A major component in the latest western government and media claims of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is protests of the various Russian “Soldiers’ Mothers Committes” over the supposed disappearance of their soldier sons in Ukraine. Absent compelling visual evidence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, these NGOs are said to provide the evidence that, as NATO claims, 1,000 young Russians have been forced to go fight in Ukraine.
The US mainstream media has reported extensively over the past several days that these “Soldiers’ Mothers Committes” are a smoking gun indicating the Russian government’s military intervention in Ukraine.
From the Washington Post on 29 August:
Valentina Melnikova, who leads the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, told the Daily Beast she was “personally humiliated as a citizen of the Russian Federation by our commander-in-chief’s pure, direct crime.” She said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “violating not only international laws, not only the Geneva Convention, [he] also is breaking Russian Federation law about defense. And as for the [Russian airborne commander], we should be too disgusted to even mention his name. He forces his servicemen to fight in a foreign state, Ukraine, illegally, while mothers receive coffins with their sons, anonymously.”
Here is the Daily Kos :
Here are some “known knowns” about Russians and Ukraine. Russian troops are in Ukraine. Russian troops have died in Ukraine. Russian mothers can’t get answers about where their sons are. Add to that common knowledge a new, unsettling “known” that Russian soldiers, most just boys, are being buried in secret graveyards far from families who can only guess their fate.
But are these committees really just innocent NGOs that seek to defend young Russian soldiers being sent off to fight in foreign lands? Or are they well-financed and trained arms of US propaganda used to bolster Washington’s line that Russia has invaded Ukraine?
The US government has in the past been generous in funding the Russian Soldiers’ Mothers Committes. In a 2011 report of the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, we learn that the US government granted the Committees more than $150,000. In 2010 they received approximately the same amount from the US government, and in 2009 they received nearly $200,000.
We cannot tell how much the US government has funded these organization in more recent years because the NED, which demands transparency in others, refuses to publish a list of its grantees any longer.
It is certainly possible that these Committees, which were initially formed to help Russians avoid conscription, have not been co-opted into serving as a propaganda tool for the US government. However the fact that they have long accepted US government money and are now a key component of Washington’s propaganda strategy may suggest otherwise. The Soldiers’ Mothers Committees were required last year under Russian law to register as foreign agents due to US government funding of their operations.
Ecuador will continue supporting Palestine despite U.S. pressure to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.
The successful campaign “Ecuador with Palestine” organized by civil society and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resulted in 20 tons of medical supplies and other crucial donations that will be delivered to Gaza next week.
The end of the campaign on August 25 coincided with a letter sent by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez, Mark Kirk and James Risch, urging the governments of Ecuador, Brazil, El Salvador, Peru and Chile to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.
The letter read, “Your actions send a troubling message to the United States about your government’s commitment to long-lasting peace between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
In early August President Rafael Correa canceled a trip to Israel scheduled for the second half of this year. This decision was made in the midst of the “Operation Protective Edge,” which saw a ceasefire begin Tuesday after leaving more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
The government of Ecuador recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv and has opened an embassy in Ramallah.
Reacting to the letter sent by the senators, Foreign Minister Ricard Patiño said, “These men should give advice in their own house, they are not going to give the Ecuadorian government advice, worse is this type of advice of a political nature.”
“We are going to keep developing other agreements to enter in strong bilateral relations,” said Palestinian Ambassador in Ecuador Hani Remawi, “We have a lot to give Ecuador, and Ecuador also has more, much, much more to offer Palestine.” … Full article
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the US administration’s new round of sanctions against Iranian individuals and firms, saying they contravene an interim accord reached last year between Iran and six powers.
“The move is in complete contrast with the current process of resolution of [Iran’s] nuclear issue,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday.
On Friday, the US imposed sanctions on over 25 Iranian individuals and companies, including shipping firms, oil companies, airlines and six banks.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects any one-sided and unacceptable interpretations of the Geneva [nuclear] deal by the US and strongly believes that the imposed sanctions are against the US commitments in the deal,” Afkham said.
She noted that the sanctions will have “negative and unconstructive impacts” on the process of the nuclear talks between Iran and the six powers, saying, the recent sanctions will question the “seriousness, honesty and goodwill” of Washington and other negotiating states.
The spokeswoman stated that the new US sanctions cast doubt on the negotiating parties’ “commitment to a possible final deal” that requires the lifting of all “illegal and illegitimate” sanctions against Tehran.
“While the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken confidence-building steps in compliance with its commitment to the deal…and it has been reflected in numerous reports issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran expects reciprocal actions from the US and other member states of the P5+1,” Afkham added.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain and the US — plus Germany are in talks to reach a final agreement aimed at resolving the standoff over Tehran’s civilian nuclear work.
The two sides signed a historic interim deal in Geneva last November. The agreement entered into force on January 20 and expired six months later. In July, Tehran and the six states agreed to extend their discussions until November 24 in a bid to work out a final accord.
The Greater US War to Remake the Middle East has been going on so long, it is already re-running its story lines.
Back in 2004, when Dick Cheney was trying to drum up a hot war against Iran, the CIA got dealt a laptop that provided a casus belli all wrapped up in a bow: all aspects of Iran’s nuke program, all conveniently collected on one laptop, somehow falling into intelligence hands. It later showed signs of being a forgery.
Now, as the warmakers are trying to gin up a hot war against ISIS (in seeming co-belligerence with Iran!), that’s whose laptop we find, courtesy of Foreign Policy : a Tunisian named Muhammed whose last name and picture Foreign Policy declined to provide. On the laptop, FP found a 19-page document that explains how to “weaponize” bubonic plague by throwing it on grenades close to air conditioning units.
“Use small grenades with the virus, and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers,” the 19-page document on biological weapons advises. “Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations.”
Because a college science student only needs 19 pages to accomplish the technical feat of weaponizing the plague.
Remarkably, a lot of people are taking this as a serious discovery, even though FP describes obtaining the laptop this way:
Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria, proudly shows a black laptop partly covered in dust. “We took it this year from an ISIS hideout,” he says.
Abu Ali says the fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which have since rebranded themselves as the Islamic State, all fled before he and his men attacked the building. The attack occurred in January in a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey, as part of a larger anti-ISIS offensive occurring at the time. “We found the laptop and the power cord in a room,” he continued, “I took it with me. But I have no clue if it still works or if it contains anything interesting.”
As we switched on the Dell laptop, it indeed still worked. Nor was it password-protected.
We are supposed to believe that 1) ISIS got routed back in January 2) left their laptop 3) don’t password protect their devices.
More amusingly, we’re supposed to believe that upon capturing devices from an adversary, the “moderate” beheaders in the FSA would not look for intelligence on those devices. Instead, they’d let a computer collect dust over the course of 8 months, never once attempting to so much as turn on a laptop, until such time as it became imperative to foster opposition to ISIS.
Because powering a laptop is apparently too hard for FSA commanders?
Either Abu Ali is lying, or he’s lying. Which means the provenance of this laptop and this story is so suspect it should not be treated seriously. There are plenty of other reasons to doubt the story. But if your source claims never to have turned on a laptop — never to have even tried! — seized from an adversary over the course of 8 months, your source is not telling the truth.
Israel has the right to shell Palestinian hospitals and schools out of self defense as long as Hamas stores rocket launchers next to them, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren said during a town hall meeting in Massachusetts this week.
Warren, darling du jour of American liberals, defended her vote to send more defense funding to Israel in the middle of its recent fierce offensive on Gaza, saying she believes civilian casualties are the “last thing Israel wants,” according to the Cape Cod Times.
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” she said.
Israel and Palestinian authorities reached a long-term ceasefire agreement this week after Israel started its campaign in Gaza on July 8. The death toll from the Gaza conflict has reached at least 2,120 people, of which 577 are children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
During the conflict, Israel targeted schools and hospitals in Gaza, claiming that rockets and militant fighters were nearby. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency criticized both Hamas for storing rockets in two schools and Israel for attacks on separate schools.
Attacks on hospitals are prohibited by the Geneva Convention’s Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War “unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy.” Even then, civilian hospitals can only be targeted “after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit and after such warning has remained unheeded.”
Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel “indiscriminately.” Thanks to Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome defense system, though, those rockets have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.”
Warren supported Israel’s military aggression, justifying its use of force based on America’s “very special relationship with Israel.”
“Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law,” she said. “And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
Warren also expressed unease with conditioning future US funding for Israel on the cessation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
“I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far,” Warren said.
Last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza. Navi Pillay said house demolitions and the killing of children raise the “strong possibility” that Israel is violating international law.
More than 17,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or damaged beyond repair, making around 100,000 Palestinians homeless, since the war began, according to UN estimates.
According to a senior UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official, 373,000 Palestinian children are in need of “immediate psychosocial first aid” due to the onslaught of Israeli strikes.
“The impact has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that’s been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Pernilla Ironside said last week.
UNICEF estimated that at least 219 schools have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes, while 22 were completely destroyed.
To demonstrate the extent of the damage in Gaza, Ironside estimated that it could take up to 18 years to rebuild the 17,000 housing units that were damaged in the conflict and in light of the ongoing blockade of the region limiting the movement of goods and people.
Israel has also barred major human rights organizations from entering Gaza territory.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, US Sen. Bernie Sanders, American liberals’ other favorite among establishment progressive politicians, has also defended US funding and arms for Israel. At a recent tense town hall in his native Vermont, Sanders condemned Israeli targeting of civilians, but then defended Israel “in a situation where Hamas is sending missiles into Israel” sent from “populated areas.”
“This is a very depressing and difficult issue. This has gone on for 60 bloody years,” he said. “If you’re asking me, do I have a magical solution? I don’t. And you know what, I doubt very much that you do.”
The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.
How do we know that this is a lie? Is it because we have heard nothing but lies about Russia from NATO, from US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, from assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, from Obama and his entire regime of pathological liars, and from the British, German, and French governments along with the BBC and the entirety of the Western media?
This, of course, is a good reason for knowing that the latest Western propaganda is a lie. Those who are pathological liars don’t suddenly start telling the truth.
But there are even better reasons for understanding that Russia has not invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops.
One reason is that Putin has invested heavily in diplomacy backed by non-provocative behavior. He would not risk his bet on diplomacy by sending in troops too few in numbers to have a decisive effect on the outcome.
Another reason is that if Putin decides he has no alternative to sending the Russian military to protect the Russian residents in eastern and southern Ukraine, Putin will send in enough troops to do the job quickly as he did in Georgia when the American- and Israeli-trained Georgian army invaded South Ossetia and was destroyed in a few hours by the Russian response. If you hear that 100,000 Russian troops accompanied by air cover have invaded Ukraine, it would be a more believable claim.
A third reason is that the Russian military does not need to send troops into Ukraine in order to stop the bombing and artillery shelling of the Russian populations by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev. The Russian air force can easily and quickly destroy the Ukrainian air force and artillery and, thereby, stop the Ukrainian attack on the secessionist provinces.
It was only two weeks ago that a fabricated report spread by the Guardian and the BBC that a Russian armored convoy entered Ukraine and was destroyed by the Ukrainian military. And two weeks prior to that, we had the hoax of the satellite images allegedly released by the US State Department that the corrupt US ambassador in Kiev spread around the world on social media allegedly showing that Russian forces were firing into Ukraine. One or two weeks from now we will have another lie, and another a week or two after that, and so on.
The cumulative effect of lie piled upon lie for most people is to build the view that the Russians are up to no good. Once this view is established, Western governments can take more serious moves against Russia.
The alleged entry of 1,000 Russian soldiers into Ukraine has been declared by NATO Brigadier General Niko Tak to be a “significant escalation in Russia’s military interference in Ukraine.” The champion liar Samantha Power told the US Security Council that “Russia has to stop lying.” The UK ambassador to the UN said that Russia was guilty of “a clear violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.” UK prime minister Cameron warned Russia of “further consequences.” German chancellor Merkel announced that there would be more sanctions. A German Security Council advisor declared that “war with Russia is an option.” Polish foreign minister Sikorski called it Russian aggression that required international action. French president Hollande declared Russia’s behavior to be “intolerable.” Ukraine’s security council imposed mandatory conscription.
This suicidal drive toward war with Russia by Europe’s leaders is based entirely on a transparent lie that 1,000 Russian troops crossed into Ukraine.
Of course, the Western media followed in lock-step. The BBC, CNN, and Die Welt are among the most reckless and irresponsible.
The mountain of lies piled up by Western governments and media has obscured the true story. The US government orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and imposed a US puppet in Kiev. Washington’s puppet government began issuing threats and committing violent acts against the Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders attached to Ukraine. The Russian people in eastern and southern Ukraine resisted the threat brought to them by Washington’s puppet government in Kiev.
Washington continually accuses the Russian government of supporting the people in the territories that have voted their separation from Ukraine. There would be no war, Washington alleges, except for Russian support. But, of course, Washington could easily stop the violence by ordering its puppet government in Kiev to stop the bombing and shelling of the former Russian provinces. If Russia can tell the “separatists” not to fight, Washington can tell Kiev not to fight.
The only possible conclusion from the facts is that Washington is determined to involve Europe in a war with Russia or at least in an armed standoff in order to break up Europe’s political and economic relations with Russia.
Europe’s leaders are going along with this because European countries, except for Charles de Gaulle’s France, have not had independent foreign policies since the end of World War II. They follow Washington’s lead and are well paid for doing so.
The inability of Europe to produce independent leadership dooms Russian President Putin’s diplomacy to failure. If European capitals cannot make decisions independently of Washington, there is no scope for Putin’s diplomacy.
Notice that the very day after Putin met with Washington’s Ukrainian vassal in an effort to resolve the situation, the new lie of Russian invasion was issued in order to ensure that no good can come of the meeting in which Putin invested his time and energy.
Washington’s only interest is in hegemony. Washington has no interest in resolving the situation that Washington itself created in order to bring discomfort and confusion to Russia. With the caveat that the situation could be resolved by Ukrainian economic collapse, otherwise the longer Putin waits to resolve the situation by force, the more difficult the task will be.
The police rampage in Ferguson, Missouri has increased public awareness of police militarization and drawn well-deserved attention to writers like Radley Balko who’ve documented the proliferation of military equipment and culture in local police forces over the past decade.
It’s certainly true that the post-9/11 security state and the Global War on Terror have flooded police forces with surplus military equipment, increased the prevalence of military cross-training (including “counter-terrorism” training by Israeli military personnel encouraging American police forces to view their communities in much the same way Israeli security forces view the Palestinians in Gaza).
But the roots of police militarization go back way further than 9/11 – all the way back to the aftermath of insurrections by the black populations of major American cities in the 1960s and the American political elite’s desire to ensure that nothing like that ever happened again.
US presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon began creating an institutional framework to ensure that any such disorder in the future would be dealt with differently. This process culminated in DOD Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, aka “Garden Plot,” which involved domestic surveillance by the military, contingency plans for military cooperation with local police in suppressing local disorders, plans for mass preventive detention and joint exercises of police and the regular military. Frank Morales wrote in Cover Action Quarterly (“U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War at Home,” Spring-Summer 2000):
“At first, the Garden Plot exercises focused primarily on racial conflict. But beginning in 1970, the scenarios took a different twist. The joint teams, made up of cops, soldiers and spies, began practicing battle with large groups of protesters. California, under the leadership of Ronald Reagan, was among the most enthusiastic participants in Garden Plot war games. … Garden plot [subsequently] evolved into a series of annual training exercises based on contingency plans to undercut riots and demonstrations, ultimately developed for every major city in the United States. Participants in the exercises included key officials from all law enforcement agencies in the nation, as well as the National Guard, the military, and representatives of the intelligence community.”
It was against this background that then-governor Reagan introduced the first SWAT teams in California.
When Reagan became president, he appointed Louis O. Giuffrida, who as head of the California Guard had enthusiastically participated in Garden Plot exercises under Reagan’s govenorship, to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In that role Giuffrida worked with Oliver North to draw up plans for martial law in the event of a “national emergency.” They worked together on the Readiness Exercises 1983 and 1984 (Rex-83 and Rex-84), which included mass detention of suspected “terrorist subversives” under the emergency provisions of Garden Plot.
The hypothetical civil disturbance/insurrection scenario these emergency exercises were supposed to be coping with was (ahem) a series of massive antiwar demonstrations in response to a U.S. military invasion of Central America. “North … helped draw up a controversial plan to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad (Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the ‘Secret’ Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987).
The militarization of local polic, and the encouragement of a police culture that viewed local communities (especially people of color in minority neighborhoods) as an occupied enemy populations, got further impetus from the War on Drugs, which was greatly intensified under the Reagan administration. By 1999 — well before the Global War on Terror — the phenomenon had progressed to the point that Diane Cecilia Weber wrote a Cato Institute paper titled “Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments” (Briefing Paper No. 50).
Since 9/11, the problem has grown beyond Weber’s imagining. After Katrina the (largely black) flooded out portions of New Orleans got a demonstration of the same police hostility and aggression we’re witnessing today in Ferguson. It’s a safe guess that this is now the standard treatment to expect from local police in a community experiencing an “emergency” or (manufactured) “disturbance” of any kind.
Ultimately, what it boils down to is the government views its own people — particularly those of color — as the enemy. The question is how long we will tolerate it.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki announced on Wednesday that his ministry had sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the leaders of other countries, requesting them to bear their responsibility for implementing international law regarding foreigners who volunteered in the Israeli army during the latest assault on Gaza.
Citing the Palestinian foreign ministry statement, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news website reported that in cooperation with human rights organisations, the ministry has found that foreigners volunteered in the Israeli army during the latest aggression and carried out war crimes.
The news website said they took part in the war as part of two programmes called Mahal and Ser-Al. The Palestinian ministry stressed the necessity to prosecute them.
As part of the programmes, Jews and non-Jews who do not hold an Israeli ID can travel to Israel to take part in military service for a year and a half in order to get the ID.
The ministry called for specifying those who volunteered in the Israeli army or helped it, identifying their war crimes and the breaches of international law that they committed through the Israeli army, as well as telling them about the potential criminal responsibility for what they did during the war.
In addition, the ministry called upon those countries where the citizen volunteers are from to prosecute them inside the judicial system of their geographical areas.
Under the framework of international law, “which Israeli cannot evade”, the ministry is also seeking to prosecute everyone who committed war crimes in Gaza, including Israelis.
The ministry called for accelerating the convention of international bodies to require Israel to implement the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“Israel has drawn up plans for a combined air and ground attack on Iranian nuclear installations if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s atomic program…” – Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005
After insisting it is “time to cut off every dime of American money going to anyone who has any kind of relationship with Hamas or those killing in the Middle East, and especially in Israel,” Gohmert added, “It is time to bomb Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It is time for the United States, if we are not going to stop Iran’s nukes, then let Israel do it. A friend will not put another friend in this kind of jeopardy.”
Never mind that Iran has no “nukes” for anyone to “stop,” since it’s not actually making any and never has made or acquired any. Never mind that Iran has been consistently complying with the prescriptions of the multilateral deal agreed to last November by Iran and six world powers. Never mind that a number of recent articles in widely-read media outlets have addressed the myriad falsehoods and myths responsible for the past three decades of fear-mongering and propaganda about Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Still, the persistent false narrative that military strikes by either the United States or Israel may follow any potential failure to reach a deal continues to be repeated in the press. Of course, the fact that any such attack would be unequivocally illegal under international law is rarely noted in these assessments.
Pronouncements that Iran is close to having a nuclear bomb, or close to being bombed, are ubiquitous in the media. Threats against Iran – by both the United States and Israel – have been made for decades, despite routine Iranian dismissal of such rhetoric as mere bluster.
Not only is an American or Israeli attack on Iran always just around the bend – regardless of the state of diplomacy or intelligence assessments – but the media consistently provides fantasy scenarios by which its audience can imagine, replete with maps and graphics, just how such war crimes would take place.
Over twenty years ago, a report in the Independent (UK) published on June 23, 1994 revealed that the Pentagon had inked a deal to provide Israel with advanced F-15I fighter jets, designed to “enable the Israelis to carry out strikes deep into Iraq and Iran without refuelling.”
Three years later, on December 9, 1997, a The Times of London headline screamed, “Israel steps up plans for air attacks on Iran.” The article, written by Christopher Walker, reported on the myriad “options” Israel had in confronting what it deemed “Iran’s Russian-backed missile and nuclear weapon programme.”
Such reports have been published ever since. Of course, neither the United States nor Israel will attack Iran, regardless of the success or failure of negotiations, but such reports (often the result of strategically timed “leaks” by anonymous government officials) serve to not only intentionally torpedo diplomacy but also mislead the public into believing the absurdly false narrative surrounding the Iranian nuclear program; that is, either Iran must be bombed or it will acquire a nuclear arsenal. This is nonsense.
Below are some of the constant headlines we’ve seen over the past dozen years promoting such propaganda. When will this madness – this pathological obsession with the false necessity of dropping bombs and the righteous inevitability of killing people – stop?
The Times of London, November 5, 2002:
AFP, October 11, 2003:
The Scotsman, November 22, 2003:
New York Daily News, November 23, 2003:
The New York Times, August 21, 2004:
Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004:
The Jerusalem Post, January 21, 2005:
The Independent, January 27, 2005:
Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005:
Associated Press, December 4, 2005:
The Straits Times, December 17, 2005:
Associated Press, January 22, 2006:
Fox News, June 4, 2006:
The Telegraph, February 24, 2007:
Associated Press, March 21, 2007:
Newsweek, December 19, 2007:
The Daily Star (Lebanon), May 30, 2008:
USA Today, June 6, 2008:
The Telegraph, June 7, 2008:
The Age, June 9, 2008:
Fox News, June 20, 2008:
The Telegraph, June 23, 2008:
ABC News, July 1, 2008:
Ha’aretz, July 2, 2008:
AFP, July 30, 2008:
Associated Press, August 7, 2008:
CBS News, August 7, 2008:
Wired, April 2, 2009:
Salon, April 14, 2009:
The Times of London, April 18, 2009:
The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009:
The Washington Post, July 2, 2009:
CBS News, July 27, 2009:
Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2009:
Talking Points Memo, August 31, 2009:
Fox News, September 21, 2009:
Huffington Post, September 28, 2009:
Ynet, October 9, 2009:
The Washington Times, October 22, 2009:
Ha’aretz, November 6, 2009:
The New York Times, December 23, 2009:
Newsmax, April 2, 2010:
The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2010:
AFP, June 12, 2010:
TIME, July 15, 2010:
The Weekly Standard, July 26, 2010:
Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 2010:
The Spectator (UK), August 12, 2010:
Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2010:
The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2010:
The Week, August 17, 2010:
New York Daily News, August 17, 2010:
The Atlantic, August 18, 2010:
Newsmax, September 2, 2010:
The Atlantic, November 28, 2010:
AFP, November 29, 2010:
The Australian, November 30, 2010:
The Washington Times, December 3, 2010:
The Australian, January 13, 2011:
Associated Press, May 30, 2011:
Ha’aretz, September 28, 2011:
Associated Press, November 2, 2011:
The Daily Beast, November 2, 2011:
The Guardian, November 2, 2011:
The Telegraph, November 6, 2011:
Reuters, November 9, 2011:
Arutz Sheva, November 10, 2011:
Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2011:
Arutz Sheva, December 1, 2011:
The New York Times, January 25, 2012:
Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012:
The Washington Post, February 2, 2012:
Reuters, February 3, 2012:
Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2012:
Congressional Research Service, March 27, 2012:
CNN, March 30, 2012:
Salon/GlobalPost, May 9, 2012:
The Telegraph, May 17, 2012:
CBN News, May 24, 2012:
The Blaze, July 8, 2012:
Reuters, August 10, 2012:
The Times of Israel, August 11, 2012:
The Daily Mail, August 21, 2012:
The Jewish Chronicle, August 27, 2012:
Forbes, September 30, 2012:
National Journal, October 9, 2012:
The Telegraph, October 9, 2012:
Voice of America, December 19, 2012:
The New York Times, January 26, 2013:
The Times of Israel, March 14, 2013:
Newsmax, April 13, 2013:
The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2013:
Ha’aretz, May 3, 2013:
The Times of Israel, May 9, 2013:
Al Jazeera English, July 17, 2013:
The Atlantic, August 1, 2013:
Washington Examiner, September 18, 2013:
Gatestone Institute, October 7, 2013:
Financial Times, November 17, 2013:
CNN, November 19, 2013:
The Times of London, November 26, 2013:
Defense News, December 4, 2013:
CBS News, December 6, 2013:
ThinkProgress, January 2, 2014:
Foreign Affairs, January 7, 2014:
Ha’aretz, March 19, 2014:
Associated Press, March 21, 2014:
The National Interest, April 16, 2014:
Iran Times, May 16, 2014:
Defense News, June 8, 2014:
Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), June 12, 2014:
The Raw Story, July 23, 2014:
What better confirmation of the manifest failure of the philosophy of foreign interventionism than the renewed U.S. bombing of Iraq?
Just think: All those hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, detained, and tortured Iraqis, along with those who lost their homes, businesses, and savings. They were all bombed and shot by U.S. troops for nothing. All those Iraqis suffered and died for nothing.
The same holds true, of course, for U.S. soldiers who died or came back maimed or all screwed up in the head. The ones who lost their lives died for nothing. The ones who came back physically handicapped or mentally disturbed are suffering for nothing.
How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?
But everyone is expected to continue playing the game. We’re supposed to just keep praising those brave troops who went to Iraq to defend our freedoms and to help the Iraqi people. Never mind that the results of their intervention have turned into a total failure and fiasco.
Let’s first keep in mind one central truth, a truth that interventionists don’t like talking about: In the Iraq War, the U.S. troops were the aggressors. It was Iraq that was the defending power.
A war of aggression, which the U.S. was waging on Iraq, was condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg.
Second, the U.S. government’s war on Iraq was also illegal under our form of constitutional government. President Bush was required by the law of the Constitution to secure a declaration of war from Congress before waging war on Iraq. He refused to do that and instead, on his own initiative, launched a war of aggression with his military and CIA forces.
Third, U.S. officials justified the killing of Iraqis by using a cost-benefit analysis. They said that by killing x number of Iraqis, U.S. forces would be bringing into existence a free and democratic Iraq for the survivors, which, it was said, would serve as a model for the rest of the Middle East.
Where is the morality in killing and maiming people based on a cost-benefit analysis?
Through it all, there was never one iota of genuine remorse for all the Iraqis that were being killed, maimed, tortured, or destroyed in the purported aim to bring the good society to Iraq.
Equally telling, neither the Pentagon nor the CIA ever put an upward limit on the number of Iraqis who could be killed in the quest to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Any number of Iraqi dead, no matter how high, would be considered “worth it.”
Interventionists are pointing out the evil nature of the Islamic State, the group that is threatening to oust the U.S.-installed regime in Bagdad from power. But simply because one group is evil doesn’t necessarily mean that the term cannot also be applied to what the U.S. government has done to Iraq, especially given it was the U.S. government’s war on Iraq, along with its other Middle East policies, that unleashed the furies that have given rise to the Islamic State.
How can an unlawful and unconstitutional war of aggression, a type of war condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg not be considered evil?
How can a war in which people are being killed and maimed based on a cost-benefit analysis not be considered evil?
Indeed, think back to the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government enforced against Iraq for more than ten years. When “Sixty Minutes” asked U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madelyn Albright whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the U.S. sanctions had been “worth it,” she responded that while the choice was a difficult one, the deaths were in fact worth it.
How can those deadly sanctions — indeed, how can such a horribly callous mindset — not be described as anything but evil?
Or think back to the Persian Gulf War, when the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants, knowing that such destruction would bring infectious illnesses in its wake? And it did. That’s what helped kill all those children, given that the sanctions prevented Iraqi officials from repairing those water and sewage treatments plants that the Pentagon had destroyed.
How can such a thing not be described as evil?
The problem, of course, is that all too many Americans can easily see the evil in other people’s actions but are unable to see the evil in their own government’s actions. That’s because in their minds they’ve raised the federal government to the level of an idol, one that can do no wrong, especially since it operates through courageous American troops and CIA agents who are always defending our freedoms in whatever they do, including waging wars of aggression against Third World countries that have never attacked the United States, killing innocent children with brutal sanctions, or killing people in a cost-benefit analysis intended, supposedly, to bring the “good life” to the survivors of the onslaught.
If the Iraq fiasco has taught us anything, it is that evil means produce evil results. Just ask anyone who is now calling on the U.S. national-security state to drop more bombs on Iraq in order to combat evil.
The US is once again on the warpath against Syria after the beheading of US citizen James Foley was released on the internet a week ago.
His execution is being used to justify a mixed anti-terror and ‘humanitarian’ intervention in northeastern Syria. An information offensive has now been launched to peddle the myth of ‘limited’ strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets, but in all actuality, such a campaign is impossible to contain within the strict limits US authorities are promising.
Obama has already authorized surveillance flights over Syrian territory, showing that an attack appears to be imminent. A quick exercise in scenario forecasting illustrates how any US intervention in Syria will most certainly evolve from a ‘limited anti-terror operation’ to a massive military offensive, complete with proxy occupations and a full-scale outbreak of chaos throughout the entire country.
Symbolism and Substance
Should the US make the decision to strike Syria, it will be carrying with it both symbolism and substance. The action would be symbolic due to it being in complete contravention of Syria’s sovereignty, a position which Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem reaffirmed earlier this week. Whether by drone or by jet, the US would be showing that it can and will violate Syrian sovereignty as it sees fit. This is enabled by the fact that IS’ turf is mostly removed from any of the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) air defense units, thereby allowing the US to attack with military impunity.
Secondly, the US’ strikes would surely carry with them prime substance, as the rhetoric being expressed by Washington guarantees nothing short of it. They would not be the token gestures evidenced in northern Iraq, but rather a full-fledged operation designed to achieve concrete military objectives. On the public front, this would be to decimate Islamic State and its leadership, but in fact, such an objective cannot be achieved by air strikes alone, especially in populated urban areas like Raqqa.
The Stepping Stone
This brings the US to the next probable stage of its military campaign – ground forces. It is extremely unlikely that the US will use its own conventional forces in the field, as its special forces are cheaper, more effective, and less of a political and physical liability. Another option, of course, is for the heavily armed and highly trained Kurdish Peshmerga to ‘chase’ IS into Syria from Iraq and carry out ground operations on behalf of the US. The precedent of joint military cooperation has already been set previously when both sides partook in a coordinated offensive against IS’ occupation of the Mosul Dam, with the US doing the bombing and the Kurds being the cannon fodder. The Iraqi Peshmerga’s military expansion into Syria would also achieve the dual purpose of expanding the fledgling (and de-facto recognized) Kurdish state, another major American strategic objective in the region.
Filling the Void
With all the hubbub and speculation about an American strike, few have actually put any public thought into what comes next. For example, IS could either be decimated or strategically driven like cattle away from the combat zone and closer to Damascus,(in the same fashion as they have been corralled into going from northern Iraq back into Syria), taking all of their heavy armaments with them along the way. No matter what happens, though, it remains indisputable that there will be a security void in their previously occupied territories, opening up the question of which entity should fill it.
It can be taken for granted that the US will never allow the SAA to liberate the territory after Washington’s tax-dollar funded bombs paved the way, since that would completely reverse the billions in dollars of funding and support that the US, EU, Turkey, and Gulf Kingdoms have placed in the anti-establishment forces fighting the Syrian government over the past three years. Thus, the US’ campaign will of course not be one of liberation, but rather of trading one occupier for another, in this case, the Kurds, a rejuvenated ‘Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Turks (with or without being an official NATO mission), or a combination thereof, with the public reasoning being that the failure to fill the resultant security void could create a breeding ground for an IS 2.0.
‘Finishing the Job’
After the removal of IS from their bastions in northeast Syria (whether by destruction or driving them towards Damascus) and their replacement with Kurdish/FSA/Turkish forces, the US and its ‘coalition of the willing’ will be pressured to ‘finish the job’ one way or another. In the first scenario branch, if IS is somehow destroyed and no longer a threat, then the US may want to seize the strategic initiative and make a drive towards Damascus to finally overthrow the government. After all, they would already be on the offensive and actively engaged in the war zone as it is, and Damascus is definitely within striking range of US aircraft or drones already bombing Syria. The new occupying forces of northern Syria could then carry their offensive south, break the security crescent linking Damascus with the coast, and go in for the paralyzing kill.
The second scenario branch is very similar, but instead of pursuing naked regime change, it strategically pushes IS towards Damascus by using airstrikes in the same manner as a shepherd uses a staff to herd sheep. This accomplishes two important goals; first, it pushes the world’s most deadly and militarily efficient non-state actor all the way through the country and towards the capital, sowing destruction in its wake; and secondly, it provides the US and its proxy allies with the justification for continuing their campaign all the way to the capital and de-facto carrying out regime change under an anti-terror guise.
Without a doubt, the regime change objective can be sped up or publicly ‘justified’ if Syria defends its airspace and fires on American jets or drones. If the beheading of a single citizen by a rogue terrorist group can be a casus belli against an entire state per the US’ reasoning, then it goes without saying how it would respond to missiles being launched against its military vehicles, especially those engaged in an ‘anti-terrorist’ mission. More than likely, Syria will then be painted as a terrorist-supporting state (there is already false information in the Western media that Syria cooperates with IS) and the entire government will then be officially targeted for elimination.
After having accomplished its soft coup in Iraq against Maliki, the US now feels emboldened enough to aggressively press forward with its long-held regime change dreams against Syria, feverishly seeking to exploit any opportunity to justifiably do so. This barbarically includes using a dead man’s decapitated head as a rallying cry in an effort to strike at the primordial emotions of every human being and manipulate them into supporting a ‘vengeful’ war. To appease the domestic and international audience, the US government is only talking about ‘limited’ airstrikes against IS targets in Syria, but when placed under a simple analysis, these are demonstrated to be anything but. Not only will they be used to justify regime change via various arguments, but they will also result in the replacement of one occupier of Syrian territory with another, which in turn can eventually make the de-facto partitioning of the country de-jure. This means that the Syrian Crisis is precipitously teetering on the brink of becoming a full-scale international war, one which places the very existence of secular Syria and its resistance identity into jeopardy.
A US court has scrapped an order to seize one million barrels of oil, disputed between the Iraqi government and the autonomous Kurdistan region.
“Kurdistan’s unauthorized export of oil over land -– and later overseas –- may violate Iraqi law, but it does not violate US maritime law,” US District Judge Gray Miller said on Monday.
A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraq’s Kurdistan region has been waiting in international waters off the coast of Texas for a month now.
The ruling follows a long-running dispute between Erbil and Baghdad over the ownership of the cargo. With the new ruling, the Kurdish government will be able to sell $100 million worth of crude oil.
Judge Miller said “he lacked authority under federal laws governing property stolen at sea to decide the dispute.”
Miller threw out a seizure order issued July 28 by a Houston magistrate judge, who questioned US jurisdiction in the matter while agreeing to store the cargo onshore at Iraq’s expense as the debate continued in that nation’s Supreme Court.
Iraq had failed to convince the district judge that “the oil was misappropriated when it was loaded into a tanker in the Mediterranean Sea after being pumped across Turkey in an Iraq-owned pipeline.”