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Russia Slams US Threat of Military Action Against Venezuela

teleSUR | September 21, 2017

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned the U.S. for threatening the option of military intervention in Venezuela.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Lavrov criticized the illegitimate application of “unilateral sanctions” by certain Western countries, in reference to the restrictions imposed by the U.S. against Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.

Lavrov said it is unacceptable to instigate unrest and launch military threats in order to ‘democratize’ Venezuela, as are actions aimed at undermining the country’s legitimate authorities.

He insisted that in any internal conflict, the international community must urge all parties to commit to reconciliation. … continue

NATO is seeking to revive Сold War climate – Lavrov at UNGA

RT | September 21, 2017

NATO is currently seeking to revive the Cold War climate instead of building a dialogue with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Russia has honestly walked along a long path of getting rid of the legacy of the Cold War but received no support in its efforts from its partners in the West, the minister said, expressing his regret over the fact that “some countries still prefer force to dialogue.”

“The West constructed its policy on the basis of a principle, ‘If you are not with us, you are against us’ and proceeded with hideous expansion of NATO to the east,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that such policy ultimately led only to “instability” in the post-Soviet republics and increased tensions in the region.

At the same time, the minister said that Russia is ready to cooperate with its western partners and work together in a constructive way to find mutually acceptable solutions of the pressing issues, including the Ukrainian crisis in particular.

He also expressed his hope that the Russian initiative that involves sending a UN peacekeeping mission to Eastern Ukraine would ultimately help to resolve the crisis, adding that the relevant draft resolution had been already submitted to the UN Security Council. … continue

Rights groups present ICC with evidence of Israeli crimes on occupied land

Press TV – September 21, 2017

Palestinian rights activists and lawyers have submitted a 700-page dossier to the International Criminal Court (ICC) contending that high-level Israeli officials are complicit in crimes, including apartheid, crimes against humanity and persecution in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

In a statement on Wednesday, the groups asked the ICC to “urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory” as a “necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable.”

The documents are meant to provide evidence for a preliminary investigation launched in 2015 by The Hague-based tribunal into Israeli crimes on the occupied land and pave the way for a full-scale probe.

Shawan Jabarin, director of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, said the documents provide evidence that the regime in Tel Aviv removes Palestinians from the territories and replaces them with Israeli settlers.

“The communication to the International Criminal Court offers hope that anybody that commits crimes against Palestinians will be held to account,” Jabarin said. “We are convinced that there can be no lasting and genuine peace without justice.”

Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, called the transfer of Israeli settlers onto Palestinian territory “a unique war crime in that it is coupled with the confiscation of massive tracts of Palestinian land, the extensive destruction of Palestinian property, and the tearing apart of the Palestinian social fabric and way of life.”

Under the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, anybody can send prosecutors details of alleged crimes, but that does not mean the court will open a full investigation. It is unclear how long the preliminary examination of the Palestinian case will take. … Full article

Poll: Haniyeh will win presidential elections

MEMO |September 21, 2017

Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh is expected to beat Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in any upcoming elections, Al-Resalah newspaper reported yesterday.

A referendum carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 41.7 per cent of the participants would vote for Abbas and 49.8 per cent for Haniyeh in any upcoming presidential elections.

The centre is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. According to Al-Resalah, its director Khalil Shikaki told a German news agency that Abbas is losing his popularity in Gaza because of the measure he has been taking against Palestinians living in the besieged Strip. … Full article

Aoun at UN: Israel violating Lebanon’s sovereignty

Press TV – September 21, 2017

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has censured Israel’s repeated violations of his country’s sovereignty, accusing the Tel Aviv regime of seeking to achieve its goals by bullying other nations.

Addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Aoun said Thursday that Israel has never respected Lebanon and its regional neighbors.

“Israel has always repeatedly violated Lebanese sovereignty,” said the Lebanese head of state, referring to recent incidents, including an Israeli strike against the Syrian army’s positions launched from Lebanese airspace. “These violations are not new.”

The Syrian army said in a statement on September 7 that one of its military positions near the town of Masyaf, located approximately 40 kilometers west of the provincial capital city of Hama, was hit by a number of missiles fired from Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanese airspace earlier in the day.

Two days later, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil asked the country’s mission at the UN to file a complaint against Israel.

However, it only took the Israeli military another day to repeat the airspace violations. On September 10, an Israeli aircraft breached Lebanese airspace over the southern city of Sidon, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the capital Beirut, causing sonic booms that broke windows and shook buildings.

Earlier this week, Aoun said during meetings with various delegations on the sidelines of the UNGA that Israel was still “lurking” on Lebanon’s border and the international community had failed to stop it.

“The Israeli enemy remains lurking. Israel keeps violating Lebanon’s sovereignty through daily breaches of its airspace and thus international resolutions. The international community has not been able to compel it to abide by the resolutions in force, not even by the international solutions that are put forward for the sake of peace in the region,” he said.

Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the country’s sovereignty.

The resolution, which brokered a ceasefire in Israel’s 2006 war of aggression against Lebanon, calls on Tel Aviv to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

President Aoun at UN: Lebanon Won’t Allow Naturalization of Any Refugee

Naharnet | September 21, 2017

The Lebanese President Michel Aoun stressed Thursday in his maiden speech before the UN General Assembly that Lebanon will not allow the naturalization of any Syrian or Palestinian refugee on its soil “no matter what that might cost.”

“The decision in this regard belongs to us and not to anyone else,” Aoun underlined.

Noting that the Syrian state is now in control of “85 percent of its territory,” the president emphasized that “there is an urgent need to organize the return of refugees to their country.”

“Some call for the refugees’ voluntary return and we call for their safe return and differentiate between the two concepts,” Aoun noted.

“The claim that they will not be safe should they return to their country is an unacceptable excuse… If the Syrian state is carrying out reconciliations with the armed groups that it is fighting, wouldn’t it be able to do so with refugees who had fled war?” the president asked. … continue

US, Iran break ice at UN

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 21, 2017

The US President Donald Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday has drawn attention to the Iran nuclear deal of July 2015. Will the deal survive? Or, will it perish in a sudden death? Trump said,

  • The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

Harsh words, indeed. Meanwhile, the P5+1 and Iran met at foreign minister level in New York on Tuesday. According to European sources, “the meeting included a long discussion” between Tillerson and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif – although Tillerson publicly maintained that they merely shook hands. In a subsequent interview with Fox News, Tillerson narrowed down the US demand at this point to the so-called “sunset provision” in the Iran deal under which time limits (of varying lengths, such as 10 or 15 years) apply to some of the restrictions put on Iran’s nuclear program.

Evidently, there is much sophistry in the arguments being proffered… continue

200,000 Israelis expected in “Kurdistan” once independence is declared

Voltaire Network | 20 September 2017

According to the magazine Israel-Kurd based in Erbil, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Massoud Barzani, the self-appointed President of the future independent Kurdistan, have reached a secret agreement.

Tel-Aviv is committed to installing 200,000 Israelis of Kurdish origin in Kurdistan.

The announcement has been widely repeated in the Turkish, Iranian and Arab press. The plan to create a South Sudan and a Kurdistan has been an Israeli military objective following missile development at the end of the nineties. These territories, largely administered by the Israelis, have enabled a rear attack on Egypt and Syria.

Out of the 8.5 million Israelis living in Israel, around 200,000 are of Kurdish origin. In March 1951, “Operation Ezra and Nehemiah” (named after the biblical persons that organized the flight of the Jewish people from Babylon) permitted 11,000 Jewish Kurds to emigrate from Iraq to Israel. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee of New York funded this operation. The planes used for this air lift were made available by the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

The Barzani family that governs the Iraqi Kurdistan with an iron fist, is historically connected to Israel. Mullah Mustafa Barzani, father of the current president Massoud Barzani, was a Mossad high official.

The Israeli Prime Minister is the only head of government to have publicly declared his support of the creation of an independent Kurdistan outside the historic Kurdish territory (which would also be to the detriment of the indigenous populations).

Despite the prohibition declared by the Iraqi Constitutional Court, a referendum will take place on 25 September 2017 with a view to declaring this new State.

After the Caliphate, Rojava

One war can hide another

By Thierry Meyssan | Voltairenet | September 19, 2017

While the Syrian Arab Army, the Russian aviation and Hezbollah are preparing to finish off Daesh, the Pentagon is planning a new war against Syria, this time with Kurdish troops. Just as the mission of the Caliphate was to create a Sunnistan straddling Iraq and Syria, so the mission of « Rojava » is to create a Kurdistan straddling the two states, as the Pentagon has been publicly stating for the last four years.

According to US grand strategy, as defined by Admiral Cebrowski in 2001, and published in 2004 by his assistant Thomas Barnett, all of the Greater Middle East must be destroyed except for Israel, Jordan and Lebanon.

Consequently, the imminent victory against Daesh will change nothing of the Pentagon’s intentions.

President Trump is against the manipulation of the jihadists. He has stopped the financial and military support that his country was giving them, and has managed to convince Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to do the same. He has modified NATO policies in the matter. However, nothing yet hints as to whether or not he will also oppose the Pentagon’s grand strategy. As far as the US Interior is concerned, the whole of Congress is in league against him, and he has no possibility of preventing a procedure for destitution other than negotiating with the Democratic Party. … continue

SYRIA: Game Over for Macron after Shameful UNGA Performance

By Bruno Guigue | 21st Century Wire | September 20, 2017

Before the UN General Assembly, you treated President Bashar al Assad as a criminal and declared that he should be held accountable to “international justice”. You have betrayed those who believed in a turn-around in your politics and you have brought this serious accusation against the legitimate leader of a UN member state.

Exactly what jurisdiction has empowered you, Mr Macron, to issue arrest warrants for foreign heads of state, who, by the way, could teach you a thing or two?

Who gives you the right, as a European head of state, representing the former colonial power in Syria (1920 – 1946), to hand out certificates for good or bad behaviour to your Middle Eastern counterparts?

This intervention is made all the more disturbing by the fact that you, like your predecessors, persevere with your complacency towards the petro-monarchies, to whom you sell arms that are used to massacre the courageous people of Yemen. … continue

UK Surgeon David Nott, Takes Sides While Saving Lives in East Aleppo

By Steven Sahiounie | American Herald Tribune | September 21, 2017

David Nott is a British surgeon who has received numerous awards and accolades for his medical volunteerism in East Aleppo, Syria in 2013 and 2014. He was hosted by the Aleppo City Medical Council, which was founded in 2012 by medical professionals committed to the armed revolution in Syria, which sought to overthrow the Syrian government of Pres. Bashar Assad.

The Aleppo City Medical Council served and existed in only one neighborhood in Aleppo: that of occupied East Aleppo. On the Western side of Aleppo lived 1.5 million persons, who were living under the Syrian government, as were the majority of the highly populated areas across Syria. On the Eastern side of Aleppo lived 250,000 civilians, who went to sleep one night, and woke up occupied by armed rebels. The unarmed civilians of East Aleppo didn’t vote to accept occupation by armed militias. In some cases they may have been willing to work with the rebels, but the majority of the civilian population of Aleppo did not want to participate in the revolution. Even though they did not choose war, the war came to their neighborhood, and took away their freedom. No longer were they able to visit relatives, shop, go to University, or visit a doctor in Western Aleppo. They were made prisoners in their own homes and neighborhoods.

The armed opposition, the so called ‘rebels’ of Syria, are the armed militia known as Free Syrian Army. This group began as a US supported armed group, but lacked the man-power to sustain a viable armed opposition to the very large Syrian Arab Army, which prior to the war had ranked as the 16th strongest Army in the world. From the outset in 2011 the FSA began an outreach invitation to Al Qaeda and other Radical terrorist groups, in order to bulk-up the numbers in the armed opposition on the ground, with the hope of providing enough man-power and weapons in order to topple the Syrian government.

