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The End of Truth as We Know It – Or Knew It

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | February 21, 2019

The claim (or admission) by the BBC journalist Riam Dalati that the alleged sarin attack on Douma in April 2018, was staged was received by the Russian embassy in London with glee. “Remarkable that the British MSM chose to ignore it’, whoever it was at the embassy wrote. ‘No breaking news, no articles, nothing.’

Remarkable? Not at all, given the endless track record of the media in ignoring news that does not suit its agenda. The real interest lies in the fact that an insider has owned up. His personal opinion only, according to the BBC, which along with the rest of the media, had taken the initial version of the alleged attack for granted, thus setting Syria up for the cruise missile strike by the US, Britain, and France which soon followed.

‘I can prove without a doubt that the Douma hospital scene was staged,’ Dalati wrote. Well, enough of the evidence has already been produced to prove that. As for the sarin, in July 2018, the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons) put out an interim report indicating that whatever was used at Douma was not sarin, but most probably chlorine.

The next question is ‘used by whom?’ Again the evidence suggests that the yellow gas cylinders shown in the media propaganda blitz were not dropped from an aircraft but planted at the scene by the ‘activists’ who faked the whole episode.

The OPCW now seems to be reaching the point where it will release its full report. What it might contain opens the doors to endless speculation. It has already indicated that it found traces of chlorine and it may point an accusing finger at ‘the regime’ but without having the proof that it did it.

So expect something ultimately inconclusive, i.e. there is evidence of chlorine having been used, the Syrian regime might have used it but we really can’t say, leaving enough room for western governments to argue that they were right to bomb on the basis of the facts that were known at the time and for E. Higgins and company to argue that their version has not been disproved.

With Idlib, the last redoubt of the takfiris in Syria, now the focal point of political maneuvers and possibly military action, any credibility given by the OPCW to the accusations against the Syrian military might encourage the takfiris to try again, most likely in Idlib province, the location of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaikhun in April, 2017. Without having the proof, the US launched a missile strike against a Syrian air base by way of retaliation.

Another faked attack would give the US and its law-breaking friends the pretext needed to disrupt or forestall any Syrian military campaign to drive the takfiris out of Idlib, which, far from having quietened down following the ‘de-escalation’ agreement reached by Turkey, Iran and Russia, is now an even hotter hothouse of takfiri activity.

The main group, Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) basically still Jabhat al Nusra/Al Qaida in Syria despite the name change, and its allies have routed their ‘moderate’ enemies and taken control of between 70 to 90 per cent of the province, including Idlib city, which lives under a harsh form of sharia law.

The HTS collective has tens of thousands of armed fighters on call. So does the rival Turkish-supported National Liberation Front. The entire province is awash with arms and armed groups refusing to adhere to any agreements drawn up in Astana or Sochi and saying they will fight to the last.

Along with the fighting men are the civilians, the families of the takfiris and the normal civilian population of the province who are helpless in the face of the violence and intimidation all around them and the scheming of powerful actors far from the scene.

At present nothing is clear. The US is apparently planning to withdraw troops from northern Syria but has not withdrawn them. Erdogan and Putin have met to discuss what the US is up to, as well as the situation in Idlib and Turkey’s desire to set up a buffer zone running 460 kms and 32 kms deep along the Syrian border (on the Syrian side).  Russia and Iran have so far refused to support the idea.

The buffer zone would be set up against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), aligned with Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and ‘terrorists’ in the view of the Turkish government but not in the eyes of the US, which, of course, has been using the Kurds in pursuit of its own strategic interests

Turkey has recently been committing itself to the territorial and political integrity of Syria, raising an obvious question: if this is the case, why did you make such strenuous attempts to destroy both over the past eight years?

The US is on the brink of defeat in Syria. Not just defeat but defeat by Russia, which is why Trump’s plan to withdraw is facing furious criticism at home by neocons who want more war, somewhere, anywhere, and ‘liberals’ who hate Trump and will buy into almost anything that brings him down.  In their views on Syria, Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and now Venezuela the two groups are indistinguishable, even if they also affect to hate each other.

Idlib will be liberated sooner or later. If the takfiris are insisting that they will fight to the last drop of their blood that is because they have nowhere else to go. The foreigners among them can’t go back to their own countries. Turkey does not want them on its side of the border although, as the Syrian Kurds claim, it might allow them to move into Afrin, occupied by the Turkish army in March 2018.  As fighters or police, they would have their uses. What happens to them when Afrin is finally returned to the hands of the Syrian state is an issue for the future.

But back to Douma. Was the district being bombed at the time a chemical weapons attack was alleged? Of course, it was. It had been taken over by one of the most murderous takfiri groups in Syria, Jaysh al Islam, and the army was shelling Douma to drive them out. What government and what army would not be constitutionally bound to do the same?

Douma was not under siege by the Syrian army, as the corporate media kept telling the world.  It was being held hostage by a murderous armed group, for which the presence of civilians, deterring the army from a full-on ground military assault, was a prized asset. Civilians died in the shelling but the most likely cause of the breathing difficulties suffered by those given genuine medical treatment was smoke and dust inhalation. Jaysh al Islam and the White Helmets converted their distress into a chemical weapons attack and then ran around a clinic spraying water over everyone to prove the point.

The arguments will continue over the provenance of the yellow cylinders that gave Eliot Higgins something else to do. These were normal industrial gas cylinders that had been filled with chlorine which could only be released if someone opened the valve with a monkey wrench or if the valve had opened on impact.  That a Syrian military helicopter would drop these cylinders in the hope that somehow the valve would open or break on landing is surely nonsensical.

The valves were intact so how the chlorine could have got out of the cylinders without someone manually opening them remains unexplained by those making the claim that the cylinders were dropped from a helicopter. There was no evidence of anyone in the house where the cylinders were found having been affected and as someone has observed, even the chickens running around nearby were unharmed. In short, the whole scenario screams one word: fake.

One thing not to be forgotten is that when the takfiris finally were pushed out of Douma, a makeshift chemical weapons factory, complete with how-to-make instructions and receipts for the machinery and chemical compounds received, was found underground in an elaborate network of tunnels.

Neither the factory nor the tunnels, nor the brutal nature of the takfiris holding Douma, or their previous crimes, including their previous alleged use of chemical weapons were items for show or discussion in the media.

Neither was the story one of armed fanatics taking over a district close to a national capital and holding its citizens hostage. Neither was the story one of foreign governments and the armed groups they were supporting besieging an entire country. The facts were reversed so that it was the Syrian government and army laying siege to its own people and killing them with chemical weapons.

Over the past eight years, the propaganda onslaught by these governments and the corporate media has been total. No authoritarian state or dictatorship could have done a better hatchet job on public opinion but these arch manipulators of public opinion are self-described liberals.

Therein lies their advantage. The citizens of an authoritarian state don’t believe their government or their media in the first place but western media consumers still cling to the illusion of a free press guarding their interests and are thus sucked in all the time. ‘Free for whom?’  and ‘Whose interests is the media really guarding?’ are questions that are rarely asked except by seekers after truth pushed to the margins of public debate.

The worst excesses of the takfiris – Islamic State beheadings, the throwing of people off the roofs of high buildings, the drowning of caged captives in a swimming pool and the burning of a Syrian soldier – had to be reported because they were indescribably inhuman and could not be ignored but the mundane terrorism of groups just a cut below the Islamic State in barbarity was either underplayed, ignored or blamed where possible on the Syrian military.

In the eyes of the media these groups were not terrorists but rather the ‘opposition’ or ‘rebels’ standing up to the ‘regime,’ its barrel bombs and its chemical weapons attacks, all of them, the best evidence suggests, launched by the takfiris with the intent of incriminating the Syrian government and bringing on a US-led air war.

Roughly about the same time as Riam Dalati was uttering his truth on his tweet, a Berlin-based outfit calling itself the ‘Global Public Policy Institute’ was putting out a report on chemical weapon use in Syria entitled ‘Nowhere to Hide: The Logic of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria.’

This ‘institute’ counted the number of such attacks in Syria, 336, of which number it attributed 98 percent to the ‘Assad regime’ and the rest to the Islamic State. The fact that it uses the word ‘regime’ to describe the legitimate government of Syria is the first tell-tale sign of where this report is going to lead.

The next is the sources of information, ‘our friends and partners,’ as the GPPI calls them: the Syrian Archive, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Mayday Rescue, the White Helmets, the Syrian Network of Human Rights, the VDC (Violations Documentation Centre) and Human Rights Watch, every single one of them fully engaged in propaganda attacks on the Syrian government if not actually embedded (like the White Helmets) with the takfiri groups.

The 47 pages of this report are beautifully laid out. The graphics and maps are meticulously done. As a school project, the GPPI would get 10 marks for presentation but nothing for content.  On the basis of ‘evidence’ coming from such tainted sources, what makes the authors think that any reasonably well-informed person could believe their claims, and how is it that well-established German charitable foundations can hand over money for the production of such garbage?

The Syrian crisis has spawned an industry of parasites, feeding off its agony. There is no shortage of money for anyone smart enough to harvest it by giving the media what it wants and setting themselves up as a conduit for government propaganda. There is a market for lies and deceit and the laws of supply and demand being what they are, the demand is being met.

There is a truth here about the media that needs to be said. It was never truly independent, never the watchdog of the people’s interests in all seasons but it was arguably a lot better than what it has become. The explanation for this state of affairs lies partly in the death of the independent proprietor and the monopoly corporatization of the media. The proprietor’s or the board’s interest is now immeasurably greater than those of the independent owner who used to wander around the editorial floor once a week to make sure everything was ok and the staff was happy.

The corporation is global, not local, with interests that the small independent owner would hardly be able to comprehend because the leading newspaper or the television station is usually just one small part, and mostly a lesser part, of an empire that spans communications in all its branches. Conflict of interest, affecting news presentation, is inbuilt.

If the newspaper has value, it lies in its use as a weapon against or for a government depending on what the government is willing to give in return. Rupert Murdoch is the past master in using the media this way.  Even if they lose money, he will keep his flagship papers going.

In the past 20 years, we have seen an abrogation of journalistic integrity for which it is hard to find a parallel in modern history. The Vietnam war was launched and maintained on the basis of lies but it did not take long for journalists to emerge who challenged the official narrative and exposed it for what it was. Compare this with Iraq and the way the media ran with the official narrative on ‘weapons of mass destruction’ from the beginning until the very one, when not one could be found.

Seymour Hersh was the leading example of journalistic integrity in Vietnam (which is not to minimize the reporting of others in the small group exposing the official lies) and, amazingly enough, is still the leading example half a century later.

For his audacity in challenging the accusation that the Syrian government was responsible for the apparent chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus in August 2013, and showing that it was the so-called rebels, supported by outside governments, who were most probably responsible for this atrocity, Hersh was pushed to the margins of mainstream journalism in his own country and eventually out of it altogether.

*(Seymour Hersh)

Syria is only part of a broad mosaic of ill intent, however.  It was attacked in the first place because it was a strategic ally of Iran. Russia’s twin successes, in deflecting US penetration of Ukraine and making the Americans look stupid in Syria, was followed by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. There was no proof then and there is no proof now but the same empty accusations are being repeated by the same columnists, anchors and talk show hosts all the time.

We are now facing a multi-pronged assault on truth in which governments and the corporate media are partners. On both sides of the Atlantic, they have lined up against the renewed primary enemy, Russia, wherever it is and whatever it does.

Russia lost the Democrats the US elections. Russia stole Crimea from Ukraine.

Russia saved the Syrian dictator from defeat. Russia is supporting the dictator Maduro. Russia trades with Iran. Russia does not regard Hizbullah and Hamas as terrorists as we do. Russia does not give open-ended support to Israel but rather regards it as a primary fomenter of disorder in the Middle East.

Russia poisoned the Skripals, of course. Skripal senior was a former double agent, double-crossing Russia while working for British intelligence. There is no obvious reason why Russia would want a washed-out former spy dead but of course, it had to be Russia that daubed the door handle of his house with Novichok. There was no proof, but who else could it be but Russia, and if you say ‘British intelligence,’ setting up a new round of Russia-bashing, then wash your mouth out with soap.

Mysterious Russian figures turn up in Salisbury. The British government says they are agents, stopping off at the Skripals’ house to put a few drops of Novichok on the door handle before sauntering off down the main street to look into the window of a shop selling collectibles and rare stamps.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves. They seemed in no hurry at all to get away from the scene of the crime and take the first plane back to Moscow, but isn’t that exactly the way well-trained Russian agents would behave?

Somewhere along the way they dropped what was left of their Novichok into a rubbish bin, cunningly concealed in a hi-tech perfume bottle, Nina Ricci, ‘Premier Jour.’ Enough still left to kill 4000 people, said the newspapers, but failing to kill the Skripals and killing only poor Dawn Burgess, who pulled it out of the bin and apparently sprayed or dabbed herself with some.

We don’t really know who these Russians were and what they were doing in Salisbury but we need proof, not accusations and suppositions, and the British government does not have it.  We can reach conclusions on the basis of what we know or think we know but the lies told by the British government over the attack on Iraq in 2003, plus the death/murder of the UN weapons inspector David Kelly five months after the war was launched, are sufficient reasons not to believe or trust anything this government says.

This new cold war is drifting steadily towards the brink of a hot one. The US is confronting Russia through missile bases, economic sanctions and interference in the politics of states around Russia’s borders.

Trump has just announced the withdrawal of the US from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, accusing Russia of breaching it and saying ‘we will move forward with developing our own military response options.’

In fact, Russia had already accused the US of violating the treaty.  In May, 2018, the US/NATO opened a missile base in Romania where, Russia claimed, the US had simply transferred the launchpad for the Aegis integrated naval weapons system, which utilizes Tomahawk cruise and intermediate range missile banned by the INF treaty, from sea to land.

These missiles have a range of 300-3400 miles and their apparent positioning in Romania was naturally regarded as a direct threat by Russia.

The withdrawal of the US from the INF and Trump’s threat that the US will ‘move forward’ by developing its own options raises the apprehension in Russia that the US will station other cruise and intermediate range missiles in Europe once it finds willing partners.

In his state of the union address, Putin said that such missiles could reach Russia in 10 to 12 minutes and warned of a symmetrical response, if the US deployed them in Europe, directed not just at the US but at the states hosting its missiles.

To those contemplating such measures, he said: ‘Let them count the speed and range of our missiles. That is all I ask.’

It is not just Russia that the US is threatening, however, but China. If China held naval exercises off the US or British coasts the world would quickly be facing another 1962 Cuba crisis, only much more dangerous, but the US and Britain give themselves the right to hold such exercises off the Chinese coast in the South China Sea.

As for Venezuela, the US has reverted to the crude gunboat imperialism of the late 19th century (not that gunboat imperialism ever went away). ‘Do what we want or else’ is the message sent to Maduro and the Venezuelan people. What the US wants is the resurrection of the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and the complete domination of Latin America, including open access to its resources.

In essence, the imperialism of the 21st century is the same as the imperialism of the 20th or the 19th centuries. In the 1940s and 1950s the people of Asia, the Middle East and Africa struggled to lift the yoke of occupation, economic domination and the plundering of their natural resources off their necks. In the third millennium, they are still struggling, especially in the Middle East and Latin America.

The members of the ‘western’ collective fight among themselves but always fall into line when the alpha dog barks at them. Considerations of right and wrong, law, ethics, morality and justice are irrelevant. The alpha dog has barked and the pack must obey. Riam Dalati’s exposure of media deceit is interesting but still a mere detail on a very large and dirty canvas as the ‘west’, its governments and its media, tries to maintain control of a world fast slipping from its hands.

Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East.  His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Caving under MSM pressure? Tulsi Gabbard interview on The View has some supporters fuming

© Reuters / Brian Snyder
RT | February 21, 2019

US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is being accused of “flip-flopping” on her Syria stance and “caving” to mainstream media pressure after a combative interview on The View.

Questioned aggressively by panelist Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, Gabbard said there was “no disputing the fact” that Syrian President Bashar Assad is a “brutal dictator” who “used chemical weapons against his people.”

The comments stand in stark contrast to previous statements made by the Hawaii congresswoman, who in the past said she was “skeptical” about allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on citizens and called US efforts to overthrow Assad an “illegal war.”

She faced a major backlash from both the media and her colleagues in congress for taking a trip to Syria and meeting Assad himself in 2017.

While Gabbard tried to offer a balanced view of the situation in Syria, it was the antagonistic questioning from McCain that immediately grabbed headlines, with many framing the interviewer in a heroic light for “confronting” Gabbard, the “Assad apologist.”

During the interview, Gabbard also said that US military interventions are often “begun and waged from a place of humanitarianism” despite having previously taken a tougher stance on “military adventurism” and the reasons behind it.

Gabbard did push back many times against the panel of hostile hosts, saying repeatedly that US interventions have historically made bad situations worse and increased suffering, some of her supporters accused her of folding in the face of “bullying” from McCain.

Others acknowledged that Gabbard might have been trying to appease the panelists to get her wider point about the human costs of US interventions across, but argued that she risked alienating the people who already supported her in the process — and said that if she starts making concessions now, she will be forced to make more.

When the conversation turned to Venezuela, Gabbard angered the panel again, saying that the US trying to choose the leader of that country was “not something that serves the interests of the Venezuelan people,” despite co-host Ana Navarro’s hailing Donald Trump for “leading the solidarity and support of freedom-loving Venezuelans.”

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | 4 Comments

From Madero to Maduro: Lessons of the Mexican Revolution for 21st Century Venezuela

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.02.2019

Just over 100 years ago, Mexico had a popular, much beloved democratically elected President determined to reduce foreign influence and obscene profits flowing out of the country and raise the standard of living for his people. The US financial interests on Wall Street orchestrated a military coup and made sure he was brutally murdered.

The president obviously was not Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, who has been set up to receive the same treatment this year, but his name was remarkably close – Madero not Maduro. The parallels and contrasts between the two men are thought-provoking.

Unfortunately poor Francisco Madero, an idealistic reformer who ruled as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913 did not have the tough political street smarts and plain common sense that Venezuela’s Maduro has exhibited throughout his long, controversial but undeniably successful career.

Madero naively trusted in the army commander-in-chief he had inherited from his predecessor President Porfirio Diaz, General Victoriano Huerta. Huerta had prospered throughout the long 35-year rule of Diaz from 1876 to 1911 by carrying out genocidal campaigns for him against the Yaqui Indians and the Mayans.

In 1913, Wall Street interests enthusiastically supported Huerta when he carried out a coup against the innocent Madero. Woodrow Wilson, the US president of the day was an exceptionally ugly racist who despised the Mexican people and at first went along with Huerta’s coup.

The huge financial and mining interests in New York were eager to continue plundering Mexico’s resources while more than 90 percent of its people lived virtually as slaves in appalling poverty under Diaz.

In the last decade of Diaz’s rule – securely supported by the Wall Street financial robber barons, as historian Matthew Josephson called them and by the complacent administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft – at least 600,000 people were worked to death as real slaves on the estates of Diaz’s supporters. Not a whisper of disapproval was heard from Washington.

Huerta ruled with his usual mindless thuggish brutality for less than a year and a half before provoking such national revulsion that he was ousted in a brief and bloody civil war. He fled of course to the United States but then made the mistake of alienating US business and military leaders alike by openly embracing Imperial Germany to plot his militaristic comeback.

Huerta died in loose US military custody in 1916 after a night of dining out and carousing. Poisoning by the Americans was widely suspected but the cause may well just have been heavy drinking. His autopsy revealed extreme cirrhosis of the liver.

To this day Huerta is reviled as the murderous mass killer and cowardly murderer and tool of cynical foreign interests he was while the well-meaning, but tragically ineffectual Madero is genuinely loved by the people of Mexico. The days from the start of Huerta’s coup to the president’s murder – gunned down by an impromptu firing squad of assassins by night along with his own brother and vice president are remembered as La Decena Tragica, The Ten Tragic Days.

In the years that followed, Mexico endured all the horrors of a collapsed state with rival feuding bands slaughtering each other and everyone else they came across. The population of the country plummeted from 15 million in 1910 to 11.6 million a decade later. Factoring in how many deaths were masked by the high birth rate, well over four million people, or more than 25 percent of the total population died in the years of anarchic violence that Huerta’s murder of President Madero set in motion.

La Decena Tragica continues to reverberate in Mexico to this day. When current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continues to withstand massive pressures from the Trump administration to recognize their preferred puppet, Juan Guaido as Washington’s preferred figurehead president of Venezuela, he is heeding his people’s reverence for martyred President Madero and remembering the bloodbaths and chaos that the hated Huerta unleashed in his place.

Madero naively trusted in the honor of his army commander, the murderous Huerta. By contrast, President Maduro in Venezuela, like his political mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez, has taken care to always have an army high command loyal to the democratically elected national civilian leadership. Nevertheless, today, US leaders have openly called on Venezuela’s military leaders to scrap their own cherished constitution and political processes and violently topple President Maduro – All of course in the name of their usual mythical and never-defined “freedom.”

However, Bloomberg News pointedly noted in a recent report that in a Venezuelan military establishment of more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only a single officer who did not even command any troops has sworn allegiance to National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, the farcical boy toy whom the Trump administration is trying to set up as “president” of Venezuela in Maduro’s place.

It is just as well. The precedent of Mexico more than a century ago teaches us that if the US plot to topple President Maduro were to succeed, as the one to remove and murder President Madero did so tragically 106 years ago, then civil war, chaos and the violent death of multiple millions of innocent people would rapidly follow.

In the seven years following the murder of Francisco Madero, more than a quarter of the population of Mexico were slaughtered or starved to death. The history of states where 21st century US administrations have successfully orchestrated “regime change” makes clear that Venezuela would suffer a similar fate.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Ukraine remain appalling object-lessons to the world in US criminal incompetence – at the very least – in “nation-building.” The consequences of the endless failed attempts to topple the government of Syria tell the same terrible story.

The bullets that slammed into gentle, naïve little President Madero more than a century ago continue to ricochet in our own bloodstained age.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

The Ramp Up to War on Iran is Here

By Tom Luongo | February 19, 2019

John Bolton never met a war he didn’t like, except Vietnam. That would be the one he refused to fight in.

Today he is calling up every marker he has to create the narrative for a legal justification for an attack on Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spilled the beans on just before the Warsaw Stink Fest last week.

This morning GOP House Organ the Washington Times produced this howler of an exclusive to say that al-Qaeda groups in Syria are getting Double Ultra Secret funding from, guess who?

Iran. Because nothing says team-up like conservative Shia clerics and Salafist Sunni head-chopping animals, right?

Iran is providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East, according to Trump administration officials who warn that the long-elusive, complex relationship between two avowed enemies of America has evolved into an unacceptable global security threat.
With the once-prominent Islamic State receding from the spotlight, The Washington Times has learned that the administration is focusing increasingly on the unlikely alliance between Iran and al Qaeda, with what some sources say is an eye toward establishing a potential legal justification for military strikes against Iran or its proxies.

 

Note: all of those links are simple internal links to Washington Times article categories for SEO purposes. There are no actual sources, only the illusion of sources.

The only people saying this are the ones in the administration and their pet think tankers who provide the same level of credible intelligence as Fusion GPS did for the DNC to ‘get’ Donald Trump.

After the debacles in Warsaw and Munich where the U.S. couldn’t drum up official support for its anti-Iran policy outside those who were behind it already, Bolton needs to lay the groundwork for the U.S. to ‘go it alone’ if necessary.

The narrative of a dangerous Iran is necessary to keep public support for Bolton’s plans to balkanize Syria. He refuses to give up on the dream. This is why the U.S. is refusing to actually leave Syria without a number of poison pills that would then justify going back in there once the obstacle of Trump is removed or, at least, wholly neutralized.

Leaving weapons in the hands of the Kurdish SDF forces, to keep Turkey anxious is one of these. And this article is yet another. The recent ISIS attack is a third. The MEK attack on IRGC forces in Iran is another.

All of this to scuttle the rational solution of allowing Syrian forces to move in, alongside Russia, to stabilize the region east of the Euphrates river and begin the rebuilding and healing process.

Lastly, it is why, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, noted after Munich, the U.S. is …

… actively investing and are forcing their allies to pay for redevelopment of that part of Syria [Kurdish territory east of the Euprhates]. However, they are prohibiting their allies to invest in the restructuring of the infrastructure of the other parts of Syria which are controlled by the legitimate government.”

If there was any clearer point about how nothing has changed about our plans in Syria, I truly can’t think of one. Putin’s observation that “Presidents change, policy does not,” continues to ring true every day of the Trump administration.

But with the agreement from the Iraqi government to relocate U.S. troops in Syria to Iraq, it looks like we’ll finally have a Troop Pull Out In Name Only.

Promises made, promises kept, right Orange Obama?

Nothing good comes of any of this. But Bolton knows he can’t get his wished-for war with Iran without more support from the U.S. electorate who are absolutely war-weary.

Lying our way into war is a time-honored presidential tradition that stretches back to before Lincoln. It is nothing new.

And viruses like Bolton and his dispensationalist cohort Mike Pompeo don’t care about the after-effects of their messianic drive for their better world. They don’t care one whit about the Iranian people, Syrians or even the Americans they purport to be doing all of this for.

All they know is that in their mind this is a just war to preserve American hegemony because it is an innately better form of tyranny than the ones practiced by literally anyone else.

That should scare anyone with a half-functioning brain. Too bad John Bolton’s isn’t.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

What If They Started a War and No One Showed Up?

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.02.2019

The humiliation of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Warsaw last week was a good thing. The ancient Greeks, exercising their demonstrated ability to synthesize defining characteristics, had a word for it: hubris. Hubris is when one develops an extreme and unreasonable feeling of confidence in a certain course of action that inevitably leads to one’s downfall when that conceit proves to be based on false principles.

Pompeo was in Warsaw for a “summit” arranged by the US State Department in partnership with the Polish government to discuss with representatives of sixty nations what to do about the fractious situation in the Middle East. In advance, he promised that the meeting would “deliver really good outcomes.” The gathering was initially conceived as a “war against Iran” precursor, intended to pull together a coalition against the Persians, but when it became clear that many of the potential participants would balk at such a designation, it assumed a broader agenda concerning “Peace and Security in the Middle East.”

Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria were not, not surprisingly, invited as some of them were the expected targets of whatever remedial action the conference might recommend. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu was, of course, present, tweeting in advance of the gathering that it would be all about “war against Iran.” He also characteristically delivered a warning that Iran was planning a “second holocaust” for his country.

Many countries, including regional power Turkey, and global powers Russia and China refused to participate at all. The European Union, the French and the Germans all sent career diplomats to the meeting rather than their Foreign Ministers while Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt only agreed to attend at the last minute after he was granted his wish to head a discussion session on Yemen.

The meeting was overshadowed by the context in which it took place, something that Pompeo was apparently too tone deaf to appreciate. The Europeans, to include close allies Britain, France and Germany have all been openly opposed to the White House’s completely irrational decision last year to exit from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which placed limits verified by intrusive inspections on Iran’s nuclear program.  America’s closest allies made clear that they object to being told how and with whom they are permitted to do business, and they were finally doing something about it. Even US intelligence confirms that Iran has been fully compliant with the nuclear agreement, but the dunces in the White House are too blinded by hubris to change course.

The week before the conference opened the British, French and Germans also, perhaps deliberately, declared their intention to launch a “special purpose vehicle” barter system that would enable purchases of Iranian oil after the May 5th deadline which the United States had unilaterally declared for the initiation of sanctions prohibiting such activity. Washington has declared that any countries disregarding its sanctions against Iran would be themselves subject to secondary sanctions implemented through the US Treasury’s ability to both control and restrict access to the dollar denominated financial markets. Nevertheless, the action by the Europeans served as confirmation that much of the world wants to do business with Iran even if the White House says “no.”

Present with the US delegation in Warsaw were Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Special Adviser Jared Kushner, and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach also appeared in an unofficial capacity. All of the Administration officials took the stage at one point or another to denounce Iran as the “world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism,” which appeared to resonate with Netanyahu but hardly anyone else. There was also considerable spontaneous theater provided by the American cast of characters in the lead-up to the conference itself.

In an interview with CBS News before the meetings, Pompeo indicated his pleasure over the impact of the existing sanctions on Iran. When asked if there had been any sign “… that this pressure is pushing Iran to negotiate with the US?” he responded that “Things are much worse for the Iranian people, and we’re convinced that will lead the Iranian people to rise up and change the behavior of the regime.” The suggestion that Washington believes in starving the very people it is claiming to want to help to bring about a violent uprising clearly did not disturb Pompeo in the least. And he exhibited no appreciation of the fact that pressuring Iran’s government is actually the best way to strengthen it as the Iranian people have been rallying against the economic warfare being waged by the United States.

Not to be upstaged by Pompeo, John Bolton, in a video released on the Monday before the conference opened on Wednesday, celebrated in his own unique fashion the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which the people of Iran have recently been commemorating. Bolton called Iran “the central banker of international terrorism” and declared it guilty of “tyrannizing its own people and terrorizing the world.” The video concluded with a direct threat to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy.”

Also during the lead-up to the conference, Rudy Giuliani was featured at a pep rally in downtown Warsaw for the “cult-like” terrorist group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an organization for which he has served as a paid lobbyist. He told a crowd of MEK supporters that “If we don’t have a peaceful, democratic Iran then no matter what we do we’ll have turmoil, difficulties, problems in the Middle East. Everyone agrees that Iran is the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world. That has to tell you something: Iran is a country you can’t rely on, do business with, can’t trust.” He added that their government consists of “assassins, they are murderers and they should be out of power.” Afterwards, Rudy would not disclose how much he had been paid to make the speech.

But it was Vice President Pence who took the prize for unmitigated gall in his address to the conferees in which he accused the Europeans of something close to treason: “They call this scheme a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle.’ We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.’’ He insisted that “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region and the world the peace, security and freedom they deserve.” Pence might just as well have said “my way or the highway” or quoted George W. Bush’s line, “you’re either with us or against us.” The audience, including a large number of Washington-sycophants, responded with silence, unimpressed by Pence’s fulminations and his demands.

The Warsaw Summit did not produce the results envisioned by the White House, which were to pull together a group willing to escalate pressure on Iran before attacking it, while simultaneously generating support for Jared Kushner’s much discussed Israel/Palestine peace plan, due to be unveiled in April. The American plan will basically give Netanyahu everything he wants while relegating the Palestinians to the status of a non-people. As a result of the lukewarm reception in Warsaw, even from Arab states that truly hate Iran, Washington is now weaker in the Middle East than ever before. That is a good thing as the policies being embraced by Trump, Bolton, Pompeo, Giuliani and Kushner are not only an embarrassment, they are a potential disaster for everyone in the region as well as for the United States.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

Fatal Houston PD Drug Raid Apparently Predicated On Drugs A Cop Had Stashed In His Car

By Tim Cushing | techdirt | February 19, 2019

The ugly Houston PD drug raid that resulted in four injured officers and two dead “suspects” just keeps getting uglier.

Officers swore a confidential informant purchased heroin from 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle in the house he shared with his wife of 21 years, Rhogena Nicholas. They swore the CI told them the house was filled with heroin packaged for purchase.

On the strength of this confidential informant’s claims, officers obtained a no-knock warrant and raided Tuttle’s house. The officers claimed Tuttle opened fire on them and that his wife tried to grab a shotgun from a downed officer. This was the supposed reason for SWAT team’s killing of Tuttle and Nicholas.

This was the narrative everyone was given. Not a single officer was wearing a body cam, despite the department possessing dozens of them. The only footage that survived — captured by a neighbor’s security camera — was confiscated by the Houston PD.

Even in this vacuum of information, the PD’s narrative quickly fell apart. No large amounts of heroin were found during the raid — just personal use quantities of heroin cocaine and marijuana. The inventory also included a few guns, which the PD has treated as inherent evidence of criminality despite the fact both Tuttle and his wife could legally own the weapons found in the house. The only criminal history either of them had was an old misdemeanor charge for a bad check.

Now that the PD’s investigation into this raid is underway, it’s becoming clear the official narrative — a daring no-knock raid that took out dangerous heroin dealers — isn’t going to survive. The new narrative already includes multiple lies by police officers and a lot of supporting evidence.

First off, the raid inventory does not include the weapon officers claimed Tuttle fired at them.

The other four items in the inventory are guns: a 20-gauge Beretta ALS shotgun, a 12-gauge Remington 1100 shotgun, a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, and a .22-caliber Winchester 190 semi-automatic rifle. The list does not include the .357 Magnum revolver that police say Tuttle fired at the officers who broke into his home, shot his dog, and killed his wife.

It also doesn’t include the money the CI paid for the heroin or the weapon he claimed Tuttle was carrying.

Nor does it mention the 9mm semi-automatic handgun that the C.I. supposedly saw in the house the day before, which apparently disappeared along with the heroin and the money.

The PD also claimed the investigation was initiated by an anonymous call claiming the couple were selling drugs from their house. Since that initial press salvo by Chief Art Acevedo, information has come out indicating the “tip” was neither anonymous nor did it reference drug dealing.

A 911 call from the mother of now-deceased suspect Rhogena Nicholas put 7815 Harding Street on police radar. Sources close to the investigation say her mother called reporting the 58-year-old was doing drugs inside her own home.

It only gets worse. According to statements from officers now under investigation, it appears the Houston PD raided a house, shot a dog, and killed two people over drugs a police officer had stashed in his vehicle.

In the original warrant – the one used to justify the raid – [Officer Gerald] Goines wrote that he watched the buy and, along with Bryant, identified the substance as heroin. But when investigators went back to talk to [Officer Steven] Bryant, he admitted that he’d actually just retrieved two bags of heroin from the center console of Goines’ car, at the instruction of another officer.

Though he then took the two bags of drugs for testing to determine that they were heroin, he eventually admitted that he had never seen narcotics in question before retrieving them from the car. That, the investigator noted, contradicts the search warrant affidavit filed before the raid, which indicates that Bryant “recognized the substance purchased by the CI as heroin.”

This is absolutely terrifying. Investigators can’t seem to locate the informant both officers claimed was a reliable source of intel, which suggests this person — relied on in other Houston PD investigations — doesn’t even exist. None of the CIs interviewed by Houston investigators said they’d made the purchase detailed in the warrant affidavit.

How do citizens protect themselves against police officers willing to fabricate every aspect of an investigation in order to perform armed raids of their houses? Legally owning weapons means nothing when cops (and many courts) consider homeowners defending themselves from armed intruders a crime in and of itself. Two people are dead and no amount of late-arriving indictments is going to change that. Officers took a concerned mother’s call about her daughter’s drug use and turned it into a criminal conspiracy involving heroin and dangerous drug pushers armed to the teeth.

We have to grant law enforcement a massive amount of power in order for them to do their job. Time after time, they abuse the powers we’ve given them, wielding them like weapons against the same citizens they’re supposed to answer to. Vast power has been paired with nearly nonexistent accountability to create an atmosphere where officers feel comfortable manufacturing evidence to support their adrenaline habits. This should be nightmare fuel for all Americans. Unfortunately, outside of those already attuned to the miserable state of American policing, this will appear to be nothing more than a couple of bad apples they can safely ignore.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

US court reopens Palestinian lawsuit against billionaire Israel donor Adelson

MEMO | February 20, 2019

A US appeals court has reopened a billion-dollar lawsuit against Jewish-American tycoon Sheldon Adelson, which seeks to hold him and more than 30 others liable for war crimes and support of Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC) Circuit yesterday voted unanimously in favour of reopening the case, arguing that a federal district judge concluded wrongly in August 2017 that all of the plaintiffs’ claims raised political questions that could not be decided in US courts, Ynet has reported. At the time, the district judge claimed that the lawsuit raised political questions over which the court had no authority, including who has sovereignty over the occupied West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip. Yesterday, however, US Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said that the sovereignty issue was separate from a broader question of whether war crimes were being committed in the oPt, reported Fortune Magazine.

“A legal determination that [illegal] Israeli settlers commit genocide in the disputed territory [oPt] would not decide ownership of the disputed territory and thus would not directly contradict any [US] foreign policy choice,” explained Judge Henderson. The lawsuit, she added, could thus be treated as a “purely legal issue” and, since genocide violates international law, the court could hear the case under America’s Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign citizens to seek remedies in US courts for human rights violations committed outside the United States.

The lawsuit is being led by Bassem Al-Tamimi from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, father of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi who was jailed for eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier who trespassed on her family’s land. He is one of 18 Palestinians or Palestinian-Americans, as well as a Palestinian village council, who filed the lawsuit, claiming that Adelson and the other defendants conspired to expel non-Jewish communities from the oPt and accusing them of aiding genocide and other war crimes.

The other defendants include a number of high-profile US billionaires and companies with histories of funding or cooperating with Israel. Among them is Jewish-American businessman Larry Ellison – who is known to have donated billions of dollars to the Israeli army via the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) – as well as Elliot Abrams, a vocal critic of former US President Barack Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel’s illegal settlements.

Two major Israeli banks are also involved in the lawsuit — Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim – as well as technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement accuses of providing technology for Israel’s checkpoints and Separation Wall in the occupied West Bank.

Adelson has long been a controversial figure for his support of Israel and involvement in the pro-Israel lobby in the US. Having made his fortune with the Las Vegas Sands Casino, Adelson is estimated to be worth $36.1 billion. He is known to have given $410 million to Birthright, which sends young Jews on trips to Israel, and has donated billions of dollars to the US Republican Party as well as President Donald Trump’s 2016 election and 2018 mid-term campaigns.

The billionaire Adelson is also the owner of Israel Hayom, Israel’s biggest circulation newspaper known for its overt support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel Hayom lies at the heart of Case 2000, one of three corruption cases in which Netanyahu is embroiled. The Prime Minister is being investigated for promising Arnon Mozes – the owner of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aronoth – that he would curtail the circulation of Israel Hayom, Mozes’s main competitor publication, in return for favourable coverage of him and his policies. Netanyahu is also under investigation in two other cases – dubbed Case 1000 and Case 4000 – and is awaiting a decision by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit as to whether he will be recommended for indictment before the country’s upcoming general election on 9 April.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Turkey won’t abandon the S-400 deal with Russia

By Ali Hussein Bakir | MEMO | February 20, 2019

Washington’s first deadline for Turkey to respond to its offer to buy the Patriot missile defence system passed last Friday with no progress made. Only one day after the deadline, US Vice President Mike Pence raised the issue once again with Ankara regarding Turkey’s recent deal to acquire the Russian S-400 missile defence system. In his speech at the Munich Security Conference last Saturday, Pence threatened Turkey, without mentioning it explicitly, when he said, “We’ve also made it clear that we will not stand idly by while NATO Allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defence of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

The Americans agreed recently to offer Turkey the Patriot missile deal, worth about $ 3.5 billion, but linked its agreement to do so on several conditions, including the need for Ankara to abandon the S-400 deal with Russia. The Turks initially welcomed the offer, but rejected the conditions tied to it. They also linked any possible agreement to the extent that it serves Turkey’s interests, especially regarding the timeframe offered for delivery of the system. The government in Ankara also stipulated the need for the deal to include the transfer of technology to Turkey as well as financial provisions to help pay for it.

According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the US responded positively to the possibility of delivering the system early, but it has not yet responded to the matters of joint production and financial arrangements. Since the official deadline for the response to the American offer will expire entirely at the end of March, this means that the debate on the topic will continue for another few weeks, at least. This will occur amid American threats to stop the delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and the possibility of imposing sanctions if it does not back down from the S-400 deal with Russia.

However, Turkey believes that removing it from the F-35 production programme will lead to higher costs for the Americans, and it will also hamper delivery times to many allies. More importantly, it will damage Washington’s already shrinking credibility. The Trump administration’s arrogant, exploitative behaviour only strengthens Turkey’s commitment to its deal with Russia, as it seems that pulling out is nearly impossible under the current circumstances.

There are three possible reasons why Ankara will not abandon the S-400 deal with Russia. First, the lack of trust in Washington’s sincerity, especially as the latter has not kept its promises on several occasions, most recently by threatening to cancel the delivery of the F-35s. Ankara believes that the US will be able to cancel the Patriot deal, threaten to do so or use it as a means to blackmail Turkey if and when it deems it necessary to do so. Furthermore, the lack of a financial incentive makes it very costly for Turkey to buy the Patriot system from the US, especially in the current economic climate. Unless Washington discusses this aspect of its deal, the Patriot offer will not be attractive from a purely financial point of view, neither on its own or when compared with Russia’s S-400 offer.

Finally, Washington has so far refused to transfer the technology to Turkey as part of the potential deal with Ankara. If this is not done, Turkey will not achieve its declared aims, and so it would be taking the Patriot system for purely political reasons in order to be balanced in the relationship between Russia and America. When all things are considered, therefore, it is almost certain that Ankara will stick to the S-400 deal with Russia.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Arab on 19 February 2019

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

Pompeo leaving Warsaw. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)
By Patrick Lawrence | Consortium News | February 19, 2019

What a job Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in Europe last week. If the objective was to worsen an already critical trans–Atlantic rift and further isolate the U.S., they could not have returned to Washington with a better result.

We might have to mark down this foray as among the clumsiest and most abject foreign policy failures since President Donald Trump took office two years ago.

Pence and Pompeo both spoke last Thursday at a U.S.–sponsored gathering in Warsaw supposedly focused on “peace and security in the Middle East.” That turned out to be a euphemism for recruiting the 60–plus nations in attendance into an anti–Iran alliance.

“You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran,” Pompeo said flatly. The only delegates this idea pleased were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and officials from Gulf Arab nations who share an obsession with subverting the Islamic Republic.

Pence went on to the annual security conference in Munich, where he elaborated further on a few of the Trump administration’s favored themes. Among them: The Europeans should ditch the nuclear accord with Iran, the Europeans should cut off trade with Russia, the Europeans should keep components made by Huawei and other Chinese companies out of their communications networks. The Europeans, in short, should recognize America’s global dominance and do as it does; as if it were still, say, 1954.

It is hard to imagine how an American administration can prove time and again so out of step with 21stcentury realities. How could a vice-president and a secretary of state expect to sell such messages to nations plainly opposed to them?

Pounding the Anti-Iran Theme 

Pompeo, who started an “Iran Action Group” after the Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear accord, returned repeatedly to a single theme in his Warsaw presentations. The Iranians, he said, “are a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, and Syria and Iraq. The three H’s—Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah—these are real threats.”

Pence ran a mile with this thought. “At the outset of this historic conference,” he said, “leaders from across the region agreed that the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran.” To be noted: all the “leaders from across the region” in attendance were Sunnis, except for Netanyahu. The major European allies, still furious that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear accord, sent low-level officials and made no speeches.

The European signatories to the Iran accord knew what was coming, surely. While Pence insisted that Britain, France and Germany withdraw from the nuclear pact—“the time has come,” he said—he also criticized the financing mechanism the three set up last month to circumvent the Trump administration’s trade sanctions against Iran. “They call this scheme a ‘special purpose vehicle,’ ” Pence said. “We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

There were plenty of European leaders at the security conference last weekend in Munich, where Pence used the occasion  to consolidate what is beginning to look like an irreparable escalation of trans–Atlantic alienation. After renewing his attack on the Iran agreement’s European signatories, he shifted criticism to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Now under construction, this will be the second undersea pipeline connecting Gazprom, the Russian energy company, to Germany and other European markets. Last month the U.S. renewed threats to sanction German companies working on the $11 billion project. “We cannot strengthen the West by becoming dependent on the East,” Pence said at the security conference Saturday.

These and other remarks in Munich were enough to get Angela Merkel out of her chair to deliver an unusually impassioned speech in defense of the nuclear accord, multilateral cooperation and Europe’s extensive economic relations with Russia. “Geo-strategically,” the German chancellor asserted, “Europe can’t have an interest in cutting off all relations with Russia.”

US Primacy V. Europe’s Future  

Merkel’s speech goes to the core of what was most fundamentally at issue as Pompeo and Pence blundered through Europe last week. There are three questions to consider.

The most obvious of these is Washington’s continued insistence on U.S. primacy in the face of full-frontal resistance even from longstanding allies. “Since day one, President Trump has restored American leadership on the world stage,” Pence declared in Warsaw. And in Munich: “America is stronger than ever before and America is leading on the world stage once again.” His speeches in both cities are filled with hollow assertions such as these—each one underscoring precisely the opposite point: America is fated to continue isolating itself, a little at a time, so long as its leaders remain lost in such clouds of nostalgia.

The other two questions concern Europe and its future. Depending on how these are resolved, a more distant trans–Atlantic alliance will prove inevitable.

First, Europe must soon come to terms with its position on the western flank of the Euro–Asian landmass. Merkel was right: The European powers cannot realistically pretend that an ever-deepening interdependence with Russia is a choice. There is no choice. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as it progresses westward, will make this clearer still.

Second, Europe must develop working accommodations with its periphery, meaning the Middle East and North Africa, for the sake of long-term stability in its neighborhood. The mass migrations from Syria, Libya and elsewhere have made this evident in the most tragic fashion possible. It is to Germany’s and France’s credit that they are now negotiating with Turkey and Russia to develop reconstruction plans for Syria that include a comprehensive political settlement.

As they do so, Washington shows no sign of lifting sanctions against Syria that have been in place for more than eight years. It may, indeed, impose new sanctions on companies participating in reconstruction projects. In effect, this could criminalize Syria’s reconstruction—making the nation another case wherein Europe and the U.S. find themselves at cross purposes.


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is http://www.patricklawrence.us.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

US Threats to Venezuelan Military Violate UN Charter – Lavrov

Sputnik – 20.02.2019

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Washington’s threats to Venezuela’s military violated the United Nations Charter, and are representative of direct interference in the state’s internal affairs.

He also stated that Moscow grew worried about developments in Venezuela following US President Donald Trump’s recent statement urging the Venezuelan military to accept opposition leader Juan Guaido’s offer of amnesty.

“We are concerned about what is happening around Venezuela. The threats heard from the US, which are actively supported and stimulated by the Venezuelan opposition, which in fact directly invites external intervention, are certainly a violation of the UN Charter and direct interference in the internal affairs of an independent country,” Lavrov said during a press conference following talks with his Zambian counterpart Joseph Malanji.

Lavrov’s remarks come after US President Donald Trump said on Monday in a speech to Venezuelan Americans in Miami that the military of the Latin American country could either accept opposition leader Juan Guaido’s amnesty offer or “lose everything” as there would otherwise be no way out for them.

On 16 February Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who earlier declared himself the country’s interim president, called on the Venezuelan Armed Forces, supporting President Nicolas Maduro, to change sides, giving the military seven days to do so, in the anticipation of humanitarian aid arrivals to the crisis-hit country. Prior to that, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa said US humanitarian aid could be a trap to be followed by military invasion.

Venezuela has long been facing political turmoil and the situation deteriorated on 23 January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, disputing President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year. While the United States has openly backed Guaido, the European Union did not issue a joint statement following suit because the motion was vetoed by Italy, according to a diplomatic source. Despite this, however, many European countries have individually voiced their support for the Venezuelan opposition leader.

Russia, China, Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating an attempted coup.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Hispaniola Rising: How the US Coup in Venezuela Is Taking Root in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, and the people of those nations are not taking their governments’ support for the US coup in Venezuela lightly.

By Ariel Fornari | MintPress News | February 15, 2019

As Judas betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss for 20 pieces of silver, the institutionally corrupt governments in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo have written another sad chapter in their nation’s history.

Ironically, it was Venezuela that helped to develop the island’s energy infrastructure in recent years. A key part of this is the REFIDOMSA oil refinery in the Dominican Republic which the Venezuelan government helped to develop and partially owns, and which has also been used to help alleviate increased fuel demands and shortages in Haiti.

For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, which provided subsidized crude oil prices to meet the countries critical energy demands.  The Petrocaribe oil agreement, allowed for governments to pay only 60 percent of the oil shipments they purchase from Venezuela. The remaining 40 percent could be financed over 25 years at 1 percent interest, as long as oil prices stayed above $40 per barrel. This allowed for tremendous savings, and money that (according to the agreement) was supposed to be used for socially beneficial purposes.

Countries such as Nicaragua, Jamaica, Cuba, and many islands in the eastern Caribbean have successfully utilized Petrocaribe funds and other Venezuelan support mechanisms, investing in vital infrastructure, education, healthcare, and have used the funding to avoid austerity deals with the IMF and other international financial institutions. Corrupt politicians in Hispaniola, though, whose regimes are closely aligned with Washington, have by contrast become well-known for robbing many of the funds meant for the social needs of their population.

For this reason, the date of January 10, 2019, will go down in the historical memory of the Dominican and Haitian peoples, as an ignominious reminder of the historically aberrant role of the Organization of American States (OAS), when that body was used as a front by neo-conservative policymakers in Washington. It was on that date that the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic voted to no longer recognize Venezuela’s legitimately elected president.

The people of Hispaniola, on both sides of the island, are waking up. They are coming to understand how the political orders in their countries are being managed by Washington and how local corrupt elites are stealing the solidarity funds sent by Venezuela while failing to meet the needs of the local population. Haitians and Dominicans are organizing protests, meeting at homes and schools to discuss what is happening, learning on social media and through news spread over Whats App and Facebook. Hispaniola’s betrayal of Venezuela will not be taken lightly.

The people of Hispaniola know better. They know that it was the U.S., not Venezuela, that twice invaded and occupied the Dominican Republic; they know of the multiple coups and occupations that the U.S. has carried out in Haiti.  The Dominican collective memory still bears the deep scars of the over 2,000 Dominicans that perished during the invasion of Santo Domingo by the U. S. marines in April, 1965. (Dominican historians calculate that the actual figure of deaths including civilians & military during the 1965 invasion & occupation, could have been as high as 5,000). Haitians still march annually protesting the 1991 and 2004 Coup d’états, which cost the lives of so many thousands, as many human rights studies verified, such as a paper in the Lancet Medical Journal that found that upward of 8,000 people were killed as a result of the 2004 coup and pro-US paramilitary violence. A decade prior it was estimated that more than 10,000 were killed in the wake of the 1991 coup.

We need also to remember how the U.S. supported the ruthless Trujillo and Duvalierist dictatorships. We must not forget the first U. S. invasion & occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, that took place in the early 20thcentury during the Era of Gunboat Diplomacy in the Central-American and Caribbean Basin.

It is against this compelling & stark historical background, that we are confronted again with tumultuous events in the region, when the U. S. is once more employing the infamous & wholly discredited OAS, in its theatrical charade to lend an air of “legitimacy” to the recent lopsided vote against Venezuela. While 14 of the CARICOM states, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Uruguay, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, India, South Africa, and nearly all of the states in mother Africa continue to recognize the elected government, the U.S. has found support from its rightwing and neoliberal allied governments across Latin America, Europe, and in Israel. Shockingly, the Dominican Republic and Haiti joined with the U.S. in denouncing Bolivarian Venezuela.

This eerily reminds some of us old enough to remember, of those similarly turbulent days in the hemisphere during 1962, when an OAS meeting took place in a beach resort known as Punta del Este, Uruguay as Cuba was removed from the body. It was at that OAS meeting, that the legendary Foreign Minister of Cuba Dr. Raul Roa, forever baptized that odious organization as “The Ministry of Yankee Colonies”.

Dominicans won’t accept their government stabbing Caracas in the back

Precisely because of these historical realities that transpired in Hispaniola & the region, vis-à-vis the “Colossus of the North”, the popular movements & social organizations of the Dominican Republic have again assumed their vanguard roles as national leaders, mobilizing throughout the country, reminding the people of the historic legacy serving as background to current events, once again building up the people’s collective consciousness, illustrating that these latest events have not happened in a vacuum.  Within this context, a broad coalition of popular movements & organizations, scheduled a vigil on February 5, 2019, In Santiago, the heart of the northern Cibao region of the country, comprising 13 key provinces which have played a determining role in this country’s history, going back all the way to its independence in the mid 19thCentury.

The deep solidarity bonds of Venezuela towards the Dominican nation can be traced further back in time, when in 1930 the first outflow of Dominican exiles began arriving in the “Patria de Bolivar”, fleeing the U.S. backed Trujillo’s dictatorship. Professor Juan Bosch, a legendary figure of Dominican history & who in 1962 became the first democratically elected President after the fall of Trujillo, arrived in this first contingent of Dominican exiles in Venezuela. Bolivar’s homeland in turn became the safe harbor of patriotic activism against Trujillo, by the Dominican diaspora. This anti-Trujillo militancy from Venezuela became so intense, that the “Satrap of the Caribbean” as Trujillo was sometimes known, ordered an assassination attempt against President Betancourt of Venezuela in 1960. The Dictator Trujillo was finally assassinated in 1961

After the fall of Trujillo & the ascent to power in Dominican Republic of another lackey of U. S. imperialism-President Joaquin Balaguer, whose elections in 1966 were known to have been financed by the U. S. Department of State according to declassified files, over 2,000 Dominican combatants that participated in the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1965, arrived in Venezuela. Afterwards during the re-election of Balaguer in 1971-72, hundreds of Dominicans also migrated to Venezuela.  The situation in D. R. then became so untenable for many Dominicans due to Balaguer’s fierce persecution of opponents, it is estimated upwards of 60,000 of them migrated to Venezuela. Eventually, the Dominican diaspora in Venezuela became the largest migration inflow from the insular Caribbean, up to the ascent to power of Chavez, at which time Cubans began to increasingly arrive in Venezuela, composing in part the core of Chavez’s “Mision Barrio Adentro” massive health clinics projects, in the poor neighborhoods of the country.

In summary, the brotherly hospitality & solidarity afforded to Dominicans in Venezuela, throughout 20thCentury migratory periods, along with the aforementioned fact of Venezuela’s consistent solidarity with Dominican Republic through the generous Petrocaribe oil agreement, this honorable background stands in stark contrast to D. R.’s “Kiss of Judas” vote at the OAS against Venezuela, on January 10, 2019. This “Kiss of Judas” comes at a time when Bolivarian Venezuela faces a mounting economic war undertaken by the U.S. and its allies, compounded by a huge decline in the international price of oil.

With Dominicans aware of their history and learning the truth about the empire’s actions in the region, in the coming months, it appears very likely that the elite consensus in Dominican politics will begin to be shaken, as Danilo Medina faces a crisis of legitimacy.

Jovenel Moïse’s treason and the oncoming tidal wave of resistance

It was Haitians who stood out within our concert of colonized Caribbean nations, as the people which decisively proved in the field of battle, that the very best of Europe could be defeated in war when it finally gained independence from France in 1804. Venezuela’s & Haiti’s history is also intertwined, when in 1816 Petion gave arms, money & men to Bolivar, for the cause of independence of Venezuela, which in turn eventually liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia from imperial Spain.

More recently, during the second Presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Venezuela was one of the only countries which kept providing financial support to the Haitian government as it was embargoed and undermined by the George Bush administration. Furthermore, it was Chavez who was the only Latin American leader who forcefully denounced the 2004 coup against Aristide. Afterwards, during the Preval and then the rightwing Martelly & Moise regimes, Venezuela continued its unconditional solidarity with the people of Haiti, through its Petrocaribe agreement, as well as providing financial assistance for infrastructure projects. Venezuela has never required the conditionalities, nor the political alignment, for its aid, as have the supranational agencies and countries of the north. A true friend.

Regarding Venezuela & Haiti we must remember, that during Chavez’s tenure & following Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution soon thereafter announced Venezuela would “write off” Haiti’s undisclosed oil debts.  At an ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) foreign ministers’ meeting after the earthquake, Chavez remarked that “it wasn’t Haiti that had a debt with Venezuela, but just the opposite Venezuela had a debt with that nation.”  He also mentioned that an initial donation of $10 million would be disbursed to Haiti for emergency energy needs, along with an additional $100 million “for starters” towards infrastructure projects. Additionally, Chavez mentioned, one part of ALBA assistance to Haiti would consist of fuel distribution via “mobile service stations” to be up and running within a few weeks. The ALBA plan of aid for Haiti also included support for such sectors as agriculture production, food imports and distribution, and immigration amnesty for Haitians living illegally in the bloc’s member-states. At that time also, Cuba and Venezuela sent assistance and aid workers to Haiti within days of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that left an estimated 150,000-200,000 dead and more than a million people homeless.

To illustrate that unique internationalist relationship between Venezuela & Haiti, we must witness the Venezolana de Television report of Chavez’s trip to Haiti in 2007,  exemplifying the close emotional bond between these two Caribbean nations, which Chavez in great measure revived as he recuperated its historic memory jogging openly with the peoples of Cite Soleil and Bel Air through the streets of Port-au-Prince. In this report, you will witness the incredible feat of Chavez leaving his vehicle, as he actually joins the joyful masses in Port Au Prince, which are jogging in unison along his motorcade. On the other side of the historical spectrum, when Nixon as Vice President visited Venezuela in 1958 the total opposite occurred at that time. Instead of joyful crowds awaiting Nixon, enraged Venezuelans violently assaulted his limousine, manifesting the people’s rebuke of the U. S.’s close collaboration with the ruthless dictatorship of Perez Jimenez, which had recently ended.

As Moïse’s unpopular government has been caught up in corruption scandals and as complaints grow over the worsening economic situation and a lack of government support for the poor, in recent months the USPGN (Moïse’s own personal security forces) took part in a violent massacre targeting an anti-government slum. With Moïse facing mass protests his government increasingly takes its cues from Washington.

With regards to Jovenel Moïse’s governemnt’s treasonous vote against Venezuela at the OAS, another of its aberrant dimensions was its diametrical position vis-à-vis the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Haiti is a member. CARICOM’s position has been unequivocal in contravention to the virtually neocolonial position of OAS Secretary Almagro, who by all reasonable standards has become a virtual mouthpiece of Uncle Sam at the “Ministry of Yankee Colonies.” CARICOM on the one hand recognizes the legitimacy of President Maduro of Venezuela, while the OAS secretary general Luis Almagro has recognized the so-called “self-proclaimed” interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.

Haiti has long been in the crosshairs of the Empire and its local proxies. In recent years top elites have sought to restructure the county’s economy and political scene. This has come after the U.S. and its allies have essentially neutralized the country’s sovereignty & independence, heavily influencing, installing regimes, or supporting political processes that relied on heavy vote suppression and years of political disenfranchisement (such as in 2016 with one the lowest percentages of voter participation in the world). This is the same unpopular & corrupt regime, which has been the subject of massive nationwide protests against its misuse of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe funds, starting on August, 2018, and which continually burst out throughout the following months & into February, 2019.

These protests were practically made invisible by Western mainstream media, even as their brutal repression has been well documented by citizen journalists and local grassroots groups.

Hispaniola Rising!

In spite of the backstabbing vote of the corrupt Dominican and Haitian administration’s against Venezuela at the OAS, the people of Hispaniola’s solidarity with Venezuela has been manifest in many ways.

Huge marches backed by many grassroots groups and Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party have called for an end to the foreign occupation and new sovereign elections, while a smaller opposition party Pitit Dessalin has planned demonstrations in support of the legitimacy of President Maduro. Already Haitian paramilitary and police forces are being used to brutally attack these demonstrations.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Hispaniola, on February 17, 2019, a massive demonstration in support of Venezuela is scheduled to take place, at the Parque Independencia of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Student groups and activist circles across the country are being mobilized and are coming to understand the threat that Trump and his neo-con allies present.

In view of all the aforementioned, this writer while not an expert on geopolitics or history, by virtue of the fact of having been born in the Caribbean, & having closely observed its regional history since childhood & comprising many decades, I have reasonably concluded that this recent crisis between Venezuela & the Empire (or the “Colossus of the North”), could perhaps be opening a new threshold in the correlation of forces in the hemisphere, to the point where we could almost start leaning towards the conclusion, that perhaps the United States of America is no longer the absolute master of this hemisphere, say as it was the case prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

What we are witnessing now are key nations such as Venezuela deciding to chart a course in favor of thier own people, implementing the re-foundation of the nation-state, while further steering away from the imperial diktat. At the same time, it is obvious that the Empire while commencing its decline, still exerts plenty of hemispheric muscle, as the treacherous OAS vote of Haiti & Dominican Republic has shown, in spite of Venezuela’s committed and honorable solidarity record with these two sister nations. Informing the younger generations about the history of the U.S. empire in the region, about the role of soft power in the media, and what is happening around the region today is vital. Also vital are creating new bonds and working to unify popular sectors to oppose the plans of Washington and their clients, to once again build south-south bonds and regional development from below.

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Economics, Corruption, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Growing Anti-Semitism Scam

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • February 19, 2019

“An anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews. Now it means a man who is hated by Jews.” – Joe Sobran

In his novel 1984 George Orwell invented the expression “newspeak” to describe the ambiguous or deliberately misleading use of language to make political propaganda and narrow the “thought options” of those who are on the receiving end. In the context of today’s political discourse, or what passes for the same, it would be interesting to know what George would think of the saturation use of “anti-Semitism” as something like a tactical discussion stopper, employed to end all dispute while also condemning those accused of the crime as somehow outside the pale, monsters who are consigned forever to derision and obscurity.

The Israelis and, to be sure, many diaspora Jews know exactly how the expression has been weaponized. Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni explained how it is done “Anti-Semitic”…”its a trick, we always use it.”

If one were to read the U.S. mainstream media, reflective as it nearly always is of a certain institutional Jewish viewpoint, one would think that there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism worldwide, but that claim is incorrect. What has been taking place is not hatred of Jews but rather a confluence of two factors. First is the undeniable fact that Israel has been behaving particularly badly, even by its admittedly low standards. Its slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza has been unusually observable in spite of media attempts to avoid mentioning it, plus its support of terrorists in Syria and attacks on that country have also raised questions about the intentions of the kleptocratic regime in Tel Aviv, which is currently pushing for an attack on Iran. That all means that the perception of Israel, which boasts that it is the exclusively Jewish state, inevitably raises questions about the international Jewish community that provides much of its support. But the shift in perception is driven by Israeli behavior, not by Jews as an ethnicity or a religion.

Second, the alleged increase in anti-Semitic incidents is largely fueled by how those incidents are defined. Israel and its friends have worked hard to broaden the parameters of the discussion, making any criticism of Israel or its activities either a hate crime or ipso facto an anti-Semitic incident. The U.S. State Department’s working definition of anti-Semitism includes “… the targeting of the state of Israel” and it warns that anti-Semitism is a criminal offense. Recent legislation in Washington and also in Europe has criminalized hitherto legal and non-violent efforts to pressure Israel regarding its inhumanity vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Legitimate criticism of Israel thereby becomes both anti-Semitism and criminal, increasing the count of so-called anti-Semitic incidents. That means that the numbers inevitably go up, providing fodder to validate a repressive response.

One might add that Hollywood, the mainstream media and academia have contributed to the allegations regarding surging anti-Semitism, relentlessly unleashing a torrent of material rooting out alleged anti-Semites and so-called holocaust deniers, while simultaneously heaping praise on Israel and its achievements. Professor of Holocaust Studies Deborah Lipstadt has written a book Anti-Semitism: Here and Now about what she regards as the new anti-Semitism, supporting her belief that it is getting markedly worse in both Europe and the U.S. There is also a movie about her confrontation with holocaust critic David Irving called Denial. All of the media exposure of so-called anti-Semitism has a political objective, whether intended or not, which is to insulate Israel itself from any criticism and to create for all Jews the status of perpetual victimhood which permits many in the diaspora to unflinchingly support a foreign country against the interests of the nations where they were born, raised and made their fortunes. That is called dual loyalty and, in spite of frequent denials from Israel-apologists, it clearly exists for many American Jews who are passionate about the Jewish state, including members of the Trump Administration Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Jared Kushner.

In the past week, a newly elected member of congress has been derided, shunned and then forced to both recant and apologize for having said something that is manifestly true: that Jewish money corrupts the American political system to favor Israel. The controversy erupted after House minority leader Republican Kevin McCarthy said he would initiate investigations of two Muslim congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, over their criticisms of Israel. McCarthy called for the two to be denounced by the Democratic Party as anti-Semites after Tlaib had said that the sponsors of recent legislation intended to benefit Israel by limiting free speech “… forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right and part of our historical fight for freedom and equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”

Indeed, Tlaib had a point as the Congressional Israel boosters have long since forgotten that they are supposed to uphold the Constitution of the United States while also promoting the interests of their constituents, not those of a country seven thousand miles away. Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept responded to the news of the McCarthy threat with a tweet “It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.” Ilhan Omar then tweeted her own pithy rejoinder to Greenwald on Sunday February 10th: “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!” which was in reference to the Founder Benjamin Franklin’s portrait on hundred-dollar bills. Her comment was almost immediately interpreted as meaning that she was accusing McCarthy of being bought by Jews. She followed up on a question about who was doing the buying she tweeted “AIPAC,” an elaboration that unleashed something like an anti-Semitism shit storm in her direction.

It was manufactured outrage, with political leaders from both parties latching on to a media frenzy to score points against each other. Even though it is perfectly legitimate for a Congresswoman on the Foreign Affairs Committee to challenge what AIPAC does and where its money comes from, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi complained that Omar’s “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters” was “deeply offensive.” Chelsea Clinton accused Omar of “trafficking in anti-Semitism.” President Donald Trump, who has admitted that his Mideast policy is intended to serve Israeli rather than U.S. interests, also jumped in, saying “I think she should either resign from congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

Ilhan Omar quickly understood that she had touched a live wire, surrendered, and recanted. She apologized by Monday afternoon, 18 hours after her original tweet, saying “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.” But she also bravely wrote “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

Pelosi approved of the apology. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who is running for president in 2020, chimed in to make sure that everyone knew how much she loves Israel, saying “I’m glad she apologized. That was the right thing to do. There is just no room for those kinds of words. I think Israel is our beacon of democracy. I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel and that will never change.”

Two days later, a motion sponsored by Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York passed by a 424 to 0 vote. It was specifically intended to serve as a rebuke to Omar. It stated that “it is in the national security interest of the United States to combat anti-Semitism around the world because… there has been a significant amount of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred that must be most strongly condemned.”

Congressional votes professing love for Israel notwithstanding, the fact is that there is a massive, generously funded effort to corrupt America’s government in favor of Israel. It is euphemistically called the Israel Lobby even though it is overwhelmingly Jewish and it boasts fairly openly of its power when talking with its closest friends about how its money influences the decisions made on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Its combined budget exceeds one billion dollars per year and it includes lobbying powerhouses like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which alone had $229 million in income in 2017, supporting more than 200 employees. It exists only to promote Israeli interests on Capitol Hill and throughout the United States with an army of lobbyists and its activities include using questionably legal all expenses paid “orientation” trips to Israel for all new congressmen and spouses.

McCarthy and the other stooges in Congress deliberately sought to frame the argument in terms of Ilhan Omar having claimed that he personally was receiving money from pro-Israel sources and that money influenced his voting. Well, the fact is that such activity does take place and was documented three years ago by the respected Foreign Policy Journal, which published a piece entitled “The Best Congress AIPAC can Buy” as well as more recently in an al-Jazeera investigative expose using a concealed camera.

And Kevin McCarthy does indeed receive money from Israel PACs – $33,200 in 2018. The amount individual congressmen receive is dependent on their actual or potential value to Israel. Completely corrupt and enthusiastically pro-Israel Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey received $548,507 in 2018. In the House, Beto O’Rourke of Texas received $226,690. The numbers do not include individual contributions of under $200, which are encouraged by AIPAC and can be considerable. In general, congressmen currently receive over $23,000 on average from the major pro-Israel organizations while Senators get $77,000.

But, of course, direct donations of money are not the whole story. If a congressman is unfriendly to Israel, money moves in the other direction, towards funding an opponent when re-election is coming up. Former Rep. Brian Bard has observed that “Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant amounts against you if you’re not with them.” Lara Friedman, who has worked on the Hill for 15 years on Israel/Palestine, notes how congressmen and staffs of “both parties told me over and over that they agreed with me but didn’t dare say so publicly for fear of repercussions from AIPAC.”

A good example of how it all worked involves one honest congressman, Walter Jones of South Carolina, who recently passed away. In 2014, “Wall Street billionaires, financial industry lobbyists, and neoconservative hawks” tried to unseat Jones by bankrolling his primary opponent. The “dark money” intended to defeat him came from a PAC called “The Emergency Committee for Israel,” headed by leading neoconservative Bill Kristol. Jones’ war views, including avoiding a war with Iran, were clearly perceived as anti-Israel.

And one should also consider contributions directly to the political parties. Israeli/U.S. dual nationals Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are the largest single donors to the GOP and to the Democrats, having contributed $82 million and $8,780,000 respectively in the 2016 presidential campaign. Both have indicated openly that Israel is their top priority.

If they have demonstrated fealty to Israel while in office, many Congressmen also find that loyalty pays off after retirement from government with richly remunerated second careers in Jewish dominated industries, like financial services or the media. And there are hundreds of Jewish organizations that contribute to Israel as charities, even though the money frequently goes to fund illegal activity, including the settlements. Money also is used to buy newspapers and media outlets which then adhere to a pro-Israel line, or, where that does not work, to buy advertising that is conditional on being friendly to Israel. So the bottom line is indeed “the Benjamins” and the corruption that they buy.

Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Education Trust said in January that “One person questioning the truth of the Holocaust is one too many.” That is nonsense. Any, and all, historical events should be questioned regularly, a principle that is particular true regarding developments that carry a lot of emotional baggage. The Israel Lobby would have all Americans believe that any criticism of Israel is motivated by historic hatred of Jews and is therefore anti-Semitism. Don’t believe it. When the AIPAC crowd screams that linking Jews and money is a classic anti-Semitic trope respond by pointing out that Jews and money are very much in play in the corruption of congress and the media over Israel. Terrible things are being done in the Middle East in the name of Jews and of Israel and it all comes down to those Benjamins and the silence they buy by accusing all critics of anti-Semitism. Just recall what the Israeli minister admitted, “It’s a trick, we always use it.”

February 19, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment