Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Current News and Analysis

Left, You Have Been Duped

By Richard Hugus | August 20, 2017

On August 19, a week after a heavily publicized clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, an estimated 8,000 people converged on Boston Common to protest a speaking event organized by a group calling itself the Boston Free Speech Movement. Who are the Boston Free Speech Movement and what do they stand for? We’ll never know because antifascists, leftists, anti-racists, and progressives of Boston prevented them from even speaking. Some might say this was a good thing — no one wants to hear from bigots (if that’s who they were) — but in fact the left in all its self-righteousness was duped into an assault on the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, for everyone. The left have been the pawns of much more powerful forces who, if they aren’t organizing these news events and provocations outright, are certainly happy to see precedents set for publicly shutting down free speech by the use of force. First it will be the speech of fascists, then it will be the speech of anybody the authorities don’t like, including leftists.

Suddenly we are being confronted with organizations who claim to know what is or is not appropriate for the rest of us to hear. Now that sides have been established — one which can decide what is and isn’t acceptable speech, and another which is forbidden to speak on pain of attack, all that remains is for the powerful to make sure their narrative is the one that’s allowed. Isn’t this fascism? Aren’t people who claim to be anti-fascist actually doing what classic fascists do?

It’s not a coincidence that just prior to these speaking events being shut down, Google, Inc. asserted its right to decide what is and is not a legitimate news source. … continue

Jews Under Attack By the Washington Post!

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | August 19, 2017

Hard as it may be to believe, Jews–specifically those who serve in the Trump administration–are under attack by the Washington Post.

Post pundit Dana Millbank has published an article accusing Jared Kushner, Steven Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn of “shame” and “disgrace” and of playing the role of “court Jews” in the White House.

“We have seen such a character before in Jewish history: the shtadlan,” says Millbank. “The shtadlan, or ‘court Jew,’ existed to please the king, to placate the king, to loan money to the king.

“He would dress like other members of the court, and he would beg the king for leniency toward the Jews, but, ultimately, his loyalty was to the king,” he added.

So what did Kushner, Mnuchin, and Cohn do that was so contemptible in Millbank’s opinion? They failed to denounce Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville events. Or as the Post writer puts it:

“The three men, the most prominent Jews in President Trump’s administration, could have spoken out to say that those who march with neo-Nazis are not ‘very fine people,’ as their boss claims. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Cohn, the chief economic adviser, were actually standing with Trump when he said it. They said nothing.”

This is not just mild criticism of course. It is a vicious attack. The only mainstream media attacks more vicious than this are those aimed at Trump himself.

Millbank asserts that all three men have expressed privately to unnamed acquaintances that “they are disturbed and distressed by what Trump said,” yet lamentably “none is speaking publicly about an outrage that makes millions of Americans feel as though they are living a nightmare.”

And oh yes, Millbank lets it be known in the article that he is Jewish himself, which of course gives him license to say things about Jews that no Gentile writer would ever dare express. … Full article

Return of Damascus International Fair

Syria Times | August 18, 2017

DAMASCUS – The return of Damascus International Fair and the notable international turn out for the fair has a great meaning as it is a message declaring the end of war in Syria, the defeat of terrorism and the beginning of reconstruction, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, the Presidential Political and Media Advisor has underscored.

In an interview with “al-Mayadeen TV” at the Fair ground On Thursday, Shaaban said that Damascus International Fair and the Book Fair stress that a turning point was achieved. She said that she was optimistic that the determination, which the Syrians enjoy, will lead to a great political, economic development project of which generations will be proud.

Regarding the Lebanese ministers’ visit to Syria and their participation in the fair, Shaaban said that mutual visits must be a normal thing between the Syrians and the Lebanese, because the two countries are linked to each other by history, geography and common interests, stressing that it is normal to have strong and warm relations. … Full article

Several reported injured as rocket fire targets Syria’s 1st international fair since 2011

RT | August 20, 2017

Several people have reportedly been injured by rocket fire that targeted the entrance to the Damascus International Fair venue, where a high-profile business gathering is currently underway.

The news was broken on Sunday by Syrian state television, but no details were immediately reported.

The fair, which opened earlier on Thursday this week and is scheduled to last for 10 days, had been hosted by Syria since 1954 and was among the most prestigious business events in the Arab world before the armed conflict erupted in 2011. … Full article

Netanyahu to meet Putin amid Syrian army advances

Press TV | August 20, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is about to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday in the face of the Syrian army advances against militants, including those backed by Tel Aviv.

In a statement released on Saturday, Netanyahu’s office said the two sides would “discuss the latest developments in the region” during their meeting in the Black Sea resort.

The main issues that are expected to be raised at the meeting include Israel’s worries about a ceasefire agreement in Syria and a foothold which Tel Aviv thinks Iran is finding in the Arab country.

Last week, the Israeli premier claimed that Iran was increasing its presence in Syria as the Daesh terrorist group was being driven out of the country. … continue

UK to jail pro-Palestinian protesters

Press TV – August 20, 2017

A group of five pro-Palestinian activists in the UK face possible prison sentences after being arrested during protests outside an Israeli-owned weapons manufacturing company.

Charged with a breach of the Trade Union and Labor Relations Act, the protesters face at least six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000, the media reported Sunday.

They were arrested in July following a protest in the West Midlands town of Shenstone that forced the UAV Engines Ltd plant, a subsidiary of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, to shut down all operations for two days.

The demonstration saw activists put small coffins outside the factory and lay down next to them to raise awareness about the Israeli regime’s record of killing Palestinian children over the years-long occupation of the country.

Palestine Action, the organization that helped organize the demonstration, said all of the accused would plead not guilty in the case.

“They [protesters] believe that the factory is complicit in illegal activity and that they were preventing a crime,” the group’s Birmingham and Manchester branches said in a statement. … continue

‘Europe is lost’: Barcelona’s chief rabbi urges Jews to move to Israel

RT | August 19, 2017

In the aftermath of this week’s terrorist attacks in Barcelona, the city’s chief rabbi has warned his community that Jews in the region are doomed because of the threat of radical Islam.

At least 14 people were killed and over 100 injured in two separate terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the nearby coastal town of Cambrils. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack on Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

“I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good, and I encourage them to buy property in Israel,” Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen said in an interview with Jewish news agency JTA.

“This place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.” … continue

Israeli forces injure 3 Palestinians with live ammunition, detain 3 more in Jenin raids

Ma’an – August 19, 2017

JENIN – Israeli forces injured three Palestinians with live ammunition and detained three others during a violent overnight raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday, while Israeli forces also carried out raids in the Bethlehem district.

During dawn hours, Israeli forces raided several homes in the refugee camp, two of which belonged to the Abu al-Hayja family, locals told Ma’an. Soldiers also delivered notices to several youths in the camp to meet with Israeli intelligence at Israel’s Salem military camp in the Jenin district, locals added.

Violent clashes erupted in the camp during the raid. Locals told Ma’an that three Palestinian “youths” — however, their exact ages were not specified — were injured with Israeli-fired live ammunition. The injured Palestinians were identified by locals as Wiam Iyam Hannoun, Mustafa Akram Qumbu, and Abu Ali al-Kastuni.

All three were transferred to the Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital in Jenin city for treatment.

Israeli forces also detained three Palestinians, identified as Muhammad Ahmad Abu al-Hayja, Muhammad Ararawi, and Kamal Muhammad Awwad during the raid.

Meanwhile, locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces had raided Beit Fajjar village in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem and delivered interrogation notices to former prisoners of Israel Ibrahim Deiriyeh, Ahmad Taqatqa, and Ahmad Saadeh.

Israeli forces also raided the home of former prisoner of Israel Ahmad Ayed Deiriyeh, who has been exiled by Israel to the besieged Gaza Strip, locals said.

In addition, Israeli forces raided the Marah Maalla village in Bethlehem and delivered an interrogation notice to Mahmoud Muhammad Amr al-Sheikh after raiding his home, locals told Ma’an. … Full article

Israeli settlers throw rocks at Palestinian homes in Hebron city

Ma’an – August 19, 2017

HEBRON – A group of Israeli settlers from the infamously extremist Kiryat Arba settlement in the southern occupied West Bank threw rocks at several Palestinian homes in Hebron city on Friday night — the latest in a marked increase of settler attacks on Palestinians in the district.

Jamal Seifan, a resident of the area, said that Israeli settlers threw rocks at his house and houses belonging to Said Daana, Jamil Seifan, and Abd al-Hay Seifan.

Seifin added that rock-throwing at Palestinian homes and assaults committed by settlers on Palestinians in the neighborhoods of Jaber, Wadi al-Nasara, and al-Salaymeh in Hebron city have seen a sharp increase in recent weeks, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays during Shabbat.

The attacks, Seifin said, were all carried out “under the eyes of the Israeli police and soldiers,” who have consistently failed to protect the local Palestinians. … Full article

A Venezuelan Tanker Is Stranded Off The Louisiana Coast

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | August 17, 2017

A tanker loaded with 1 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude has been stranded for over a month off the coast of Louisiana, not because it can’t sail but as a result of Venezuela’s imploding economy, and its inability to obtain a bank letter of credit to deliver its expensive cargo. It’s the latest sign of the financial troubles plaguing state-run oil company PDVSA in the aftermath of the latest US sanctions against the Maduro regime, and evidence that banks are slashing exposure to Venezuela across the board as the Latin American nation spirals into chaos.

As Reuters reports, following the recently imposed US sanctions, a large number of banks have closed accounts linked to officials of the OPEC member and have refused to provide correspondent bank services or trade in government bonds. The stranded tanker is one direct casualty of this escalation. … continue

The Fourth Branch

By Kary Love | CounterPunch | August 18, 2017

I am a lawyer. My pro bono clients are often those who offer nonviolent resistance to wrongs committed by our own government.

I read that, this week past, some nonviolent resisters entered a nuclear weapons storage facility in Germany.

Damn if it is not a list of many of my clients. These people are incorrigible. Next time at sentencing I will argue jail is a waste of time and public money for those sorts; you just cannot deter some people from a life of “crime.”

What a world, in which those acting peaceably for peace are criminals while those in power ordering the killing of people “for their own good” are not.

I still subscribe to law professor Francis Boyle’s view; nuclear weapons and related materiel are not property–property rights attach to legitimate things, not to criminal instrumentalia that have no use but criminal annihilation.

I’ve argued all this a few times with success and many other times not. As to the juries in cases of nonviolent resistance to injustice or in defense of higher laws, I trust them if they are allowed to hear all germane facts. … continue

‘More wars in the pipeline: Bannon exit bodes ill for US aggression opponents’

RT | August 19, 2017

With the firing of anti-globalist Steve Bannon, neo-conservatives and hawks may take complete control of US foreign policy, says investigative journalist Rick Sterling, adding that it’s not a good sign when hawkish Senator John McCain is smiling.

US President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon – viewed as a key figure in Team Trump – has left the White House.

After the firing, Bannon, 63, resumed his role as head of conservative website Breitbart News, and announced that he was “going to war” for Trump.

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” he told Bloomberg News Friday.

The departure is just the latest in a series of shake-ups since Trump took office.

What will Bannon’s firing mean for the Trump administration and how it could affect policymaking? RT discussed with investigative journalist Rick Sterling.

“Bannon was an anti-globalist strongly opposed by hawkish senators like John McCain… While liberals and neo-conservatives may be cheering, it may bode ill for those who oppose US aggression and think the US should not be the world’s policeman,” he said.

The now-former White House chief strategist was in favor of a trade war with China and “ratcheting up economic contention,” but he was against conflict with North Korea, Sterling said. … continue

Trump is not the problem

By John Andrews | Dissident Voice | August 18, 2017

Ever since he won the US presidency Donald Trump has attracted an unusually high amount of criticism from the mainstream media. This is extraordinary and quite unprecedented. The US president is normally treated by the press like a messiah, destined to lead mankind into some sort of American paradise. But Trump isn’t treated this way, and I don’t know why. He’s certainly no worse than any who preceded him in the last fifty years or more.

It isn’t easy criticising the US government – not because there isn’t much to criticise, but because it’s a fairly scary business: it wields awesome power, and loves to do so. I understand completely why the British government, for example, is its most loyal and sycophantic lieutenant: it’s too terrified to do otherwise. I get that, I understand: America frightens me too.

The US is the most terrifying organisation on the planet by far. No other country, or organisation, even comes close. No one else has spy stations and powerful military bases located in just about every country on earth (and has used them to overthrow more than fifty governments since the end of WW2, and to control the global economy with ruthless self-interest); or is responsible for more environmental destruction. Anyone who isn’t properly terrified of the US is either a foot-soldier, or a beneficiary of their regime, or just doesn’t understand the situation. … continue

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void

Consortium News | August 18, 2017

A cyber-warfare expert sees no technical evidence linking Russia to the Democratic email releases, but The New York Times presses ahead with a new hope that Ukraine can fill the void, reports Robert Parry. – Read article

Lebanon army discovers US-made weapons cache left by Nusra terrorists

Press TV – August 19, 2017

The Lebanese army has discovered a weapons cache left behind by defeated militants from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the northeast of the country.

The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), citing an unnamed official from Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, reported on Friday that a patrol of the intelligence agency had found an ammunition and missile cache in Wadi Hamid Valley east of the border town of Arsal, without providing further details.

However, Reuters quoted an unnamed security source as saying on Friday that the cache contained at least a surface-to air missile (SAM) and a number of US-made TOW anti-tank missiles as well as plenty of other types of shells and rockets. … continue

Correcting Eva Golinger and Jeremy Scahill on Venezuela

By Stansfield Smith | Dissident Voice | August 18, 2017

… The day after Trump threatened to militarily intervene in Venezuela, Jeremy Scahill posted his interview with Eva Golinger on The Intercept, one reinforcing some corporate press distortions of Venezuela under President Maduro. Golinger hardly goes as far in this anti-Maduro campaign as Scahill, who more clearly fits what Shamus Cooke characterized as “the intellectually lazy ‘pox on both houses’ approach that has long-infected the U.S. left.” … Read full article

High priced Fukushima ice wall nears completion, but effectiveness doubtful

Mainichi | August 16, 2017

A subterranean ice wall surrounding the nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to block groundwater from flowing in and out of the plant buildings has approached completion. But while 34.5 billion yen from government coffers has already been invested in the wall, doubts remain about its effectiveness.

In a news conference at the end of July, Naohiro Masuda, president and chief decommissioning officer of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co., stated, “We feel that the ice wall is becoming quite effective.” However, he had no articulate answer when pressed for concrete details, stating, “I can’t say how effective.”

The ice wall is created by circulating a coolant with a temperature of minus 30 degrees Celsius through 1,568 pipes that extend to a depth of 30 meters below the surface around the plant’s reactors. … continue

Israeli forces ban Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem after hours of detention

Ma’an – August 18, 2017

JERUSALEM – Israeli police on Friday released journalist Sabrin Diab, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, under the condition that she observe a one-month ban on entering Jerusalem city, after she was detained on Thursday afternoon at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City as she was en route to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

Diab, a resident of the northern Israeli city of Haifa, told Ma’an that Israeli forces had searched and kept her under the scorching sun for hours on Thursday, without providing a reason. She was then detained and transferred to interrogations at an Israeli police station in Jerusalem.

She was released on bail the following day under the condition that she not enter Jerusalem city for one month. […]

Diab said that the interrogations lasted for seven consecutive hours. She also noted that the interrogations were focused on her activities as a journalist and her writings for the Lebanese newspaper al-Binaa. … Full article

Egypt bans access of Algerian convoy into blockaded Gaza

Palestine Information Center – August 18, 2017

GAZA – The Egyptian authorities prevented an Algerian humanitarian convoy from entering the blockaded Gaza Strip via Rafah border-crossing.

According to the National Movement against the Blockade and for Reconstruction, the ban is disappointing and was issued after the convoy obtained all required permits to pass through the crossing.

The Algerian convoy was carrying much-need medicines and aid items to Gaza’s under-equipped hospitals.

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in the chest with live ammunition in Gaza

Ma’an – August 18, 2017

BETHLEHEM – A unidentified Palestinian “youth” was shot in the chest by Israeli forces with live ammunition near the Israeli-Gaza border on Friday, according to local sources.

According to locals in Gaza, Israeli forces stationed at military watchtowers on the border line east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a group of Palestinian youths “as they approached the border fence,” causing the injury of one youth in his chest with a live bullet.

The injured youth was transferred to the Indonesian hospital in Beit Lahiya, where he was reportedly stabilized. … Full article

Israel to Impose Fines for Commemoration of Nakba

IMEMC News & Agencies – August 17, 2017

Israeli occupation authorities are prepared to impose massive fines on Palestinians who commemorate the Israeli occupation of Palestine, a report revealed on Tuesday.

An Arab member of the Knesset said, according to Days of Palestine, that occupation authorities have decided to fine institutions which rent out space for events organized by non-Jewish citizens, which the state regards as illegal.

“The Israeli measure is against the simplest basics of democracy and free speech,” explained Jamal Zahalkeh MK. “It is racist because it targets Arab citizens and their institutions.”

On Sunday, the Israeli Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit met and agreed on how to implement the so-called “Nakba Law” which first surfaced in 2011.

It stipulates that any institution in receipt of government funds will be fined up to three times of the said funds if it rejects Israel as a “Jewish and democratic” state; incites racism, violence or terrorism; supports armed resistance or terrorist acts against Israel; or commemorates Israel’s “independence day” as Palestinian Nakba Day.

Israel Hayom said that Regev asked for the meeting after reports about an event hosted by a Jaffa theatre in honor of former Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, who was indicted for smuggling telephones to Palestinian security prisoners.

White House welcomes Palestinian students from Gaza

Ma’an – August 18, 2017

BETHLEHEM – US government officials at the White House hosted a welcome reception on Thursday in honor of Palestinian students arriving from Gaza to participate in the YES program which provides scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to study for one academic year in the United States, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency.

US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt hosted the reception that was attended by head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Delegation to the US, Palestinian ambassador to the US Husam Zomlot, representatives from the US Departments of State and Education, as well as representatives of the US agencies sponsoring the student exchange program.

The Head of the PLO Delegation conveyed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ greetings and wishes for success to the students, and his thanks to President Trump and his Special Advisor Mr. Greenblatt for their “support of Palestinian people particularly in the field of education.”

Israel halts construction of school in Bethlehem, despite residents receiving permit

Ma’an – August 18, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities forcibly halted the construction of a school in Jubbet Al-Dhib village in the eastern part of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank on Thursday, despite Palestinians receiving an Israeli-issued building permit for the project.

A representative of a popular resistance committee in Bethlehem Hadan Brejiyeh told Ma’an that Israeli forces, escorted by employees of the Israeli civil administration had “raided the village,” and shut down the construction at the school.

Israeli forces had put a stop to the construction, which consisted of eight mobile structures, and confiscated vehicles belonging to an Italian NGO. The residents said they had received a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit for the project. … Full article

‘Shameful’ Theresa May rejects 9/11 survivors’ appeal to release Saudi Arabia terrorism report

RT | August 18, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected an appeal by survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to publish a report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamic extremism in Britain.

In July, the government announced that the Home Office report, which was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be published because of “national security reasons” and the “vast amount of personal information” it contains.

The announcement that the report, completed six months ago, would be permanently shelved has sparked widespread condemnation amid claims the government is trying to cover up substantial evidence of Saudi Arabia funding terrorist organizations in the UK.

Joining the chorus of opposition, a group of 9/11 survivors signed a public letter to May, urging her to publish the report.

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its center of culpability,” the letter, signed by 15 survivors, read.

“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue.”

The British government has rejected their request, however. … Full article

Rouhani: ISIL, Terrorism Sponsors Example of Arrogance

Al-Manar | August 18, 2017

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said that ISIL terrorist group and its sponsors are prime examples of arrogance and dishonesty in the new world.

During a visit to Iranian martyrs’ families on Thursday, Rouhani praised their sacrifices, stressing that the country’s dignity and independence are the results of martyrs and veterans’ devotion.

He also commemorated the martyrdom of Mohsen Hojajji, a member of the Iranian advisory support team in Syria who was taken captive by ISIL near the Iraqi border last week and beheaded two days later, saying that his self-sacrifice was a source of honor for the nation.

‘If there were not such devotions, not only Iraq and Syria but also Iran itself would be damaged by Takfiiri terrorists,’ he said. … Full article

23 more Syrians dead as US-led coalition bombs Daesh-held Raqqah

Press TV – August 18, 2017

Nearly two dozen civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group conducted a series of aerial assaults in Syria’s militant-held northern city of Raqqah.

Local sources told Arabic-language Sky News Arabia television news network that airstrikes targeted a building in the Tosiyah neighborhood of the city, located about 455 kilometers (283 miles) northeast of the capital Damascus, on Friday, leaving 23 civilians dead.

The sources added that the victims were members of the same family, noting that thirteen children were among the deceased. The attacks left a number of people injured as well.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two separate letters sent to UN Secretary General António Guterres and rotating President of the UN Security Council Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta on Thursday, called on the United Nations to take on its responsibilities concerning the establishment of international peace and security to put an end to the US-led coalition’s crimes against innocent Syrians. … Full article

Syria: As the War Continues, WMD Lies Linger

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 18.08.2017

Despite the now historical lies exposed in the wake of the devastating US invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003, the United States has attempted to use similar lies regarding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) repeatedly as a pretext for similar wars including in neighboring Syria.

The Syrian government – perhaps in an effort to head off another round of accusations,  threats, and direct military aggression carried out by the US – is leveling accusations against the United States itself and terrorist organizations it has funded, armed, and backed for the past 6 years of using chemical weapons – primarily to create a pretext for wider war.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad stated at a press conference that the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun, Idlib chemical attack was staged by US-backed militants, including members of the so-called “White Helmets,” a US and European funded front posing as humanitarian workers but who serve as auxiliaries for listed terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda and its various Syrian affiliates.

As the Syrian military retakes territory from foreign-backed militants, munition warehouses and stockpiles, including those used for the production and deployment of chemical weapons for staged attacks, are being systematically uncovered. In them, chemical weapons – both lethal and nonlethal – provided by the United States and its allies are being discovered.

Mekdad would also point out that the use of chemical weapons by foreign-backed militants did not serve any sort of tactical purpose, but was instead being used as a form of blackmail.

While Western-dominated “international” institutions will likely not accept any evidence provided by the Syrian government – the Syrian government’s narrative emerges as a far more logical explanation for the last 6 years of conflict and accusations made regarding chemical weapon use. … continue

The Neocons Are Pushing the USA and the Rest of the World Towards a Dangerous Crisis

The Saker | Unz Review | August 18, 2017

… I think that what we are seeing today are the first signs of the impending collapse.

The symptoms of the agony

  • Externally, the US foreign policy is basically “frozen” and in lieu of a foreign policy we now only have a long series of empty threats hurled at a list of demonized countries which are now promised “fire and brimstone” should they dare to disobey Uncle Sam. While this makes for good headlines, this does not qualify as a “policy” of any kind (I discussed this issue at length during my recent interview with SouthFront). And then there is Congress which has basically stripped Trump from his powers to conduct foreign policy. This bizarre, and illegal, form of a “vote of no-confidence” further hammers in the message that Trump is either a madman, a traitor, or both.
  • Internally, the latest riots in Charlottesville now being blamed on Trump who, after being a Putin agent is now further demonized as some kind of Nazi (see Paul Craig Roberts’ first and second warnings about this dynamic)
  • Organizationally, it is clear that Trump is surrounded by enemies as illustrated by the absolutely outrageous fact that he can’t even talk to a foreign head of state without having the transcript of his conversation leaked to the Ziomedia.

I believe that these all are preparatory steps to trigger a major crisis and use it to remove Trump, either by a process of impeachment, or by force under the pretext of some crisis. … Read full article

A De-Putin-Nazification of America Update

By CJ Hopkins | CounterPunch | August 18, 2017

So the de-Putin-Nazification of America couldn’t be going much better at the moment. In terms of emotionally manipulating people (and especially any heretofore wayward members of the American “left”) into forming a mindless, hysterical mob and running around like headless chickens branding anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton a goose-stepping Nazi, this past week has been a huge success. At this point, if you haven’t yet posted an anti-Nazi loyalty oath on Twitter, Facebook, or some other platform, you’re a potential “Nazi sympathizer” … and you don’t want to be one of those, now do you? No, I didn’t think you did. So, if you haven’t done that, you’d better get on it. Here are few tips to get you started. … continue

Uh Oh, ANTIFA: The Entire State Of Virginia Is Named After A Slave-Trader

By Anders Hagstrom – Daily Caller – 08/16/2017

Antifa clashed with white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., over a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but the state itself is named after the woman who brought slavery to the Americas.

Queen Elizabeth I, also known as The Virgin Queen, reigned from 1533 to 1603 and sponsored the expansion of the English slave trade into the British colonies of America and India, according to the national archives of the U.K.

When Virginia gained statehood 1788, it owed its name to the late queen.

Antifa, a violent group of left-wing radicals who are known to destroy symbols they deem “problematic,” has yet to voice concerns about two of America’s most storied states paying homage to the Virgin Queen. … Full article

Virginia State Police Say They Didn’t Find Caches of Weapons in Charlottesville

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said police found weapons stashed by white nationalists. Police say they didn’t.

C.J. Ciaramella | Reason | August 16, 2017

Contradicting statements by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia State Police say they did not find caches of weapons stashed around Charlottesville in advance of last Saturday’s deadly white nationalist rally.

In an interview Monday on the Pod Save the People podcast, hosted by Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, McAuliffe claimed the white nationalists who streamed into Charlottesville that weekend hid weapons throughout the town.

“They had battering rams and we had picked up different weapons that they had stashed around the city,” McAuliffe told Mckesson.

McAuliffe’s comments were picked up by other news outlets and spread through social media. But Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, says that no such stashes were found. … Full article

Julian Assange pardon inches closer as true source of DNC leak may finally be exposed

Julian Assange may be pardoned for providing intelligence on the facts behind the DNC leak

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | August 18, 2017

The Duran reported that on Tuesday, US Congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher had a private meeting with Julian Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Rohrabacher is known as a strong Trump supporter and something of a foreign policy maverick who was once in the running to be Trump’s Secretary of State.

Rohrabacher confirmed that after speaking with Assange…

it was clear that Russia had no role in leaking the infamous DNC emails which further destroyed Hillary Clinton’s credibility as an honest and competent would-be leader.

Julian Assange has refused to divulge any information on the meeting.

Now, in breaking news, The Gateway Pundit is reporting that Rep. Rohrabacher says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be pardoned by President Trump for providing information about the source of Democrat National Committee emails leaked during the 2016 presidential election. … continue

Who do you trust when it comes to NDP leadership candidates?

By Yves Engler · August 18, 2017

Like bears attracted to spawning salmon, politicians seek out power. The former needs to build stores of fat to survive the winter, while the latter must attract the resources and support necessary for successful electoral campaigns. Given the survival imperative, neither bear nor politician should be criticized too harshly for what comes naturally. But, the two best ways to judge politicians are by taking a look at whom they choose to gather resources from and what they are prepared to do to get them.

At worst politicians pander to society’s wealthiest and reactionary social forces, further solidifying their grip on the economic and political system. At best they seek out progressive grassroots and labour organizations, collecting the necessary resources from ordinary people while amplifying their influence.

It’s within this context that one should understand Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh’s trip to Israel with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. At the start of the year the current NDP leadership candidate took an organized trip there and met to discuss it with Galit Baram, Israel’s consul general in Toronto. … continue

ACLU settles torture case with CIA-contracted psychologists

RT | August 17, 2017

The ACLU has declared a “historic victory” following the settlement of its lawsuit against two CIA-contracted psychologists involved in torturing suspects and developing the agency’s ‘enhanced interrogation program.’ The terms are confidential.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT that while the settlement is historic, he is disappointed on three fronts.

American Civil Liberties Union attorneys, acting on behalf of three plaintiffs who claimed they were tortured, said it’s the first time the CIA, or its private contractors, had been held accountable for torturing suspects. … continue

Why Are Syrian Refugees Running Back To This Evil Dictator Who Likes To Kill Them?

By Caitlin Johnstone | Medium | August 15, 2017

Al Jazeera, not often known to rock the establishment boat when it comes to the official narrative about Syria, has published an interesting new report on some recent findings of the International Organization for Migration. According to IOM, nearly 603,000 Syrian refugees returned to their homes in Syria between January and July of 2017.

And, naturally, those hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians who are returning home are all returning to areas that are securely protected from the bloodthirsty tyrant Bashar al-Assad by the Freedom Fighters and Moderate Rebels who oppose him, right? They’d never willfully return to an area ruled by a sadistic dictator who routinely drops barrel bombs on his own people for no reason and kills children with poison gas, would they?

Well yes, if you believe the things that the western mass media have been saying about Assad, they would. IOM reports that of those displaced Syrians returning home this year, about 400,000 of them were coming home to their city of Aleppo, which was fully recaptured by pro-Assad forces in December.

You remember Aleppo, don’t you? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; corporate media outlets hardly ever talk about it anymore. It’s almost like they want us to forget the horror stories they told us about how the city that had been occupied by good, noble freedom fighters was about to be taken by an army of depraved psychopaths who wanted to rape women, burn children alive, and shoot civilians in their homes. Back at the tail end of 2016, though, it was all you ever heard. If the west didn’t intervene to stop Damascus and Moscow from retaking East Aleppo from the good-hearted rebels, everyone there would be raped, tortured, and butchered by the army of the Syrian government.

But oh my my, it sure is odd and peculiar and funny and interesting that hundreds of thousands of Syrians can’t wait to get back there. This same bloodthirsty government which wanted nothing more than to slaughter, rape and destroy them still controls the region, but people have been running back to rebuild their city anyway.

What’s up with that? … continue

Still Spinning On Libya

By James W. Carden | Consortium News | August 17, 2017

In recent weeks, the Washington Post’s Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan has published a series of remarkable dispatches from war-torn Libya, which is still reeling from the aftermath of NATO’s March 2011 intervention and the subsequent overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

On July 2, Raghavan reported on what amounts to Libya’s modern-day slave trade. According to his report, Libya is “now home to a thriving trade in humans. Unable to pay exorbitant smuggling fees or swindled by traffickers, some of the world’s most desperate people are being held as slaves, tortured or forced into prostitution.”

The numbers help tell the tale. “The number of migrants departing from Libya is surging,” writes Raghavan, “with more than 70,000 arriving in Italy so far this year, a 28 percent increase over the same period last year.”

On August 1, Raghavan returned to the pages of the Post with a disturbing portrait of life in Tripoli, reporting that: “Six years after the revolution that toppled dictator Moammar Gaddafi, the mood in this volatile capital is a meld of hopelessness and gloom. Diplomatic and military efforts by the United States and its allies have failed to stabilize the nation; the denouement of the crisis remains far from clear. Most Libyans sense that the worst is yet to come.”

Raghavan notes that “Under Gaddafi, the oil-producing country was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations.” Under his rule, “Libyans enjoyed free health care, education and other benefits under the eccentric strongman’s brand of socialism.” It would be difficult not to see, Raghavan writes, “the insecurity that followed Gaddafi’s death has ripped apart the North African country.”

Taken together, Raghavan’s reports should come as a rude shock to stalwart supporters of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Yet the embarrassing fervor with which many embraced the intervention remains largely undiminished – with, as we will see, one notable exception. … continue

America refuses to pause military drills in South Korea

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | August 17, 2017

A day after Donald Trump praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for his “wise and well-reasoned” response to the current crisis, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, has said something that is both unwise and unreasonable.

While in Beijing working on establishing a communications hotline with China in order to avoid future conflicts, Dunford said something which demonstrates that the United States is continuing to ignore China and Russia’s joint request to cease all military drills and missile tests in and around South Korea.

When asked if the US still intends to go through with its scheduled drill in South Korea, Dunford stated, “My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises. The exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself. As long as the threat in North Korea exists, we need to maintain a high state of readiness to respond to that threat”.

This patently uncooperative statement came hours after the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the following statement, “China believes that dialogue and consultations are the only effective avenue to resolve the peninsula issue, and that military means cannot become an option”.

The US will doubtlessly always be on alert in the region and so too will North Korea always be prepared to defend itself against the kind of US aggression that destroyed the country during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953.

However, Dunford’s remarks demonstrate that the US still has both of its proverbial feet firmly on a military footing, although for the sake of cooperation, every one ought to be walking towards diplomatic engagement. Until Washington and Pyongyang speak directly as China and Russia have been imploring them both to do, the conflict will remain in a tense, however frozen state.

Israeli forces demolish homes in Bedouin villages in southern Israel

Ma’an – August 17, 2017

NEGEV – Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian homes on Thursday morning in several Bedouin villages in the Negev of southern Israel for allegedly being built without Israeli-issued building permits, locals told Ma’an.

According to locals, Israeli authorities demolished a house belonging to Salman Abu Sabileh in Umm Qabu village, while two other homes were demolished in al-Atrash and al-Sayyid villages.

Meanwhile, locals in Umm al-Hiran village in the Negev told Ma’an that clashes had erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli police forces after they raided the village to carry out demolitions. However, there were no reports of demolitions being carried out.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Locals have noted that Israeli authorities have escalated a demolition campaign against Palestinian villages in the Negev since last Tuesday. … Full article

Israeli forces blow up home of slain Palestinian in Ramallah-area village

Ma’an – August 17, 2017

RAMALLAH – In a raid Thursday morning on the Ramallah-area village of Deir Abu Mashaal in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces blew up the home of slain Palestinian Adel Hassan Ahmad Ankoush, who was killed by Israeli forces in June along with two other Palestinians after the three carried out a deadly shooting and stabbing attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left an Israeli border police officer dead.

Locals told Ma’an that the Israeli army raided Ankoush’s family home and set up explosives around the house, as other forces surrounded Deir Abu Mashaal and deployed across all entrances to the village, while drones hovered overhead.

According to locals, a fire erupted after the army set off the explosives, after which time Palestinian Civil Defense firefighters arrived on the scene to put out the fire. … Full article

Canadian NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton stands out on Palestine, including prisoners’ struggle

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – August 17, 2017

Many Canadian progressive and social justice organizers have expressed support for the leadership campaign of Niki Ashton in the New Democratic Party, particularly in relation to her expressed support for Palestinian rights. Ashton, a Member of Parliament from Manitoba, came under attack from Zionist organizations, including B’nai Brith Canada, for her participation in a rally in commemoration of the Nakba and in support of Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike in May 2017.

In particular, right-wing Zionist organizations attacked Ashton for speaking in front of a sign urging freedom for imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretaty of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following the attacks, rather than backing down, Ashton reiterated her support for Palestinian rights and noted that it was “powerful to join many at a rally in solidarity with those on hunger strike in Palestine.”

While the NDP is known as the more progressive major party in Canadian politics, it has, in particular in recent years, participated in the broad Canadian ruling-class political support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. While NDP parliamentarians have taken a stand against attempts to ban campaigning for BDS, party officials have also joined in denunciations of Israeli Apartheid Week events, the global week of campus organizing that began over a decade ago in Toronto, and BDS organizing.

In 2005, candidates were purged from the parliamentary nominations list for their support for Palestinian rights. Ashton denounced this action, noting in an interview that “I am the only candidate in the leadership race that has identified what our party did to those that ran for us but then were treated so poorly because of their stance on Palestine. It’s totally unacceptable. We obviously, of course, shouldn’t have people who don’t share our values running for our party– However, justice for Palestine and all oppressed people IS one of our values.”

Ashton, however, has found wide support among progressive youth, not only for her support for Palestine but for her broadly leftist positions within the party on labor issues, the environment, the Black Lives Matter movement and Indigenous struggles. Ashton denounced actions to remove the term “socialism” from the NDP’s constitution. Groups like Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University and the Palestine Aid Society have expressed support officially for Ashton’s candidacy. … Full article

UN Calls for Syria Peace Talks in Oct./Nov.

Al-Manar | August 17, 2017

The United Nations hopes for “serious negotiation” between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian “opposition” in October or November this year, the U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

“Regarding the [Syrian] government, we are counting very much on Russia, on Iran, on anyone who has got major influence, and on the government of Syria to be ready finally to initiate when they are invited to Geneva, a genuine, direct negotiation with whatever [opposition] platform comes out,” he told reporters.

De Mistura also said that a letter from Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu in August had paved the way for Russian military police to be staged along the route of a U.N.-Red Cross convoy which reached Douma in eastern Gouta near Damascus on Thursday, the first time since May.

De Mistura added that the aid convoys are being prepared to be sent to Foaa & Kefraya in addition to other towns.

Six Civilians Killed by US-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Syrian Deir Ez-Zor

Sputnik – 17.08.2017

The US-led coalition’s airstrikes on the Syrian eastern province of Deir Ez-Zor have claimed lives of six civilians, including three children, media reported Thursday, citing local sources.

The homes of civilians in a number of towns in the Syrian province have been shelled for two days by the coalition’s airstrikes, which also caused material damage to private and public properties as well as to the infrastructure, the SANA news agency reported.

According to the agency, at least 17 people fell victims of coalition’s airstrike on Wednesday in the Syrian city of Raqqa, a stronghold of Daesh terrorist group, outlawed in Russia and in the United States.

Earlier in the day, Damascus called on the UN Security Council to “stop the US-led coalition’s crimes against Syrian citizens,” a statement issued by the Syrian Foreign Ministry said. … Full article

Korea and Venezuela: Flip Sides of the Same Coin

By Jacob G. Hornberger | Future of Freedom Foundation | August 14, 2017

By suggesting that he might order a U.S. regime-change invasion of Venezuela, President Trump has inadvertently shown why North Korea has been desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons — to serve as a deterrent or defense against one of the U.S. national-security state storied regime-change operations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Venezuela and, for that matter, other Third World countries who stand up to the U.S. Empire, also seeking to put their hands on nuclear weapons. What better way to deter a U.S. regime-change operation against them?

Think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. national-security establishment had initiated a military invasion of the Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, had exhorted President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during that invasion, and then had recommended that the president implement a fraudulent pretext (i.e., Operation Northwoods) for a full-scale military invasion of Cuba.

That’s why Cuba, which had never initiated any acts of aggression against the United States, wanted Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro knew that there was no way that Cuba could defeat the United States in a regular, conventional war. Everyone knows that the military establishment in the United States is so large and so powerful that it can easily smash any Third World nation, including Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela. … continue

Russia throws weight behind Iran’s missile program

Press TV – August 16, 2017

Iran’s defensive missile program is part of its “national interests,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, asserting that the new US sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its missile activities are “illegitimate” and only harm the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1.

Speaking to reporters in a news conference on Wednesday, Lavrov said Iran’s development of an array of ballistic missiles was not in violation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, adopted in July 2015 to endorse the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.)

“The missile program is Iran’s internal affair. Iran is not prohibited from having it,” Lavrov said. “The UN Security Council’s resolution contains no legal bans on that score.” … continue

Russia Summons 3 Ambassadors Over Poland’s Sobibor Museum Renovation

Sputnik – 17.08.2017

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned ambassadors of the three countries, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Israel, that decided to continue their activities in the project to renovate the museum in the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland’s Sobibor without Moscow’s participation, the ministry’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Russian side was invited to join Israel, Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia in the project for the renovation of the museum and memorial site in Sobibor in 2013. However, in July Moscow received an official message from Warsaw that the project would continue without Russia’s participation. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its disappointment with Warsaw’s refusal to allow Moscow to participate in the project. … Full article

Question Al Gore on climate change and he’ll call you a ‘denier’

By Ross Clark | The Spectator | August 2017

… The former vice president was in London last week to promote his new film and I, along with the world’s press, was invited to a private screening before being allotted an entire eight minutes talking with the great man.

An Inconvenient Sequel is an odd film. Billed as a film about global warming, it is really about Gore himself. It starts with him plodding around on a glacier in Greenland, but much of its running time is devoted to scenes which really have nothing to do with the subject — other, perhaps, than that they depict a lifestyle somewhat at odds with a man preaching the need to cut carbon emissions. Gore is seen driving a large Jeep to visit his childhood home, and jetting off around the world. As for the scenes of his failed presidential campaign in 2000 and the Bataclan massacre in Paris in 2015, I fail to see what they have to do with climate change.

But one scene catches my eye and makes me want to look into the subject more deeply. The film cuts from Gore on his melting glacier to a flooded street in Miami Beach, with a voice-over from Gore making a strong connection between the two — the melt-water from Greenland is already spilling over the streets of US cities. An elderly Miami resident is seen telling Gore that the streets never used to flood when he was young. The implication is that sea-level rise is happening frighteningly quickly — and it is all down to carbon emissions, if not nature’s revenge for all those hanging chads which denied him victory in Florida and therefore the 2000 presidential election.

It caught my eye because it reminded me of an issue of accuracy which Gore encountered with his first film, An Inconvenient Truth, in 2006. In a High Court ruling over whether the film could be shown in schools, Mr Justice Barton ruled that while it was ‘broadly accurate’, it contained nine ‘significant errors’. One of them concerned a claim that sea levels could rise by 20 feet in the near future due to the melting of ice in Greenland or the west Antarctica ice sheet — something the judge ruled to be ‘distinctly alarmist’. Another involved a false claim that residents of Pacific atolls had already been forced to evacuate to New Zealand due to sea-level rise.

Not being a climate scientist, the threat of sea-level rise is not something on which I feel qualified to propound, but I wasn’t going to take Gore’s word for it — not least because he is no more a climate scientist than I am. So I got in touch with Shimon Wdowinski, associate professor of marine geology and geophysics at the Florida International University, who has studied the flooding problem in Miami — exactly the sort of expert, one might think, with whom Gore or his team of researchers might have been in touch before making a documentary film involving the issue of flooding in Miami.

Wdowinski — who said that he had had no contact with Gore or his team — did not refute the connection between sea-level rise and glacier melt, but suggested it is more complex than Gore’s film makes out. Over the past decade and a half, sea levels in Miami and along the rest of the eastern seaboard of the United States, have taken an upwards jolt and are currently rising by between 6mm and 9mm a year. However, the long-term rise in sea levels — caused by a combination of melting ice and thermal expansion of the oceans — is only 2mm. The rest is short-term variability caused by changes in ocean currents. Interestingly, there may be some link between meltwater from Greenland and the change in ocean currents — Wdowinski has identified a similar short-term uplift in the rate of sea-level rise in Florida in the 1940s, when temperatures in Greenland saw a temporary upwards blip and were as high as they are now. But these findings he describes as only ‘preliminary’. He has also investigated another factor behind flooding in Miami — subsidence in parts of the city which are built on reclaimed swamps. Satellite measurements reveal that some streets now lie 16 to 24cm lower than they did 80 years ago — which might explain why long-established residents are seeing places flood which never used to flood when they were young.

When I put all this to Al Gore and ask him whether his film would be stronger if it acknowledged the complexities of sea level rise — why it is rising in some places and not in others — I am expecting him to bat it away, saying that it doesn’t counter his central point and that there is a limit to what you can put into a film pitched at a mass audience, but his reaction surprises me. As soon as I mention Professor Wdowinski’s name, he counters: ‘Never heard of him — is he a denier?’ Then, as I continue to make the point, he starts to answer before directing it at me: ‘Are you a denier?’ When I say I am sure that climate change is a problem, but how big a one I don’t know, he jumps in: ‘You are a denier.’

That is a strange interpretation of the word ‘deny’, I try to say. But his PR team moves in and declares ‘Time’s up’… Full article

Implementing Single Payer is Not Rocket Science

By Dr. Ida Hellander | Health Over Profit

Liberals have created a new single payer bogeyman to justify their renewed pursuit of failed incremental policies for health reform (“Medicare for All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care” by Joshua Holland, The Nation, August 2). It used to be that single payer was not “politically feasible”. Now, according to the likes of Joshua Holland, Harold Pollack, and Dean Baker, it’s that single payer advocates haven’t worked out a plan to “implement” single payer, or the “brass tacks.”

In fact, implementation is the easy part of health reform. The Canada Health Act is less than 14 pages long, and is only that long because it is also printed in French.  … continue