Dr. David Nott was seduced by the romantic notion of rebels fighting against a brutal regime. … continue

Russia warns US it will strike back if militia attacks in Syria don’t end

RT | September 21, 2017

Moscow has warned the US that if militias it supports in northeast Syria again attack positions of pro-government forces backed by Russia, the Russian military will use all its force to retaliate.

The troops of the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish militia that receives support from the US military, have twice attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army in the Deir ez-Zor governorate with mortar and rocket fire, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

“Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed,” Konashenkov said, adding that the attacks put at risk Russian military advisers embedded with Syrian government troops.

“Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary,” he stressed. … continue

RT may soon be dropped by US providers, courtesy of McCain & Graham

RT | September 21, 2017

Buried deep inside the just-passed defense budget is a small amendment, which could lead to a ban on broadcasting RT in America. The architects of the provision, Senators Graham and McCain, may recall that in their youth such practices formed what was known as the ‘Iron Curtain’. … continue

More Holes in Russia-gate Narrative

Consortium News | September 20, 2017

New tests support the skepticism of U.S. intelligence veterans that Russia “hacked” the DNC’s computers, pointing instead to a download of emails by an insider, write ex-NSA official William Binney and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. – Read article

Demands to Probe Sputnik Radio Ignores American Voters’ Maturity – IFJ

Sputnik – September 20, 2017

The president of the International Federation of Journalists says that demands to investigate Sputnik’s role in the 2016 presidential election ignore American voters’ maturity.

The US congressmen’s request to probe Sputnik Radio for their alleged role in influencing the results of the 2016 US presidential election is absurd and is similar to a call for censorship, Philippe Leruth, the president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said Wednesday.

In a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent Tuesday, three members of Congress called for an investigation into the alleged role Sputnik Radio played in influencing the 2016 US presidential election. The lawmakers went on to refer to Sputnik Radio, broadcast on radio station 105.5 FM radio in Washington, ignoring the fact that it only went on the air on July 1, 2017, more than half a year after Election Day.

“The demand to investigate a media’s role in an election’s outcome sounds very strange and resounds as an appeal to censorship. Thinking that a media can influence the voter’s behavior seems to me preposterous, because it ignores the American voters’ maturity… This demand seems to me contrary to the freedom of expression which is a key value of the American democracy,” Leruth told RIA Novosti, when asked to comment on the congressmen’s letter. … Full article

Zionist Forces Attack Palestinians in West Bank, Injure 9

Al-Manar | September 20, 2017

At least nine people have sustained injuries after Israeli military forces stormed a town near the occupied Al-Quds, and engaged in clashes with a group of local residents.

Hani Halabia, a local activist, said the Israeli troops raided Abu Dis on Wednesday, triggering clashes with the locals. The soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, forcing schools and classes at al-Quds University to close.

Halabia added that school children suffered breathing difficulties and had to be evacuated from schools as tear gas smoke had covered the area.

The activist further noted that one protester was struck by a live bullet, while the others were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Israel’s Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | September 20, 2017

“As Prime Minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.”

Thus spoke Theresa May the other day as she welcomed members of the Jewish community to 10 Downing Street. But by focusing on creating a homeland for the Jewish people she’s also celebrating the hell that Balfour’s Declaration created for the gentle Palestinians and for the rest of the region. “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” said May, apparently blind to the reality.

Right now we’re on the run-up to the centenary of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy blunder in British history: the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Arthur Balfour, foreign secretary, bowed to Zionist demands for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and gave an undertaking that set the world on course for long-term turmoil and, for the native Palestinians, unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement. It was a criminal conspiracy. And Balfour was an A-list idiot who bragged that he wasn’t even going to consult the local Arab population about this theft of their homes and lands.

Yet he remains a hero of the Conservative Party which, led by Theresa May, plans to celebrate this hundred-year “running sore” — as Lord Sydenham called it — in great style, inviting Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu to the festivities. That’s if the mad-dog warmonger isn’t under arrest by then on imminent charges of corruption back home.

“I will always do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe,” May added. “Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. We will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

She was referring to the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. … continue

Singapore resets China ties

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 20, 2017

The visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to China (Sept 19-21) will be keenly watched in Delhi. It is no secret that over the years Singapore has significantly influenced the Indian discourses regarding China. Although the bamboo curtain lifted a long time ago, India’s ‘China watchers’, aside a clutch of noble exceptions, rely largely on second-hand knowledge, and Singapore being the West’s outpost, became a watering hole for think tankers speculating on the ‘takeaways’ from China’s rise.

Coincidence or not, Singapore-China relations also went downhill through the past 3-year period – similar to the trajectory of Sino-Indian ties under Modi government. The common factors were rather striking: Singapore was the only ASEAN country – like India in the South Asian region – to urge that China should “fully respect” the South China Sea arbitration award in June last year (although the island state, like India, was not party to the territorial dispute); Singapore too has been disdainful toward China’s Belt and Road Initiative; Singapore cozied up to Taiwan; and, Lee departed from the wise policy of striking a careful balance between China and the US laid down by Lee Kuan Yew, to embrace the US as geopolitical ally.

Thus, Lee’s visit to China signals a significant adjustment in Singapore’s strategic posturing, riveted in the recent years on the US’ ‘pivot to Asia’. While receiving him in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the strengthening of political trust and the consolidation of bilateral relations are not only in mutual interests but also will benefit peace, stability and prosperity of the region and globally. … continue

Nuclear powers refrain from signing UN treaty on banning nukes

Press TV – September 20, 2017

World powers that possess nuclear weapons refrain from attending a ceremony at the United Nations to sign a long-anticipated treaty on banning nukes, merely arguing that the pact will not work.

None of the nuclear-armed states including the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, India and Pakistan sent representatives to the ceremony for signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a pact that was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations in July.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened the event in New York while hailing the agreement as a milestone and the first multilateral pact on disarmament in more than two decades. … continue

NATO Stands Against Nuclear Weapon Prohibition, Seeks to Remain Nuclear Alliance

Sputnik – 20.09.2017

BRUSSELS – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) stands against the newly adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and will stay committed to remaining a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist, the organization said in a press release Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature at the UN General Assembly in New York.

“The ban treaty is at odds with the existing non-proliferation and disarmament architecture. This risks undermining the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty], which has been at the heart of global non-proliferation and disarmament efforts for almost 50 years… As Allies committed to advancing security through deterrence, defense, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, we, the Allied nations, cannot support this treaty… As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance,” the press release said.

According to the press release, the treaty, aimed at banning nuclear weapons, will be ineffective, and will neither lead to the reduction of nuclear arsenals nor contribute to the security of any country. … Full article

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers clear and calm rebuttal of Trump’s hostile remarks at UN

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 20, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has addressed the General Assembly in a short speech that primarily covered Iran’s foreign policy outlook, its specific goals for peace and an unambiguous warning against anyone who seeks to undermine the 2013 JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal).

President Rouhani used the word ‘moderation’ throughout the speech. He characterised Iran’s history, contemporary outlook and policy positions as quintessentially moderate. … continue

Listening to the Donald at the UN

The Saker • Unz Review • September 19, 2017

… what I take away from this speech is a sense of relief for the rest of the planet and a sense of real worry for the US. Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their “bitch” the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. Sure, the Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing. That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting, is a blessing for the rest of the planet because it allows everybody else to get things done. Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like. But for as long as the US remains paralyzed this destructive potential remains mostly unused (and no matter how bad things look now, Hillary as President would have been infinitely worse!). … Read full article

Fact checking Benjamin Netanyahu’s General Assembly speech

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 20, 2017

Yesterday, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the United Nations in a speech that served as a kind of appendix to Donald Trump’s controversial, bellicose declaration that was delivered hours earlier.

Both speeches predictably focused on Iran and both leaders told a great deal of untruths and half-truths about the situation.

Here are some of the most glaring untruths, followed by a factual explanation of the situation. … continue

Morgan Freeman Declares War on Russia at Rob Reiner’s Behest

Sputnik – September 20, 2017

Social media is awash with outrage after Hollywood megastar Morgan Freeman appeared in a propaganda video issued by a newly-established anti-Russian non-profit group, in which he declares Washington is at war with Moscow.

Morgan Freeman is an almost universally beloved figure in the West, and his famed golden voice almost universally beloved across the West, so it’s understandable why the newly-established Committee to Investigate Russia might choose him to front its propaganda campaign.

However, initial reactions to the clip on social media suggest the move might’ve been a titanic misfire, as even supporters of the #TheRussiansDidIt hypothesis are criticizing the group, and slamming the video’s incendiary tone.

In the two-minute-long video, the Shawshank Redemption star issues a dire warning, “We have been attacked. We are at war.” … continue

Manafort Demands Probe After Leak Revealed He Was Being Wiretapped

Sputnik – 20.09.2017

A legal representative of Paul Manafort, who at one time managed the successful 2016 presidential bid of Donald Trump, has demanded an investigation into the FBI after anonymous sources seemingly broke federal law by leaking classified information to the media regarding the investigation into Manafort.

On Tuesday, CNN broke the news that the FBI had secured a wiretap on Manafort’s phone under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA.) The investigation began in 2014 following allegations that Manafort was operating as a foreign agent in his capacity as a campaign adviser to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The wiretap paused in 2016, and resumed in 2017 under new allegations of Manafort’s ties to Russian intelligence. Eventually, the FBI ended the wiretapping for a lack of evidence.

If the reports are true, then a felony has been committed — but not by Manafort. According to Jason Maloni, a spokesman for the former lobbyist and Trump presidential campaign manager, “it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged. The US Department of Justice’s Inspector General should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous Administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.”

“Mr. Manafort requests that the Department of Justice release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there.” … continue

Nine civilians dead as Saudi warplanes bomb NW Yemen

Press TV – September 19, 2017

At least nine civilians have been killed when Saudi military aircraft carried out an airstrike against a residential area in Yemen as the Saudi regime presses ahead with an atrocious military campaign against its crisis-hit southern neighbor.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said four women and five children lost their lives on Tuesday, when Saudi fighter jets bombarded a residential building in the Kushar district of the northwestern province of Hajjah, located approximately 130 kilometers northwest of the capital Sana’a, Arabic-language al-Arabi news website reported.

The sources identified the victims as members of the same family. … Full article

Amid Yemen war, Saudi signs military cooperation deal with Britain

Press TV – September 19, 2017

Britain and Saudi Arabia have signed a framework deal on military and security cooperation as the Riyadh regime intensifies its ongoing campaign against Yemen.

According to the Saudi state news agency SPA, the deal was signed as British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon discussed military cooperation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as the kingdom’s defense minister and deputy prime minister. The SPA report did not provide details of the agreement. … Full article

Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism

Consortium News | September 19, 2017

President Trump’s U.N. speech showed that despite his America First rhetoric, his policies are virtually the same as the neocon strategies of George W. Bush and liberal interventionism of Barack Obama, says Robert Parry. – Read article

Strongest attacks on Syrian Army come from where opposition & US forces stationed – Russian MoD

RT | September 19, 2017

The Syrian Army liberating the Deir ez-Zor region from terrorists is facing strong resistance and massive fire from areas where armed opposition groups and US forces are stationed, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Syrian Army continues to liberate the Euphrates valley to the east of Deir ez-Zor with the help of the Russian Air Force, the statement from the ministry says, adding that the government forces have already retaken more than 60 square kilometers on the left bank of the Euphrates from Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL).

The Syrian Army, however, faces resistance not only from jihadists, but also apparently from US-backed armed opposition groups, according to the statement

“According to the reports of the Syrian Army commanders, the most vicious counterattacks and massive shelling are launched from the northern [part of the region] controlled by the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) and the US special forces that were deployed to the area to allegedly ‘lend medical assistance’ to these militants instead of liberating Raqqa,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said.

He added that the Syrian Army also faced difficulties as it cut across the Euphrates River, where the water level surprisingly rose within several hours. Such water-level changes could only be the result of a deliberate flush at the dams that are also currently controlled by the armed groups backed by the US-led coalition, the major general said. … Full article

Hamas delegation meets with Russian officials in Moscow

Palestine Information Center – September 19, 2017

The first meeting for the Hamas delegation with Russian officials in Moscow has started on Tuesday morning.

The Hamas delegation was headed by Mousa Abu Marzouk, Deputy Head of Hamas’s Political Bureau. It also included Saleh al-Arouri, Husam Badran and Sami Khater who are all members of the Bureau.

Badran said earlier that a delegation of his Movement was going to visit Moscow on September 18 in order to hold talks on the Palestinian developments and the Israeli occupation’s ceaseless measures against the Palestinian people. The Israeli decade-long siege on Gaza is one of the key issues to be discussed in the meeting, Badran pointed out.

Abu Marzouk had met the Russian Ambassador to Cairo Sergei Kiribchenko last Tuesday. Abu Marzouk acquainted the Russian diplomat with the latest developments on the Palestinian reconciliation issue and his Movement’s efforts exerted in this regard.

Israel closes West Bank, Gaza borders for Jewish New Year

Ma’an – September 19, 2017

Israeli authorities will implement a closure on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip beginning Tuesday night for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year on Wednesday.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied West Bank and Gaza’s crossings starting midnight Tuesday night, to reopen midnight Saturday night. […]

Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Palestinian Authority’s Wafa news agency reported Tuesday that Israeli settler groups have called on their members to step up provocative visits inside the compound during the upcoming holidays. … Full article

America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars

Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 19, 2017

I spoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the six-hundred-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for Netanyahu? Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?”

It was a question combined with a comment that I have heard many times before and my answer is always the same: any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again. They are particularly sensitive on the issue of so-called “dual loyalty,” particularly as the expression itself is a bit of a sham since it is pretty clear that some of them only have real loyalty to Israel.

Most recently, some pundits, including myself, have been warning of an impending war with Iran. … continue

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong

Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

By James M. Williamson | CounterPunch | September 19, 2017

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

What could he possibly mean?

“Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin? … continue

Are you, or have you ever been, an RT or Sputnik pundit?

By Neil Clark | RT | September 19, 2017

… You don’t have to be the owner of a giant magnifying glass or possess the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes to see whose fingerprints are on the ’Get RT and Sputnik to register under FARA’ operation. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to understand why they are so keen to tarnish the RT and Sputnik brands.

Let’s go back to January 13th. On that day, the Atlantic Council, whose donors include leading US arms companies, NATO, several foreign governments, as well as lobby groups such as AIPAC, posted an article on its website entitled ‘US Should Require Russia’s RT to Register as Foreign Agent’ by one Elena Postnikova, a JD candidate at Georgetown University Law Center and a former DC Events and Outreach Officer at the US government-funded Freedom House. … continue

Obama Goes to Wall Street, Giving $400,000 Speeches to Special Interests

Sputnik – 19.09.2017

Ex-US President Barack Obama is monetizing his experience in the office by sharing it with Wall Street’s special interests for a heft bounty, whilst many Americans are struggling to pay their skyrocketing insurance premiums, debt bills, and ballooning rents.

Kristian Rouz – Following in the footsteps of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their ‘Clinton Foundation’, ex-US President Barack Obama is reportedly giving $400,000 speeches to Wall Street companies through his own ‘Obama Foundation’. Whilst President Trump has blasted the scheme as high-profile corruption serving the needs of special interests during his last year’s presidential campaign, the practice of paid speeches given by the retired top US officials is alive and well.

Obama has reportedly spoken to Cantor Fitzgerald LP, Carlyle Group LP, and Northern Trust Corp., receiving generous compensation in each case. Apparently, the ex-President sees his time in the office as a valuable asset at this point, even as Hillary Clinton in her recent book expressed regret of taking money from Wall Street financials, citing her concern of feeling owned by special interests. … continue

Google hiring 1,000 journalists in effort to control American news flow

It’s about controlling information offline and online

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | September 19, 2017

Google is learning from its mistakes.

Not being able to place Hillary Clinton in office, the search monopoly has decided that online influence over what Americans think, say, and do is not enough to guarantee the right woman enters the White House.

Google is now embarking on a 5 year plan, where they will seed 1,000 aspiring, liberal left journalists into America’s local media markets. … continue

The Bana Alabed Psy-Op Proves The West Is Saturated In War Propaganda

By Caitlin Johnstone | The Last American Vagabond | September 18, 2017

If I could have everyone in the English-speaking world watch only one video on Youtube, it would without a doubt be a comedy bit performed by a funny-looking professional goofball on RT. I say in all seriousness that it could change the trajectory of our species on this planet. … continue

Britain has sold Saudi Arabia £6bn in weapons since Yemen war began

RT | September 19, 2017

British arms companies have earned £6 billion ($8bn) from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia during the ongoing war in Yemen, it has emerged. The fighting has killed more than 10,000 people, destroyed vital infrastructure, and fomented a cholera epidemic.

War Child UK claims the true revenues from dealings with the Gulf kingdom are almost double previous estimates of £3.2 billion.

The charity told the Independent that private arms manufacturers, including BAE systems and Raytheon are, “profiteering from the deaths of innocent children” by selling missiles and equipment to the Saudi-led coalition.

Rocco Blume, a conflict and humanitarian advisor at War Child, told the newspaper Britain is not only selling arms to Saudi forces but maintaining them as well. … Full article

US Involved in Informal Talks With N Korea – Former US Under Secretary of State

Sputnik – 19.09.2017

WASHINGTON – The United States is involved in informal talks with representatives of North Korea, though no diplomatic breakthrough has been reached yet, Thomas Pickering, the former US Ambassador to Russia and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, told RIA Novosti in an interview.

In May, the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s bureau chief for North America, Choi Sun Hee, said she had met with Pickering, not ruling out the possibility of bilateral contacts with the United States “under the right circumstances.”

“Without reference to the confirmation of any particular meeting or not, I think that it’s clear to say that we have engaged in ‘track two’ discussions [informal meetings between the representatives of state and non-state actors] with North Koreans, the ones they’ve talked about. My own view is that they have been useful, but they have not led to any instant diplomatic breakthrough,” Pickering said.

He stressed the importance of diplomatic and informal contacts.

“Sometimes ‘track two’ contacts are useful to the parties as a way of exchanging ideas and opening the door to new ways of thinking about the problem. ‘Track two’ discussions that I’ve been engaged in have involved briefings of the US government before and after the discussions have taken place. It’s not an effort to supplant the government or to replace, but to try to help them understand… what’s going on,” Pickering said.

Last week, the broadcaster NHK reported that Evans Revere, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, had met with Choe Kang Il, the deputy director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, on the sidelines of the international conference on security issues in Northeast Asia in Switzerland. No details of the meeting were disclosed though. … Full article

US supply of lethal arms to Ukraine won’t help stability: Russia

Press TV – September 19, 2017

Russia says the United States’ potential provision of “lethal weapons” to Ukraine will not promote stability in the East European country.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remark at a news conference on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had earlier written on his social media accounts that the US Senate had approved a bill to ship supplies of “lethal weapons of defensive character to our country.”

He had said that the bill envisaged a total of $500 million in US military support for Ukraine.

Drawing attention to the dangers that could follow from any US military assistance to Kiev, Peskov acknowledged, “This is Poroshenko’s statement; we have not heard any statements by the American side regarding this.” … Full article

Nuclear weapons ‘must be destroyed,’ says Iranian President

By Vladimir Rodzianko | The Duran | September 19, 2017

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour on Monday, President Rouhani discussed the possibilities that US President Donald Trump could come through on a campaign promise to shred the nuclear agreement negotiated under the Obama administration.

“Our position has been very clear and remains clear vis-a-vis nuclear weapons. We are against any type of weapons of mass destruction as well as nuclear weapons, and we believe that they must be destroyed around the world.”

He noted that an arms race was unacceptable for Iran, in any region.

Rouhani stressed, “The position and the actions of the United States as well as other nations against North Korea have not been very positive, and I don’t think there is a military solution to this. Only diplomacy is the tool that will resolve this problem permanently.” … Full article