Aletho News


Current News and Analysis

Palestinian-American Groups Withdraw from Women’s March in Protest of Pro-Israel Speaker, Scarlett Johannson

Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2018

NBC reported that three Palestinian human rights groups pulled out of the Los Angeles Women’s March Saturday after it was announced that one of the featured speakers was actress Scarlett Johannson, who promoted SodaStream, a beverage company that owns a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

A former OXFAM ambassador, Johannson resigned her position with the humanitarian organization after criticism for supporting and promoting the support of Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

The Southern California branch of the Palestinian Women’s Organization made a statement on their Facebook page about the decision to pull out of the march… continue

Iran: Turkey operation must not harm Syria’s sovereignty

Press TV – January 21, 2018

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says Turkish military operations in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin must not harm the Arab country’s territorial integrity, independence and national sovereignty.

In a telephone conversation with Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar on Sunday, Baqeri said Turkey must give assurances that it does not covet any part of the Syrian soil.

Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch,” a new air and ground operation targeting the Afrin region, on Friday to oust the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The senior Iranian commander emphasized that such moves should not pave the way for the enemies of the Syrian nation and the Muslim world, particularly the United States and its allies, to exploit the situation to achieve their own goals.

“These military measures should not harm tripartite political negotiations and the Astana [peace] talks, which have so far managed to produce success,” Baqeri said.

Turkey, Iran and Russia are the guarantors of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria. The three have been mediating a peace process since January 2016 among Syria’s warring sides in Astana, Kazakhstan.

As part of the Astana format, four de-escalation zones have been established across Syria amid ongoing political efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in the country. … Full article

The NSA Is a Blackmail Agency

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | January 21, 2018

The main function of the National Security Administration is to collect the dirt on members of the house and senate, the staffs, principal contributors, and federal judges. The dirt is used to enforce silence about the crimes of the security agencies.

The blackmail mechanism was put into gear the minute the news reported that the House Intelligence Committee had assembled proof that the FBI, DOJ, and DNC created Russiagate as a conspiracy to unseat President Trump. Members of Congress with nothing to hide demanded the evidence be released to the public. Of course, it was to be expected that release of the facts would be denounced by Democrats, but Republicans, such as Rep. Mike Conaway (R, Texas), himself a member of the committee, joined in the effort to protect the Democrats and the corrupt FBI and DOJ from exposure. Hiding behind national security concerns, Conaway opposes revealing the classified information. “That’d be real dangerous,” he said.

As informed people know, 95% of the information that is classified is for purposes that have nothing to do with national security. The House Intelligence Committee memo has no information in it related to any security except that of Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Hillary, Obama, Mueller, Rosenstein, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, the DNC, and the presstitute media. The logical assumption is that every member of Congress opposed to informing the American public of the Russiagate conspiracy to unseat the President of the United States is being blackmailed by the security agencies who planned, organized, and implemented the conspiracy against the President of the United States and American democracy.

American insouciance is a great enabler of the ability of the security agencies and their media whores to control the explanations.

Court rejects school’s effort to dismiss free speech lawsuit

By Tyler Cochran | Campus Reform | January 19, 2018

Pierce College will have to defend the constitutionality of its policies restricting speech to just 0.003 percent of campus after a judge rejected its motion to dismiss a student’s lawsuit.

With help from attorneys at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), student Kevin Shaw sued the school in March after administrators refused to let him distribute copies of the Constitution outside of the school’s “free speech zone,” which encompasses just 616 square feet of the 426-acre campus.

Shaw was also told he must fill out a permit application to use the free speech zone, and that he would have to leave campus if he refused to comply, which the school’s defense attorneys have sought to justify by arguing that the campus is a “non-public forum.”

According to the court order, the motion was dismissed in part because “given the traditional purpose of the open, outdoor areas of universities, such as the ‘Mall’ on Pierce’s campus, the Court finds that these areas are traditional public fora, regardless of Pierce’s regulations naming them non-public fora.” … continue

‘Executed’ North Koreans return to life

RT | January 21, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is famous in Western media for executing people that fall out of his favor – though some seem to have found the knack of returning from the dead.

Reports regularly surface on Kim’s latest means of execution, ranging from the relatively mundane firing squad to the theatrical, or even cartoonish – such as feeding foes to packs of starving dogs or roasting them with flame-throwers. … continue

Twitter and Facebook and Russia: Consider the numbers

left i on the news | January 20, 2018

Remember how we were initially told that “Russia” (in quotes, because we have no idea who actually placed these ads, whether they had any relationship to the Russian government, or whether they were Russian at all) placed 3000 ads on Facebook? Only to learn later that 56% of them were placed after the election, 25% of them were never shown to anyone, 50% had ad budgets less than $3, and 99% of them had ad budgets less than $1000? Leaving approximately 14 ads seen during the election which had a budget exceeding $1000. And by the way virtually none of these ads mentioned Trump or Clinton at all; most dealt with issues like Black Lives Matter or gun rights. How that had an influence on the election is never quite specified. We’re told this is because Russia is trying to encourage “divisiveness” in America. As if we aren’t doing quite well on that score all by ourselves, with a little assist from FOX and MSNBC, and why that would effect that election anyway isn’t clear. Oh and most of those ads were geographically targeted, and some of the ones that were were targeted to non-“swing states”. … continue

Israel won’t prosecute embassy guard over Jordan shootings

MEMO | January 21, 2018

Israel will not prosecute a guard from its embassy in Amman who killed two Jordanians in July, as had long been demanded by the kingdom, two Israeli sources said to Reuters on Sunday.

Instead, the Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet security agency will review protocols surrounding the actions taken by the guard, Ze’ev Moyal, and his conduct, “and share the results with the Jordanians”, a diplomatic source said. … continue

New Israeli police station built on Palestinian land in Salfit

Palestine Information Center – January 21, 2018

SALFIT – The Israeli occupation authorities have finalized the construction of a police station in Ariel settlement outpost, north of Salfit province.

Speaking with the Palestinian Information Center, eye-witnesses said the new multi-story building is the largest in the area.

Researcher Khaled Maali said the construction of a police station in Ariel settlement contravenes international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Dr. Maali warned that Israel’s settlement expansion in Ariel outpost has come at the expense of Palestinians’ cultivated lands in Salfit’s Eskaka, Merda, Keiri, and Kafl Haris towns.

Israeli occupation forces detain farmers, TV crew west of Salfit

Palestine Information Center – January 21, 2018

Israeli occupation forces detained Palestinian farmers in Kafr ad-Dik town, west of Salfit in the West Bank, as well as members of a media crew in a nearby area on Sunday morning.

Palestine TV reporter Mohamed Ashtiya said that Israeli soldiers detained him for a while and confiscated his ID card, adding that he was along with a crew from the channel when soldiers intercepted their vehicle as they were heading for the town.

The TV crew was on its way to cover Israeli settlement expansion activities taking place on annexed land in Kafr ad-Dik town.

Is A “Great War” on Israel’s Horizon?

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | January 21, 2018

After more than a century the Zionists seem poised to deliver the coup-de-grace to Palestine, by annexing the West Bank. Limited in the first place to the settlements, it would be the forerunner to the annexation of the entire territory. The status of the Palestinian population would continue to be held in limbo until a permanent solution appears. After annexation, some might leave. The greater the number the greater the satisfaction for Israel, but two mass expulsions have taught the Palestinians that they must stay. There could still be a third wave of expulsions, with war again providing the smokescreen and, again, war is beckoning. … continue

Erdogan accuses allies of sending ‘thousands of planeloads’ and ‘truckloads of arms’ to Kurds

RT | January 21, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned on Ankara’s allies, insinuating that the US in particular has been providing massive military support to Kurdish YPG in Syria.

In a speech to his ruling AK Party Erdogan said that ‘some allies’ of Turkey had provided the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia with 2,000 planeloads and 5,000 truckloads of weapons.

“Now, apart from 5,000 trucks, there are weapons and ammunition from around 2,000 planes.” the Turkish leader said. He also accused Ankara’s allies of dishonesty when they say that they do not provide weapons for “terrorists,” referring to Kurdish-linked YPG forces.

The president also vowed to hand over Afrin to its “real owners,” explaining that he aims to return 3.5 million refugees back to Syria from Turkey as soon as possible.

This weekend, Turkey began operation ‘Olive Branch’ against Kurdish forces in Afrin, deploying jets and land forces.

Turkish Jets Hit Menagh Airbase Used by US to Supply Arms to Kurds – Reports

Sputnik – 20.01.2018

The Turkish Air Force attacked the Menagh Military Airbase in northwestern Syria, which the US used for supplying weapons to Kurdish armed forces, the Hurriyet newspaper reported citing military sources.

The newspaper noted that the airfield was among the 113 targets scheduled for the attack during Operation Olive Branch in Syrian Africa.

Commenting on the Olive Branch operation, launched earlier in the day, Turkey’ General Staff announced that more than 70 Turkish military aircraft have been engaged in the offensive. … Full article

Russian MoD accuses US of stirring up tensions in northern Syria with arms supplies

RT | January 20, 2018

The US is fuelling the crisis in northern Syria and the ongoing Turkish military operation against the Kurds through reckless weapon supplies to pro-American rebel groups, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said.

“The Pentagon’s uncontrolled deliveries of modern weaponry to the pro-US militants in the north of Syria, including, according to our information, contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions and prompted the Turkish special operation,” the ministry said Saturday.

The “provocative actions” of Washington – the announcement of the creation of “border forces” and other activities aimed at the “disintegration of Syrian sovereignty, and supporting armed militant groups” have triggered an “extremely negative” reaction from Ankara, the ministry noted.

The ongoing Turkish military operation has prompted Russian forces, stationed in the region, to regroup and relocate military police units and Reconciliation Center operatives to the village of Tell-Adjar to the east of the city of Afrin. Russia continues to monitor the situation and is ready to provide help to civilians fleeing the combat zones, the ministry said in a separate statement. … Full article

Oligarch Jeff Bezos

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | January 17, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $105 billion and is the richest man in the world. But he is not just the richest man at this moment in history. He is the richest person who has ever lived. As of 2017 he and seven other billionaires had a collective net worth equal to that of the poorest 3.6 billion people on earth.

These figures have been in the news of late but without much useful analysis. The corporate media refuse to state what is obvious. Namely that inequality is worse around the world precisely because these super rich people demand it.

While pundits and politicians go on breathlessly about oligarchs in Russia, they seldom take a look at the wealthiest in their own backyard and the control they exert over the lives of millions of people. When Amazon announced it would choose a site for its new headquarters, cities across the country began a furious race to the bottom. Amazon is not alone in the thievery department. Major corporations like Walmart always request and receive public property and public funds in order to do business. … continue

This Does Not Represent the Views of the University

By Maximilian Forte | Zero Anthropology | January 20, 2018

I know that I am not the first person to ask this, but when did universities start having “views”? When some professors indulge their rights to free speech or put academic freedom into practice, they can sometimes express views that some members of the public find controversial, distasteful, or reprehensible. In such cases, one frequently reads their university administrations publishing memos to the effect that, “Professor X’s views on Subject Y do not represent the views of the university”. What does that mean? Has “the university” studied the subject to the same degree as the professor, thus allowing it to conclude its views are the correct ones? Was the professor supposed to be instructed on the correct views to represent, since the job of professor apparently means not having an independent mind? Does it mean that Professor X does not represent the views of all professors and students at the university? How could anyone ever assume that one professor spoke for all others? Does it instead mean that the professor does not represent the views of those in the administration? The support staff? If so, who cares? And where exactly did the university administration publish its “party line”? When I was twice hired for tenure-track positions, the one thing I recall no Dean ever telling me was: “Here is a list of the views of the university. Only if you uphold these views can you consider working here. Should you ever express any differing views, you may be subjected to disciplinary action”. Nonetheless, the attitude of some university administrations in North America is that they have a right to publicly castigate faculty for not toeing the line. It is as if “the university” has been reduced to working as a mere cell of a ruling political party. … continue

David Smilde concedes US sanctions kill Venezuelans, but argues the price is worth it

By Joe Emersberger | Z Blogs | January 16, 2018

US liberals have always preferred to have the US government use economic strangulation against its enemies rather than military force. They’ve also, much more than “conservatives”, stressed the importance of having accomplices (“allies” is common euphemism).

David Smilde, in a New York Times op-ed, stated that a US military invasion of Venezuela would be “folly”. Actually it would be a major crime, but liberals very rarely describe the barbarism of their own government properly.  Hence Madeleine Albright’s infamous slip up when she said publicly that 5000 dead Iraqi children per month from US imposed sanctions was “worth it”.  The fact that a huge crime is causally discussed in the NYT op-ed section by Smilde also speaks volumes about the perversion of US political culture.

Smilde supports U.S. economic sanctions on Venezuela which is going through a major economic crisis. In other words, he supports making the crisis worse to give “leverage” to the opposition. Incidentally, almost nobody cares to notice, but U.S. sanctions are illegal. … continue

Germany stops arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Press TV – January 20, 2018

Germany has stopped selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and almost all of its allies waging war on Yemen, in a decision likely to have both an impact on the Riyadh regime and a domino effect on other Western and non-Western countries exporting arms to Saudi Arabia.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday that the Federal Security Council was no longer issuing export licenses that “are not in accordance with the conclusion of the exploratory talks,” Germany’s official DPA news agency reported.

The official was referring to ongoing negotiations among the German political factions of the Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union, and Social Democrats on the formation of a new coalition government. … continue

General Says Turning Point in Yemen Conflict is Close at Hand

Sputnik – 20.01.2018

The armed forces of the Houthi-controlled government in the Yemeni capital Sana’a have boosted their air defenses to a point where they no longer need to fear airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition forces, army spokesman Sharaf Luqman said, in an interview with Sputnik.

Brigadier-General Luqman said that the army now has all it needs to repel “enemy aggression” at sea, on the ground and in the air.

“The Yemeni army has taken over many enemy strongholds, which has changed the situation on the battlefield,” the general said.

“These are depots with arms for the Air Force, night-vision cameras, ballistic missiles and launchers. This answers questions about where we are getting weapons amid the current blockade; who who is helping us; and whether Iran is supplying us with ballistic missiles and military advisors,” he added.

He said that in the next few days, the Sana’a army would “greatly surprise” coalition forces. … Full article

US caught in a cleft stick in northern Syria

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | January 20, 2018

The Syrian war is taking a momentous turn with a full-fledged Turkish military operation on the northern Syrian town of Afrin having begun on Saturday. President Recep Erdogan announced today that a ground operation has also been launched alongside artillery bombardment and air strikes. He said an operation against the town of Manbij, some 140 miles to the east, will follow later. (See the Google map here.)

Afrin and Manbij are presently controlled by the Syrian Kurdish forces aligned with the US. The US, which has 5 bases in northern Syria in the territories controlled by the Kurdish militia, has directly helped the occupation of Manbij by the Kurdish militia in 2016. Thus, the Turkish operation signifies a strategic defiance of the US. Washington had repeatedly urged Ankara against making any military moves against the Kurdish militia. … continue

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse

By Eva Bartlett | January 20, 2018

… The myth of Snopes as a reliable, neutral, fact checker is as dead as the myth of the White Helmets as neutral, volunteer, rescuers in Syria. … Read full article

Syrians begin re-populating the Euphrates valley – including Abu Kamal city – under army protection

By Andrew Illingworth – AMN – 20/01/2018

Internally displaced Syrians who originate from the middle Euphrates valley region have begun to return to their homes under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries.

Opposition sources report that the Damascus government is allowing internally displaced Syrian civilians to return to their homes across the various cities, towns and villages that span the western side (controlled by pro-government forces) of the middle Euphrates valley region.

Reports clarify that civilians have been returned to the city of Abu Kamal as well as the towns and villages of as-Sukkariyah, al-Hamdan, Al-Hiri and as-Suwayyah. Numbers have not been specified and will probably not be until reported by government sources.

The rapid spread of ISIS across the Euphrates in 2014 and years of rebel insurgency against the Syrian Army and allied paramilitary groups prior to that event has seen a massive depopulation of the region as civilians fled west towards the heartland of government-held territory seeking refuge.

US Attempts to Blame Syrian Gov’t for Chemical Attacks Unfounded – Russian MoD

Sputnik – 20.01.2018

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the United States was ignoring the objective evidence of chemical weapons’ use by terrorists in Syria, targeted against the civilian population and the country’s government troops.

The ministry went on by saying that the US attempts to blame the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons have never been grounded by any hard evidence.

“The US administration is at best not showing any interest and often ignores the objective factors of terrorists using poisonous substances while fighting against government forces and civilians,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the Russian military, Washington has failed to fulfill their obligations on the destruction of chemical weapons, preserving at least 10% of their arsenal operational.

“Following our commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia has eliminated its entire chemical warfare agents arsenal early, while the United States, using false pretexts, has at first halted and then completely stopped fulfilling its commitments due to a ‘lack of financing,’ still keeping around 10 percent of its arsenal in a combat ready condition,” the ministry added.

The statement was made after on Friday the US State Department said that Russia does everything to protect the government in Damascus despite the fact that the latter allegedly continues using chemical weapons.

The less-mentioned lives of Mrs. Krim

By Helena Cobban | Just World News | January 18, 2018

Mathilde and JohnsonThis week, US media have contained many glowing obituaries of a 91-year-old medical researcher called Mathilde Krim, who in the early 1980s played an apparently huge role in publicizing and destigmatizing the then-new disease of HIV/AIDS and in mobilizing funding for NGOs and research centers working to understand the disease and treat its many victims. Dr. Krim died on January 15.

The New York Times, for example, carried this obituary, covering more than half a page, that devoted nearly all its column inches to the many contributions Dr. Krim had made to AIDS research.

What that obit referred to only in passing was the role she had played in immediate post-1945 Europe as a gun-runner for the Irgun– described there only as part of the “Zionist underground” rather than (as would have been more accurate) an already well-known terror group.

But neither the NYT nor any other Western MSM outlet I have seen/heard has made any mention of the role Mrs. Krim played as a very close confidante to Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson during the crucial days leading up to and during Israel’s “Six Day War” of 1967 against its Arab neighbors. … continue

Israel Was Behind January 14 Assassination Attempt On Hamas Official In Lebanon – Report

South Front | January 20, 2018

On January 19, an unnamed source of the Intelligence Gathering Division in the Lebanese State Security told the Lebanese Mayadin TV that Israel was behind a car bomb attack that targeted Mohammed Hamdan, an official of the Palestinian Hamas Movement, in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on January 14.

The source said that the Lebanese State Security was able to track the cell that conducted the assassination attempt thanks to several surveillance cameras planted around the house of Mohammed Hamdan. Later, security forces seized two cars that were used by the cell, according to the source. However, the source didn’t clarify if any member of the cell was arrested.

The Lebanese State Security’s investigation confirmed that the Israeli intelligence agency “Mossad” was behind the assassination attempt, according to the source.

This was not the first time the Lebanese State Security detected activities of the Israeli Mossad in the city of Sidon. On November 11, 2017 Lebanese security forces arrested a Lebanese operative of the Mossad who was planning to assassinate Lebanese public and political figures in Sidon.

The Lebanese authorities believe that the Israeli Mossad has been behind several assassinations of Lebanese and Palestinian figures since the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war on 1975.

Slapping an Israeli Soldier More Newsworthy Than Shooting a Palestinian Child in the Face

Coverage of Ahed Tamimi obscures Israeli violence and occupation

By Gregory Shupak | FAIR | January 17, 2018

… While the NYT and CNN provide a forum for speculation about whether Palestinians want their own children to suffer because it makes for good public relations, there is much this framing overlooks. … Read full article

Four Injuries by Israeli gunfire east of Gaza

Palestine Information Center – January 19, 2018

GAZA – Four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire during clashes that erupted on Friday afternoon with Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) at Gaza border.

Eyewitnesses said that a Palestinian youth was shot and injured in clashes that broke out near Karni crossing east of Gaza. Another man was wounded in similar clashes near Beit Hanoun crossing (Erez).

Two others were also shot and wounded near Nahal Oz site in the east. The injured were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

The ongoing clashes have been continued for the seventh consecutive Friday in protest at the Israeli repeated violations and the US recognition of Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters

By James Bovard | CounterPunch | January 19, 2018

After violence in Charlottesville last August, a Washington Post article asserted that alienated right-wingers had “sparked the deadly standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho” in 1992. Ruby Ridge has recently been invoked by many people to show the need for federal crackdowns on dangerous extremists. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has largely forgotten – or expunged – the federal misconduct and deception that permeated that showdown. But it is difficult to comprehend the fear that many Americans have of the government without reconsidering Ruby Ridge.

Randy Weaver and his family lived in an isolated cabin in the mountains of northern Idaho. Weaver was a white separatist who believed races should live apart; he had no record of violence against other races — or anyone else. An undercover federal agent targeted him and entrapped him into selling a sawed-off shotgun. The feds sought to pressure Weaver, who often indulged in anti-government bluster, to become an informant against the Aryan Nation, but he refused.

After Weaver was sent the wrong court date and (understandably) failed to show up, the feds used any and all means to take him down. Idaho lawyer David Nevin noted that U.S. “marshals called in military aerial reconnaissance and had photos studied by the Defense Mapping Agency. They prowled the woods around Weaver’s cabin with night-vision equipment. They had psychological profiles performed and installed $130,000 worth of long-range solar-powered spy cameras. They intercepted the Weavers’ mail. They even knew the menstrual cycle of Weaver’s teenage daughter, and planned an arrest scenario around it.” … continue

Democrats are repudiating FDR’s precedent of détente with Russia – Stephen Cohen

RT | January 19, 2018

By criminalizing alleged “contacts with the Kremlin” – and by demonizing Russia itself – today’s Democrats are becoming the party of the new and more perilous Cold War. … continue

Okinawa police forcibly remove anti-US base sit-in

RT | January 19, 2018

Japanese police have forcibly removed protesters staging a sit-in protest in Henoko neighborhood in Okinawa as dozens of trucks carrying materials for the construction of a new US military base arrived in the area.

The anti-base activists blockaded an access to a local road in an attempt to stop the transportation of building materials into the site on Friday. Officers managed to evict some 50 protesters, the Okinawa Times newspaper reported.

The demonstrators were carrying banners saying “Stop illegal work” and “No Base in Henoko”, according to the video, released by Ruptly video news agency. The footage shows security forces dragging demonstrators by their arms and legs. … Full article

Washington and Allies Go Orwellian on Korea Peace Talks

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.01.2018

Just as North and South Korea achieve important peaceful exchanges, Washington and its NATO allies appear to be moving with determination to sabotage the initiative for averting war on the East Asian peninsula.

Further, the reckless, gratuitous provocations beg the conclusion that the United States is indeed trying to start a war.

Meanwhile, unprecedented accusations this week by US President Donald Trump that Russia is supporting North Korea to evade United Nations sanctions also point to the danger that any conflict could spiral out of control to engulf world nuclear powers.

Moscow rejected the unsubstantiated claims leveled by Trump, saying that Russia is abiding by UN trade restrictions over North Korea, and that the American president’s allegations were “entirely unfounded”.

Trump’s verbal broadside suggests that Washington is trying to undermine the nascent talks between the two Koreas, talks which Russia and China have both applauded as a long-overdue diplomatic effort to resolve the Korean conflict.

Separately, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deplored a summit held in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week in which the US and 19 other nations – most of them NATO members – called for sharper sanctions on North Korea that go beyond the remit of the United Nations. The conference, co-hosted by Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, issued a stridently bellicose statement, calling in effect for North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons or face US-led military action. … continue

India successfully tests nuke missile

Asia Times – January 19, 2018

India’s Defense Ministry says that it successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday.

CNN says the nuclear-capable Agni-5 is believed to be India’s most advanced ICBM. The missile was reportedly fired on Thursday morning India time from Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha.

The test was characterized as a “major boost” to the country’s defense capabilities.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies nuclear proliferation, was quoted by CNN as saying that Thursday’s test was not a sign of any “new capability” for the missile. “(This) was simply a developmental test before India inducts it into operational range,” Narang said.

The Agni-5 has reportedly been tested five times since 2012. The canister-launched, three-stage rocket is capable of hitting Pakistan and China.

Bullets and bombs on China’s high-speed rail network

China’s newest generation of high-speed passenger trains will also provide launch platforms for missiles

By Frank Chen | Asia Times | January 18, 2018

China will soon start rolling out its next-generation rail technology across the country, and it is likely the futuristic trains won’t only have passengers on board.

Christened Fuxing, which means “renaissance” or “rejuvenation” in Mandarin, the bullet trains will be able to cruise at 400 kilometres per hour and will replace the slower Hexie (“harmony”) locomotives on the nation’s sprawling 22,000 km high-speed rail network. … continue

Russia Doesn’t Plan to Join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – Lavrov

Sputnik – 19.01.2018

UNITED NATIONS – Russia does not plan to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday, stressing that Moscow shared a common interest in building a nuclear-weapon-free world but not using the methods, on which the treaty is based. … continue

Trump versus Wolfowitz

By Deena Stryker – New Eastern Outlook – 19.01.2018

Who today knows the name of Paul Wolfowitz? He was neither a Congressman, Senator, nor governor, yet until this month, official US ‘defense’ policy has borne his name.

A former President of the World Bank and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the neo-conservative he authored the “Defense Planning Guidance of 1992″, which came to be known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Intended to “set the nation’s direction for the next century,” its first objective was “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.” In case the reader didn’t immediately get the message, it is spelled out as ‘deterring’ potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’ by maintaining ‘unquestioned military superiority and, if necessary, employ[ing] force unilaterally.”

Both Colin Powell and President Bush objected to this brash approach to world affairs, so before becoming known as the Bush Doctrine it was rewritten in milder language. Since 2009, at the Foreign Policy Initiative think tank, Wolfowitz has advocated for the troop surge in the Afghanistan War [and direct military strikes in Syria, continuing to lament an “absence of American leadership, as global pressure against the American-led international order intensifies.

Imagine now as candidate for the presidency, a real estate magnate enamored of ‘deals’ declares “Wouldn’t it be better if we could be friends with Russia?” From there, it’s a straight line to a Special Counsel being appointed by the Justice Department to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and President Putin. … continue

Trump at One Year: His Fate May Hang on What He Does Next About Immigration

By James George JATRAS | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.01.2018

When in 2016 Donald Trump mugged the bipartisan political establishment in the United States, there were three issues that put him beyond the pale:

  • Restructuring America’s trade relations to favor American workers and producers, not international corporations keen to dump their costly domestic employees and relocate abroad, sending in their products tariff-free; and
  • Stopping the migration invasion of the US, symbolized above all by building The Wall on the Mexican border – and making Mexico pay for it.

As Trump’s first year in office comes to a close, where do we stand? … continue

A US-Turkish Clash in Syria?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • January 19, 2018

The war for dominance in the Middle East, following the crushing of ISIS, appears about to commence in Syria — with NATO allies America and Turkey on opposing sides. … continue

Tillerson Unveils ‘New’ US Syria Plan: ‘Assad Must Go!’

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | January 17, 2018

Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government.

In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met … continue

Turkish Army Shells Syrian YPG Positions

Press TV – January 19, 2018

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli says no troops have gone into Syria’s Kurdish-controlled Afrin region but the operation has started “de facto” with cross-border shelling.

Canikli said in an interview with broadcaster AHaber Friday that Turkey was developing weapons systems against anti-tank missiles used by US-backed YPG militants.

He said the planned military operations in the northwestern Syrian region should be carried out with no delay to purge the territories of what he called terrorist elements.

Amid its rising tensions with the US, Turkey said Thursday it would seek Russia’s approval for the operation as the country’s Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar traveled to Moscow for negotiations.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Akar’s trip was part of boarder efforts by Ankara to coordinate the campaign with Russia. … continue