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Trump’s Katyusha Conundrum: Unguided Artillery Deployed by Iraqi Insurgents against US Occupation Forces

Katyusha launcher (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
By William Walter Kay | Global Research | January 23, 2020

Katyushas are short-range, unguided artillery rockets typically fired in salvos from truck-mounted launch-tubes. Iraq’s insurgents deploy three types.

The smallest is 107 millimetres in diameter and 1 metre long. Its 19 kilogram weight includes an 8 kg high-explosive, shrapnel-bearing warhead. The 107mm is often fired from a 12-tube launcher, however, infantry-portable single-tube tripods are common. An experienced crew with a standardised weapon can hit a 400 X 400 metre target from 8 kilometres away. During the Vietnam War the US Army considered the 107mm to be their adversaries’ most formidable weapon.

The 122mm ‘Grad’ Katyusha is 3 metres long and weighs 75 kg. Its warhead spans a third of its length and weighs 18 kg. It has a 20-kilometre range and a 30-metre lethal radius.

220mm Katyushas hurl 100 kg warheads 30 kilometres.

Katyushas have advantages over mortars. They deliver the same payload twice the distance and they fire multiple ordnance more rapidly. The globally ubiquitous BM-21 Grad fires forty 122mm rockets in three minutes. Reloading takes 10 minutes. Thus, Katyushas excel at “shoot-and-scoot” operations. As well, Katyushas’ flat trajectories permit line-of-sight attacks and their 700 metre-per-second velocities provide unique anti-building potential.

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After [allegedly] helping suppress the ISIS-led insurgency (2014-17) US forces defaulted to their previous occupation plan. Central to this program are segregated compounds situated inside Iraqi Armed Forces bases. These installations, always near airstrips, contain mere hundreds (not thousands) of US and Coalition troops who ride herd over the Iraqi Army whilst grooming and directing Iraq’s 15,000-strong Special Forces.

Embassies and consulates are integral to the occupation. The sprawling US Embassy compound dominates Baghdad’s fortified “Green Zone” which also houses Coalition partners’ embassies, and the headquarters of the many NGOs insinuated throughout Iraqi society.

The occupation facilitates local activities of American and European businesses. These require office blocks, oil-field infrastructure; and, gated communities for imported talent.

Pre-2011 Americans relied on bases containing thousands of troops. These were remotely located and allocated substantial resources to thwart indirect (mortar and rocket) attacks through: counter-artillery, drone surveillance, and fighting patrols. Despite this, indirect fire inflicted 3,000 casualties (including 211 fatalities) on American forces; many occurring inside ‘secure’ bases.

The US-led Coalition’s current archipelago of military, diplomatic, intelligence, business and NGO installations are ill-equipped to defend themselves against indirect fire. Proximity to cities makes them sitting ducks.

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In September 2018 persons unknown began targeting US installations with Katyushas. This list chronicles these attacks.* (A dozen mortar attacks are not listed; Katyushas being the weapon of choice.)

  1. September 8, 2018 – four rockets (three 107mms and one 122mm) fall near the Green Zone.
  2. September 8, 2018 – two salvos of 107mms land near the US Consulate beside Basra Airport.
  3. September 28, 2018 – three 107mms are fired at the Basra Consulate; two land on site.
  4. December 27, 2018 – two 107mms are fired at Al-Asad Airbase (160 kilometres west of Baghdad) during Trump’s visit.
  5. February 2, 2019 – an attack on Al-Asad Airbase is aborted. Three ready-to-launch 122mms are captured.
  6. February 12, 2019 – three 107mms hit Q-West Airfield (an off-the-books base south of Mosul).
  7. May 1, 2019 – two 107mms hit Camp Al-Taji: a ‘training’ institute, 40 kilometres north of Baghdad.
  8. May 19, 2019 – two rockets land near the US Embassy.
  9. June 10, 2019 – rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  10. June 12, 2019 – rocket attack on a “northern air base” starts a fire.
  11. June 13, 2019 – rocket attack on Nineveh Command Headquarters (Mosul Presidential Palace).
  12. June 14, 2019 – a rocket lands near the US Embassy.
  13. June 17, 2019 – three rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  14. June 18, 2019 – Nineveh HQ is attacked by two 122mms; one hits, one misses.
  15. June 19, 2019 – rockets strike a gated community outside Basra (home to Exxon staff).
  16. September 23, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone; one lands near the US Embassy.
  17. October 30, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone, killing an Iraqi soldier.
  18. November 8, 2019 – seventeen rockets target Q-West Airfield.
  19. November 17, 2019 – rockets hit the Green Zone.
  20. November 29, 2019 – a rocket hits the Green Zone.
  21. December 3, 2019 – Al-Asad Airbase is “rocked” by five 122mms.
  22. December 5, 2019 – five 107mms hit Balad Airbase (80 kilometres north of Baghdad).
  23. December 6, 2019 – a 240mm rocket lands near Baghdad Airport (then housing a US base).
  24. December 9, 2019 – four 240mms strike Baghdad Airport killing 2, and wounding 5, Iraqi soldiers.
  25. December 11, 2019 – two 240mms land outside Baghdad Airport.
  26. December 27, 2019 – thirty-six 107mms hammer K1 Base (15 kilometres northwest of Kirkuk); killing an American translator and wounding several US troops.
  27. December 29, 2019 – four rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  28. December 29, 2019 – five rockets hit Al-Asad Airbase.
  29. January 4, 2020 – two rockets hit Balad Airbase.
  30. January 4, 2020 – several rockets hit the Green Zone. One lands near the US Embassy; another closes a major street.
  31. January 5, 2020 – six rockets are fired at the Green Zone; three hit the target.
  32. January 8, 2020 – two rockets hit the Green Zone.
  33. January 12, 2020 – eight rockets hit Balad Airbase, wounding several Iraqi soldiers.
  34. January 14, 2020 – a five-rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  35. January 20, 2020 – three rockets hit Green Zone. They were fired from Al Zafraniya (15 kilometres away).

Attacks are becoming more frequent and are trending toward bigger rockets and higher volume salvos.

The insurgents’ strategy is working. Katyusha attacks shuttered the US Basra Consulate in September 2018. Attacks in May and June 2019 forced Exxon to evacuate much of its foreign staff. Throughout 2019 the US State Department extracted personnel and the Defense Department consolidated bases into more secure facilities. By late 2019 US authorities were begging Iraqis for help whilst threatening retaliation.

The last straw came December 27 when the barrage onto K1 Base killed an American translator. The US responded with airstrikes on five Kata’ib Hezbollah bases (90 casualties) and with the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Soleimani. (The decision to assassinate Soleimani – in the event of an American fatality – was made June 24, 2019 following a week of near daily Katyusha attacks.)

