming that their reporting for the last 2.5 years has been largely vindicated.

Except, they weren’t vindicated at all. In fact, they lied through their teeth, peddling falsehood after falsehood.

To that end, Breitbart‘s John Nolte isn’t about to let them get away with peddling even more fiction about their reporting, and has compiled a list of 51 instances where the MSM flat out lied, borrowing from the work of Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

John Nolte Via Breitbart

Top 51 Fake News ‘Bombshells’ the Media Spread About RussiaGate

The list below of 51 might sound like a lot, but it is a drop in the ocean when you recall the thousands and thousands of hours CNN, MSNBC, Meet the Press, This Week, PBS NewsHour, State of the Union, Good Morning AmericaReliable Sources, and the Today Show devoted to anchors and pundits pushing the hoax that Trump colluded with Russia.

Not to mention, millions and millions of establishment media tweets and Facebook posts.

Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Shepard Smith, Andrew Napolitano, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, Chuck Todd, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter, Erin Burnett, et al.,  are alone responsible for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of lies and conspiracy-mongering.

This list of 51 doesn’t count the half-million — half-MILLION — Russia collusion stories published over the past two years, almost all of which were premised on the idea that Trump did, indeed, collude with a foreign power to steal the 2016 presidential election.

This list cannot begin to count the countless times these 51 fake stories were repeated as fact throughout other news outlets, social media, and thousands upon thousands of cumulative broadcast hours.

What’s more, this list of 51 can’t begin to count the countless examples of fake news launched against Trump that have nothing to do with Russia — desperate and deliberate lies involving fish food and ice cream scoops…

Before we begin, credit where it’s due. This list would not have been possible without the lists already compiled by Sharyl AttkissonGlenn Greenwald, and Sohrab Ahmari.

  1. New York magazine, McClatchy:

Michael Cohen went to  Prague.

  1. BuzzFeed:

Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie, and Mueller has emails proving it.

  1. The New York Times:

Paul Manafort passed polling information to Kremlin.

  1. Axios:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein forced out.

  1. NBC News:

Federal investigators wiretapped Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, have recordings of Trump.

  1. Associated Press:

Phony Russia dossier was initially funded by Republican group.

  1. ABC News:

Donald Trump directed Flynn to make contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign

  1. Talking Points Memo:

Russian social media company provided documents to Senate about communications with Trump official.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks.

  1. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal:

Robert Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank records.

  1. ABC News:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked with Russia intelligence-connected official as late as December 2017.

  1. The New York Times:

Trump Deputy National Security adviser K.T. McFarland lied about another official’s contacts with Russians.

  1. CNN:

Trump’s campaign was never wiretapped.

  1. NBC News:

Manafort notes from Russian meeting refer to political contributions.

  1. The New York Times:

Seventeen intelligence agencies concur Russia hacked the 2016 presidential race.

  1. CNN:

Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.

  1. The New York Times:

Former FBI Director James Comey says Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him not to call Russia probe an investigation but “a matter.”

  1. CNN:

James Comey will testify he never told Trump he was not under investigation.

  1. NBC News:

Putin admits he has compromising information about Trump.

  1. Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal:

Trump fired Comey after Comey asked for additional resources for the Russia investigation.

  1. The New York Times:

Numerous contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.”

  1. MSNBC:

Among others, a Trump family member will be indicted on February 8.

  1. The Guardian:

Paul Manafort visited WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on three occasions.

  1. The Washington Post:

Trump campaign changed GOP platform on Ukraine.

  1. The Atlantic:

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

  1. McClatchy:

Michael Cohen really did visit Prague.

  1. CNN:

Trump is lying when he calls Russia dossier “phony.”

  1. Fortune:

RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and C-SPAN “confirmed” it had been hacked.

  1. USA Today, MSNBC, Associated Press:

Russia’s hacked the election systems of 21 American states.

  1. The Washington Post, ABC News, CNN:

Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

  1. The Washington Post:

“More than 200 websites” were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.”

  1. NBC News, MSNBC:

Russia is the main suspect in the sonic attacks that sickened 26 U.S. diplomats.

  1. Slate:

Trump created a secret Internet server to covertly communicate with a Russian bank.

  1. CNN:

Donald Trump knew in advance of the Trump Tower meeting.

  1. CNN:

Mueller Report will show Trump “has helped” Putin “destabilize” the United States.

  1. NBC:

Russia supports Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

    1. CNN:

Sessions failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador.

  1. Vox:

“There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.”

  1. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRReutersthe Guardian, USA Today, CNN, BuzzFeed:

Trump revealed classified information to Russians.

  1. The Washington Post:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Russia paid Trump.

  1. Fox News:

Mueller can show Trump campaign “had a connection to Russian intelligence.”

  1. MSNBC:

“Rudy Giuliani just told America that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.”

  1. The Washington Post:

Evidence suggests Trump could be a Russian “asset.”

  1. NBC:

Russians began hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails on the day Donald Trump joked about it in July 2016.

  1. Mic.com:

Russia spy visited Trump’s Oval Office.

  1. CNN:

Phony Russia dossier has been “corroborated.”

  1. NPR:

Donald Trump Jr. lied under oath about Trump Tower deal in Moscow.

  1. NBC, The Hill, New York Daily News:

Russia successfully hacked voting systems in a number of states.

  1. CNN:

Trump is “bonkers” for claiming Hillary Clinton behind Russia dossier.

  1. CNN:

“Every intelligence expert, both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration,” agrees with the assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

  1. BBC:

Ukrainian president “authorized” an illegal payment of $400,000 to Michael Cohen for additional face time during a June 2017 meeting with President Trump.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Maximum Pressure on Iran Still Isn’t Working

By Paul R. Pillar | LobeLog | April 2, 2019

Almost a year after President Trump reneged on U.S. commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, there is not the slightest sign that this move is achieving the declared objective of Iran crawling back to the negotiating table to negotiate a “better deal.” Tehran instead has been exuding perseverance and hardline resistance. The most recent high-level Iranian statement, a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei marking the Persian new year, was full of recalcitrance. Khamenei’s themes included self-sufficiency and boosting Iran’s defense capabilities.

It is not surprising that determined opponents of the JCPOA—the most vocal of whom are determined opponents of any agreement with Iran—have been trying hard to spin this situation to make it look as if something positive is being accomplished.  Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, for example, suggests that the new year’s speech was “not the confident Khamenei of days past” and that the speech indicated that “the Trump administration has had considerable success convincing Khamenei that the pressure will continue, and that Iran cannot count on outlasting U.S. hostility.”

It also is not surprising that when The New York Times ran a story by Ben Hubbard, reporting from Beirut, about the financial strains that Hezbollah and other Iranian clients are feeling, columnist Bret Stephens jumped into action. “Heavens to Betsy,” Stephens exclaimed in a column in the next day’s Times, arguing that this must mean President Barack Obama was wrong when he said sanctions relief “wouldn’t make much difference in terms of Iran’s capacity to make mischief in the Middle East.”

Actually, Obama was right. The fallacy that Stephens, and others who defend the Trump administration’s re-imposition of nuclear sanctions, are promoting is that making life more difficult, costly, or painful for someone else somehow advances U.S. interests—at least if the U.S. government sufficiently hates whoever that someone else is. That would be true only if schadenfreude were a U.S. national interest, which it isn’t. Pain infliction serves U.S. interests only if it changes the targeted country’s behavior in a desired direction, by either limiting its capabilities or inducing it to change its policies. Regarding Iran over the past year, this is not happening.

It’s Not All About the Money

Most of Hubbard’s article—the part Stephens doesn’t mention—describes how and why Iran and its clients are not changing their policies and operations despite the financial pinch. The reporter notes that the client groups “are relatively inexpensive, remain ideologically committed to Iran’s agenda and can promote it through local politics in ways that the United States struggles to thwart.” Many of the groups “have income streams that give them some financial independence.” That certainly is true of Lebanese Hezbollah, which also benefits from having achieved broad acceptance as a political actor. Hubbard recalls how much pushback Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received on this point when he recently met with senior Lebanese officials. Foreign Minister Gibran Basil, standing next to Pompeo at a subsequent public appearance, said, “From our side, for sure, we reiterated that Hezbollah is a Lebanese party, not terrorist. Its deputies are elected by the Lebanese people with great popular support.”

The article mentions that, to the extent Iran is scaling back militia operations in Syria, this may be due less to financial reasons than to the fact that Iran’s ally Bashar al-Assad has largely won the war. In Iraq, financial stringency has led Iran not to curtail involvement but instead to seek stronger economic ties with its next-door neighbor. Militias that Iran sponsored “are now paid by the Iraq government, giving Iran leverage in Iraqi politics at little cost to itself.”

Hubbard quotes an anonymous Hezbollah fighter as saying that a financial pinch would not push members away from the organization. “You’re not in Hezbollah for the money,” he said. Something similar could be said about Iran in the Middle East. Iran’s activity in the region is shaped not by the money but instead by Tehran’s perception of what is in Iran’s security interests.

None of this should be surprising. Hubbard notes that “recent history suggests that financial pressure on Iran does not necessarily lead to military cutbacks.” As multiple independent studies have concluded, that also is true of the recent and not-so-recent history of Iran’s overall activity in the Middle East, including activity that the United States finds objectionable.

Continued Iranian Compliance with the JCPOA

Stephens tries to milk another supposed accomplishment out of the administration’s pressure campaign by pointing to the fact that Iran is still observing its obligations under the JCPOA despite the United States having reneged on its own commitments. While acknowledging that Iran outwaiting Trump has something to do with this, Stephens also says the Iranian compliance “suggests an edge of fear in Tehran’s calculations. The U.S. can still impose a great deal more pain on the Islamic Republic if it chooses to do so.”

Reflect first on the irony of an anti-JCPOA voice like Stephens pointing to Iran’s continued rigorous observance of its obligations under the JCPOA—the terms of which Stephens and other opponents have been excoriating for three years—as a supposed accomplishment of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign. Reflect further on how much Iran’s compliance with those obligations undermines opponents’ rhetoric about how Iran supposedly has been hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons, with the JCPOA just a way-station where it gets an economic fillip. If that really were Iran’s intention all along—and given that it is not now getting the fillip—Iran would have renounced the JCPOA as soon as the United States reneged.

Think also about what sort of diplomacy Stephens’s suggestion implies: that the way to get another state to stick to agreed terms is not to stick to them oneself but instead to renege and then to threaten something worse. That would be a bizarre brand of diplomacy, to put it mildly, and one that neither the United States nor anyone else could use to get much business done.

“Tehran’s calculations” are unlikely to be anything like what Stephens suggests they are. The Trump administration, through both its actions and its rhetoric, has given Iranian leaders ample reason to conclude that the administration is determined to punish Iran as much as possible no matter what Iran does. Any hesitation within the administration not to push the sanctions pedal all the way to the metal appears to be a reaction not to Iranian restraint but instead to economic concerns about how elimination of waivers for importing Iranian oil would affect the world oil market and ultimately the price of gasoline at the pump.

Iranian Patience Not Unlimited

Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPOA despite U.S. reneging definitely involves an Iranian decision to outwait Trump. This is partly, but not solely, a matter of some Democratic presidential candidates, as Stephens correctly notes, stating their intention if elected to bring the United States back into compliance with the agreement. Iran is making its decisions about nuclear policy within a larger context in which not Iran, but instead the United States under Trump, is the isolated actor. It is not just Iran but all the non-U.S. parties to the JCPOA that are committed to its preservation. So is the larger world community, as expressed in the unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Iran may continue to outwait Trump, despite not getting the economic relief it bargained for, until the end of the current U.S. presidential term. Politics inside Tehran probably would make it impossible to wait any longer. This is where the 2020 U.S. presidential election comes into play. Former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, when asked about this subject recently, replied, “My sense right now is that this Iranian regime would like to try and wait out the Trump administration. But if the president was elected to a second term, then their interest in doing that probably goes out the window.”

If that happens, the damage from the pressure campaign will not be limited to the consequences that Stephens ignores, such as how economic warfare against Iran has become economic warfare against Western allies and has contributed to the poisoning of U.S. relations with them. The damage will include a new Iranian nuclear crisis that was totally avoidable if only the administration had not embarked on its destructive course a year ago.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

New York Times Accidentally Unravels UK Government’s Official Skripal Narrative

By Kit Klarenberg – Sputnik – 17.04.2019

While London almost immediately blamed Moscow for being behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury in March 2018, Russia has strongly rejected its involvement, stressing it’s been denied access both to the investigation into the incident and the Russian nationals affected.

On 16th April, the New York Times published a glowing profile of Gina Haspel, who in May 2018 became the seventh director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The article referred to Haspel — the former head of a CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand at which an indeterminate number of suspected terrorists were viciously tortured — as an “adept tactician” blessed with “good listening, empathy and an ability to connect”, and discussed the difficulties the intelligence chief faced in ensuring “her voice is heard at the White House”, due to the intransigence of President Donald Trump and a White House that allegedly treats national security professionals “with deep skepticism”.

So far, so obsequious — but buried in the hagiography is a fascinating disclosure. In a section titled ‘The keys to talking to Trump? Realism and emotion’, authors Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman document how Haspel “solidified her reputation” as one of the “most skilled briefers” of the President.

Following the 4th March 2018 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, top national security officials are said to have gathered inside the White House to discuss with Trump how Washington should respond — at the time, Whitehall was preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the UK, and aggressively pushing various key international allies to follow suit.

Trump was said to have initially dismissed the significance of the poisoning, characterising it as “legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage”. However, Haspel lobbied the President to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US — and persuaded Trump to take the “strong option” by showing him the Skripals “were not the only victims of Russia’s attack”.

“Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms. Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option,” the article states.

Lame Ducks

This small excerpt raises innumerable questions about the ever-mystifying Salisbury incident. Firstly, the images apparently provided to Haspel by the British government have never been published, or even mentioned, by the British media.

Given Whitehall’s determination to blame and diplomatically punish the Russian state for the poisoning before a motive had been established, any perpetrators identified, or other basic facts ascertained — in the face of significant public disapproval, and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding action be informed by evidence — it’s entirely inconceivable that if these pictures existed, they wouldn’t have been provided to major news outlets and prominently publicised. If they were sufficiently impactful to convince a sceptical US President to support Whitehall’s strategy, hesitant British citizens may well have been similarly swayed.

Moreover though, since March 2018 no UK media outlet, government minister/spokesperson, health professional or law enforcement official has ever even claimed a single child was “sickened” after coming into contact with so-called “Novichok” (there have likewise been no reports of any waterfowl having tragically died due to the nerve agent). Again, it’s utterly imaginable that had a child suffered adverse effects from the nerve agent, it wouldn’t have been widely reported.

There could be several explanations for this seeming anomaly. To name just some of the most unsettling:

  • Several children were hospitalised, and several ducks did die, and for reasons unclear the British government didn’t inform the public and prevented the children and their parents from revealing they’d been affected, while secretly communicating the fact to other governments in literally graphic detail.
  • Counterfeit and/or misleading images may have been produced by persons unknown to bolster Britain’s case for concerted international action, and further been relayed to Haspel (if not other overseas officials), conning her and Trump into backing its mass-expulsion policy.

Alternatively of course, perhaps the stirring tale of Haspel converting the reticent President with impactful images is mere gossip, or spin — after all, the article’s authors didn’t discuss the episode with the CIA chief herself, but based their article on interviews “with more than a dozen current and former intelligence officials who have briefed or worked alongside her”.

However, even if the explanation is quite so anodyne, that in turn raises major questions about how and why the individual(s) who relayed the story to Barnes and Goldman came to believe children and ducks had been affected by Novichok.

Shifting Chronicle

The official narrative of the Salisbury incident is ever-fluctuating. Seemingly each and every article, news segment, official statement or documentary about any element of the case contains new information, requiring the established account to be at least partially rewritten and/or contradicting established elements of the story.

To name but two significant instances of this strange phenomenon in recent memory, on 19th January it was revealed 16-year-old Abigail McCourt had won a ‘Lifesaver Award’ for giving first-aid to the Skripals after finding them unconscious on a public bench in the centre of Salisbury. Accompanying reports indicated she’d been the first person to notice the collapsed father and daughter, and had quickly alerted her mother Alison — together, they provided potentially life-saving assistance to Sergei and Yulia.

The story was somewhat at odds with the official timeline, as advocated by Whitehall and the Metropolitan Police, which stated an off-duty doctor and nurse had found the Skripals — but moreover, Abigail’s award announcement also revealed her mother wasn’t merely a nurse, but the Chief Nursing Officer for the British Army, with the rank of Colonel.

Similarly, on 3rd March the BBC reported police only “realised the seriousness” of the Salisbury incident after Googling the name Sergei Skripal — while the information wasn’t in fact new (similar claims were made in Panorama documentary Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story in November the previous year), the article indicated the first police officer on the scene was Sergeant Tracey Holloway.

Again, this small detail had massive ramifications for the British state’s narrative — for previously government and police spokespeople had unanimously claimed Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey had been the first police officer to attend to the Skripals, hailing his courage in rushing to help them without any regard for his own safety. It was also claimed his contact with them on the scene exposed him to the nerve agent, leading to his own hospitalisation — it’s now ‘established’ he was poisoned after visiting Skripal’s home.

Elements of the official narrative also bizarrely and frequently vanish without warning or explanation — a key example being the Skripals giving bread to three local boys to feed to ducks in Salisbury’s Avon Playground at approximately 1:45pm on 4th March. The incident was initially widely reported in the media, with The Daily Mail claiming the children — one of whom apparently ate some of the bread given to them by the Skripals — had been “rushed to hospital for blood tests amid fears they’d been poisoned”, although the children were entirely unharmed, and discharged from hospital having been given “the all-clear”.

“To try to kill Skripal is one thing, but now it seems children may have been caught up in it. It shows whoever did this didn’t care who they killed or maimed,” a spokesperson for Public Health England told the Sunday Mirror.

Strikingly, this episode would soon completely disappear from media coverage of the Salisbury incident, while never appearing in any officially sanctioned narrative — although it’s easy to understand why. According to the Metropolitan Police’s timeline, after leaving the Avon Playground the Skripals went on to the Bishops Mill Pub in Salisbury town centre, before arriving at Zizzi restaurant at around 14:20pm. They left at around 15:35pm, and emergency services received the first report they’d been found unconscious at around 16:15pm.

British authorities determine Sergei and Yulia were poisoned by Novichok spread around their home — in particular the front door handle — at some point before 13:30pm, when Sergei’s car was seen on Devizes Road heading towards the town centre. The pair were apparently so infected by the nerve agent, and the substance so dangerous, Zizzi was forced to close for eight months due to high levels of contamination, and the table the pair dined at had to be destroyed. The Mill pub, which they headed to immediately after their exploits in Avon Playground was likewise subject to extensive decontamination and only declared safe for reopening in August, although it remains shut even today. The bench the Skripals were found lying on was also destroyed.In spite of this, the children given bread by the Skripals and the ducks they fed were completely unharmed by novichok. It was obviously necessary for the pair’s contact with the trio, one boy’s ingestion of the bread, and indeed their en-masse duck-feeding, to be suppressed. Otherwise, the finding that the pair were poisoned at home before travelling into Salisbury is simply unfeasible — and the pair were poisoned elsewhere, at another time and by another means entirely.

It’s puzzling in the extreme this keenly forgotten aspect of the incident allegedly is said to have featured so prominently in Haspel’s case for decisive US action against Russia — and begs the question of who deceived and is deceiving who, how and why.

Own Initiative?

Adding to the intrigue, on the day of its publication the New York Times article caught the attention of Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes, who duly shared the piece on Twitter, praising Barnes for his work (Goldman went uncredited) and drawing particular attention to the passage relating to the images of “sickened” children.

However, in a suspicious volte-face, within hours Haynes tweeted that “UK security sources” had told her they were in fact “unaware of children hospitalised because of novichok or wildlife killed” in the Salisbury incident.

Sky News' Deborah Haynes Backtracks

Sky News’ Deborah Haynes Backtracks

For her part, Haynes claims she asked “UK contacts” about the images after reading the article, and their denials prompted her to post an “update”. This may well be the case — she certainly has close connections with security services and the military, as evidenced by her honorary membership of the Pen & Sword Club, a group which “[provides] a link between serving and retired officers and supporters within the Ministry of Defence”, and promotes “media operations as a necessary and valued military skill in the 21st century”. She’s one of very few journalists named in their ‘club members’ section — almost all others have military and/or intelligence backgrounds.

Moreover, it’s somewhat odd Haynes was initially seemingly unaware no children were hospitalised in the Salisbury incident, given she wrote extensively about the topic while Defence Editor of The Times. As my previous reports have documented, much of this output was heavily influenced by the Integrity Initiative, a British military intelligence operation which sought to systematically shape media reporting on, and Whitehall’s response to, the Salisbury incident from day one. Evidently, the British deep state is equally as capable of contacting Haynes directly as she is them — and its operatives would have every reason to want one of their most prominent media advocates to speedily retract and repudiate an extremely inconvenient disclosure such as that contained in the New York Times’ report.

If nothing else, that Haynes was willing to transmit an apparently obvious fiction speaks volumes about the willingness of mainstream journalists to parrot each and every fresh claim in the Skripal case, even if it wildly conflicts with what they themselves have written previously.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Julian Assange an Anti Semite as Well as a Publisher?

By Eve Mykytyn | April 16, 2019

One might think that with all that Assange has to contend with, Jews pro or con, might not be a top priority for him. In fact, one might think that the controversy around Assange has to do with government secrecy and the rights of the press. But not so to The Forward, for whom Assange is guilty of a crime apparently worse than conspiracy to commit computer intrusion (I am not expressing an opinion here, that is the allegation) anti Semitism. Assange has been widely portrayed in the media as an anti Semite, see: for example, articles in The Guardian, Slate, Wired and The New York Times. Since Assange has denied that he is an anti Semite, it might be interesting to find the basis for such assertions.

Not surprisingly, The Forward gives breathless coverage to the accusations of anti Semitism without troubling itself to look into the circumstances of each allegation. It’s as if the Forward delights in finding an anti Semite, and a person’s denial of anti Semitism is not even evidence of his own state of mind. In fact, the Forward decries that Assange’s anti Semitism (the title of the article used ‘alleges’ although the article itself quickly drops the hedge) persists “despite the fact that some of his most loyal employees and public defenders are themselves Jewish,” an observation that should give weight to Assange’s claim that he is not an anti Semite.

The Forward’s first charge is that Assange employed “the anti Semitic holocaust denier who goes by the name Israel Shamir.”  Shamir seems to be one of the people whose name is simply followed by the shibboleth ‘anti Semite’ without further explanation. For instance, the Guardian accused Shamir as a holocaust denier and Shamir defended himself in the following paragraph. (quoted in Wiki and giving as a citation this now deleted article.) “As for the accusation of ‘Holocaust denial’, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust.”

The bold accusations about Shamir and the deletion of his rebuttal calls into question Shamir’s alleged anti Semitism. But whatever Shamir is, does merely employing him transfer his beliefs to Assange? Is anti Semitism, like the measles, contagious?

The next charge is a ‘he said’ ‘he said’ story in which only one side is assumed to be truth telling. The British magazine Private Eye wrote an article (not on line, so comment is based on reports of the article) criticizing Israel Shamir and then Assange for employing him.

Private Eye’s editor, Ian Hislop , then published an article relying on “as much as I could remember” of a phone call Assange allegedly made to Hilsop.  According to Hislop, Assange claimed the Shamir article was “joining in the international conspiracy to smear Wikileaks. The piece was an obvious attempt to deprive him and his organisation of Jewish support and donations.” The alleged comment does not actually even seem anti Semitic.

Hislop continued, “But then Assange said that we [Private Eye] were part of a conspiracy led by the Guardian which included journalist David Leigh, editor Alan Rusbridger and John Kampfner— all of whom “are Jewish.”  Hislop’s proof that Assange is anti Semitic? Rusbridger is apparently not Jewish. But that might tend to make Assange less likely to be anti Semitic since the cabal he accuses is not all Jewish. Further, Assange absolutely denied that the phone call was as Hislop reported it.

In its response, WikiLeaks observed that its organization has “some Jewish staff and enjoys wide spread Jewish support” and has itself been accused of working on behalf of the Mossad and George Soros. Assange said of Hislop’s article:“Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, ‘Jewish conspiracy’ is completely false, in spirit and in word. … Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, … to justify one smear with another in the same direction… he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist… We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support …. [of] others who share our hope for a just world.”

Wiki’s tweet goes on to explain that the problem stems from Guardian journalist  David Leigh, who used information in violation of an agreement not to utilize Wikileaks signed by The Guardian’s editor in chief. When Leigh was notified that the German paper Der Spiegel was writing a book that would expose his breach, “Leigh attempted to cover his actions, [by smearing wikileaks] first by laundering an distorted version of the events through a friend at Vanity Fair then by writing his own book, which he had published through the Guardian.”

Assange’s next crime? The mysterious triple parentheses. ((())). In July 2016, Wikileaks published a tweet about Jews who put the parentheses around Jewish names.  (This is done on twitter supposedly in response to anti Semites who used the parens. So if parens are so offensive, why do it yourself?  The logic is a bit hard to follow.) “Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses.”  So it is ok for critics to use the parens but not ok for Wikileaks to make the observation that the parens were used. Again, the anti Semitism, if any, is hard to discern.

Assange’s next and related ‘transgression’ comes from an internal Wikileaks message in 2018 in which  Assange referred to a critic,  AP reporter, Raphael Satter, as “a rat. But he’s jewish and engaged with the ((()))) issue.” I guess they find it anti Semitic to privately refer to a  critic as a rat and separately refer to use of an absurd parens to show Jewish identity.

Assange’s last two supposed offenses of anti Semitism are that:1.The WikiLeaks website’s online shop had a t shirt with the words “first they came for Assange” misquoting the famous Niemoller poem about the Nazi Party. The Forward uses this incident to claim that Assange is comparing himself to a holocaust victim, apparently a comparison only allowed to the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of a holocaust victim. And, 2) Assange refused to deny that the 2016 death of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, may have been connected to WikiLeaks’ dump of DNC emails. Police have blamed a botched robbery. The Forward notes that, “Rich was Jewish, and many of the conspiracy theories surrounding his death had anti semitic overtones.” This may be true, but how would Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London possibly know how Rich died? How was it anti Semitic to refuse to speculate?

Haaretz, the ‘liberal’ Israeli outlet uses the accusations of anti Semitism to join their Labour brethren in condemning Corbyn. How? Here’s the Haaretz  headline:  “Why Jeremy Corbyn Loves Julian Assange So Much; The UK Labour leader’s kneejerk support for the Wikileaks founder is entirely predictable, as is Corbyn’s lack of response to the scent of anti-Semitism Assange exudes.”

Jeremy Corbyn called Assange a twenty-first century folk hero for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan  and has opposed extradition. Haaretz expands on this to claim that Corbyn was willing to expose the failures of Western capitalism at all costs, ignoring all other injustices. “Not least, accusations of anti-Jewish racism.”  The comparison is a far fetched conclusion from the evidence. Haaretz (in a line of argument borrowed from Dershowitz) asks why  support Palestinian rights but not comment on healthcare  in Britain or hunger in Venezuela.  Actually, Here is Corbyn  on health and here is Corbyn on Venezuela.

Haaretz acknowledges that Assange attempted to ‘row back’ from anti-Jewish comments, or more properly, comments interpreted as anti Semitic. Haaretz believes that Corbyn embraced Assange  because he was instrumental in publishing files stolen from the CIA that included 2500 files relating to cables sent by the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Among them were the then head of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch’s, writings on the rationale of legal rulings on Palestinian human rights issues. These files seem to contain what many in the public would like to see: that is, what is the legal justification for abrogating Palestinian rights?

Haaretz also points out that Wikileaks exposed a ‘secret’ back-channel to Tehran operated by a Lubavitcher and London activist Rabbi Herschel Gluck which was opened to mediate the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas in Gaza. Apparently, after the leak the effort was halted. Lastly, the paper bemoans that Corbyn was part of the British campaign to free Israeli nuclear whistleblower Vanunu from prison in Israel.

Then the paper that just relied solely on his relationship to Israel to criticize Corbyn claims that “It is this one-dimensional approach to politics that has allowed him to share a platform with Islamist reactionaries … to be silent when they mouth anti-Jewish (rather than anti-Israel) comments, … and to believe that Julian Assange is a hero for our time.”

“Needless to say, Corbyn’s positions bear no relation to the very essence of what it means to be a socialist.”

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck

By Craig Murray | April 17, 2019

One of the striking things about the official Skripal story is the way its more wildly improbable aspects have been released to the mainstream media over a long period, so as to manage their impact. So, for example, police acknowledgement that the perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found was sealed and could not have been the container used on the Skripals is comparatively recent, and it took nine months for us to learn that, by a truly wonderful coincidence, the first person to find the Skripals ill on the bench was the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

I covered these points in full in my article on the ten points I do not believe in the official story – an article which nobody has sought to refute, other than to yell “conspiracy theory”, as though that was an argument.

But today we learn from the Guardian (quoting the New York Times) that Donald Trump was only convinced to back the UK government line after being shown photos of dead ducks and hospitalised children by CIA director Gina Haspel.

The problem is that, there were no hospitalised children. No children have been reported as becoming ill following their duck feeding with the Skripals. We have heard from one of the parents that they were shown by the police extremely clear CCTV footage of the duck feeding, which has never been made public. Surely if the child had been hospitalised, the parent would have been mentioned it?

Dr Stephen Davies of Salisbury Hospital’s letter of 16 March 2018 to the Times has been explained away as poorly written or edited, in relation to the cause of the Skripals’ illness. But be that as it may, one thing the doctor’s letter does without any shadow of a doubt, is rule out the possibility of hospitalised children.

There were no hospitalised children.

We also know that the duck feeding was the time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were physically closest to the Skripals. But this is the first time there has ever been any mention of any harm to the ducks. Dead ducks would have been noticed by the public.

Possibly the Guardian and New York Times are inventing utter drivel, as in the Manafort meeting Assange story. That would in itself be worrying. The other possibility is that the security services produced fake photographs of hospitalised children and slaughtered some ducks, in order to convince Donald Trump. If the latter explanation is true, then the entire Skripal saga looks more and more staged.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Haspel, CIA, Sappy Sentimental Job.

By Andrei Martyanov | Reminiscence of the Future | April 16, 2019

NYT today decided to praise Gina Haspel as “professional”. I don’t know what they teach in CIA anymore, judging by “outstanding” results for the United States, but this piece I found to be hilarious. Follow the text:

London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical. He had initially written off the poisoning as part of legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage. Some officials said they thought that Mr. Trump, who has frequently criticized “rats” and other turncoats, had some sympathy for the Russian government’s going after someone viewed as a traitor. A former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned last year in Britain in a slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup. During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats. To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack. Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. Ms. Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.

Now you get it, I hope. Welcome to US “intelligence”, also known for Russiagate and support of terrorists. CIA also is known to have good skills in staging false flag operations such as “Chemical Attacks” by “Assad” in Syria. But I like this little insight in workings of US IC and its head Gina Haspel in handling forensic evidence, sound analysis, impressive record… nah, I am being facetious. Ah, yes–record, killed children, other atrocities. You may always keep yourself informed on how real US democracy and “realism” look like in terms of civilians’ body count, but who counts really, right? The depravity and casuistic nature of this piece of dung “journalism” is stunning, but then again–being sappy sentimental when committing war crimes and pushing world closer to Armageddon is what US intelligence “professionals” like Haspel are known for. Well that, and torture techniques. I am sure Gina cried while waterboarding some unfortunate creep. It is so, well, emotional after all–especially dead ducks.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

To Ramp Up Fear of Russia in Africa, NYT Downplays Massive US Military Presence

By Adam Johnson – FAIR – April 4, 2019

The New York Times (3/31/19) added to its series of reports depicting Official Enemies surpassing the US in the race for global dominance. It seems that having taken control of the Arctic (FAIR.org9/15/15), the nuclear domain (FAIR.org3/7/18) and a whole host of other spaces the US is “behind” in, Russia is now gobbling up Africa—a threat the US, presumably, must counter with an even greater military build-up.

The report, “Russia’s Military Mission Creep Advances to a New Front: Africa,” by Eric Schmitt, asserting an uptick in Russian weapons contracts and military training exercises in Africa, is thin on context and hard numbers, but is artificially fortified with a series of anecdotes and frightening quotes. Since the obvious rejoinder to any discussion of increased Russian presence in Africa is, “OK, but what is the US’s current reach?” the Times hangs a lampshade on the inconvenience with this throwaway line:

The United States military has a relatively light footprint across Africa.

About 6,000 United States troops and 1,000 Defense Department civilians or contractors work on a variety of missions throughout Africa, mainly training and conducting exercises with local armies.

According to documents obtained by the Intercept’s Nick Turse (12/1/18), the US currently has 34 military bases in Africa; Russia has zero. The Times doesn’t tell us how many “contractors’ and “troops” Russia has in Africa, so it’s not clear what the so-called “light footprint” is “relative” to. Is it 10? 100? 10,000? If it’s a lot less than 6,000, then the story is a bit of a dud. Alas, we’re simply left guessing at the “relative” size of Russia’s Africa presence.

Also worth noting: “Light footprint” is the same Orwellian phrase the Pentagon has been using for years to obscure the growth of AFRICOM, as in this AFRICOM press release (6/13/12) :

AFRICOM Will Maintain Light Footprint in Africa — The United States has no plans to seek permanent bases in Africa, and, in the spirit of the new defense strategic guidance, will continue to maintain a “light footprint” on the continent, the top US Africa Command officer said.

AFRICOM map of Africa, published by The Intercept (12/1/18). Note that in the Pentagon’s doubletalk, the US does not have “permanent bases” in Africa—it has “enduring locations.”

It’s always reassuring when the paper of record adopts the US government’s preferred press release language. (See also New York Times1/25/12 , 3/1/19.)

Aside from quotes from US military brass, Schmitt’s report was primarily propped up with testimony from weapons contractor-funded think tanks, namely the Institute for the Study of War and the Center for International and Strategic Studies, which both provided urgent, stakes-raising narratives:

Russia is seeking more strategic bases for its troops, including at Libyan ports on the Mediterranean Sea and at naval logistics centers in Eritrea and Sudan on the Red Sea, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, a research organization in Washington….

“Moscow and its private military contractors are arming some of the region’s weakest governments and backing the continent’s autocratic rulers,” said Judd Devermont, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This engagement threatens to exacerbate current conflict zones.”

Panic over a creeping Russia menace in Africa is timed, not coincidentally, with congressional debate over the Defense budget, submitted by Trump two weeks ago. In addition, some congressional Democrats and Republicans are working to erode what little caps exist for the military budget, with a planned vote next week in the House for lifting limits on discretionary Defense spending.

Needless to say, the primary funders of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Institute for Study of War—the think tanks whose juicy quotes and studies bolster the primary arguments of the articles’ premise—stand to make tens of billions in profit from both of these legislative efforts. Having the New York Times provide marketing collateral for these efforts is no doubt useful in convincing an increasingly war-weary public, and accordingly, war-wary Congress, to rubberstamp yet another record-setting Pentagon budget.

For hawkish arms industry-funded groups like CSIS, the answer is always to build more weapons systems and to paint enemy states in the most sinister light possible. One 2017 study by FAIR (5/8/17) found that while commenting on Korea, CSIS’s experts either explicitly backed its funder Lockheed Martin’s THAAD weapons system, or its central value proposition that it would ward off a hostile North Korea, 30 out of 30 times. There were zero examples of a CSIS rep downplaying a threat or arguing against more military spending. When asked in email to provide an example of CSIS saying any threat was exaggerated or advising against any kind of military spending increase, the CSIS spokesperson declined to comment.

The primary purpose of organizations like CSIS and ISW is to push the weapons systems of the corporations that fund them. Any analysis of their reports, studies or media appearances will show that at least 99 percent of the time, they come down on the side of hyping threats and pushing for the shiny new publicly funded instruments that would counter those threats.

This glaring conflict of interest, as usual, isn’t disclosed by the New York Times. A particularly strange omission, since it was the Times itself in 2016 that, citing leaked emails, argued (8/7/16) that CSIS was acting as a thinly veiled lobbyist for its weapons-maker funder General Atomics, and was, according to its own report, “blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists.”

“As a think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies did not file a lobbying report,”  Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams reported, “but the goals of the effort were clear.”

They are clear indeed. Yet since that time, CSIS has continued to be the go-to source for analyzing global threats for the Times, without even a token disclosure.

Also as usual, the article went to no skeptical voices for any comment; the only sources sought were war makers and those funded by war makers. They all worked to paint a one-sided, cartoon picture of a Russian takeover of Africa, complete with the patented New York Times double standard of motives: Russia is said by Schmitt to be seeking “new economic markets and energy resources.” The United States? Simply there to provide “foreign aid” and “train and conduct exercises with local armies.” In the Times, the idea that the US would also be motivated by securing markets and resources would be tantamount to lizard people conspiracy theory talk. But for Russia, it’s simply taken for granted.

In the Times, Official Enemy threats are unquestionably bad and unquestionably sinister in nature. The only answer? Let the Pentagon gravy train run its course, year in and year out because invariably there will always be, with the help of the New York Times, the specter of an enemy threat “advancing on a new front.”

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

No, Dual Loyalty Isn’t Okay

Many in congress and the media won’t discuss loyalty to Israel

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • March 12, 2019

The Solons on Capitol Hill are terrified of the expression “dual loyalty.” They are afraid because dual loyalty means that one is not completely a loyal citizen of the country where one was born, raised and, presumably, prospered. It also suggests something more perverse, and that is dual citizenship, which in its present historic and social context particularly refers to the Jewish congressmen and women who just might be citizens of both the United States and Israel. There is particular concern over the issue at the moment because a freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar has let the proverbial cat out of the bag by alluding to American-Jewish money buying uncritical support for a foreign country which is Israel without any regard to broader U.S. interests, something that everyone in Washington knows is true and has been the case for decades but is afraid to discuss due to inevitable punishment by the Israel Lobby.

Certainly, the voting record in Congress would suggest that there are a lot of congress critters who embrace dual loyalty, with evidence that the loyalty is not so much dual as skewed in favor of Israel. Any bill relating to Israel or to Jewish collective interests, like the currently fashionable topic of anti-Semitism, is guaranteed a 90% plus approval rating no matter what it says or how much it damages actual U.S. interests. Thursday’s 407 to 23 vote in the House of Representatives on a meaningless and almost unreadable “anti-hate” resolution was primarily intended to punish Ilhan Omar and to demonstrate that the Democratic Party is indeed fully committed to sustaining the exclusive prerogatives of the domestic Jewish community and the Jewish state.

The voting on the resolution was far from unusual and would have been unanimous but for the fact that twenty-three Republicans voted “no” because they wanted a document that was only focused on anti-Semitism, without any references to Muslims or other groups that might be encountering hatred in America. That the congress should be wasting its time with such nonsense is little more than a manifestation of Jewish power in the United States, part of a long-sought goal of making any criticism of Israel a “hate” crime punishable by fining and imprisonment. And congress is always willing to play its part. Famously, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) official Steven Rosen once boasted that he could take a napkin and within 24 hours have the signatures of 70 Senators on it, reflective of the ability of the leading pro-Israel organization to impel the U.S. legislature to respond uncritically to its concerns.

Ilhan Omar has certainly been forced to apologize and explain her position as she is under sustained attack from the left, right and center as well as from the White House. One congressman told her that “Questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.” Another said “there are many reasons to support Israel, but there is no reason to oppose Israel” while yet another one declared that all in Congress are committed to insuring that the “United States and Israel stand as one.”

But Omar has defended herself without abandoning her core arguments and she has further established her bona fides as a credible critic of what passes for U.S. foreign policy by virtue of an astonishing attack on former President Barack Obama, whom she criticized obliquely in an interview Friday, saying “We can’t be only upset with Trump. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was. That’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.” Presumably Omar was referring to Obama’s death by drone program and his destruction of Libya, among his other crimes. Everything she said about the smooth talking but feckless Obama is true and could be cast in even worse terms, but to hear the truth from out of the mouth of a liberal Democrat is something like a revelation that all progressives are not ideologically fossilized and fundamentally brain dead. One wonders what she thinks of the Clintons?

The Democrats are in a tricky situation that will only wind up hurting relationships with some of their core constituencies. If they come down too hard on Omar – a Muslim woman of color who wears a head covering – it will not look good to some key minority voters they have long courted. If they do not, the considerable Jewish political donations to the Democratic Party will certainly be diminished if not slowed to a trickle and much of the media will turn hostile. So they are trying to bluff their way through by uttering the usual bromides. Senator Kristin Gillibrand of New York characteristically tried to cover both ends by saying “Those with critical views of Israel, such as Congresswoman Omar, should be able to express their views without employing anti-Semitic tropes about money or influence.” Well, of course, it is all about Jews, money buying access and obtaining political power, with the additional element of supporting a foreign government that has few actual interests in common with the United States, isn’t it?

As Omar put it, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country…” She also tweeted to a congressional critic that “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.” Gilad Atzmon, a well known Jewish critic of Israel, observed drily that “How reassuring is it that the only American who upholds the core values of liberty, patriotism and freedom is a black Muslim and an immigrant…”

But such explicatory language about the values that Americans used to embrace before Israel-worship rendered irrelevant the Constitution clearly made some lightweights from the GOP side nervous. Megan McCain, daughter of thankfully deceased “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” Senator John McCain appears on a mind numbing talk-television program called The View where she cried as she described her great love for fellow Israel-firster warmonger former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman as “like family,” before launching into her own “informed” analysis: “I take the hate crimes rising in this country incredibly seriously and I think what’s happening in Europe is really scary. On both sides it should be called out. And just because I don’t technically have Jewish family that are blood-related to me doesn’t mean that I don’t take this seriously and it is very dangerous, very dangerous… what Ilhan Omar is saying is very scary to me.”

The New York Times also had a lot to say, covering the story on both its news and op-eds pages daily. Columnist Michelle Goldberg, who is usually sensible, criticizes Omar because of her “minimizing the legacy of the holocaust” and blames her because “she’s committed what might be called, in another context, a series of microaggressions — inadvertent slights that are painful because they echo whole histories of trauma.” In other words, if some Jews are indeed deliberately corrupting American politics on behalf of Israel and against actual U.S. interests using money to do so it is not a good idea to say anything about it because it might revive bad historical – or not so historical – memories. It is perpetual victimhood employed as an excuse for malfeasance on the part of Jewish groups and the Jewish state.

Another Times columnist Bret Stephens also takes up the task of defenestrating Omar with some relish, denying that “claims that Israel… uses money to bend others to its will, or that its American supporters ‘push for allegiance to a foreign country” are nothing more than the “repackage[ing] falsehoods commonly used against Jews for centuries.” He attributes to her “insidious cunning” and “anti-Jewish bigotry” observing how “she wraps herself in the flag, sounding almost like Pat Buchanan when he called Congress “Israeli-occupied” territory.” And it’s all “… how anti-Zionism has abruptly become an acceptable point of view in reputable circles. It’s why anti-Semitism is just outside the frame, bidding to get in.” He concludes by asking why the Democratic Party “has so much trouble calling out a naked anti-Semite in its own ranks.”

Stephens clearly does not accept that what Omar claims just might actually be true. Perhaps he is so irritated by her because he himself is a perfect example of someone who suffers from dual loyalty syndrome, or perhaps it would be better described as single loyalty to his tribe and to Israel. Review some of his recent columns in The Times if you do not believe that to be true. He has an obsession with rooting out people that he believes to be anti-Semites and believes all the nonsense about Israel as the “only democracy in the Middle East.” In his op-ed he claims that “Israel is the only country in its region that embraces the sorts of values the Democratic Party claims to champion.” Yes, a theocratic state’s summary execution of unarmed protesters and starving civilians while simultaneously carrying out ethnic cleansing are traditional Democratic Party programs, at least as Bret sees it.

People like Stephens are unfortunately possessors of a bully pulpit and are influential. As they are public figures, they should be called out regarding where their actual loyalties lie, but no one in power is prepared to do that. Stephens wears his Jewishness on his sleeve and is pro-Israel far beyond anyone else writing at The Times. He and other dual loyalists, to be generous in describing them, should be exposed for what they are, which is the epitome of the promoters of the too “passionate attachment” with a foreign state that President George Washington once warned against. If the United States of America is not their homeland by every measure, they should perhaps consider doing Aliyah and moving to Israel. We genuine Americans would be well rid of them.

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

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

30 years of NOAA tide gauge data debunk 1988 Senate hearing climate alarmist claims

By Larry Hamlin | Watts Up With That? | March 5, 2019

NOAA has updated its coastal tide gauge measurement data through year 2018 with this update now providing 30 years of actual data since the infamous 1988 Senate hearings that launched the U.S. climate alarmist political propaganda campaign.

In June of 1988 testimony was provided before Congress by various scientists, including NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, claiming that man made greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for increasing global temperatures with the New York Times reporting, “Global Warming Has Begun, Experts Tells Senate”.

The Times article noted that “The rise in global temperature is predicted to cause a thermal expansion of the oceans and to melt glaciers and polar ice, thus causing sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century. Scientists have already detected a slight rise in sea levels.”

NOAA has updated its extensive U.S. coastal tide gauge data measurement records to include data through year 2018. These measurements include tide gauge data coastal locations for 25 West Coast, Gulf Coast and East Coast states along the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. In addition 7 Pacific island groups and 6 Atlantic island groups also have coastal location tide gauge data measurements updated as well.

In all more than 200 coastal locations are included in these measurements with more than 100 of these coastal locations with recorded data periods in excess of 50 years in duration. None of these updated NOAA tide gauge measurement data records show coastal location sea level rise acceleration occurring anywhere on the U.S. coasts or Pacific or Atlantic island groups.

Three decades after the politically driven speculation and conjecture offered at these 1988 Senate hearings NOAA tide gauge data fails to confirm or otherwise support these alarmist claims.

The latest updated NOAA coastal tide gauge measurement data shows locations likely to experience only inches of sea level rise by mid century (not one to four feet as climate alarmists speculated to Congress in 1998) with that increase consistent with long standing and unchanging rates of sea level rise measured at these coastal locations.

The longest NOAA tide gauge data record is at the Battery, New York with a 162 year long measurement period. This location along with all other NOAA U.S. coastal locations show no sea level rise acceleration occurring over the past 30 years despite scientifically flawed assertions otherwise by climate alarmists.

Dr. Judith Curry recently conducted an interview presented here at WUWT where she addressed the political drivers behind the climate alarmism campaign which distinguish it from being a genuine scientific endeavor. She offered the following comments:

“Sea level is rising, but this has been gradually happening since the 1860s; we don’t yet observe any significant acceleration of this process in our time.” Here again, one must consider the possibility that the causes for rising sea levels are partly or mostly natural, which isn’t surprising, says Curry, for “climate change is a complex and poorly understood phenomenon, with so many processes involved.”

“Climatology is becoming an increasingly dubious science, serving a political project,” she complains. In other words, “the policy cart is leading the scientific horse”

NOAA’s coastal tide gauge measurement data are systematically ignored by climate alarmist propaganda campaign activists and media. That action represents a clear condemnation of any scientific validity regarding their efforts.

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

The Russian Mirror

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | February 26, 2019

A recent article in the New York Times about Russia’s “intelligence state,” authored by John Sipher, a former chief of station for the CIA, provides a valuable mirror for the American people. The problem is that American statists cannot see it as a mirror. While Sipher’s article clearly demonstrates that American statists, especially conservative ones, can see the wrongdoing of foreign totalitarian or authoritarian regimes with great clarity, they have a moral blindness when it comes to recognizing wrongdoing by their own government. Even worse, they defend wrongdoing by their own regime (which they can’t see as wrongdoing) as a way to combat foreign wrongdoing. In fact, they come to view their own wrongdoing as something good when it is being used to oppose wrongdoing by a foreign regime.

Sipher labels Russia’s (and, before that, the Soviet) governmental system an “intelligence state.” He’s critical of it, and rightly so. It is a type of governmental system that engages in such things as secret surveillance of the citizenry, assassination, torture, and interference in the affairs of other nations.

Referring to Russia’s system under Vladimir Putin, who Sipher reminds us is a former KGB officer, Sipher writes:

“The history of the brutal Soviet security services lays bare the roots of Russia’s current use of political arrests, subversion, disinformation, assassination, espionage and the weaponization of lies. None of those tactics is new to the Kremlin.

“In fact, those tactics made Soviet Russia the world’s first “intelligence state,” and they also distinguished it from authoritarian states run by militaries…. The result is a regime with the policies and philosophy of a supercharged secret police service, a regime that relies on intelligence operations to deal with foreign policy challenges and maintain control at home….

“Over the decades, the Soviet and Russian secret services developed tools and habits based on their Chekist experience that set them apart from their counterparts in the West. Rather than focusing on collecting and analyzing intelligence, they developed expertise in propaganda, agitation, subversion, repression, deception and murder.”

Sipher uses the label “intelligence state” to describe the Russian and Soviet system. There is another label that Sipher could have used, a much more common one: a “national security state.”

Why would Sipher avoid using the term “national-security state”? My hunch is that he instinctively knows that that would be holding the mirror to himself and the rest of the American people. That’s because the United States is a “national-security state” or an “intelligence state,” just like Russia is.

In fact, a supreme irony in Sipher’s article is that he worked for the CIA for 27 years. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the CIA is an “intelligence agency,” one that not only engages in intelligence gathering but also has long wielded and exercised the powers of assassination, torture, indefinite detention, involuntary drug experimentation, and secret surveillance — that is, the same types of powers that Sipher decries in the Russia/Soviet “intelligence state.”

Sipher points out that one of the main features of an “intelligence state” is lying. He ought to know. Since its very beginning, the CIA has been an agency based on lies and lying. Deception has always been justified under the rubric of “national security.” Coming immediately to mind is CIA Director Richard Helms, who was convicted of lying to Congress regarding the CIA’s secret regime-change operation against Chile, to the praise and acclaim of his subordinate officers in the CIA. Let’s also not forget the lies that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. told Congress under oath regarding the NSA’s secret surveillance of Americans.

Consider all the nefarious things the CIA has done and continues to do in foreign countries, including assassination, coups, installation of foreign dictators, invasions, wars of aggression, torture, rendition, partnerships with dictatorial regimes, sanctions and embargoes targeting innocent people with death, impoverishment, and suffering.

Or consider MKULTRA, the CIA’s top-secret operation to subject innocent, unsuspecting people to drug experimentation, along with the subsequent intentional destruction of official records to prevent Americans from discovering the full extent of the operation.

Or the U.S. national-security state’s secret surveillance of American citizens, along with secret illegal operations to spy on and infiltrate peaceful and law-abiding organization with the intent to smear and destroy them and their members.

Of course, it wasn’t always that way. The United States was founded as a limited-government republic, which is the opposite of a national-security state. For more than 150 years, our nation prospered without a Pentagon, a military-industrial complex, a national-security state, a CIA, and a NSA. Governmental procedures were transparent. There was no obsession over the nebulous and meaningless term “national security.”

Then came the aftermath of World War II, when U.S. officials told Americans that they were now facing a new official enemy, one that had been an official enemy of Nazi Germany and a friend and partner of the United States. That new official enemy was the Soviet Union and its system of communism. The communists were coming to get us, U.S. official maintained, as part of a worldwide communist conspiracy based in Moscow, Russia.

U.S. officials said that there was only one way to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. In order to prevail against the Soviet Union, the U.S. government would have to be converted into the same type of governmental system, U.S. officials said.

That meant moving to the dark side — toward torture, assassination, coups, regime-change operations, sanctions and embargoes, secret surveillance — i.e., the types of things the communists were doing. That’s how we got the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, three principal components of the U.S. national-security state or intelligence state.

What about our limited-government republic? U.S. officials said that as soon as the Cold War was over, we could have it back. But when the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly ended, we didn’t get our republic back. Instead, we got the continued existence of the national-security state, along with its forever wars and forever interventions all around the world, along with its never-ending plunge into the dark side.

Worst of all, we got a moral blindness, one in which all too many Americans are unable to recognize what all this has done to us.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America

By Mark Cook | FAIR | February 22, 2019

I was sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), which carried a report that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: “Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.”

I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.

A few days after the Time story, CNBC (6/22/16) carried a claim that there was no acetaminophen to be found anywhere, either: “Basic things like Tylenol aren’t even available.” That must have taken the Pfizer Corporation by surprise, since it was their Venezuelan subsidiary, Pfizer Venezuela SA, which produced the acetaminophen I purchased. (Neither Time writer Ian Bremer nor CNBC commentator Richard Washington was in Venezuela, and there was no evidence offered that either of them had ever been there.)

I purchased all three products, plus cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications, because I doubted that anyone in the United States would believe me if I couldn’t produce the medications in their packages.

Unrelenting drumbeat of lies

In fact, I myself wouldn’t have believed anyone who made such claims without being able to produce the proof, so intense and unrelenting has been the drumbeat of lies. When the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela gave a concert in New York in early 2016, before I moved to Caracas, I went there thinking, “Gee, I hope that the members of the orchestra are all well-dressed and well-fed.” Yes, of course they were all well-dressed and well-fed!

When I mentioned this in a talk at the University of Vermont, a student told me that he’d had the same feeling when he was following the Pan American soccer championship. He wondered if the Venezuelan players would be able to play, because they’d be so weakened from lack of food. In fact, he said, the Venezuelan team played superbly, and went much further in the competition than expected, since Venezuela has historically been a baseball country, unlike its soccer-obsessed neighbors Brazil and Colombia.

Hard as it may be for followers of the US media to believe, Venezuela is a country where people play sports, go to work, go to classes, go to the beach, go to restaurants and attend concerts. They publish and read newspapers of all political stripes, from right to center-right, to center, to center-left, to left. They produce and watch programs on television, on TV channels that are also of all political stripes.

CNN was ridiculed recently (Redacted Tonight, 2/1/19) when it carried a report on Venezuela, “in the socialist utopia that now leaves virtually every stomach empty,” followed immediately with a cut to a demonstration by the right-wing opposition, where everybody appeared to be quite well-fed.

But surely that’s because most of the anti-government demonstrators were upper-middle class, a viewer might think. The proletarians at pro-government demonstrations must be suffering severe hunger.

Not if one consults photos of the massive pro-government demonstration on February 2, where people seemed to be doing pretty well. This is in spite of the Trump administration’s extreme economic squeeze on the country, reminiscent of the “make the economy scream” strategy used by the Nixon administration and the CIA against the democratic government of President Salvador Allende in Chile, as well as many other democratically elected governments.

Rival demonstrations

That demonstration showed considerable support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro and widespread rejection of Donald Trump’s choice for president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó, who proclaimed himself to be president of the country and was recognized minutes later by Trump, even though a public opinion poll showed that 81 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of him, comes from the ultra-right faction in Venezuelan politics.

The pro-Maduro demonstration suggested, not surprisingly, that Guaidó had failed to win much popular support outside the wealthy and upper-middle class. But Guaidó couldn’t even win support from many of them. The day before rival rallies February 2, Henrique Capriles, the leader of a less extreme right-wing faction, gave an interview to the AFP that appeared in Últimas Noticias (2/1/19), the most widely read newspaper in Venezuela. In it, Capriles said that most of the opposition had not supported Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president. That may explain the surprisingly weak turnout at Guaidó’s demonstration, held in the wealthiest district of Caracas, and obviously outshone by the pro-government demonstration on the city’s main boulevard.

The New York Times did not show pictures of that pro-government demonstration, limiting itself to a claim by unnamed “experts” (2/2/19) that the pro-government demonstration was smaller than the anti-government one.

Readers can look at the photos of the rival demonstrations and judge for themselves. Both groups did their best to pull out their faithful, knowing how much is riding on a show of popular support. The stridently right-wing opposition paper El Nacional (2/3/19) carried a photo of the right-wing opposition demonstration:

If that was the best photo it could find, it was remarkably unimpressive compared to the photos in the left-wing papers CCS (2/2/19)….

… and Correo del Orinoco (2/3/19), which were only too happy to publish pictures of the pro-government event:

Unlikely humanitarian

A huge anti-government demonstration was supposed to make possible a coup d’état, a maneuver the CIA has used repeatedly—in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and many more, straight through to Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2015. The turnout at the Trump administration’s demonstration was disappointing, and the coup d’état never occurred. The result is that Trump has expressed a sudden interest in getting food and medicine to Venezuelans (FAIR.org, 2/9/19).

Trump, who let thousands die in Puerto Rico and put small children in cages on the Mexican border, seems to be an unlikely champion of humanitarian aid to Latin Americans, but the corporate media have straight-facedly pretended to believe it.

Most have suppressed reports that the Red Cross and the UN are providing aid to Venezuela in cooperation with the Venezuelan government, and have protested against US “aid” that is obviously a political and military ploy.

The corporate media have continued to peddle the Trump-as-humanitarian-champion line, even after it was revealed that a US plane was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela, and even after Trump named Iran/Contra criminal Elliott Abrams to head up Venezuelan operations. Abrams was in charge of the State Department Human Rights Office during the 1980s, when weapons to US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua were shipped in US planes disguised as “humanitarian” relief.

Canada’s CBC (2/15/19) at least had the honesty to acknowledge that it had been had in swallowing a lie from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Venezuelan government had blockaded a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela to prevent aid shipments. The newly built bridge has not yet been opened: it has never been open, apparently because of hostile relations between the two countries, but the non-opening long predates the US government’s alleged food and medicine shipments.

The absurdity of $20 million of US food and medicine aid to a country of 30 million, when US authorities have stolen $30 billion from Venezuela in oil revenue, and take $30 million every day, needs no comment.

‘Failed state’

The campaign of disinformation and outright lies about Venezuela was kicked off in 2016 by the Financial Times. Ironically, it chose the 14th anniversary of the 2002 failed coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez—April 11, 2016—to claim that Venezuela was in “chaos” and “civil war,” and that Venezuela was a “failed state.” As with the Time and CNBC reports, the Financial Times reporter was not in Venezuela, and there was no evidence in the report that he had ever been there.

I asked right-wing friends in Venezuela whether they agreed with the Financial Times claims. “Well, no, of course not,” said one, stating the obvious, “there is no chaos and no civil war. But Venezuela is a failed state, since it has not been able to provide for all the medical needs of the population.” By that standard, every country in Latin America is a failed state, and obviously the United States too.

The New York Times has run stories (5/15/16, 10/1/16) claiming that conditions in Venezuelan hospitals are horrendous. The reports enraged Colombians in New York, who have noted that a patient can die on the doorstep of a Colombian public hospital if the patient has no insurance. In Venezuela, in contrast, patients are treated for free.

One Colombian resident in New York said that his mother had recently returned to Bogotá after several years in the United States, and had not had time to obtain medical insurance. She fell ill, and went to a public hospital. The hospital left her in the waiting room for four hours, then sent her to a second hospital. The second hospital did the same, leaving her for four hours and then sending her to a third hospital. The third hospital was preparing to send her to a fourth when she protested that she was bleeding internally and was feeling weak.

“I’m sorry, Señora, if you don’t have medical insurance, no public hospital in this country will look at you,” said the woman at the desk. “Your only hope is to go to a private hospital, but be prepared to pay a great deal of money up front.” Luckily, she had a wealthy friend, who took her to a private hospital, and paid a great deal of money up front.

Such conditions in Colombia and other neoliberal states go unmentioned in the US corporate media, which have treated the Colombian government, long a right-wing murder-squad regime, as a US ally (Extra!, 2/09).

Well, OK, but are the reports of conditions in Venezuelan hospitals true or grossly exaggerated? “They are much better than they were ten years ago,” said a friend who works in a Caracas hospital. In fact, he said, ten years before, the hospital where he worked did not exist, and new hospitals are now being opened. One was dedicated recently in the town of El Furrial, and another was opened in El Vigia, as reported by the centrist newspaper Últimas Noticias (3/3/17, 4/27/18). The government has also greatly expanded others, like a burn center in Caracas and three new operating rooms at the hospital in Villa Cura.

Meanwhile, the government is inaugurating a new high-speed train line, The Dream of Hugo Chávez, in March (Correo del Orinoco, 2/6/19). Since the US media have never allowed reporting on any accomplishments in the years since  Chávez took office in 1999, but only any alleged, exaggerated or, as noted, completely invented shortcomings, readers have to consult an alternative history. Here is one offered by a Venezuelan on YouTube (3/31/11): “Por Culpa de Chávez” (“It’s Chávez’s Fault”). Depicting new hospitals, transit lines, housing, factories and so on built under Chavismo, it might help many understand why the Maduro government continues to enjoy such strong backing from so many people.

Economic warfare

This is not to minimize Venezuela’s problems. The country was hit, like other oil-producing countries, and as it was in the 1980s and ’90s, by the collapse of oil prices. That failed to bring down the government, so now the Trump administration has created an artificial crisis by using extreme economic warfare to deprive the country of foreign exchange needed to import basic necessities. The Trump measures seem designed to prevent any economic recovery.

Like any country at war (and the Trump administration has placed Venezuela under wartime conditions, and is threatening immediate invasion), there have been shortages, and products that can mostly be found on the black market. This should surprise no one: During World War II in the US, a cornucopia of a country not seriously threatened with invasion, there was strict rationing of products like sugar, coffee and rubber.

The Venezuelan government has made food, medicine and pharmaceuticals available at extremely low prices, but much of the merchandise has made its way to the black market, or over the border to Colombia, depriving Venezuelans of supplies and ruining Colombian producers. The government recently abandoned some of the heavy price subsidies, which resulted initially in higher prices. Over the past few weeks, prices have been coming down as supplies stayed in Venezuela, especially as the government gained greater control over the Colombian border to prevent smuggling.

There has never been a serious discussion of any of this in the US corporate media, much less any discussion of the campaign of lies or the Trump administration warfare. There has been no comparison with conditions in the 1980s and ’90s, when Venezuela’s neoliberal government imposed IMF economic recipes, resulting in a popular rebellion, the bloody 1989 Caracazo, when wholesale government repression took the lives of hundreds (according to the government at the time) or thousands (according to government critics), and martial law took the lives of many more.

Efforts by the right-wing opposition to provoke a similar uprising, and another Caracazo that could justify a foreign “humanitarian intervention,” have failed repeatedly. So the US administration and corporate media simply resort to the most extreme lying about Latin America that has been seen since the Reagan administration wars of the 1980s.

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments