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Playing with fire: Dozens of nuclear alerts underreported by British MoD, study reveals

British Foreign Policy and the UK Weapons Trade

By Matthew JAMISON | Strategic Culture Foundation | 24.02.2017

or-38678Back in the halcyon days of the election of the first Labour Government in Britain in over 18 years, the New Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook expounded a radical shift in British foreign policy making, declaring that the Labour Government of Tony Blair would put human rights at the heart of it’s foreign policy with an «ethical dimension». This was quickly christened by the British media as New Labour’s «ethical foreign policy». Questions were raised at the time how a country with such a large weapons export industry could conduct an ethical foreign policy and that question is as pertinent today as it was back in 1997. In his party conference speech, the first as British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, paid ritual homage as many British Foreign Secretaries have before him, to his belief in human rights and reflected that: «After a long post-war period in which the world was broadly getting more peaceful the number of deaths in conflict has risen from 49,000 in 2010 to 167,000 last year».

Sadly, Britain has contributed to many of these deaths. … continue

Venezuelan VP Releases Open Letter to US Treasury as Parliament Demands Resignation

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | February 21, 2016

Caracas – Venezuelan Vice-President Tareck El Aissami published an open letter to the US Treasury Department in the New York Times Tuesday in which he lambasted the body’s recent drug trafficking accusations as an attempt to further derail bilateral relations.

On February 13, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) froze all of El Aissami’s alleged assets in the US under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Act, making the vice-president the top-ranking official of any country to be sanctioned in this way. In particular, the OFAC accused El Aissami of having “facilitated shipments of narcotics from Venezuela” allegedly in collusion with the Las Zetas Cartel in Mexico.

In the letter, El Aissami charged the OFAC of being “deceived” by certain US political factions “whose fundamental interest is to prevent Venezuela and the United States from restoring their political and diplomatic relations on the basis of mutual recognition and respect”.

The vice-president further lambasted the drug trafficking allegations as a “false positive” which he said was intended to “criminalize – by way of my person – the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela”. The US Treasury Department has yet to release concrete evidence buttressing the accusations; meanwhile no US court has indicated that it is opening an investigation into the case. … continue

Perfidious Albion…

By Andre Vltchek | OffGuardian | February 24, 2017

kkohdl5Here it goes again! The same old tired and predictable tune, the same recognizable chorus. Once again the world is told what to think and what to believe. The world is also given both rhythm and leitmotif, so the grotesque and crooked dance could begin.

Who could resist, really? The lyrics of the tune are recited in perfect English, and with that air of moral and cultural superiority, which is supposed to disperse all doubts.

On February 19, 2017, RT published the following:

The Telegraph, as a favored mouthpiece for British intelligence service disinformation, is a part of psychological warfare operation against Russia, said independent journalist Martin Summers. Another accusation is being thrown at Russia as a British newspaper published a story about Moscow being allegedly behind a plot to kill Montenegro’s Prime Minister last October… According to the article, Russia wanted to overthrow the country’s government to stop them joining NATO.

So now it is Montenegro. Yesterday it was Crimea, Donbas, and the US elections. Evil Russia again! Evil China, evil socialist Latin American countries, evil Syria, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, North Korea, Philippines, evil all those who are laughing at the notion of Anglo-Saxon superiority. … continue

UN slams Israel for ‘lenient sentence’ handed down to soldier

Press TV – February 24, 2017

The United Nations has slammed the Israeli regime for a “lenient sentence” handed down to an Israeli soldier over the killing of a Palestinian.

“We are deeply disturbed at the lenient sentence that’s been given by the Tel Aviv Military Court earlier this week to an Israeli soldier who was convicted of unlawfully killing a wounded Palestinian in an apparent extrajudicial execution,” said Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

On March 24, 2016, Israeli Sergeant Elor Azaria shot Abdel Fattah al-Sharif point-blank in the head in Tel Rumeida neighborhood of al-Khalil (Hebron) in what has been described by the UN as an “extrajudicial execution” of a young man who was already shot and incapacitated.

“A sentence of 18 months to be handed down for such a serious human rights violation is unacceptable,” the UN official said, adding that “the punishment, which is excessively lenient, is difficult to reconcile with the intentional killing of an unarmed and prone individual.”

The UN rights official said Israeli officials had been contacted numerous times over the impunity of Israeli military forces and the disproportionate sentences handed by Israeli courts.

“This is a chronic culture of impunity that we are talking about; this is not one individual case,” she said.

“It also stands in contrast to the sentences handed down by other Israeli courts for less, for other less serious offences, notably the sentencing of Palestinian children to more than three years’ imprisonment for throwing stones at cars. This case risks undermining confidence in the justice system and reinforcing the culture of impunity,” she added. … Full article

Castigated by the Southern Poverty Law Center

By Deir Yassin Remembered | Dissident Voice | February 24, 2017

The “public” that allegedly “protested” against this billboard in Ann Arbor, as reported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, were not the only folks watching DYR.

dyr-e1487635513786The SPLC has now included DYR on its Hate Map.

Dan McGowan responds:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently criticized Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) by including it on the so-called Hate Map, purportedly for the high crime of Holocaust denial.

Apparently if the SPLC disagrees with you, it will label you as a racist or a hatemonger. There is no discussion, no defense, and no chance of winning a defamation suit against it.

The SPLC is the cash cow of the civil rights movement. Last year it took in over $58 million, some of which was added to its bloated endowment of over $328 million held in questionable investments, some in off shore accounts.

Its two chief executives together received over $800,000. Of its nine top executives, none come from minorities. … continue

India approves $2.5-billion deal to buy missiles from Israel

Press TV – February 24, 2017

India has approved a 2.5-billion-dollar deal to purchase a surface-to-air missile system from Israel.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the budget for its army to buy the Medium Range Surface to Air Defense Missile (MR-SAM) system from Israel Aerospace Industries, Indian media reported Thursday.

The Indian Army “will induct over five regiments of the MR-SAM missile, which will have around 40 firing units and over 200 missiles of the system,” wrote India Today, citing government sources.

The system can reportedly target aircraft, drones, and AWACS planes at the strike range of between 50 kilometers to 70 kilometers in the sky.

The first delivery of the missile system is expected in 2023.

The missile system will reportedly be developed jointly by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization in collaboration with the Israel Aircraft Industry.

New Delhi and Tel Aviv signed an agreement back in February 2015 to jointly develop the missile system for the Indian army.

Israel has been supplying India with military hardware, including missiles, weapons systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years.

The New Baghdad Pact

By Dr Bouthaina Shaaban | February 23, 2017

A recently declassified CIA document prepared in 1983, and released on 20 January 2017, shows that the United States had at the time encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Syria, which would have led to a vicious conflict between the two countries, thus draining their resources.

The report, which was then prepared by CIA officer Graham Fuller, indicates that the US tried adamantly to convince Saddam to attack Syria under any pretense available, in order to get the two most powerful countries in the Arab East to destroy each other, turning their attention away from the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And since Saddam was already knee-deep in a bloody war against Iran, he needed to be incentivized and encouraged by American client states in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who offered to fund such a war in order to deal a deadly blow to the growing Syrian power in the region.

Hence, the US provided modern technology to Saddam in order to close the ring of threats around Syria, in addition to Jordan, Turkey, and Israel. The report expected that such pressures from three fronts, possibly more, would force Syria to give concessions in the struggle with Israel. And the report asserts that it was of utmost importance to convince Saddam to play along this scenario, because it would have divided the Arab line and distracted attention from the American-Israeli role in this scheme. … continue

At US behest Turkey reboots Syrian war

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | February 23, 2017

Turkey has decided to pick up a quarrel with Iran. It all began with President Recep Erdogan’s sudden outburst on February 14 in the first leg of a regional tour of Gulf States – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — when he said, “Some people want both Iraq and Syria to be divided. There are some that are working hard to divide Iraq. There is a sectarian struggle, a Persian nationalism at work there. This Persian nationalism is trying to divide the country. We need to block this effort.”

Tehran hit back by accusing Turkey of supporting terrorist organizations “to destabilize neighbouring countries.” And there has been much back and forth in mutual recriminations since then. The spat makes a mockery of the “trilateral alliance” between Russia, Turkey and Iran that Moscow has been promoting at the recent Astana talks on Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry had announced as recently as February 16 that Russia, Turkey and Iran have formed a tripartite operational group to stabilize the ceasefire in Syria. The most puzzling aspect is that this is happening just when the Syrian peace talks began in Geneva today under UN auspices. … continue

How Trump Could Be a Truth-teller

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | February 23, 2107

… by releasing information that was unjustifiably kept hidden during Obama’s second term, Trump could underscore how Obama grew increasingly obsessive about secrecy the longer he remained in the White House, treating the American people as objects to be manipulated rather than citizens to be informed.

For instance, Obama kept the clamps on CIA analyses relating to the Ukrainian crisis, even regarding the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing 298 people and leading to a dangerous escalation in the New Cold War with Russia. … Read full article

Double Standards over ‘Russian Interference’ in Western Elections

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.02.2017

Just as polls show Marine Le Pen of the Front National taking a decisive lead over her two main rivals, Francois Fillon of the Republicans, and Emmanuel Macron of the newly formed En Marche, the latter gets a high-profile reception in Downing Street with British prime minister Theresa May.

Fillon has no plans to make a similar visit to Britain, while Downing Street officially announced that it would not be receiving Le Pen, reported the Independent.

With only weeks to go to the first round of the French presidential elections in April, the British government’s hosting of Macron this week can be seen as an extraordinary endorsement of his candidacy.

One could express it even more strongly and say that Britain is evidently interfering in the French democratic process by elevating one candidate over another. … continue

London’s new police chief Dick led botched operation that killed Jean Charles de Menezes

RT | February 23, 2017

Relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian shot dead by counter-terrorism police in 2005, say the appointment of Cressida Dick as chief of the Metropolitan Police is ‘offensive,’ as she was responsible for the botched operation.

De Menezes was shot in the head 11 times on a train at Stockwell Underground Station, south London, after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect.

His bereaved family say Dick’s appointment proves that “police officers can act with impunity.”

Dick was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Wednesday, making her the first woman in history to head the UK’s largest police force in its 188-year history.

Although many hailed Dick’s appointment, the de Menezes family hit out at the decision, saying they had “serious concerns” for London’s security under her leadership. … continue

Protesters organize sit-in at Khan al-Ahmar school slated for demolition

Ma’an – February 23, 2017

418567cBETHLEHEM – The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Education organized Thursday a sit-in protest inside a school in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, against the impending Israeli government order to demolish the school and the entire village.

Protesters condemned the Israeli order to demolish Khan al-Ahmar school — which services 150 female and male students — and expressed their anger towards the Israeli army for targeting a school for kids and for “trying to ban them from their right of education.”

Minister of education Sabri Sedim called upon all Palestinians “to resist and face the Israeli plans and violations against education and Bedouin societies that reveal the ugly face of occupation,” adding that the ministry would “conduct all possible efforts to stop Israeli practices and expose them in media and courts.”

Over the past week, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to the village’s 40 homes and elementary school, including stop-work orders targeting various structures in the village, which is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control and the site of frequent Israeli demolitions. … continue

Israel closes Jerusalem-area Palestinian boys school for ‘incitement’

Ma’an – February 23, 2017

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities on Thursday closed a Palestinian elementary school for boys in the town of Sur Bahir in the central occupied West Bank Jerusalem district over alleged “incitement”.

Head of the school Luay Jamal Bkirat told Ma’an that Israeli intelligence officials summoned him and the school’s financial manager Nasser Hamed for interrogation at an Israeli police station, where they were then told to their surprise that the Israeli police would be shutting down the school over “incitement in the schools’ materials.”

Bkirat denied the claims, saying that the al-Nukhba school “is teaching the Palestinian curriculum used in all schools in Jerusalem and that no one of the faculty has ever been summoned for interrogation before over incitement.”

He added that the school — which serves 250 boys from kindergarten to grade six — was opened last year and gained a temporary operating license from the Jerusalem municipality, and that the license was revoked in November for unknown reasons.

Bkirat condemned the decision and said that he “will conduct procedures to stop this decision which aims to destroy education.” … continue

ISIS Calls For Backup: Israel Attacks Syrian Army Positions Near Damascus

Israel bombs Syrian army positions on the eve of peace talks in Geneva

By Rudy Panko | Russia Insider | February 22, 2017

Syria peace talks are expected to begin this week in Geneva. And what are the Israelis doing? Bombing Syrian Arab Army positions near the Lebanese border.

Because as we all know, the Israelis are really good at these “ceasefire” things. Especially when they have no business interfering in any way in a conflict:

Minutes ago, an Israeli warplane conducted an airstrike over the western countryside of Damascus, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the Qalamoun Mountains near the Lebanese border.

A Syrian Army source told Al-Masdar this morning that the Israeli warplane had crossed into Syria after flying over Lebanon’s ‘Arsal Barrens, where both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) are headquartered in the eastern Beqa’a Governorate. The Syrian Army source added that the specific location of the attack was in the Jard Nalhleh area of the Qalamoun Mountains.

Oh, isn’t that interesting? The Israelis flew over ISIS and al-Qaeda positions — but saved their bombs for the Syrians. Quite telling. … continue

Who is Responsible for the Economic Collapse in the US

By Grete Mautner – New Eastern Outlook – 23.02.2017

Some people today still remember the times when America was the wealthiest nation on the entire planet and that could afford even the boldest infrastructure. But things are different now, as the US now has the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and it can’t even afford to repair the marvels that it used to build. The near catastrophic failure of the Oroville Dam is a perfect example of the situation most Americans have found themselves in.

Just recently, the Most Important News presented its version of 11 deeply alarming facts about America’s crumbling infrastructure and its long-term economic collapse. According to this site, the US economy expanded at its slowest rate for five years in 2016. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by only 1.6 percent in 2016, down from 2.6 percent in 2015.

In turn, the World Socialist Web Site notes that the feature to emerge from the US GDP figures is the ever-widening disconnect between the underlying real economy and the financial system. This disconnect has a significant impact on economic growth, as vast amounts of wealth are diverted from the real economy into various forms of financial speculation. This leads to a decline in investment and falling productivity, two central features of the US economy in the eight years since the eruption of the financial crisis. … continue

Artificial Intelligence: ‘Frankenstein’ or Capitalist Money Machine

By James Petras :: 02.21.2017

The Financial Times’ Special Report (2/16/2017) published a four-page spread on the ‘use and possible dangers of artificial intelligence (AI)’. Unlike the usual trash journalists who serve as Washington’s megaphones on the editorial pages and political columns, the Special Report is a thoughtful essay that raises many important issues, even as it is fundamentally flawed.

The writer, Richard Walters, cites several major problems accompanying AI from ‘public anxieties, to inequalities and job insecurity’. Walters pleads with those he calls the ‘controllers of autonomous systems’ to heed social and ‘political frictions’ or face societal ‘disruption’. Experts and journalists, discussing the long-term, large-scale destruction of the working class and service jobs, claim that AI can be ameliorated through management and social engineering.

This essay will proceed to raise fundamental issues, questions leading to an alternative approach to AI relying on class analysis. We will reject the specter of AI as a ‘Frankenstein’ by identifying the social forces, which finance, design and direct AI and which benefit from its negative social impact. … continue

Windows 10 Devices Continue to ‘Collect Everything You Do, Say and Write’

Sputnik – 21.02.2017

European Union data protection authorities have expressed fresh concerns about the privacy of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, despite tweaks being made to the OS after questions were raised about its treatment of personal data last year.

In a letter, the Article 29 Working Group said it still has “significant concerns” about how Microsoft collects and processes users’ personal data, and whether it obtains fully informed consent from users to do so. … continue

Media bias is real, and everywhere

By Yves Engler · February 22, 2017

Can you trust any media outlet to tell the truth about foreign affairs? Or are they all part of some propaganda system? Perhaps the best we can do to understand what’s really happening in the world is read/listen/watch a variety of sources, but assume they are all biased in one way or another?

These questions came to mind after a recent Montréal event about Syria.

In a La Presse article, international affairs reporter Agnès Gruda essentially dismissed a presentation by a freelance journalist who has covered the war in Syria by writing: “for who does Eva Bartlett really work? During her conference, she confirmed that she wrote commentaries for Russia Today — a Russian propaganda organ.”

Gruda isn’t the only reporter to highlight Bartlett’s ties to RT when discussing her Syria work. A Hamilton Spectator story about her talks in that city noted, “Bartlett maintains a blog for the state-funded media outlet Russia Today” while Pulse reported that she contributed to the “Kremlin broadcaster Russia Today.” (Bartlett has published five articles about Syria for RT.)

Of course, the question of where journalists publish or who employs them and the interests of the owners/funders of said media does deserve attention. It is not unreasonable to be skeptical of a Russian media outlet’s reporting on Syria. While I’m not current with RT, it’s hard to imagine that a station set up by the Russian government wouldn’t be biased in favor of Moscow’s position in a conflict it is a major player in.

But, does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments? … continue

NYT’s Fake News about Fake News

Consortium News | February 22, 2017

The West’s anti-Russian propaganda links Moscow to the blight of “fake news” but the evidence doesn’t connect the two. So, The New York Times makes the case with its own “fake news,” reports Robert Parry. – Read article

BBC Announces New Anti-Scottish Channel

By Craig Murray | February 22, 2017

The BBC is to launch a major new unionist propaganda channel in time for the next Independence referendum. There will be 80 new unionists employed as journalists. Close relatives of senior Labour party figures are particularly welcome to apply, and in a new broadening of BBC Scotland employment policy, a larger percentage of Ruth Davidson fans will also be recruited. The news of the new job opportunities is especially welcome to the large number of Labour Party hacks who will be unemployed following the Scottish council elections in May. – Video

Yanukovych Calls for Donbass Status Referendum if Kiev Fails Minsk Deal

Sputnik – February 22, 2017

1047630299Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Polish President Andrzej Duda, as well as the heads of European bodies.

Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych calls for a referendum on the status of the southeast Ukrainian region known as Donbass if Kiev does not comply with a set of ceasefire agreements.

“In the event of current Ukrainian authorities failing to observe the Minsk agreements, it is needed to initiate a referendum on the status of Donbass,” Yanukovych wrote in a letter to world leaders obtained by Sputnik.

He offered to include the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the reconciliation format comprising Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.

Yanukovych also calls on world leaders to “initiate the creation of a special commission of the Council of Europe to monitor the investigation of crimes committed on the Maidan.” … continue

Israel blocks EU lawmakers’ entry into besieged Gaza Strip

Press TV – February 22, 2017

The Tel Aviv regime has prevented five European parliamentarians from entering the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian enclave remains under an inhumane Israeli siege.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Neoklis Sylikiotis, a Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP), denounced the Israeli obstruction of the lawmakers’ access to the Palestinian coastal sliver.

“The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable,” the statement read.

However, Israel claimed that the MEPs were not among those allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

Similar European delegations have been barred from Gaza since 2011 though a team led by the head of the European Parliament’s budget committee was allowed to visit once, the statement added.

“What is there to hide from us?” it further asked, condemning Israel’s “systematic” entry bans to Gaza. … continue

Israeli minister backtracks on claims of vehicular attack during Umm al-Hiran raid

Ma’an – February 22, 2017

BETHLEHEM – More than a month after Israeli police shot and killed Yaqoub Abu al-Qian in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran during a demolition raid, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan seemingly backtracked on his initial claim that Abu al-Qian was carrying out a vehicular attack motivated by Islamic extremism when he was shot.

Following the incident, multiple eyewitnesses, video footage, and testimonies from Abu al-Qian’s family members contradicted the minister’s claim, saying that Israeli police opened fire on the local high school math teacher when he posed no threat, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle and ram into Israeli policeman Erez Levi, who was also killed.

On Wednesday, Israeli media sites reported that remarks made by Erdan at a police gathering in Beersheba implied that Israeli authorities were no longer classifying the incident as a terror attack. … continue

Two States Or One State?

The stark reality is that both solutions are impossible unless imposed from outside, and just where do we see any prospect for that?

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | February 22, 2017

12ee1b01-b65c-41cb-b51b-60f0531eb3e1Israel has created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists.

Trump’s suggestion of a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is welcomed by some because Israel’s settler policy is said to have made two states impossible, as it was most certainly intended to do. However, a little reflection on hard facts makes it clear that a one-state solution is just as impossible.

A single-state solution would be acceptable to all reasonable minds, but you only have to follow the news to know that Israel contains a good many unreasonable minds. Its early advocates and founders were, quite simply, fanatics, and its policies and attitudes were shaped by that fanaticism. … continue

Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told

RT | February 22, 2017

British universities have been advised to “manage” Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply with the UK government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy.

“Vocal support for Palestine,” “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza,” and “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” are included in a list of “contentious topics” on the Safe Campus Communities website.

The website includes a training section set up by Universities UK and the government’s now defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help staff fulfill their Prevent obligations.

Since 2015, Prevent has required public sector workers to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”

The website says the material is intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure “topics that may be seen as controversial” may be “debated in a safe environment.” … continue

MSNBC anchor declares it the media’s job to ‘control exactly what people think’

RT | February 22, 2017

58adb670c361888e428b463cMSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski boldly declared that it’s the media’s job to “control exactly what people think” during an on-air discussion about President Donald Trump.

Brzezinski made the flippant remark while responding to a comment from her co-host Joe Scarborough during a panel discussion on ‘Morning Joe’ about Trump’s efforts to “undermine the media.”

The TV host who is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter and counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, voiced her concerns that the president was “trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts.” … Full article

Philip Giraldi: Trump Security Adviser Wants to Deter Russia

Sputnik – 22.02.2017

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser is on the record as wanting to deter Russia in Europe but is also capable of moderation and original thought, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi told Sputnik. … continue

Nikki Haley Calls Apartheid Israel ‘the one true democracy in the Middle East’

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | February 21, 2017

Out of all of Trump’s appointees, Nikkie Haley is probably one of the worst. Formerly a governor of South Carolina, Haley is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. That’s her in the video above giving a presentation at the UN last Thursday.

I’m not sure how much Haley knows about international law. According to Wikipedia, she graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. How she ended up as UN ambassador, after criticizing Trump in the general election, is unclear.*

At any rate, Haley seems fully unaware that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Nor does she seem to comprehend why other UN-member states might press for resolutions seeking to call Israel to account, both for its settlements as well as its 50-year occupation of the West Bank–land universally recognized as necessary for a Palestinian state. So perhaps she is simply uninformed and does not understand the nature of Israel’s occupation or its devastating impact upon the lives of those forced to live under it. Or at least that’s one possibility.

The other possibility, of course, is that Haley does understand these things… and that she simply believes Israel is exceptional and should not have to follow the same laws and international standards that apply to other states. … continue

Ambassador Nikki Haley is Completely Clueless

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | February 21, 2017

Just when we thought the great national embarrassment of a UN Ambassador Samantha Power was over, we are suddenly faced with a new US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who almost makes Ms. Power look like a giant in world affairs and diplomacy.

Addressing the UN Security Council Open Debate on Conflicts in Europe today, Ambassador Haley managed to get nearly every single point spectacularly wrong while mixing in the most banal of platitudes to further deaden the delivery. … continue

President’s Quest for Détente with Russia Continues Despite Fierce Opposition

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | February 21, 2017

… The idea of “getting along” with other nations, even as we compete with them economically, is of course the way to peace and the very antithesis of the path the neocons and liberalcons from the Clintons to Bush to Obama have set us on these past thirty plus years of killing and destruction. And yet the “peace movement” expresses nothing but hatred for Trump and pushes for his impeachment. Some “peace” movement, that. … Read full article

The West’s Moral Hypocrisy on Yemen

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | February 21, 2017

Only a few months ago, interventionists were demanding a militant response by Washington to what George Soros branded “a humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions” — the killing of “hundreds of people” by Russian and Syrian government bombing of rebel-held neighborhoods in the city of Aleppo.

Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former New Republic editor, was denouncing the Obama administration as “a bystander to the greatest atrocity of our time,” asserting that its failure to “act against evil in Aleppo” was like tolerating “the evil in Auschwitz.”

How strange, then, that so many of the same “humanitarian” voices have been so quiet of late about the continued killing of many more innocent people in Yemen, where tens of thousands of civilians have died and 12 million people face famine. More than a thousand children die each week from preventable diseases related to malnutrition and systematic attacks on the country’s food infrastructure by a Saudi-led military coalition, which aims to impose a regime friendly to Riyadh over the whole country. … continue

US Air Force to Buy Shoulder-Fired Missiles Assembled in Israel

Sputnik – 22.02.2017

The US Air Force has ordered 21 MANPADS anti-aircraft defense kits from costing $15.5 million to be manufactured in Israel, the Department of Defense said in a press release.

“ELTA North America [in] Annapolis Junction, Maryland, has been awarded a $15.5 million… [US Air Force] contract for counter-unmanned aerial systems,” the announcement stated on Tuesday. “Production of the kits will be performed in Israel.”

ELTA will provide the procurement, delivery, and training of the21 Man Portable Aerial Defense System (MANPADS) kits, the Defense Department said. … Full article

Zionist Entity Poisoning Palestinians in West Bank: Fact-Finding Mission

Al-Manar | February 22, 2017

An international fact-finding mission concludes that the trade manufacture and use of toxic pesticides in Israeli illegal settlements result in human rights violations and contribute to the food insecurity in the Occupied West Bank.

Pesticide run-off from agricultural operations and hazardous wastes from the manufacture of agrochemicals inside the illegal settlements poison Palestinian farms, livestock, and water sources, the investigators learned, according to Environment News Service website.

Dumping hazardous wastes in Palestinian territory has been documented, including in areas with a high concentration of schools. … continue