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While Iran and Iran’s Iraqi allies are blamed for these attacks; this is dubious. Reportage following attacks invariably drops the phrase “no one claimed responsibility” – which is notable because perpetrators often boast of such achievements. Ten years ago, when Kata’ib Hezbollah targeted US facilities with “lob bombs” (improvised rockets), they posted videos of their handiwork. They deny involvement in these recent attacks as do other Iranian-linked militias.

The reportage often describes the attacks as “mysterious” or as a “whodunit.” Authors relay US intelligence theories of Iranian involvement … without evidence.

On several occasions insurgents abandoned launchers and/or launch vehicles after the attack, often with fail-to-launch rockets inside. Investigators also possess fragments of successfully fired rockets. Tellingly, US officials, renowned for straining at gnats for evidence of Iranian complicity, do not utilise this material to incriminate Tehran.

The launchers themselves are obviously manufactured by local artisans. Moreover, an article from Kurdistan24 describes the rockets as “locally made.” Even globalist-militarist instrumentalities like the Washington Institute, Long War Journal, and Center for Strategic and International Studies concede some Katyushas are manufactured in Iraq.

Iraq has a burgeoning steel industry and, due to the calamities of the past 20 years, an enormous scrap metal industry. Katyushas’ cardinal virtue is their simplicity.

*

Circa 2014 twelve countries hosted non-state armed groups that deployed Katyushas. (Post-2014 Yemen’s Houthis joined this list, then outdid the pack in innovation and output.)

During the 2003-11 era Iraqi insurgents looted Katyushas from local arsenals. Other Katyushas came from Iran (officially or via the black market) and possibly from any of 32 other countries manufacturing them. Experts bemoan the difficulty of determining a rocket’s origin.

Circa 2008 Iraqi artisans manufactured a variety of launchers. A 2009 raid in Maysan Governorate discovered 107mm, 122mm and 220mm rail launchers; and 1,700 carjacks. (Jacks were affixed to the bottoms of stationary tripods to permit changes in launch angle.) Insurgents developed creative mobile launch platforms i.e. inside ice cream trucks or towed behind motorcycles etc. They debuted remote control triggers and GPS reconnaissance.

Circa 2011 poor quality of locally acquired rockets compelled insurgents to continue to rely on imports. The insurgents were, however, manufacturing “lob bomb” rockets and anti-armour mines; although Iran stood accused of being their sole supplier.

Post-2011 insurgents honed their craft. Remember: Hamas, operating inside Gaza with a tiny fraction of the resources of Iraq’s insurgents, manufactures crude Katyushas.

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Prime suspects in the Katyusha campaign are not pro-Iranian militias; but rather the milieu around Mahdi Army successor, the Promise Day Brigades (PDB). This political tendency, nominally led by Moqtada al-Sadr, is concentrated in Iraq’s densely populated central and southern regions, but boasts a militant contingent in Mosul. This milieu overlaps the Saairun Alliance which includes Iraq’s far left; who carry their own legacy of armed struggle.

The insurgency’s Von Braun might be Jawad al-Tulaybani. An Iran-Iraq War veteran, al-Tulaybani possesses 40 years of combat rocketry experience. A war wound left him partially disabled. He appeared on US radar in 2008 after masterminding a barrage that wounded 15 US soldiers.

The org-chart of the Saairun/PDB/al-Sadr movement remains obscured. Notably, on January 8, 2020 al-Sadr counselled refrain from military actions. Four Katyusha attacks happened since.

What is clear is that this general political tendency is not particularly beholden to Iran. They appear non-sectarian, if not secularist, and they advance a left-nationalist agenda. Prior to the 2018 election (wherein Saairun emerged as the most popular bloc) Iran’s Foreign Minister warned Iran would never tolerate an Iraq run by “liberals and communists” – meaning Saairun.

Then again, Trump’s thrill kill of Soleimani (and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units’ Deputy Commander) completely reshuffled the deck, creating unprecedented unity amongst hitherto rivals.

*

As Katyushas veto pacification efforts, US forces return to square one. They must retreat to sprawling, remotely situated camps equipped to suppress indirect fire. This, however, means surrendering Iraq’s political theatre to adversaries who will marshal Iraqi Government resources against them.

Katyushas are driving the Trump Administration’s Iraq policy. Prisoners of groupthink they react by doubling-down on the Big Lie that Iraq’s national liberation movement consists only of “Iranian terrorists.” In reality, their most effective opponents are as indigenous and legitimate as the French Resistance.

Note on Sources

Data came from scanning 1,000 articles then parsing several dozen of them. Preference went to state media: i.e. Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Xinhua et al; although Military Times and Kurdistan-24 proved germane. Rogue Rocketeers: Artillery Rockets and Armed Groups (Small Arms Survey, Geneva Switzerland, 2014) is a must-read. Data on the first 7 Katyusha attacks was lifted without corroboration from Michael Knights’ Responding to Iranian Harassment of U.S. Facilities in Iraq (Washington Institute, May 21, 2019). As Knights is the only analyst to grasp the seriousness of the Katyusha attacks. His reports are a trove. Being intimately connected to US and Israeli intelligence, he slavishly relays the anti-Iran party line.

Major attacks generate scores of reports. Lesser attacks are mentioned only in passing. Some articles tally the attacks but the numbers do not jibe. Certain attacks go unreported. Probably, 50+ mortar and Katyusha attacks hit US facilities between September 8, 2018 and January 14, 2020.

http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/F-Working-papers/SAS-WP19-Rogue-Rocketeers.pdf

Copyright © William Walter Kay, Global Research, 2020

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain

Soybean oil linked to metabolic and neurological changes in mice

By Jules Bernstein | UC Riverside News | January 17, 2020

New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.

The same UCR research team found in 2015 that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

However, in the study released this month, researchers did not find any difference between the modified and unmodified soybean oil’s effects on the brain. Specifically, the scientists found pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical processes take place.

“The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress,” said Margarita Curras-Collazo, a UCR associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study.

The team determined a number of genes in mice fed soybean oil were not functioning correctly. One such gene produces the “love” hormone, oxytocin. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.

The research team discovered roughly 100 other genes also affected by the soybean oil diet. They believe this discovery could have ramifications not just for energy metabolism, but also for proper brain function and diseases such as autism or Parkinson’s disease. However, it is important to note there is no proof the oil causes these diseases.

Additionally, the team notes the findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.

“Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce,” said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology. “Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins.”

A caveat for readers concerned about their most recent meal is that this study was conducted on mice, and mouse studies do not always translate to the same results in humans.

Also, this study utilized male mice. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.

One additional note on this study — the research team has not yet isolated which chemicals in the oil are responsible for the changes they found in the hypothalamus. But they have ruled out two candidates. It is not linoleic acid, since the modified oil also produced genetic disruptions; nor is it stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil.

Identifying the compounds responsible for the negative effects is an important area for the team’s future research.

“This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future,” said Poonamjot Deol, an assistant project scientist in Sladek’s laboratory and first author on the study.

“The dogma is that saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Soybean oil is a polyunsaturated fat, but the idea that it’s good for you is just not proven,” Sladek said.

Indeed, coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in the hypothalamic genes.

“If there’s one message I want people to take away, it’s this: reduce consumption of soybean oil,” Deol said about the most recent study.

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

Anatomy of a Washington Post Editorial

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | January 26, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. Day has morphed into an annual reminder of the truth in Vladimir Lenin’s observation that great revolutionaries, while alive, are hounded by the powerful, and later, after they’ve been terminated, are lauded by their oppressors and transformed into harmless icons to placate the masses. Among the MLK-related articles to appear recently is a reposting of Edward Curtin’s 2017 review of Willam Pepper’s book The Plot to Kill King. Pepper, King’s friend and attorney for the King Family, spent 40 years researching the assassination, and Curtin’s review is a superb encapsulation of that history. King was murdered by elements of the U.S. government, a fact unsurprising for people who read history, because political assassinations have been stock power plays since antiquity. From the point of view of the psychosis that drives empires, King had to go.

There are certain facts governments and their journalistic mercenaries go to any length to suppress, because to reveal them necessarily leads to related facts that expose governmental crime. A key fact can be like a keystone species in a biological ecosystem: snuff it, and things begin to unravel. For example, that World Trade Center Building 7 was most certainly professionally prepared for demolition well before 9/11 cannot be allowed to be publicly discussed. Open acceptance of that would, as if a spring loaded canister had been opened, force the litany of related lies into the light. King’s murder is like that. Accept U.S. government-as-assassin as the truth, and one is forced to deal with associated issues: American soldiers posted to kill King if the first shooter fails; the probability that trusted colleagues were involved; Government hand-in-hand with organized crime.

The 1999 Trial in Memphis, The King Family vs Loyd Jowers et al.  was arguably the most important trial of the 20th Century, involving as it did the foremost civil rights figure of that century and the U.S. government. But “The Media” were nowhere to be seen there. For the American journalistic world it was a nonevent, and although the jury was unanimous in finding that King had been murdered by way of governmental conspiracy, the media, to this day, reinforce the fiction of a lone gunman. Many taped interviews of Pepper after the release of his most recent book have disappeared, but this one, still available on BitChute, is an hour well spent. It is shocking in details. A transcript of the trial is available at the King Center’s Website.

But there was sufficient awareness of the trial that an official comment had to come from a reliable source, such as a “newspaper of record”, and nothing fills that bill more dependably than the Washington Post, what some (e.g., me) consider to be an official mouthpiece for the CIA, such that much of it seems as if written at headquarters in Langley, VA. Following the trial, the Washington Post published an editorial on Sunday, December 12, 1999, “The King Verdict,” that could serve as a classic study of techniques of persuasion for a class on rhetoric. I can no longer find the editorial online, but the paper itself still exists, of course, and one can always get the public library to send for a xerox copy. Here, the full 418-word text of the editorial:

THE KING VERDICT

Normally, a jury verdict — even one that seems uncomfortably at variance with the public record — is due a considerable amount of deference. The decision last week by a jury in Memphis, however, that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the result of a vast governmental conspiracy should alter no one’s view of the assassination. It’s not that the jury misbehaved; based on the evidence presented in court, it was an open-and-shut case. Rather, the problem is that nothing approximating the real history of the assassination was ever presented to the jury.

The King family, having publicly embraced the claim of innocence of the real killer, the late James Earl Ray, was represented in the litigation by Mr. Ray’s lawyer, a conspiracy theorist named William Pepper. The supposed defendant, Loyd Jowers, was the peddler of a long since discredited tale about being a part of a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. His defense was not based on historical truth — that there was no government conspiracy — merely that his own involvement in this alleged conspiracy was limited.

In other words, the King family sued for $ 100 in damages a man who did not even contest their false thesis. The litigation in Memphis, therefore, involved no party that would go to bat for history. Meanwhile, the judge admitted a pile of hearsay evidence, even some “testimony” that had been given in a mock trial staged a few years back by HBO. Both judge and jury are reported to have nodded off during the proceedings. The inevitable result of such a sham trial is a jury verdict that — to those who have not studied the peculiar circumstances that gave rise to it — may give to a wild conspiracy theory the imprimatur of a legal finding. It should not be allowed to do so.

The deceit of history, whether it occurs in the context of Holocaust denial or in an effort to rewrite the story of Dr. King’s death, is a dangerous impulse for which those committed to reasoned debate and truth cannot sit still. That it has, in this case, been perpetrated by Dr. King’s nearest family in a court of law makes it, in addition, a mystifying act of self-deception and an abuse of the legal system. That the King family has a movie deal with filmmaker Oliver Stone gives the whole affair, to add insult to injury, a commercial feel. The case, in short, had nothing to do with law, and it had nothing to do with truth. The more quickly and completely this jury’s discredited verdict is forgotten, the better.

Even a quick scan of the editorial reveals liberal use of what communications experts call ‘loaded language’ (i.e., words or phrases employed to invoke a desired assumption or emotional reaction), as with “supposed defendant,” “the peddler of,”  “a pile of heresay,” “a sham trial,” “wild conspiracy theory,” “dangerous impulse,” “abuse of the legal system.” They appeal to emotion rather than to the intellect, always a danger sign for the critical thinker. In addition, the use of quotation marks on an otherwise neutral word, as with “testimony” in the editorial, is a common technique for mocking or trivializing or casting doubt on reliability.

The reader is set up in the first sentence to understand that the subject of the editorial is “uncomfortably at variance with the public record,” which advises the reader that acceptance of the verdict would be to counter the prevailing opinion of society. That the King Family’s attorney, William Pepper, is described as a “conspiracy theorist” reveals much about the editors, as that epithet was a creation of the CIA in the years following the Kennedy assassination as an attempt to delegitimize the groundswell of doubt surrounding the official governmental account of that killing. As was the intent, “conspiracy theorist” soon became — and has remained —  a form of insult and a means of shutting down discourse regarding many controversial issues, particularly those concerning governmental narratives.

The first sentence of the third paragraph begins with “In other words …”, indicating a summation of information from the previous paragraph. But the sentence, although presented forcefully, does not follow logically from preceding material. What the editors claim the King Family’s “thesis” to be (that James Earl Ray was innocent) is not “even” contested by Jowers, for the reason that Jowers knows that Ray is indeed innocent. The odd sentence, which a careful reader could interpret as undermining the larger editorial position, is indicative of writers struggling to make a spurious case knowing they have precious little to work with and depending on assertive style to carry them through.

The linking of the trial to an event as emotive as the Holocaust is in itself surprising, but the linking, expressed in the form of denial of the Holocaust, becomes an attempt to establish a false correspondence in the mind of the reader, as much as to say that “… the denial of the Holocaust is a deceit of history, hence any departure from the official description of King’s death is likewise a deceit of history.” It is ironic that the authors, within the same sentence, claim to associate themselves with “… those committed to reasoned debate” because elements of reason are altogether lacking in the editorial. Indeed, the use of “should,” as in “should alter no one’s view” and “should not be allowed,” rather than employment of reason is simply appeal to the editorial authority of an influential newspaper.

The 3-hour long, 1993 televised mock trial so disparagingly cited by the editors (a copy still available here) was organized for the sole reason that, due to media blackout, it finally became the only way that censored information supporting Ray’s innocence could reach the public. The editors had to have known this. Their claim that Jower’s account was “a long since discredited tale” is absolutely vacuous. Since Jowers made his first claim on an ABC news program (not to be shown again) and repeated it in the 1999 trial, at no time was it ever discredited. The editors apparently relied solely on the reputation of the Washington Post (at that time) for acceptance by readers of their claim. Had the editors been forced to provide solid, defensible evidence countering Jowers, they would have come up empty.

But they never sink lower in the editorial than when they suggest that the King family was motivated not by a search for truth but by the money to be made from a movie deal. By any decent standard, that was offensive and uncalled for. Few families have had to suffer their level of tragedy in full view of the public, and for history. They have always presented themselves as models of decorum in the most difficult of circumstances.

The editors fret that, “to those who have not studied the peculiar circumstances that gave rise to it”, the verdict of the trial may be justifiable. They are claiming that they have studied those circumstances in sufficient detail. They most assuredly have not, while William Pepper obviously has. In fact, the editors are functioning exactly as expected by protecting criminal elements of government through their attempts to cast doubt on the verdict in a civil trial that exposed those criminal elements. That they end their editorial with a terse declaration that the unanimous verdict of an American jury simply be forgotten says more about the Washington Post than many within its ranks would want to admit.

It’s difficult to overlook the facts that the CIA has long involved itself in political assassinations and, at the same time, that the newspaper so strongly linked to the CIA quickly (two days following the trial) attempted to forestall embarrassing questions about the trial with so shameful (shameless?) an editorial. Perhaps there’s something to be learned from it all.

Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He can be contacted at willers@uwosh.edu.

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

The Unbearable Hypocrisy of US Sanctions on Iran

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | January 26, 2020

On November 22nd of last year, the US government announced it would impose sanctions on Iran’s information minister for his alleged role in limiting domestic Internet access while protests raged in that country over increases in gas prices.

At the time, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin condemned the Iranian government for censoring information that Iranian citizens could view online, stating that, “Iran’s leaders know that a free and open internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor internet access to quell anti-regime protests.”

The Iranians were evil, said the US government official in charge of economic sanctions, because it restricted what its citizens could read in the international press.

Our government would never do that… right?

Wrong. Yesterday, the US government knocked Iran’s state news agency, FARS, off of the Internet entirely, citing US sanctions against the country.

What that means is the Iranian news service is being censored by the United States government and that Americans will therefore no longer be able to see anything from this foreign media outlet.

Exactly what Mnuchin accused Iran of doing back in November.

Zero Hedge writes, “as Iran’s Press TV describes further“:

The news agency said that it had received an email from the server company, which explicitly said that the blockage is due to an order by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and its inclusion in the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).

The agency attached to its post a screenshot of its website with the message “www.farsnews.com’s server IP address could not be found.”

This latest US censorship of Iranian media is nothing new. Iran’s Press TV has been removed from YouTube and other US social media with “US sanctions on Iran” being given as the reason.

Americans are not allowed to see the Iranian perspective on the Middle East because the Beltway bombardiers and their bosses in the military-industrial complex depend on successfully demonizing all Persians so that Americans will accept their annihilation in another neocon war. If Americans are allowed to see the Iranian perspective they might not be so supportive of the slaughter the neocons are cooking up.

The bottom line is this: the US Administration cites Iran’s restricting of outside media as evidence of the evil nature of the Iranian government, all the while scrambling to restrict American citizens’ access to Iranian media outlets.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Hypocrisy.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute.

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Veterans of Foreign Wars urges Trump to apologize over downplaying brain injuries

Press TV – January 25, 2020

Veterans of Foreign Wars, an American organization advocating for military veterans, has called on President Donald Trump to apologize for downplaying brain injuries that were inflicted on the country’s soldiers during Iran’s retaliatory strikes at a US base in Iraq.

“TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly. TBI is known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness and fatigue — all injuries that come with both short- and long-term effects,” VFW said in a statement.

Over 30 US service members have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) after Iran attacked the Ain al-Assad air base in response to assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani.

“The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks. And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has,” read the statement by Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz.

The Pentagon made the announcement on Friday over three weeks after the January 8 attack.

Nine service members are reportedly being treated in Germany while some have already been sent home for additional treatment.

Tensions have been rising between the US president and former commanders as well as active duty senior officers in the wake of General Soleimani’s assassination following his order.

January 25, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

The Fate of post-WWII Germans Deported from their Homes by the Allies

Institute for Political Economy | January 24, 2020

Germany’s War, Chapter 6: The German Expellees by John Wear

The Allies’ Crimes Exceed Those of the Third Reich

At the end of World War II in violation of the Atlantic Charter, between 12 and 19 million Germans were expelled from their long-established homes in East Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia, Memel and the Baltic states, Danzig, Poland, Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland), Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania. This mass expulsion of ethnic Germans from their homes was going on while the Nuremberg trials were prosecuting officials of the German Third Reich for mass deportations of Jews and Gypsies. The allied expulsions of Germans exceeds in number the deportations by the Third Reich. Unlike the Israelis, the German government does not demand reparations for the dispossessed Germans. Instead of being compensated for their dispossession, the Germans pay compensation to the Jews, and the amount rises over time.

The number of Germans who died from the crimes inflicted on them during the expulsions rival the number of holocaust victims and is better documented. Estimates are that 25% of German expellees died in the process. That could be as many as 4,750,000. While as many as nearly 5 million German expellees were dying from the starvation, exposure, and murder that characterized their deportation, the French chief prosecutor at Nuremberg sanctimoniously declared deportations by the Third Reich to be “one of the horrors of our century.”

During World War II the Americans expelled Japanese-Americans from their homes and businesses and kept them in concentration camps.

The Israelis have been deporting Palestinians from Palestine since 1947. Gaza today is the largest concentration camp in world history.

Stalin deported millions of Russians to the Gulags where they died from over-work, under-nurishment, and exposure.

But only Germans were punished for deportations.

The post-war mass deportations of Germans supports  Hitler’s view that ethnic Germans needed to be gathered into one territory for their protection. Today ethnic Germans are being displaced in their own country by Third World peoples brought into Germany by Germany’s anti-German political leadership. Indeed, all of Europe has anti-ethnic European leadership. The anti-European leaders of Europe are erasing Europe. This is the last century of European peoples. By the end of this century, European people and European culture will not exist. A leaderless people cannot survive.

While reading chapter 6, keep in mind that you are not reading John Wear’s opinion. You are reading facts documented by many historians and published by Harvard University Press, Yale University Press, Basic Books, and Palgrave Macmillan.   

The 6th Chapter of Wear’s book, Germany’s War, is posted here: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/01/24/germanys-war-chapter-6-the-german-expellees/  

“The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons.”

January 25, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

“No One Has Suggested My Son Did Anything Wrong”: Joe Biden Doubles Down On Denial

By Jonathan Turley | January 24, 2020

We have previously discussed the denials of former Vice President Joe Biden that his son did anything wrong in Ukraine. As I have written, not only did Hunter Biden clearly enter into a corrupt (but arguably lawful) contract but Joe Biden did not do enough to confirm that his son was not engaging in influence peddling. Nevertheless, this week, Joe Biden continued this indefensible position and declared bizarrely that “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”

According to the Washington Post, Joe Biden declared on the campaign trail that “There’s nobody that’s indicated there’s a single solitary thing that he did that was inappropriate, wrong … or anything other than the appearance. It looked bad that he was there.” He then curiously added “He acknowledges that he in fact made a mistake going on the board.” So, in other words, he did nothing wrong but he apologized for it.

Joe Biden continues to maintain that “no one” has accused his son of wrongdoing when there is a chorus of such allegations. He seems to be drawing a distinction between what is criminal and what is not — as if the criminal code is the only measure of wrongdoing or unethical conduct.

Hunter Biden not only clearly engaged in influence peddling but he is clearly a relevant witness.

Ukraine was a virtual gold rush for Washington’s elite and Hunter Biden was one of the first in line to cash in. Biden’s quest for a Ukrainian windfall took him to one of Ukraine’s most controversial and corrupt associates, Mykola Zlochevsky, who leveraged his post as minister of ecology and natural resources to build a fortune. Before fleeing Ukraine, Zlochevsky paid Hunter Biden and several other Americans to be directors of his energy company, Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden had no experience in the field — but he did have a notable connection to the vice president, who publicly has bragged about making clear to the Ukrainians that he alone controlled U.S. aid to the country. A stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry also was asked to serve as a director but reportedly declined and warned Hunter Biden not to do it; Biden didn’t listen. He later told The New Yorker that “the decisions that I made were the right decisions for my family and for me.” His decisions certainly were profitable, but they were not “right” as an ethical matter for himself or his father.

The use of spouses or children in influence peddling schemes is a tried and true technique in Washington. You find some kid of a powerful politician and give them a windfall salary or contract. There is no direct bribe or criminal violation, just influence with the politician. Joe Biden seems to believe that, so long as it does not violation the criminal code, it makes it “right” or curiously somehow “not wrong.”

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

We have legal age limits for driving, voting, and having sex, why not for transgender treatment?

By Tomasz Pierscionek | RT | January 23, 2020

Vulnerable children and adolescents are being influenced by PC culture that elevates rights over responsibilities, teaches children there are over 100 genders, and where a fear of offending others trumps common sense.

Western democracies preach tolerance and require its citizens to accept progressive ideas; the more unconventional the better. A particular idea or course of action may even go against common sense and lead to harm, yet an overriding fear of causing offence or being labelled a [insert blank]-phobe thwarts open discussion about important issues.

There are, however, those who speak out and remind us to think carefully about embarking down a slippery slope from which it is difficult to return.

Susan Evans, a mental health professional and former employee of the UK’s only Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), is asking the High Court to undertake a judicial review and raise the age at which individuals can consent to receiving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to 18. Ms Evans is joined by the parent of a 15-year-old adolescent on the GIDS waiting list.

Although individuals in the UK cannot undergo gender reassignment surgery until the age of 18, children and teenagers suffering from gender dysphoria (uncomfortable feelings brought on by a person’s gender identify differing from their birth sex) may receive medications to slow the onset of puberty and thus delay development of physical characteristics associated with their undesired sex. Later, from the age of 16, either testosterone or oestrogen (cross-sex hormones) are given to help an individual’s physical characteristics better align with those of their preferred gender identity.

Evans wants to raise the age of consent for children with gender identity issues receiving puberty blockers and other cross-sex hormones on the basis that under 18s are unable to provide informed consent for potentially life changing procedures. The former nurse expressed concerns that children, some aged as young as nine, are too hastily prescribed puberty blockers, reportedly the first step on the path towards gender reassignment.

Evans commented: “It’s about informed consent. Under [18s], we don’t think, are sufficiently mature enough to consent to a treatment that is going to potentially affect their adult life, because they go on a pathway. They start the blockers and then they go on the cross-sex hormones. [The trust’s] own research shows that virtually 100% of children they started on the blockers go on to the cross-sex hormones.”

She added“My experience with staff is that they’ve become fearful of doing anything that disagrees with a patient. The important thing in mental health work is to keep an open mind, it’s not to jump to the same conclusion that your patient comes to.”

It is worth noting that across the pond in the US, the state of South Dakota recently passed a bill making it illegal for medics to provide gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to minors. Similar bills could also be introduced across a number of other US states.

Puberty is confusing at the best of times, we’ve all been there. No one doubts that children and teenagers are more susceptible to external influence than adults and are less capable of considering the future impact of major decisions. Granted, there are exceptions to the rule but it’s safe to say that on the whole adolescents lack knowledge, life experience, forward planning, and an awareness of consequences in contrast to adults. That is partly why we have legal age limits for driving, voting, and having sex. The frontal lobes of the brain – those parts responsible for planning, self-regulation, exercising good judgement, and preventing unwise decisions – are not fully developed in children and adolescents. Evidence even suggests that the frontal lobes may not fully mature until the mid 20s.

An adult has the right to take cross-sex hormones after weighing up the pros and cons, and coming to an informed decision. Part of that right involves accepting the risks and possible regrets that may accompany their decision. Adolescents typically lack the maturity to commence treatments that interfere with their natural development, a decision they may later regret when they find themselves less physically and sexually developed than their peers. Those suffering from gender dysphoria should indeed be supported and offered psychotherapy to help them manage their distress. A rise in under 18s receiving puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones could be followed by a rise in medico-legal cases and compensation claims as those same individuals (now adults) later maintain they were insufficiently informed or were not mature enough to provide informed consent. In such cases lawyers would be the only winners.

There has been an explosion in the number of under 18s referred to the GIDS, rising from 94 in 2009-2010 to around 2500 in 2018-2019. Of particular concern are reports that children as young as five have been referred. It is also likely that vulnerable children and adolescents are being influenced by a culture that elevates rights over responsibilities, teaches children that there are over a 100 genders, and where a fear of offending others trumps common sense. As it happens, due to the growing number of referrals, a child or teenager referred to GIDS today might have to wait until early 2024 for their first appointment, giving them plenty of time and opportunities to change their mind.

In the US the gender reassignment industry is now worth over $1.3 billion a year; cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers also provide American Big Pharma with a healthy windfall. It seems that both identity politics advocates and the pharmaceutical industry have a common interest; they wish to exert greater (socio-ideological or financial) influence over future generations. In the battle for profits and minds, neither group is going to step aside without a fight.

Tomasz Pierscionek is a medical doctor and social commentator on medicine, science, and technology. He was previously on the board of the charity Medact and is editor of the London Progressive Journal.

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Voting for World Zionist Congress heats up

If Americans Knew | January 23, 2020

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reports that “the stakes are extremely high” in the current election for members of the World Zionist Congress (WZC).

Elections are held every five years. Voting began Jan. 21 and will end in two months.

The Jerusalem Post explains that the WZC is “the legislative body that determines the policies of the world’s leading Jewish organizations – the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency of Israel (JAFI), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Keren Hayesod.

“The WZC is the body that makes major policy decisions concerning the future of Zionism, Aliyah [‘ascending’ to Israeli citizenship] and absorption, Israeli advocacy worldwide, Jewish education and the war against antisemitism, settlement in Israel and other vital issues for Israel and the Jewish people’s future.”

According to the WZC website: “The Zionist Congress is the supreme ideological and policy-making body of the World Zionist Organization. It convenes once every five years in Jerusalem and brings together over 2,000 Zionist activists from around the world (750 delegates and twice as many alternates). This gathering represents the entire political and religious spectrum of the Zionist movement.”

The Jewish Forward reports that voting surged in the first day of voting. It reports: “Voting is open on the American Zionist Movement website until March 11. It will determine the American delegation — 152 of the 500 total participants — to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in October, which will in turn determine $5 billion in spending on Jewish causes over the next five years.”

Mondoweiss reports that “over 1,500 candidates from 15 slates are running for the U.S.-held seats. Approximately 56,000 US Jews voted in the last election.”

Any permanent resident of the US who is Jewish, pays the the $7.50 voter fee, and signs a statement affirming that they believe “a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future” may vote.

The election has drawn a heated response as Israel partisans from the left and the right battle for influence.

The Forward reports: “The Orthodox party Eretz HaKodesh warns on its website that high Orthodox turnout could “prevent values of the liberal movements from infiltrating the Torah atmosphere of Eretz Yisrael,” and the Zionist Organization of America warned in an email that if they don’t win, other parties “will turn the World Zionist Congress into the anti-Zionist Congress.”

The head of the American Forum for Israel urges conservatives to vote, warning that “extreme-Left figures” like Peter Beinart and Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, “have entered the fray to move the balance of power even further Left.”

While some may view J Street as almost pro-Palestinian, blogger Richard Silverstein reports that “J Street endorsed Israeli invasions of Gaza; attacked international investigations of Israeli war crimes, such as the Goldstone report; rejected the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and Hamas; and urged the Obama administration to reject a UN resolution demanding an end to illegal Israeli settlements.”

According to the WZC and its members, the land that used to be named Palestine belongs to Jews worldwide; the Palestinians who live there (or used to live there before they were forced out) are to have minimal say in matters that control their lives.

What Palestinians?

Author Donna Nevel points out in Mondoweiss that the WZC holds “that Israel belongs to the Jews of the world and that, therefore, Jews outside of Israel deserve the right to determine policies, sit on boards, and direct funding and resources that, among other things, control the day to day lives of Palestinians.

“Israel, together with the WZO and other Zionist institutions, have a long history of privileging Jews at the extreme expense of Palestinians.

“Beginning with the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their land and homes during Israel’s creation, Palestinian citizens of Israel have continued to be treated as third-class citizens subjected to racism and anti-democratic policies and actions, as well as ongoing intimidation and harassment. Palestinians in the occupied territories have routinely endured ongoing land theft, home demolitions, military checkpoints, arbitrary arrests, torture, and administrative detentions without trial or charge, and have no say in what happens to them.

Nevel emphasizes that participating in the WZC elections “violates the Palestinian-led, global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), which is one of the most effective and ethical ways to join with Palestinians in the struggle for justice. Participating in these elections doesn’t begin to tackle Israel’s unjust, apartheid system and its underlying Zionist ideology, but, rather, feeds that system and ideology and gives them more roots.”

Below is a promotional video for the election:

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Iraqis march in ‘millions’ to call for expulsion of US troops

Press TV – January 24, 2020

Iraqis have rallied in Baghdad in massive numbers to call for an end to US military presence in the country following high-profile assassinations and airstrikes targeting anti-terror forces.

Sayed Sadiq al-Hashemi, the director of the Iraqi Center for Studies, said more than 2.5 million took part in the demonstrations on Friday.

Since the early hours on Friday, huge crowds of men, women and children of all ages converged on the Jadriyah neighborhood near Baghdad University.

The protesters were seen carrying banners and chanting slogans calling for the expulsion of US forces.

“Get out, get out, occupier!” some shouted, while others chanted, “Yes to sovereignty!”

Iraq’s al-Ahd news network reported that Iraqis from all of the country’s provinces had gathered in the city.

On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign forces after the US assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The massive rally came after influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to stage “a million-strong, peaceful, unified demonstration to condemn the American presence and its violations”.

Sadr issued a statement on Friday calling for US bases to be shut down and Iraqi airspace closed to US warplanes and surveillance aircraft.

He warned that US presence in the country will be dealt with as an occupying force if Washington does not agree with Iraqi demands to withdraw for the country.

In a message delivered through a representative at Friday prayer in the holy city of Karbala, top cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also urged Iraqi political groups to do what is needed to the safeguard the country’s sovereignty.

He called on Iraqi groups to stand united, far from any foreign influence in countering the dangers which threaten the country.

On Thursday ahead of the planned rallies, Sadr called on Iraqis to mobilize and defend the country’s independence and sovereignty.

“Oh women, men and youth of the country, the time is now upon us to defend the country, its sovereignty and dependence,” Sadr said in a tweet.

“Spread the word of an independent future Iraq that will be ruled by the righteous; an Iraq which will not know of corruption nor aggression” he added, calling on Iraqis to expel the “tyrants”.

Various Iraqi resistance groups affiliated with the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have also backed the anti-American rally.

‘Zero hour in face-off with US’

Speaking to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel, Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the PMU-affiliated Kata’ib Hezbollah resistance group, said “other means” will be used against the Americans if they do not leave Iraq.

The American presence, he said, has led to corruption and instability in the country.

In an interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Firas al-Yasser, a member of the political bureau of Iraq’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, said Friday’s rallies marked “a new chapter” in the Arab country’s relations with the US.

He said Iraqi resistance groups support the stance of the country’s clerical leadership, which does not tolerate Washington’s “theory of dependence and humiliation” of Iraq.

“We believe we have reached the zero hour in facing off with the US,” he said.

Yasser added that Iran’s missile attack on the Ain al-Assad base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar earlier this month was a “prelude” to the expulsion of US forces from the country.

Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, described Friday’s rallies as a “second revolution” a century after the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 against British forces.

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , | 2 Comments

Who Rules America? The illusion of Self Rule

By Greg Felton | Institute for Political Economy | January 22, 2020

A government, whatever its nature, rules as an imperial power over its people. The surest way to exercise this control is to prop up the illusion that it acts in the public interest. Paul Craig Roberts and Alvin Rabushka spelled out this salient fact in the March 1973 issue of Public Choice, in their article “A Diagrammatic Exposition of an Economic Theory of Imperialism,” and what they wrote is no less relevant today.

The act of voting is one of the props that sustains the delusion of self-rule. People do vote, but the candidates are decided by the oligarchy of organized interest groups. This is also the conclusion of a 2014 study by Princeton University professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page about the extent to which U.S. government policy reflects public preferences. Gilens and Page found that voters are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant to their own “democratic” government:

“[The] preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy . . . Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it” (Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 575, 76).

Instead of representing the common interest of the people, government answers to organized interest groups. Gilens and Page cite the dominance over policy of special interests who use public policy to serve their interests rather than the public’s. We see the effects of this plutocracy in the sharp rise in the inequality of income and wealth, a gap which has grown into a chasm.

Gilens and Page’s analysis of the Unelected Plutocracy of America is on the money, but their understanding of the threat to America’s democracy does not consider foreign policy, which is partly, if not largely, in the hands of a foreign country—Israel. It is not enough to lay the decline of American democracy at the feet of vested interests such as Wall Street, big banks, and the military–security complex, because it is not in their interest to have the government pursue foreign policy contrary to the national interest.

But operating contrary to the national interest is precisely what Washington has been doing. In the 21st century, Washington has squandered trillions of dollars on military aggression. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel have been killed, maimed or driven to suicide. The U.S. has derived no benefit from provoking the enmity of Muslim people, bullying NATO allies into abetting this belligerence or persecuting those who expose associated crimes. Even Donald Trump, who ran for the presidency on ending wasteful wars of aggression, continues this self-inflicted economic and political harm, most recently by waging economic war against Iran and sabre-rattling to provoke a shooting war.

The Trump administration is a continuation of decades of Washington’s kowtowing to the Israel Lobby. To appreciate the lack of independence of US foreign policy requires an act of intellectual courage, but few Americans are equipped for the trauma of knowing the truth. To borrow from The Matrix, not many are willing to take the “red pill” to see the reality behind the controlled explanation. “Blue pill” existence comes with a ready-made worldview based on controlled explanations in which believers find comfort, meaning and belonging. Anything that challenges this illusion, is discounted as conspiracy theory or anti-semitism.  Comforting beliefs can take precedence over US national interests.

To “take the red pill” requires an inquisitive mind to reject illusion and to question fundamental assumptions. If it is irrational for a democratic state like the U.S. to harm its own people, damage its own economy and invite hostility by provoking needless wars, perhaps the U.S. is not really a democratic state and not really in charge of its own policy. From an American standpoint, the seemingly inexplicable acts of U.S. belligerence and punishment of those who pose no threat to America can be understood as the consequence of permitting Israeli money and influence to shape US foreign policy in the Middle East and to some extent elsewhere if it bears on Israeli interests.

The U.S. that was founded in 1776 is not the same U.S. that exists today. The founding fathers warned against foreign entanglements, but Washington has sought entanglement. Since the late 1940s, the U.S. has gotten entangled in the service of Israel’s interests. The importance of Israel’s interest to U.S. foreign policy has been elevated by a pervasive Christian prejudice, in which Jews are seen as religiously kindred and Muslims as religiously hostile.

In 1948 President Harry Truman took an infamous $2 million election campaign bribe from an American Zionist to support the creation of Israel. By doing so Truman became midwife to an ongoing war crime that has resulted in Washington aiding and abetting Israel’s theft of Palestine. Washington blackmailed and intimidated several UN delegations into supporting the 1947 partition of Palestine. For a country that boasted of its commitment to democracy and support for the UN Charter, Washington’s conduct made no sense. However, if one recognizes that Washington was acting in behalf of Israel, it becomes understandable.

With a foothold gained from Truman’s electoral opportunism, the domestic Israel Lobby gradually gained influence over the U.S. government to the point that today Washington serves Israel’s interest without thinking of its impact on US national interests and without regard to the adverse effects on American interests or those of other people.

After years of Washington’s growing service to Israel, President George H.W. Bush tried to pull back. President Bush thought that he could bring about a final peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in Madrid based on “land for peace.”

Bush’s assertion of foreign policy independence infuriated Israel, which proceeded to stage overt and covert attacks on Bush. The overt attack occurred on Feb. 26, 1992, when the domestic Israeli pressure group calling itself, absurdly, the “The Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East,” took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to excoriate Bush for “pressuring” Israel to enter into negotiations. Its signatories included neoconservative Israel-firsters like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and Elliott Abrams.

According to a former Mossad agent, the covert attack took the form of a planned assassination of President Bush. Victor Ostrovsky in his book, By Way of Deception (pp. 281-282), writes that on Oct. 1, 1992, he received a nervous call from Ephraim, a Mossad officer of his acquaintance, who opposed the assassination: “They’re out to kill Bush… I mean really kill, as in ‘assassinate.’… during the Madrid peace talks.” Ephraim asked Ostrovsky to leak the plot in hopes the American government would act to prevent it. Ostrovsky did so in an Oct. 1, 1992, speech in Ottawa. From there, the leak made its way to former California congressman Pete McCloskey, the Secret Service, the State Department, the CIA, the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, and finally the press. The assassination was called off.

Bush’s assertion of independence from Israel resulted in Israel’s meddling in the 1992 presidential election which cost Bush re-election and marked the last time that a U.S. president would dare challenge Israel’s self-proclaimed right to murder, torture, dispossess and displace Palestinians.

The eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency saw a consolidation of Israel’s power over Washington. Clinton showed his willingness to act in Israel’s interest by agreeing to set amounts of aid to Israel––imperial tribute in the view of some––even before he was sworn in as president. It was the Clinton administration that responded to Israeli pressure for action against Iraq by creating the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which caused the death of 500,000 Iraqi children. When asked about this by a reporter, Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “the price was worth it.” In other words, the death of a half a million Iraqi children served American and Israeli interests.

Israel’s influence over US foreign policy reached a zenith with George W. Bush. In the name of the “war on terror,” that is, the war on Israel’s enemies, the Bush regime subverted the US Constitution. The Bush government was filled with neoconservatives associated with the Project for a New American Century. The PATRIOT Act, drafted, according to his own admission three weeks prior to the events of September 11, 2001, by neoconservative Philip Zelikow, who later headed up the 9/11 Commission, became law despite the US Congress having no time to read and discuss the tyrannical legislation before passing it. The fact that a draft of the PATRIOT Act existed prior to 9/11 raises many questions. The passage of the act told Americans that Muslims were such a threat that Americans would have to accept  infringements on their civil liberties. President Bush made that even more clear when he announced that he was setting aside the US Constitution and suspending habeas corpus.

During the Obama administration Israel dramatically demonstrated its power over the US government when the US Congress intervened in the dispute between Obama and Netanyahu over whose power was supreme in American politics, the power of the American president or Israel’s. Repudiating their own president, Congress invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of the House and Senate and responded to Netanyahu with many standing ovations.

Trump has perpetuated Israeli control over US foreign policy. Trump broke universal policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He gave Syria’s Golan Heights to Israel, which was not Trump’s to give. He cut off aid to Palestine. He accepted Israel’s policy of illegally incorporating occupied Palestine into Israel.

Trump’s appointment of Project for a New American Century Zionist David Wurmser, an architect of Washington’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, is the latest indication that Israel continues to dominate American policy in the Middle East. According to a report in Mint Press News, Trump admitted that his belligerence toward Iran is driven by Israeli, not U.S., interests.

Trump’s subservience to Israel brings into focus the famous words of Patrick Buchanan, Washington is “Israeli occupied territory.”


Greg Felton is the author of The Host & The Parasite––How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, 3rd edition, available from thehostandtheparasite.com.

January 24, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 26 Comments

Aftermath: The Iran War After The Soleimani Assassination

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | January 23, 2020

“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.”Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”

In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.”

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” And it ain’t over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here’s what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani “a total monster.” His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It’s virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said, when talking about what a “proportional response” might be: ”[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? ‘Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob?… ‘All of their heroes are cartoon characters — they’re all fictional.” Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: “the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders.”

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80%) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still “watching” ISIS advance and using it as a tool to “manage” their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS—and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He’s a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he’s operated, the people he’s worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn’t, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad,…the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad…

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren’t for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven’t forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you’d have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I’m exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah:

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani’s strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance—the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a “justifiable” full-scale, regime-change—actually state-destroying—military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the “w” state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody’s book, that is an act of war—and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran’s Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post, this marked a “departure for the Pentagon’s mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement” or make “any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen.”

Of course, because it’s known as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Pentagon wants to avoid “publicly” bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen with drone strikes, special forces operations, refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It’s such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony “imminence” excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump says “doesn’t matter,” or the “bloody hands” justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let’s not forget: Soleimani was “talking about bad stuff.”

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we will keep our army in Syria to “take the oil,” and in Iraq to… well, to do whatever the hell we want. “Rules-based international order”? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.’ determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn’t over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that’s ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We’re now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and “finishing off” with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It’s work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their “interests.”

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It’s that one big “endless” war that’s been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it’s their party’s President in charge), denounce (if it’s the other party’s POTUS), or just bemoan as “senseless.” But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims—it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it’s “senseless,” and remain mired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel’s interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it’s all so “senseless.”

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized Zionist imperative) in this war­ is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians—from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing—by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction—any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of “Iranian proxies,” I’d say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized Zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel’s proxy.

It’s also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil’s) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel’s, and depends entirely on KSA’s complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives—as a matter, they think, of virtue—as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare “I am a Wahhabi,” or a U.S. President say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Saudi Arabia—with nobody even noticing. The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. “doubling down on its Saudi allegiance.” So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what’s unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran—the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been “agitating for.” The idea—borrowed, perhaps from Israel’s campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists—is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence, the Soleimani assassination “was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration’s Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran.” It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some “bloody nose” strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will “obliterate” Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I’ve said before, how little damage—especially in terms of casualties—Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran’s strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone—and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were ”stunned” that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes. It’s to the eternal shame of what’s called the “left” in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump’s bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran’s leaders that “any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.” Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what “proxy” and “interests” means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other “ally” by anybody—including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader—will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center. That Center replaced a group of “Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran,” because “Trump’s people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group.” The purpose of this—as of any—Mission Center was to “elevate” the country as a target and “bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action” against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran’s “increased capacity to deliver missile systems” to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran’s increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D’Andrea, who is perceived as having an “aggressive stance toward Iran.” D’Andrea, known as “the undertaker” and “Ayatollah Mike,” is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his “central role in the agency’s torture and targeted killing programs.”

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel “to take on Iran,” which took place, according to Israeli television, at a “secret” meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate “steps on the ground” against “Tehran and its proxies.” The biggest threats: “Iran’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon,” and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret “dramatic understandings” would have “far greater impact” on Israel than Trump’s more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to “take on” Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran’s growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence—specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled “Iranian aggression.”

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn’t take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles. One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says: “Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides… if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country.”

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of “praying for war with Iran” Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together “urged” Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife’s pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn’t stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the “brainchild” of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions—propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians—that Iran will return to what’s described as “unconditional” negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran’s absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a “snapback” of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have “always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program.” Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is “not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict” and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are—as FDR did to Japan—imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It’s deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that—as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate—made it a trap for Iran. [And Obama never implemented the US obligations negotiated under JCPOA, the agreement was invalidated prior to his leaving office.]

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing—and can easily demonstrate—is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-Zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his “reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle” and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both “quick to praise” his action and “having a crisis of confidence” over Trump’s ability to “manage” a conflict with Iran—an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician’s “Soleimani was a terrorist, but…” statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn’t the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-Zionist narrative. There is no “good”—non-thuggish, non-repellent—way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it’s done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump’s leadership. But not a one will abandon the Zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable—about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can “never” have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports, “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for.” It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran—which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it’s becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that’s not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 4 Comments