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‘Circus’ at the British Parliament – Russian Foreign Ministry reacts to May’s words on Skripal case

RT | March 12, 2018

A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry called the hearing at the British parliament on the Skripal case a “circus show.”

“The conclusion is obvious: this is another information and political campaign, based on provocation,” said Maria Zakharova, commenting on the words of Theresa May.

Zakharova’s comments come after May said earlier on Monday that the “attempted murder” of Skripal was either “a direct act by the Russian State against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

May said that the Russian ambassador to the UK has been summoned to the Foreign Office, and that he must explain which explanation is the correct one. The ambassador has until the end of Tuesday to respond, according to May.

If he does not give a “credible response,” the UK will conclude that the attack involved “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.” In that case, May said she will return to the House of Commons to outline retaliatory proposals.

“Before creating new fairy tales, let somebody in the kingdom tell us what was the result of the previous investigations into the Litvinenko, Berezovsky and Perepilichny cases,” Zakharova suggested.

Zakharova’s comments referenced three high-profile deaths which occurred in the UK and were blamed on Russia – despite zero evidence to this day.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov specifically addressed the case of Litvinenko on Friday, noting that the UK’s finger-pointing at Moscow runs parallel to what happened in that case.

“I want to remind people that Litvinenko’s death was also attributed to Russia, but hasn’t been investigated, because court proceedings, which were called ‘public,’ were, in fact, closed. They were carried out in a very strange way, and numerous facts, which emerged throughout the investigation, haven’t come into the public domain,” the minister said.

Litvinenko died in November 2006, after assassins allegedly slipped radioactive polonium 21 into his cup of tea at a London hotel. However, his own brother Maksim stated in 2016 that Britain had more reason to kill Litvinenko than Russia.

In the case of Boris Berezovsky, Putin’s critics have long speculated that the billionaire was murdered by pro-Putin hitmen in 2013. However, British police said in 2013 that there was no evidence of foul play relating to this death.

In addition, no evidence has ever been provided that Russia was behind the death of businessman Aleksandr Perepilichny, who collapsed and died in Surrey, UK, in 2012.

Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter have been in critical condition in hospital since March 4, when they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

From the End of History to the End of Truth

teleSUR | March 11, 2108

Making nonsense of Fukuyama’s premature triumphalist screed, it is commonplace now to note that the United States corporate elites and their European and Pacific country counterparts are increasingly losing power and influence around the world. Equally common is the observation that these Western elites and the politicians who front for them have acted over the last twenty years to reassert their control in their respective areas of neocolonial influence. The European Union powers have done so in Eastern Europe and Africa, most obviously but not only, in Ukraine, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali and the Central African Republic. Likewise, the United States has acted to reassert its influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, effectively declaring war on Venezuela, maintaining its economic and psychological warfare against Cuba and intervening elsewhere with varying degrees of openness.

Before they died, among the main Western media bogeymen were Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Muammar al Gaddhafi. Now Vladimir Putin and Bashar al Assad have been joined by Xi Jinping and Nicolas Maduro. Along with these and other world leaders, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has also constantly been the object of endlessly repetitive Western media hate campaigns. This longstanding, plain-as-day media strategy, regularly and blatantly prepares mass opinion to facilitate Western government aggression against the latest target government. No one following these processes with any attention will have failed to notice the leading role played by non governmental organizations in the Western elites’ offensive against resistance to them by political leaders and movements around the world.

In almost every case of recent Western provoked interventions, from Venezuela in 2002, through Haiti in 2004, Bolivia in 2008, Honduras in 2009, Ecuador in 2010, Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria in 2011, Ukraine in 2014, Western media have used deliberately misleading and downright deceitful reports from Western NGOs to support their own false misreporting of events. In Nicaragua’s case, the usual untrustworthy NGO suspects like Amnesty International, Transparency International and Global Witness constantly publish misleading reports and statements attacking or undermining President Daniel Ortega and his government. In general, their reporting is grossly biased and disproportionate given the regional context of incomparably horrific events and deplorable conditions elsewhere in Latin America, but, as often as not, it is also downright untrue.

In a recent example, Global Witness stated that Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal “wasn’t preceded by any environmental impact reports, nor any consultation with local people”. Both those assertions are completely untrue. But this Big Lie repetition is the modus operandi of the Western elites who fund outfits like Global Witness, Amnesty International, and other influential NGOs like International Crisis Group and Transparency Intenational. For example, Amnesty International claims “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion”. But it bears constant repetition that many of Amnesty International’s board and most of its senior staff responsible for the organization’s reports are deeply ideologically committed with links to corporate dominated NGO’s like PurposeOpen Society InstituteHuman Rights Watch, and many others.

Also worth repeating is that Global Witness in 2016 received millions of dollars from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, the Ford Foundation and NATO governments. The boards and advisory boards of these NGOs are all made up overwhelmingly of people from the Western elite neocolonial non governmental sector. Many have a strong corporate business background as well. All move easily from one highly paid Western NGO job to the next, serving NATO country foreign policy goals. Cory Morningstar has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like US based Avaaz and Purpose, noting “the key purpose of the non-profit industrial complex is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose”.

Back in 2017 it was already a truism to note that Western NGOS “operate as the soft, extramural arm of NATO country governments’ foreign policy psychological warfare offensives, targeting liberal and progressive audiences to ensure their acquiescence in overseas aggression and intimidation against governments and movements targeted by NATO. To that end, they deceitfully exploit liberal and progressive susceptibilities in relation to environmental, humanitarian and human rights issues.” What is now becoming even more clear in the current context is that these Western NGOs and their media accomplices are confident enough to publish downright lies because reporting the facts no longer matters. Western public discourse has become so debased, incoherent and fragmentary that the truth is almost completely irrelevant. All that matters is the power to impose a version of events no matter how false and untruthful it may be.

This sinister media reality is intimately related to the politicization of legal and administrative processes in the national life of countries across Latin America. The spurious legal processes against Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva in Brazil, against Milagro Sala and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, against Jorge Glas and, no doubt very soon, Rafael Correa in Ecuador are all based on the same faithless virtual association and complete disregard for factual evidence as Western media and NGO propaganda reports attacking Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua. It is imperative to overcome the ridiculous liberal presupposition that the region’s elites, with the advantage of designing and controlling their countries’ legal systems and communications media for over 200 years, are somehow going to respect high falutin’ avowals about “separation of powers”.

Note: this article borrows from previous articles here and here.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Environmentalism, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Fake News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Militantly Russophobic UK Extremists

By Stephen Lendman | March 11, 2018

Sergey Skripal’s nerve agent poisoning has Britain in an uproar.

Russophobes are having a field day, Russia bashing at a fever pitch – despite no evidence suggesting Kremlin involvement in what happened.

Irresponsible media reports claim access to nerve agents isn’t possible without state support, Russia alone mentioned.

Nothing was said about possible CIA and/or MI6 responsibility for Skripal’s poisoning, a way perhaps to blame Putin ahead of Russia’s March 18 presidential election – despite no chance of preventing his reelection by an overwhelming majority.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told parliamentarians “(w)e don’t know exactly what has taken place in Salisbury, but if it’s as bad as it looks, it is another crime in the litany of crimes that we can lay at Russia’s door,” adding:

“It is clear that Russia, I’m afraid, is now in many respects a malign and disruptive force, and the UK is in the lead across the world in trying to counteract that activity.”

Last November, Theresa May said “It is clear that Russia, I’m afraid, is now in many respects a malign and disruptive force, and the UK is in the lead across the world in trying to counteract that activity.”

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson sounded buffoon-like earlier, warning of possible Russian attacks on UK infrastructure, causing “thousands and thousands and thousands” of deaths.

In response to Skripal’s poisoning, he shamefully accused Moscow of “push(ing) around” Britain, adding:

“Russia’s being assertive. Russia’s being more aggressive, and we have to change the we change the way we deal with it.”

Former minister Edward Leigh claimed circumstantial evidence against Russia is “very strong,” adding if the Kremlin “is behind this, this is a brazen act of war, of humiliating our country.”

On Saturday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd convened a COBRA crisis committee hearing to discuss what happened, involving UK intelligence, security and other officials.

Around 200 soldiers were sent to Salisbury to help police investigate the Skripal poisoning incident. Included are bomb disposal specialists, chemical warfare experts, marines and RAF personnel.

Russia’s embassy in London tweeted the following: “Investigation of Sergei Skripal case follows the Litvinenko script: most info to be classified, Russia to get no access to investigation files and no opportunity to assess its credibility.”

Alexander Litvinenko died from polonium-210 poisoning in 2006, Russia automatically blamed at the time for what happened to its former Federal Security Service/KGB official in Britain.

No evidence suggests Kremlin involvement in either poisoning incident. They may have been false flags, wrongfully pointing fingers at Russia.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

The Pentagon & Hollywood’s successful and deadly propaganda alliance

By Michael McCaffrey | RT | March 12, 2018

The Pentagon helps Hollywood to make money and, in turn, Hollywood churns out effective propaganda for the brutal American war machine.

The US has the largest military budget in the world, spending over $611 billion – far larger than any other nation on Earth. The US military also has at their disposal the most successful propaganda apparatus the world has ever known… Hollywood.

Since their collaboration on the first Best Picture winner ‘Wings’ in 1927, the US military has used Hollywood to manufacture and shape its public image in over 1,800 films and TV shows. Hollywood has, in turn, used military hardware in their films and TV shows to make gobs and gobs of money. A plethora of movies like ‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Captain Philips,’ and even blockbuster franchises like ‘Transformers’ and Marvel, DC and X-Men superhero movies have agreed to cede creative control in exchange for use of US military hardware over the years.

In order to obtain cooperation from the Department of Defense (DoD), producers must sign contracts that guarantee a military approved version of the script makes it to the big screen. In return for signing away creative control, Hollywood producers save tens of millions of dollars from their budgets on military equipment, service members to operate the equipment, and expensive location fees.

Capt. Russell Coons, director of the Navy Office of Information West, told Al Jazeera what the military expects for their cooperation: “We’re not going to support a program that disgraces a uniform or presents us in a compromising way.”

Phil Strub, the DOD chief Hollywood liaison, says the guidelines are clear. “If the filmmakers are willing to negotiate with us to resolve our script concerns, usually we’ll reach an agreement. If not, filmmakers are free to press on without military assistance.”

In other words, the Department of Defense is using taxpayer money to pick favorites. The DOD has no interest in nuance, truth or – God forbid – artistic expression; only in insidious jingoism that manipulates public opinion to their favor. This is chilling when you consider that the DOD is able to use its financial leverage to quash dissenting films it deems insufficiently pro-military or pro-American in any way.

The danger of the DOD-Hollywood alliance is that Hollywood is incredibly skilled at making entertaining, pro-war propaganda. The DOD isn’t getting involved in films like ‘Iron Man,’ ‘X-Men,’ ‘Transformers’ or ‘Jurassic Park III’ for fun. They are doing so because it’s an effective way to psychologically program Americans, particularly young Americans, not just to adore the military, but to worship militarism. This ingrained love of militarism has devastating real-world effects.

Lawrence Suid, author of ‘Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film’told Al Jazeera, “I was teaching the history of the Vietnam War, and I couldn’t explain how we got into Vietnam. I could give the facts, the dates, but I couldn’t explain why. And when I was getting my film degrees, it suddenly occurred to me that the people in the US had never seen the US lose a war, and when President Johnson said we can go into Vietnam and win, they believed him because they’d seen 50 years of war movies that were positive.”

As Suid points out, generations of Americans had been raised watching John Wayne valiantly storm the beaches of Normandy in films like ‘The Longest Day,’ and thus were primed to be easily manipulated into supporting any US military adventure because they were conditioned to believe that the US is always the benevolent hero and inoculated against doubt.

This indoctrinated adoration of a belligerent militarism, conjured by Hollywood blockbusters, also resulted in Americans being willfully misled into supporting a farce like the 2003 Iraq War. The psychological conditioning for Iraq War support was built upon hugely successful films like ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998), directed by Steven Spielberg, and ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001), produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, that emphasized altruistic American militarism. Spielberg and Bruckheimer are two Hollywood heavyweights considered by the DoD to be their most reliable collaborators.

Another example of the success of the DoD propaganda program was the pulse-pounding agitprop of the Tom Cruise blockbuster ‘Top Gun’ (1986). The movie, produced by Bruckheimer, was a turning point in the DoD-Hollywood relationship, as it came amid a string of artistically successful, DoD-opposed, ‘anti-war’ films, like ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Platoon’ and ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ which gave voice to America’s post-Vietnam crisis of confidence. ‘Top Gun’ was the visual representation of Reagan’s flag-waving optimism, and was the Cold War cinematic antidote to the “Vietnam Syndrome”.

‘Top Gun,’ which could not have been made without massive assistance from the DoD, was a slick, two-hour recruiting commercial that coincided with a major leap in public approval ratings for the military. With a nadir of 50 percent in 1980, by the time the Gulf War started in 1991, public support for the military had spiked to 85 percent.

Since Top Gun, the DoD propaganda machine has resulted in a  current public approval for the military of 72 percent, with Congress at 12 percent, the media at 24 percent, and even Churches at only 40 percent. The military is far and away the most popular institution in American life. Other institutions would no doubt have better approval ratings if they too could manage and control their image in the public sphere.

It isn’t just the DoD that uses the formidable Hollywood propaganda apparatus to its own end… the CIA does as well, working with films to enhance its reputation and distort history.

For example, as the ‘War on Terror’ raged, the CIA deftly used ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ (2007) as a disinformation vehicle to revise their sordid history with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and to portray themselves as heroic and not nefarious.

The CIA also surreptitiously aided the film ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (2012), and used it as a propaganda tool to alter history and convince Americans that torture works.

The case for torture presented in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was originally made from 2001 to 2010 on the hit TV show ‘24,’ which had support from the CIA as well. That pro-CIA and pro-torture narrative continued in 2011 with the Emmy-winning show ‘Homeland,’ created by the same producers as ‘24,’ Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa.

A huge CIA-Hollywood success story was Best Picture winner ‘Argo’ (2012), which ironically is the story of the CIA teaming up with Hollywood. The CIA collaborated with the makers of ‘Argo’ in order to pervert the historical record and elevate their image.

The fact that this propaganda devil’s bargain between the DoD/CIA and Hollywood takes place in the self-declared Greatest Democracy on Earth™ is an irony seemingly lost on those in power who benefit from it, and also among those targeted to be indoctrinated by it, entertainment consumers, who are for the most part entirely oblivious to it.

If America is the Greatest Democracy in the World™, why are its military and intelligence agencies so intent on covertly misleading its citizens, stifling artistic dissent, and obfuscating the truth? The answer is obvious… because in order to convince Americans that their country is The Greatest Democracy on Earth™, they must be misled, artistic dissent must be stifled and the truth must be obfuscated.

In the wake of the American defeat in the Vietnam war, cinema flourished by introspectively investigating the deeper uncomfortable truths of that fiasco in Oscar-nominated films like ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Coming Home,’ ‘The Deer Hunter,’ ‘Platoon,’ ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and ‘Born on the Fourth of July,’ all made without assistance from the DoD.

The stultifying bureaucracy of America’s jingoistic military agitprop machine is now becoming more successful at suffocating artistic endeavors in their crib. With filmmaking becoming ever more corporatized, it is an uphill battle for directors to maintain their artistic integrity in the face of cost-cutting budgetary concerns from studios.

In contrast to post-Vietnam cinema, after the unmitigated disaster of the US invasion of Iraq and the continuing quagmire in Afghanistan, there has been no cinematic renaissance, only a steady diet of mendaciously patriotic, DoD-approved, pro-war drivel like ‘American Sniper’ and ‘Lone Survivor.’ Best Picture winner ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2008), shot with no assistance from the DoD, was the lone exception that successfully dared to portray some of the ugly truths of America’s Mesopotamian misadventure.

President Eisenhower once warned Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”

Eisenhower’s prescient warning should have extended to the military industrial entertainment complex of the DoD/CIA-Hollywood alliance, which has succeeded in turning Americans into a group of uniformly incurious and militaristic zealots.

America is now stuck in a perpetual pro-war propaganda cycle, where the DoD/CIA and Hollywood conspire to indoctrinate Americans to be warmongers and, in turn, Americans now demand more militarism from their entertainment and government. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The DoD/CIA-Hollywood propaganda alliance guarantees Americans will blindly support more future failed wars and will be willing accomplices in the deaths of millions more people across the globe.

Michael McCaffrey is a freelance writer, film critic and cultural commentator. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he runs his acting coaching and media consulting business.

Read more:

Hollywood uses ‘American Sniper’ to destroy history & create myth

US State Dept pledges $40mn of military funds for ‘information wars’

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Retired US Colonel: Israel Is Dragging the United States Into World War III

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | Mint Press News | March 12, 2018

Israel is in the process of plunging America into a war with Iran that could destroy what’s left of the Middle East and ignite a third world war, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned in Washington approximately a week ago.

Wilkerson, a retired army colonel who now teaches at Washington-area universities, didn’t hold back in his critique of where the status quo is leading the United States via its client state, Israel.

At the annual Israel lobby conference at the National Press Club, sponsored by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, Wilkerson explained that Israel is headed toward “a massive confrontation with the various powers arrayed against it, a confrontation that will suck America in and perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become.”

One of the principal antagonists begging for a war with Iran that Wilkerson identified was none other than Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Russian-born Defense Minister. Wilkerson stated:

Lieberman will speak in April in New York City at the annual conference of the Jerusalem Post. The title is, ‘The New War with Iran.’ It is clear that he’s [at] the forefront of promoting this war.

And nowhere does my concern about such a war focus more acutely at the moment than Syria. As [the] president of France Emmanuel Macron described it recently, ‘The current rhetoric of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel is pushing the region toward conflict with Iran.’”

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incessant denigrations of Iran, including claiming the greatest danger facing the Jewish state is the Islamic republic — a country he accuses of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism — Wilkerson blew these accusations out of the park using simple logic. He said:

This antisemitism bit, of course, as we’ve heard today, is almost always a weapon of choice for Israeli politicians under stress hurled, in this case, at the country whose Jewish population — by the way, the largest in the Middle East outside of Turkey and Israel — lives in Iran in reasonable peace.”

He continued:

And don’t forget that these words were uttered by the man who, as we’ve heard today, is doing everything he can to expel dark-skinned African refugees largely from Eritrea and Sudan from Israel, where most have come as legitimate refugees.”

Wilkerson highlighted the hypocrisy of Netanyahu and his cohorts in more ways than one. For example, Wilkerson referred to Netanyahu’s grandiose speech at the Munich Security Conference in which he directly challenged Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif while holding remnants of a drone allegedly downed over Israeli airspace. Israel claimed the drone was Iranian-manufactured. Wilkerson noted that in response, Iran found itself being rescued by Lebanon’s Defense Minister, who said he had an Israeli drone over his head virtually 24 hours a day.

Further, the mainstream media and the governments that benefit from their narratives pay close to zero attention to the fact that Israel routinely violates Lebanese airspace with its sophisticated aircraft. Rather, Iran is constantly painted as the major threat and violator of international law.

“Of late of course,” Wilkerson continued, “Tel Aviv is increasingly using Iran’s presence in Syria, its support for Bashar al-Assad, and its alleged drive– and I love this one, and my military comrades love it, too– for a Shia corridor from Tehran to Aden, as the hoary beast that must not be at any cost, including of course America’s treasure and lives, as his probable cause and existential prompt for action.”

But why is there a danger that the U.S. will be dragged into this war, and why does Israel need America’s help? As Wilkerson explains:

I believe the answer is fairly clear once you push aside the cobwebs that surround it. The legitimacy of great power is what I call it. And that is precisely what Netanyahu and Lieberman desire.

“It’s also what Riyadh desires, especially with the new boy king Mohammed bin Salman, now an erstwhile ally of Israel.

“In short, the IDF could defend Israel but it could not attack Iran. Not successfully, anyway. And were it to do so, it would be damned internationally and thus isolated even more than it already is today, perhaps devastatingly so.”

Last year, a top Israeli general tasked with writing his country’s defense policy admitted that Israel cannot take on Iran’s military alone if the day should come that the regional powers face off in a direct military confrontation, saying they would need to rely on the U.S. for assistance

According to a Politico report, during the Obama years, Israel drew up a military strike option but never really used it. Deep down, Israel knew its effectiveness lied in its ability to pressure the U.S. government into taking further action of its own lest it be dragged into a catastrophic war with Iran that it may or may not be prepared to fight. From the Politico report:

They [the Israelis] ordered the Israel Defense Forces and the intelligence arms to prepare for a huge operation: an all-out air attack in the heart of Iran. Some $2 billion was spent on preparations for the attack and for what the Israelis believed would take place the day after – a counterattack either by Iranian warplanes and missiles or by its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter could use either the 50,000 missiles it had stockpiled (by 2018, Israeli intelligence estimated the number had increased to 100,000), or it could activate its terror cells abroad, with the assistance of Iranian intelligence, to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets. This is what it did in 1992 and 1994 when it responded to Israeli attacks in Lebanon by blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the Jewish community center AMIA in that city, with a massive number of casualties in both attacks.”

The strike plan never took place, of course, but according to Politico, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to use it to put pressure on the U.S. government to achieve its anti-Iranian objectives. Every day, the likelihood that a war might erupt between Israel and Iran, in turn involving the United States, which has sworn to come to Israel’s defense if attacked by Iran, continues to inch that much closer to reality.

Watch | Is the US Ramping Up Its Military Presence in Syria and Planning to Attack Iran for Israel?

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and national security advisor during the Reagan administration. Wilkerson is an outspoken critic of the current US foreign policy.

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a practicing attorney with an interest in human rights, international law, and journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Otago, where he obtained degrees in Law and Japanese. Follow him on Twitter at @TVsLeaking.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Al-Nusra terrorists used chlorine chemicals in Eastern Ghouta – Russian envoy to UN

RT | March 12, 2018

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia has accused militant groups in Eastern Ghouta of using chlorine gas, while stressing that the Syrian government has every right to eradicate the “terrorism hotbed” near its capital.

Nebenzia has defended Syria’s government and the ongoing anti-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta, asserting that it has “every right to try and remove the threat to the safety of its citizens.”

“According to information at our disposal, on March 5, Al-Nusra militants used chlorine substance in Eastern Ghouta, which injured 30 civilians. All this is done to prepare the grounds for unilateral military actions against sovereign Syria,” Nebenzia stated.

“The suburbs of Damascus cannot remain a hotbed of terrorism. And it is being used for continued attempts by terrorists to undermine the cessation of hostilities.”

The ongoing operation in the Damascus suburbs does not violate resolution 2401, which allows the continuation of the battle against terrorists, the diplomat stressed. The terrorists, unlike Moscow and Damascus, do, in fact, frequently attack hospitals and other civilian facilities, and the attacks are well-documented, he added.

“Since the resolution was passed, more than 100 people died from this and a considerably higher number were wounded. More than one hospital… was shelled,” Nebenzia said. “These were true hospitals, genuine hospitals, not headquarters of fighters which they very frequently claim to be hospitals.”

The militants also are preventing the civilians from leaving the combat zone, raining mortar and sniper fire on them.

“They [militants] are constantly striking humanitarian corridors and checkpoints, including during the humanitarian pauses,” Nebenzia stated. “They intensified the use of tunnels in order to provoke the Syrian military and the exits of those tunnels are in the areas of public buildings, first and foremost mosques, hospitals and markets.”

March 12, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

US prepared to act on Syria if UN Security Council won’t – Haley

RT | March 12, 2018

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has warned that the US will take action in Syria on its own if the UN Security Council fails to do so. The official cited last year’s attack on a Syrian airbase as an example of possible US action.

“It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again,” Haley told the UN Security Council meeting on Monday. “When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”

When the Security Council “failed to act” after the Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident last year, the US “successfully struck the airbase from which Assad had launched his chemical attack,” Haley stated. It should be noted that the US attacked the base only three days after the incident, without any investigation into it, while the blame was promptly pinned on Damascus.

The US diplomat blamed Russia for not observing the 30-day ceasefire in Syria and accused Moscow of deliberately putting an anti-terrorism “loophole” in the February UNSC resolution.

“With that vote, Russia made a commitment to us, to Syrian people and to the world to stop the killing in Syria. Today, we know that Russians did not keep their commitment,” Haley said, claiming that Russia and Damascus continue to bomb “innocent civilians” under a pretext of fighting terrorism.

Haley announced a new US-sponsored draft of a ceasefire resolution for Syria, which will not have any “anti-terrorism loopholes.” The resolution, if adopted, would take effect immediately and call for a complete cessation of hostilities in Syria. It remains unclear exactly how the US plans to enforce the measure on terrorist groups.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Sderot, ‘Bomb Shelter Capital of the World’, Not As Heroic As Israel Claims

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald tribune | March 12, 2108

CBN News has run a story with the headline “Israel Takes Diplomats on Tour along Gaza Border”, in which deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, tells them it’s her duty to let them “see the real challenges on the ground”.

Sderot, which has become known as ‘the bomb shelter capital of the world’, is a compulsory stop on these propaganda tours. Being only a mile from the Gaza Strip residents have little time to take cover, though very few have been killed by Gaza’s erratic garden-shed missiles.

The story of brave Sderot is told ad nauseam to brainwash the media and their own people besides the coachloads of gullible foreign politicians and tourists. The Israeli authorities have studiously counted and broadcast the number of home-made Qassam projectiles, claiming that more than 15,000 “terrorist” rockets have “rained down” on Sderot since the Israeli occupier pulled its citizens and troops out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 saying they were making a concession of territory designed to bring peace. Of course, it didn’t. Why?

For several reasons. Israel’s “concession” was the handing back of territory that didn’t belong to them in the first place. Furthermore the pull-out on the ground has still left Israel occupying Gaza’s territorial waters and airspace, and in control of all land crossings – including the one into Egypt. The Zionist regime has thus maintained a vicious blockade on the tiny coastal enclave for the last 10 years. Hotovely and her regime colleagues, who preach non-stop about Israel’s right to self-defence, fail to understand that the Palestinians have the same right and are entitled to mount an armed resistance against their illegal occupier.

What Israelis never admit to is how many missiles, bombs, shells, mortar rounds and other high-tech ordnance launched by their F-16s, helicopter gunships, drones, tanks and navy gunboats have slammed into crowded Gaza, causing horrendous slaughter and reducing homes and vital infrastructure (much of it paid for by EU and American taxpayers) to rubble.

And there’s another little fact that Hotovely is careful not to mention. Sderot is built on the lands of a Palestinian Arab village called Najd, which was ethnically cleansed by Jewish terrorists in May 1948 before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. The 600+ villagers, all Muslim, were forced to flee for their lives. Britain, the mandated government, was on watch while this and many other atrocities were committed by rampaging Jewish militia.

Arabs owned over 90 percent of the land in Najd and, according to UN Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are entitled to return home. But, as we have come to expect, Israel refuses to recognize the rights of others and will not allow them back. Anyway, what is there for them to return to? The 82 homes there were bulldozed. Najd was one of 418 Palestinian villages and towns ethnically cleansed and wiped off the map by Zionist Jews. Its inhabitants became refugees in Gaza and their families are probably still living in camps there.

The irony is that some of them may be manning the rocket launchers….

When Barak Obama visited Sderot he spouted the well-worn mantra backing Israel’s right to protect its citizens from rocket attacks. “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.” Well said, Obama. But let’s hope you wouldn’t be so stupid or arrogant as to live on land you stole from your neighbor at gun-point.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

FARA Registration for AIPAC and Congress Is Washington’s Interest

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | March 12, 2018

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has just completed its annual conference in Washington. There were reportedly 18,000 attendees speakers including the Vice President, United Nations Ambassador, as well as numerous senators and congressmen. The organization is better known by its acronym AIPAC, and it has been fixture on Capitol Hill for more than sixty years. Its website proclaims  “The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel” because “… it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state is safe, strong and secure.”

In reality, the security of the U.S. part is a bit of a sham as AIPAC in no way works to strengthen the United States or benefit the American people. Quite the contrary. The bilateral “special” relationship is a one-way street that has done considerable damage to the United States in terms of its international standing and national security. AIPAC is all about Israel and always has been. Its hundreds of staffers lobby Congress and the White House daily to support legislation and policies favorable to Israel and damaging to its enemies and critics. It works closely with the Israeli government to obtain maximum benefit from the U.S. Treasury and Pentagon, to the detriment of American citizens and genuine national interests.

So why isn’t AIPAC forced to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938? There has been only one serious attempt to register AIPAC, undertaken by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, shortly before he was assassinated. Since that time growing Jewish political and financial power in the United States has meant that no chief executive has dared to make any demands on Israel and its Lobby. On the contrary, Israel has significantly benefited materially over that time period, commensurate with its ability to manipulate or coerce the media and Congress while also intimidating a series of presidents.

FARA registration of AIPAC, currently a tax exempt 501(c)4, would require the organization to open its books to make transparent its sources of revenue. It would also be unable to contribute to political campaigns, reducing its leverage over Congress. So it is Washington’s interest to have AIPAC register, if only to limit interference in government and elections by a foreign country.

FARA should rightly be understood as a tool to punish the activities of governments that Washington does not like. In 1938, it was originally directed against the German, Italian and Japanese governments, whose front organizations were forced to register. The British, who were in fact lobbying much more heavily, were ignored. In today’s environment, Russian news outlets RT America and Sputnik were forced to register while the actions of the Israel lobby have been basically protected by its powerful advocates within the government.

So yes, AIPAC should be registered under FARA. I would even suggest that FARA be further extended to include public figures like congressmen and journalists, who basically lobby for Israel. That extension of FARA might seem overreach, but there is really no difference, legally speaking, between organizations like AIPAC that promote Israeli interests and individuals who do the same.

The recent AIPAC conference included prominent Israel-firsters, who place Israel’s interests ahead of those of the United States. Let’s start with Christian Zionist Vice President Mike Pence, who said last year  that “Every freedom loving American stands with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.” Wrong Mike. Israel is a foreign theocracy that has embraced deliberate policies inclusive of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is manifestly un-American.

And then there is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose speech at AIPAC this year was, uh, memorable. It is no surprise that she is being touted by neocon commander-in-chief Bill Kristol as the future GOP candidate for president. Haley, who received twelve standing ovations from the audience plus two shout-outs of “We love you Nikki!” seemingly forgot that she represents the U.S. at the U.N. She said that “There are lots of other things that we do, big and small, week after week, to fight back against the U.N.’s Israel bullying.”

Senators Ben Cardin and Chuck Schumer also received standing ovations from the audience. Schumer, who has described himself as Israel’s “shomer” or defender in the Senate, was particularly bizarre, saying “”The fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace… that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin.”

So they are all promoting Israeli policies and should be compelled to register under FARA. And if you want to know what an Israeli recruited agent of influence sounds like you need go no farther than House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, who addressed the AIPAC Political Leadership Conference on December 15, 2003 and said:

“I had the privilege of leading the largest congressional delegation in history to Israel in August. This was my sixth trip to Israel, and my fifth as a member of Congress… Let me say very clearly: as a member of the Democratic leadership and a long-time supporter of Israel, it is absolutely imperative that Members of Congress… recognize the moral and strategic significance of the U.S.-Israel partnership… Israel’s safety and security is not a Jewish/non-Jewish issue. It is an American national security issue.”

Steny is flat out wrong about Israel aiding U.S. national security. It is a liability and always has been, but don’t expect him to be convinced otherwise. Maybe it’s somehow related to the $304,000 in pro-Israel PAC money he has received. One thing that is undoubtedly true is that American politics will be measurably less corrupt if AIPAC, Hoyer and the rest of the congress critters are forced to register under FARA and become responsible for the damage they continue to do to the United States and the American people.

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian Army Reportedly Finds Cache of French Weapons in Liberated Eastern Ghouta

Sputnik – March 12, 2018

Syrian forces involved in a mopping-up operation in recently-freed areas of Eastern Ghouta have come across a large arms depot including weapons made in France, Fars News Agency has reported, citing field sources.

The French-made weapons and ammunition were found during the military’s operations to sweep the towns of Modira and Mesraba of militants, the sources said.

The discovery of a cache of French-made weapons comes following a report by the Syrian Army Monday that the military had found a clandestine workshop used for the manufacture chemical weapons in the village of Aftris.

Paris has made no secret of its weapons deliveries to Syrian ‘rebels’, with illicit deliveries continuing in 2012 despite a European embargo. In a 2015 interview, then-President Francois Hollande admitted that France had delivered the weapons, saying that he was “certain that they would end up in the right hands.” France provided the militants with small arms, rocket launchers, and anti-tank missiles. In addition to weapons, France has also provided rebel groups with other forms of support, including cash and military advisors. In 2014, Hollande justified the supply of weapons, saying that France “cannot leave the only Syrians who are preparing a democracy… without weapons.”

France has been at the front of the line of Western powers accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons in its struggle against militants in Eastern Ghouta. Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that France “will strike” if reports about the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians were confirmed.

“On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line,” Macron said, referring to a telephone conversation he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons, pointing out that their chemical weapons stocks were destroyed in 2014 as part of a deal brokered by Russia and the US.

The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta has been under the control of a motley collection of Islamist militants, including the al-Nusra Front* since 2012, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 militants estimated to be holed up in the area. The Syrian Army began a major military operation, code-named ‘Damascus Steel’, last month in a bid to liberate the territory. According to the latest estimates, the Syrian Army has now liberated well over half of the area, dividing the area under terrorist control into three pockets.

See also:

March 12, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia leads flood of arms imports to Middle East: Study

Press TV – March 12, 2018

A study shows weapons imports to the Middle East and Asia have soared over the past five years, with Saudi Arabia leading the steep rise amid its bloody war on Yemen.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), arms imports to the Middle East between 2013 and 2017 jumped by 103 percent compared with the previous five-year period.

Saudi Arabia is now the world’s second largest importer of arms after India. The kingdom registered a 225-percent rise in military purchases – almost all from the US and Europe – during the period, the study released on Monday said.

American weapons constitute 61 percent of arms imports to Saudi Arabia and British weapons 23 percent. During the period, the Saudis received 78 combat aircraft, 72 combat helicopters, 328 tanks and 4,000 vehicles, the SIPRI noted.

The same period, it said, saw Israel increasing its arms exports by 55 percent.

“The US and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia,” it said.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia signed a preliminary deal to buy 48 Typhoon jets worth as much as $10 billion.

Saudi Arabia already operates more than 70 Typhoon jets. They have been used extensively in the Yemen war, and the deal is likely to spark outrage among rights groups and campaigners.

Arms remain the main component of UK-Saudi trade and the UK government has approved the export of $6.4 billion in weapons since the start of the war in Yemen, despite allegations that Saudi-led forces have committed war crimes.

The United Kingdom has increased its weapons sales by around 500 percent since March 2015, The Independent reported last November.

Last May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia in his first foreign visit, signing a $110-billion deal to sell weapons to the kingdom.

“Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in Western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales,” said senior SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman.

“Yet the US and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia.”

More than 13,600 people have died since the Saudi-led invasion began, and Yemen has turned into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

North Korean Leader Wants Peace With US, Establish Diplomatic Ties – Reports

Sputnik – March 12, 2018

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un expressed willingness to sign a peace agreement with the United States as well as to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, South Korean media reported Monday, citing a source at the South Korean presidential administration.

Kim spoke about the intention to normalize relations with Washington during a meeting with a South Korean delegation in Pyongyang, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported.

The North Korean leader’s final goal is to sign a peace agreement with the United States and establish diplomatic ties, possibly including the opening of a US embassy in Pyongyang, according to the newspaper.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump accepted the invitation to meet with Kim by the end of May following months of heightened tensions and exchanges of frequent military threats between the two leaders.Donald Trump said later that he expected “tremendous success” in solving the North Korean issue, saying that he expected Pyongyang to cease its ballistic missile and nuclear tests as well as denulearize.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment