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International Electoral Observers Validate Venezuela Regional Vote as US, France Reject Results

By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis | October 16, 2017

Caracas – The Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) has confirmed that Sunday’s vote in Venezuelan gubernatorial elections was clean and transparent.

“The vote took place peacefully and without problems… the vote reflects the will of [Venezuelan] citizens,” declared CEELA President Nicanor Moscoso during a press conference Monday morning.

The CEELA delegation was comprised of 1300 international observers, including former Colombian Electoral Court President Guillermo Reyes, ex-president of the Honduran Supreme Electoral Court, Augusto Aguilar, and former Peruvian electoral magistrate Gastón Soto.

According to the body’s report, the vote was held under conditions of “total normality” and the right to a secret ballot was “guaranteed”.

Sunday’s elections pitted President Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela against the right-wing MUD coalition, with the former scoring a surprise win in 17 of the nation’s 23 states.

The results have, however, been rejected by the MUD, which has alleged “fraud” and called on its supporters to take to the streets in protest.

The MUD has accused the National Electoral Council of attempting to suppress opposition turnout by relocating 334 voting centers previously targeted by anti-government violence during July 30’s National Constituent Assembly Elections.

Announced several weeks ago, the relocations were concentrated in the states of Anzoátegui, Aragua, Carabobo, Lara, Merida, Miranda, and Tachira. Nonetheless, in Merida and Tachira, the MUD emerged triumphant, despite there being 58 and 42 changes in voting centers, respectively.

For its part, CEELA has reported that it has yet to receive any formal denunciations from the opposition, which has issued its fraud allegations via the media.

President Maduro has requested a 100 percent audit of Sunday’s elections, a call that was subsequently echoed by the MUD.

Nothewstanding CEELA’s certification of the outcome, Venezuela’s regional elections have come under fire from Washington and Paris.

“We condemn the lack of free and fair elections yesterday in Venezuela. The voice of the Venezuelan people was not heard,” declared US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

The diplomat did not, however, offer specific evidence explaining her government’s disavowal of the election result.

In recent months, the Trump administration has taken an increasingly aggressive stance against the Maduro government, imposing economic sanctions, decreeing a travel ban on Venezuelan officials, as well as threatening military intervention and an embargo.

France’s Foreign Ministry likewise issued a communique Monday in which it alleged “serious irregularities” and “lack of transparency in the verification and tabulation process”

“France deplores this situation and is working with its EU partners to examine appropriate measures to help resolve the serious crisis affecting the country,” the French government continued.

France’s newly elected president, Emmanuel Macron, has become an increasingly vocal critic of the Maduro government Caracas.

In September, the French leader met with senior Venezuelan opposition politicians during a tour by the MUD to drum up support for EU sanctions against Venezuela.

The European Parliament voted last month to explore the option of sanctioning top Venezuelan officials, following the lead of Washington and Ottawa.

In response to the statement by Paris, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza took to Twitter Monday, lambasting European interference in his country’s internal affairs.

“The EU and some of its member states (subordinate to Trump) question the will of the Venezuelan people,” he stated.

“In Europe, they’d only wish to have a real democracy, where their peoples can freely choose between two truly contrasting projects,” Arreaza added.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Cuban missile crisis yields more secrets

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | October 17, 2017

History lends itself to re-interpretation when more facts become available or when ulterior motives creep in. There is a surfeit of the latter happening in India currently. Nothing is spared, even symbolically, in India’s history today – starting from Nehru’s legacy  to Taj Mahal to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. However, such revisionist history (‘historical negationism’) is interchangeable with fiction or folklore and on the whole it fails to stick. Historical reappraisals are an entirely different thing.

Based on new archival materials becoming available every now and then, a slice of Cold War era history that is still dissected and understood from new perspectives is the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The narrative that was dominant initially was that the Soviets surreptitiously tried to deploy inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to Cuba targeting the US and the attempt was nipped in the bud with the Kennedy administration staring down the then Kremlin boss Nikita Khrushchev through a display of naval blockade of the island.

As time passed, the informed sections of opinion came to know that it was a settlement negotiated through nerve-wracking back channel negotiations directly between the Oval Office and the Kremlin – even Fidel Castro was kept in the dark – that brought the crisis to an end, with the Soviets and the Americas rolling back their missile respective deployments to each other’s backyard – Cuba and Turkey. The Soviets, true to character, eschewed triumphalism so long as the strategic objective was realised, leaving the Americans free to claim ‘victory’.

However, what still remains less understood is that the crisis in 1962 was not just about the Soviet missile deployment. There was also alongside a full-bodied American agenda of ‘regime change’ in Cuba. Incredibly enough, the Pentagon had drawn up a detailed report on the overthrow of Fidel’s government by a military government headed by a US commander and military governor – something like the American occupation of Japan led by General Douglas MacArthur in September 1945. Proclamation No 1 that was to have been issued, which vested “all powers of government, executive, legislative, and judicial and all jurisdiction in the occupied territory and over its inhabitants” in the hands of the US military governor. The Proclamation stated:

  • All persons in the occupied territory (Cuba) will obey immediately and without question all enactments and orders of the military government. Resistance of the United States Armed Forces will be forcefully stamped out. Serious offenders will be dealt with severely. So long as you remain peaceable and comply with my orders, you will be subjected to no greater interference than may be required by military exigencies.

Also, leaflets were to be airdropped in their thousands all over Cuba advising that “U.S. armed forces will take temporary charge of your country.” They were to warn Cuban citizens to “remain at home” because “everything that moves is a target.”

Meanwhile, the Soviets too were factoring in a possible American invasion of Cuba, the fledgling socialist state in the Western Hemisphere, and therefore had deployed tactical battlefield nuclear weapons to Cuba. With all the formidable intelligence gathering capacity at the disposal of the United States, the Americans had no inkling that if they invaded Cuba, they would have had a nasty surprise. In sum, the crisis had every potential to escalate into an apocalyptic event. (I am reminded of the recent bullish claim by our air chief that he knows precisely where and how to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear assets in one sweeping Indian air strike.)

The above are facts culled out from documents that have been declassified in the US this week under the Freedom of Information Act (here). To my mind, the most fascinating document is the (redacted) post-mortem report on the entire episode of the Cuban Missile Crisis authored by the famous CIA spook Richard “Dick” Lehman who worked with 7 American presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush and was credited with creating the president’s daily intelligence briefing and regarded as one of 50 trailblazers who created the CIA. (For connoisseurs of Cold War history, Lehman’s recount of his 33 years in the world of intelligence archived in the CIA’s Library, here, makes fascinating reading.)

Much of what Lehman wrote will not come as stunning disclosure, but it is useful to know how carefully, meticulously, factually (backed with empirical evidence) an adversary’s strategic challenge needs to be studied and assimilated before the intelligence is taken to the desk of the political boss and gets morphed into decision-making. (I wonder how we fared in the run up to the recent Doklam standoff with China.) Read Lehman’s Top Secret report to the CIA Director, here.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Students at Chile’s Largest University Overwhelmingly Vote for BDS

IMEMC | October 17, 2017

More than three-fourths of students at the University of Chile’s Faculty of Medicine voted to break institutional ties with Israeli universities in a student referendum held last month. They also voted against Israeli government sponsorship or attendance of events at their university.

This is the third such vote to take place at the University of Chile, the country’s largest university. Over the last two years, more than 90% of students at the Faculty of Social Sciences  and more than 60% of students at the Faculty of Law also voted in support of  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) measures.

BDS UChile, the university’s student coalition advocating for BDS, celebrated the victory, saying:

We are celebrating yet another win for the global BDS movement at the University of Chile. After students at the Faculty of Law and students at the Faculty of Social Sciences voted for BDS in 2015 and 2016 respectively, we are very proud that students at the Faculty of Medicine joined in to vote a resounding YES on having a university free of Israeli apartheid.

Before this vote took place, Palestinian medical students sent a video message to Chilean students, highlighting the impact of Israeli apartheid, military occupation and colonialism on their rights to health and education. They emphasized the importance of effective international solidarity through the academic boycott of Israeli universities.

Monia Kittana, a Birzeit University Palestinian medical student featured in the video, welcomed the referendum results, saying:

We are very thankful that medical students at the University of Chile have heeded our call to boycott Israeli apartheid. We applaud them for their principles and solidarity. They’ve set an example to be followed by other departments and universities in Chile and in all of Latin America. Palestinians need effective solidarity from around the world, and students can play a leading role in pressuring their universities to break ties with institutions that are complicit in Israel’s half-century of military occupation and nearly 70 years of dispossessing Palestinians from their homes and lands.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BDSmovement.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pro-Palestine posters on Balfour centenary ‘censored’ by London transport authority

RT | October 17, 2017

Transport for London (TfL) has been accused of censorship after refusing to allow campaigners to display posters giving the Palestinian perspective on the Balfour Declaration. The posters were designed to mark the 100th anniversary of the colonial-era document that led to the creation of Israel.

The declaration, signed on November 2, 1917, saw then-foreign secretary Arthur Balfour agree to the establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine. Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian has accused TfL of censorship.

The advertising campaign, called Make It Right, includes images of life before and after 1948, when Palestinians were forced from their homes during the Arab-Israeli war.

At the time, the British Government believed their interests could be served by supporting Zionist ambitions in Palestine.

The Palestine Mission to the UK, the group behind the campaign, was left outraged after TfL said the adverts “did not comply fully with our guidelines.”

They were rejected under Clause 2.3(h) of the guidelines, which refers to campaigns relating to “matters of public controversy or sensitivity.”

“Palestinian history is a censored history,” Hassassian said in a statement.

“There has been a 100-year-long cover-up of the British Government’s broken promise, in the Balfour Declaration, to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians when it gave away their country to another people.

“TfL’s decision is not surprising as it is, at best, susceptible to or, at worst, complicit with, all the institutional forces and active lobby groups which continuously work to silence the Palestinian narrative.

“There may be free speech in Britain on every issue under the sun but not on Palestine,” added Hassassian.

The Palestinian charity said it was not asked to adapt the adverts, as can be requested by an advertising agency. It also questioned why an identical teaser ad was allowed in Westminster underground station last year without objection.

Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have requested that Britain apologizes for the Balfour Declaration.

The Government refused to issue an apology in April this year, saying it had helped to establish a “homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution.”

The Government did, however, recognize that the declaration should have protected Arab political rights.

Protests will take place across Britain in November as Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrate the centenary.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

The US and Israel kick up a fake storm over Unesco

By Jonathon Cook | October 15, 2017

At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?

Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.

The first is that in 2011 Unesco became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.

It should be recalled that in 1993, as Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, the watching world assumed the aim was to create a Palestinian state.

But it seems most US politicians never received that memo. Under pressure from Israel’s powerful lobbyists, the US Congress hurriedly passed legislation to pre-empt the peace process. One such law compels the United States to cancel funding to any UN body that admits the Palestinians.

Six years on, the US is $550 million in arrears and without voting rights at Unesco. Its departure is little more than a formality.

The agency’s second crime relates to its role selecting world heritage sites. That power has proved more than an irritant to Israel and the US.

The occupied territories, supposedly the locus of a future Palestinian state, are packed with such sites. Hellenistic, Roman, Jewish, Christian and Muslim relics promise not only the economic rewards of tourism but also the chance to control the historic narrative.

Israeli archaeologists, effectively the occupation’s scientific wing, are chiefly interested in excavating, preserving and highlighting Jewish layers of the Holy Land’s past. Those ties have then been used to justify driving out Palestinians and building Jewish settlements.

Unesco, by contrast, values all of the region’s heritage, and aims to protect the rights of living Palestinians, not just the ruins of long-dead civilisations.

Nowhere has the difference in agendas proved starker than in occupied Hebron, where tens of thousands of Palestinians live under the boot of a few hundred Jewish settlers and the soldiers who watch over them. In July, Unesco enraged Israel and the US by listing Hebron as one of a handful of world heritage sites “in danger”. Israel called the resolution “fake history”.

The third crime is the priority Unesco gives to the Palestinian names of heritage sites under belligerent occupation.

Much hangs on how sites are identified, as Israel understands. Names influence the collective memory, giving meaning and significance to places.

The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has coined the term “memoricide” for Israel’s erasure of most traces of the Palestinians’ past after it dispossessed them of four-fifths of their homeland in 1948 – what Palestinians term their Nakba, or Catastrophe.

Israel did more than just raze 500 Palestinian towns and villages. In their place it planted new Jewish communities with Hebracaised names intended to usurp the former Arabic names. Saffuriya became Tzipori; Hittin was supplanted by Hittim; Muyjadil was transformed into Migdal.

A similar process of what Israel calls “Judaisation” is under way in the occupied territories. The settlers of Beitar Ilit threaten the Palestinians of Battir. Nearby, the Palestinians of Sussiya have been dislodged by a Jewish settlement of exactly the same name.

The stakes are highest in Jerusalem. The vast Western Wall plaza below Al Aqsa mosque was created in 1967 after more than 1,000 Palestinians were evicted and their quarter demolished. Millions of visitors each year amble across the plaza, oblivious to this act of displacement.

Settlers, aided by the Israeli state, continue to encircle Christian and Muslim sites in the hope of taking them over.

That is the context for recent Unesco reports highlighting the threats to Jerusalem’s Old City, including Israel’s denial for most Palestinians of the right to worship at Al Aqsa.

Israel has lobbied to have Jerusalem removed from the list of endangered heritage sites. Alongside the US, it has whipped up a frenzy of moral outrage, berating Unesco for failing to prioritise the Hebrew names used by the occupation authorities.

Unesco’s responsibility, however, is not to safeguard the occupation or bolster Israel’s efforts at Judaisation. It is there to uphold international law and prevent Palestinians from being disappeared by Israel.

Mr Trump’s decision to quit Unesco is far from his alone. His predecessors have been scuffling with the agency since the 1970s, often over its refusal to cave in to Israeli pressure.

Now, Washington has a pressing additional reason to punish Unesco for allowing Palestine to become a member. It needs to make an example of the cultural body to dissuade other agencies from following suit.

President Trump’s confected indignation at Unesco, and his shrugging off of its vital global programmes, serve as a reminder that the US is not an “honest broker” of a Middle East peace. Rather it is the biggest obstacle to its realisation.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

US politicians propose resolution against UNESCO

MEMO | October 17, 2017

Two Republican politicians have submitted a resolution to Congress condemning UNESCO, days after the US announced that it would be withdrawing from the organisation over its “anti-Israel bias”, according to the Times of Israel.

Senator Ted Cruz and Republican Matt Gaetz authored the resolution last Friday which condemns UNESCO for trying to delegitimise the Jewish state and “recognises and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem”.

Last year, UNESCO voted in favour of a resolution that denied any connection between Al-Aqsa Mosque and Judaism; Israel relies on such a claim in recognising the Muslim holy site as the “Temple Mount”.

“The Jewish people, and the people of Israel, have a deep and ancient connection to the holy city of Jerusalem,” Gaetz claimed. “Yet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) … is actively trying to rewrite history.”

The proposed resolution also calls on the US to partner with its allies in preventing the group from passing similar measures in the future; a sentiment echoed by US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, after the decision to exit was announced last week, when she warned that other UN agencies could face similar action if they did not reform.

Last week, Israel chose to follow the US and prepare for its exit from the international body, but appeared to leave the door open to reconciliation announcing that the change would take at least a year, and would be dependent on UNESCO’s future actions.

In May, UNESCO ruled that Israel is an “occupying power” and condemned illegal Israeli activity in occupied East Jerusalem a month later.

Israelis were angered once again in July following the designation of the Ibrahimi Mosque in occupied Hebron, a site which is stormed regularly by illegal Israeli settlers, as a Palestinian World Heritage Site under threat from Israel.

In response, Israel and the US have cut funding to UNESCO on multiple occasions, accusing it of “anti-Semitism”.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Lobby” British Style

An undercover reporter secretly records how the Israeli Embassy directs local groups

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 17, 2017

One month ago, I initiated here at Unz.com a discussion of the role of American Jews in the crafting of United States foreign policy. I observed that a politically powerful and well-funded cabal consisting of both Jewish individuals and organizations has been effective at engaging the U.S. in a series of wars in the Middle East and North Africa that benefit only Israel and are, in fact, damaging to actual American interests. This misdirection of policy has not taken place because of some misguided belief that Israeli and U.S. national security interests are identical, which is a canard that is frequently floated in the mainstream media. It is instead a deliberate program that studiously misrepresents facts-on-the ground relating to Israel and its neighbors and creates casus belli involving the United States even when no threat to American vital interests exists. It punishes critics by damaging both their careers and reputations while its cynical manipulation of the media and gross corruption of the national political process has already produced the disastrous war against Iraq, the destruction of Libya and the ongoing chaos in Syria. It now threatens to initiate a catastrophic war with Iran.

To be sure, my observations are neither new nor unique. Former Congressmen Paul Findley indicted the careful crafting of a pro-Israel narrative by American Jews in his seminal book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, written in 1989. Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy said much the same thing nine years ago and discussions of Jewish power do emerge occasionally, even in the mainstream media. In the Jewish media Jewish power is openly discussed and is generally applauded as a well-deserved reward bestowed both by God and by mankind due to the significant accomplishments attributed to Jews throughout history.

There is undeniably a complicated web of relationships and networks that define Israel’s friends. The expression “Israel Lobby” itself has considerable currency, so much so that the expression “The Lobby” is widely used and understood to represent the most powerful foreign policy advocacy group in Washington without needing to include the “Israel” part. That the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu receives 26 standing ovations from Congress and a wealthy Israel has a guaranteed income from the U.S. Treasury derives directly from the power and money of an easily identifiable cluster of groups and oligarchs – Paul Singer, Sheldon Adelson, Bernard Marcus, Haim Saban – who in turn fund a plethora of foundations and institutes whose principal function is to keep the cash and political support flowing in Israel’s direction. No American national interest, apart from the completely phony contention that Israel is some kind of valuable ally, would justify the taxpayers’ largesse. In reality, Israel is a liability to the United States and always has been.

And I do understand at the same time that a clear majority of American Jews, leaning strongly towards the liberal side of the political spectrum, are supportive of the nuclear agreement with Iran and do not favor a new Middle Eastern war involving that country. I also believe that many American Jews are likely appalled by Israeli behavior, but, unfortunately, there is a tendency on their part to look the other way and neither protest such actions nor support groups like Jewish Voice for Peace that are themselves openly critical of Israel. This de facto gives Israel a free pass and validates its assertion that it represents all Jews since no one important in the diaspora community apart from minority groups which can safely be ignored is pushing back against that claim.

That many groups and well-positioned individuals work hand-in-hand with the Israeli government to advance Israeli interests should not be in dispute after all these years of watching it in action. Several high level Jewish officials, including Richard Perle, associated with the George W. Bush Pentagon, had questionable relationships with Israeli Embassy officials and were only able to receive security clearances after political pressure was applied to “godfather” approvals for them. Former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, referred to as Israel’s Congressman and Senator, while current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has described himself as Israel’s “shomer” or guardian in the U.S. Senate.

A recent regulatory decision from the United Kingdom relates to a bit of investigative journalism that sought to reveal precisely how the promotion of Israel by some local diaspora Jews operates, to include how critics are targeted and criticized as well as what is done to destroy their careers and reputations.

Last year, al-Jazeera Media Network used an undercover reporter to infiltrate some U.K. pro-Israel groups that were working closely with the Israeli Embassy to counter criticisms coming from British citizens regarding the treatment of the Palestinians. In particular, the Embassy and its friends were seeking to counter the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has become increasingly effective in Europe. The four-part documentary released late in 2016 that al-Jazeera produced is well worth watching as it consists mostly of secretly filmed meetings and discussions.

The documentary reveals that local Jewish groups, particularly at universities and within the political parties, do indeed work closely with the Israeli Embassy to promote policies supported by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It also confirms that tagging someone as an anti-Semite has become the principal offensive weapon used to stifle any discussion, particularly in a country like Britain which embraces concepts like the criminalization of “hate speech.” At one point, two British Jews discussed whether “being made to feel uncomfortable” by people asking what Israel intends to do with the Palestinians is anti-Semitic. They agreed that it might be.

The documentary also describes how the Embassy and local groups working together targeted government officials who were not considered to be friendly to Israel to “be taken down,” removed from office or otherwise discredited. One government official in particular who was to be attacked was Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Britain, unlike the U.S., has a powerful regulatory agency that oversees communications, to include the media. It is referred to as Ofcom. When the al-Jazeera documentary was broadcast, Israeli Embassy political officer Shai Masot, who reportedly was a Ministry of Strategic Affairs official working under cover, was forced to resign and the Israeli Ambassador offered an apology. Masot was filmed discussing British politicians who might be “taken down” before speaking with a government official who plotted a “a little scandal” to bring about the downfall of Duncan. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is the first head of a political party in Britain to express pro-Palestinian views, had called for an investigation of Masot after the recording of the “take down” demand relating to Duncan was revealed. Several Jewish groups (the Jewish Labour Movement, the Union of Jewish Students and We Believe in Israel) then counterattacked with a complaint that the documentary had violated British broadcast regulations, including the specific charge that the undercover investigation was anti-Semitic in nature.

On October 9th, Ofcom ruled in favor of al-Jazeera, stating that its investigation had done nothing improper, but it should be noted that the media outlet had to jump through numerous hoops to arrive at the successful conclusion. It had to turn over all its raw footage and communications to the investigators, undergoing what one source described as an “editorial colonoscopy,” to prove that its documentary was “factually accurate” and that it had not “unfairly edited” or “with bias” prepared its story. One of plaintiffs, who had called for critics of Israel to “die in a hole” and had personally offered to “take down” a Labour Party official, responded bitterly. She said that the Ofcom judgment would serve as a “precedent for the infringement of privacy of any Jewish person involved in public life.”

The United States does not yet have a government agency to regulate news stories, though that may be coming, but the British tale has an interesting post script. Al-Jazeera also had a second undercover reporter inserted in the Israel Lobby in the United States, apparently a British intern named James Anthony Kleinfeld, who had volunteered his services to The Israel Project, which is involved in promoting Israel’s global image. He also had contact with at least ten other Jewish organizations and with officials at the Israeli Embassy,

Now that the British account of “The Lobby” has cleared a regulatory hurdle the American version will reportedly soon be released. Al-Jazeera’s head of investigative reporting Clayton Swisher commented “With this U.K. verdict and vindication past us, we can soon reveal how the Israel lobby in America works through the eyes of an undercover reporter. I hear the U.S. is having problems with foreign interference these days, so I see no reason why the U.S. establishment won’t take our findings in America as seriously as the British did, unless of course Israel is somehow off limits from that debate.”

Americans who follow such matters already know that groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) swarm over Capitol Hill and have accomplices in nearly every media outlet. Back in 2005-6 AIPAC Officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were actually tried under the Espionage Act of 1918 in a case involving obtaining classified intelligence from government official Lawrence Franklin to pass on to the Israeli Embassy. Rosen had once boasted that, representing AIPAC and Israel, he could get the signatures of 70 senators on a napkin agreeing to anything if he sought to do so. The charges against the two men were, unfortunately, eventually dropped “because court rulings had made the case unwinnable and the trial would disclose classified information.”

And Israeli interference in U.S. government and elections is also a given. Endorsement of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election by the Netanyahu government was more-or-less carried out in the open. And ask Congressmen like Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, William Fulbright, Charles Percy and, most recently, Cynthia McKinney, what happens to your career when you appear to be critical of Israel. And the point is that while Israel calls the shots in terms of what it wants, it is a cabal of diaspora American Jews who actually pull the trigger. With that in mind, it will be very interesting to watch the al-Jazeera documentary on The Lobby in America.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is War with Iran Now Inevitable?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • October 17, 2017

With his declaration Friday that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest, President Donald Trump may have put us on the road to war with Iran.

Indeed, it is easier to see the collisions that are coming than to see how we get off this road before the shooting starts.

After “de-certifying” the nuclear agreement, signed by all five permanent members of the Security Council, Trump gave Congress 60 days to reimpose the sanctions that it lifted when Teheran signed.

If Congress does not reimpose those sanctions and kill the deal, Trump threatens to kill it himself.

Why? Did Iran violate the terms of the agreement? Almost no one argues that — not the UN nuclear inspectors, not our NATO allies, not even Trump’s national security team.

Iran shipped all its 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country, shut down most of its centrifuges, and allowed intrusive inspections of all nuclear facilities. Even before the deal, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies said they could find no evidence of an Iranian nuclear bomb program.

Indeed, if Iran wanted a bomb, Iran would have had a bomb.

She remains a non-nuclear-weapons state for a simple reason: Iran’s vital national interests dictate that she remain so.

As the largest Shiite nation with 80 million people, among the most advanced in the Mideast, Iran is predestined to become the preeminent power in the Persian Gulf. But on one condition: She avoid the great war with the United States that Saddam Hussein failed to avoid.

Iran shut down any bomb program it had because it does not want to share Iraq’s fate of being smashed and broken apart into Persians, Azeris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluch, as Iraq was broken apart by the Americans into Sunni, Shiite, Turkmen, Yazidis and Kurds.

Tehran does not want war with us. It is the War Party in Washington and its Middle East allies — Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudi royals — who hunger to have the United States come over and smash Iran.

Thus, the Congressional battle to kill, or not to kill, the Iran nuclear deal shapes up as decisive in the Trump presidency.

Yet, even earlier collisions with Iran may be at hand.

In Syria’s east, U.S.-backed and Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces are about to take Raqqa. But as we are annihilating ISIS in its capital, the Syrian army is driving to capture Deir Ezzor, capital of the province that sits astride the road from Baghdad to Damascus.

Its capture by Bashar Assad’s army would ensure that the road from Baghdad to Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon remains open.

If the U.S. intends to use the SDF to seize the border area, we could find ourselves in a battle with the Syrian army, Shiite militia, the Iranians, and perhaps even the Russians.

Are we up for that?

In Iraq, the national army is moving on oil-rich Kirkuk province and its capital city. The Kurds captured Kirkuk after the Iraqi army fled from the ISIS invasion. Why is a U.S.-trained Iraqi army moving against a U.S.-trained Kurdish army?

The Kurdistan Regional Government voted last month to secede. This raised alarms in Turkey and Iran, as well as Baghdad. An independent Kurdistan could serve as a magnet to Kurds in both those countries.

Baghdad’s army is moving on Kirkuk to prevent its amputation from Iraq in any civil war of secession by the Kurds.

Where does Iran stand in all of this?

In the war against ISIS, they were de facto allies. For ISIS, like al-Qaida, is Sunni and hates Shiites as much as it hates Christians. But if the U.S. intends to use the SDF to capture the Iraqi-Syrian border, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia could all be aligned against us.

Are we ready for such a clash?

We Americans are coming face to face with some new realities.

The people who are going to decide the future of the Middle East are the people who live there. And among these people, the future will be determined by those most willing to fight, bleed and die for years and in considerable numbers to realize that future.

We Americans, however, are not going to send another army to occupy another country, as we did Kuwait in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.

Bashar Assad, his army and air force backed by Vladimir Putin’s air power, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, and Hezbollah won the Syrian civil war because they were more willing to fight and die to win it. And, truth be told, all had far larger stakes there than did we.

We do not live there. Few Americans are aware of what is going on there. Even fewer care.

Our erstwhile allies in the Middle East naturally want us to fight their 21st-century wars, as the Brits got us to help fight their 20th-century wars.

But Donald Trump was not elected to do that. Or so at least some of us thought.

Coyright 2017 Creators.com.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Syrian endgame is nigh as rival factions look to cut deals

Three cities – Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define how the country shapes up post-ISIS, as key players edge towards under-the-table agreements

By Sami Moubayed | Asia Times | October 17, 2017

Over the weekend, Moscow hosted Sipan Hamo, commander of the powerful all-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the last standing US-backed militia on the Syrian battlefield. It was the most senior visit by a Kurdish military official to Moscow since the Russian Army joined the Syrian War in 2015.

Hamo met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Chief-of-Staff Valeria Gerasimov to discuss the future of Deir ez-Zour and al-Raqqa, two cities along the Euphrates River which – at time of writing – appear to be in their final hours of control by Islamic State (ISIS).

At the same time, Turkish troops crossed the border into Syria, with the blessing of Russia and Iran, deploying in the northwest city of Idlib, which remains, for now, in the hands of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization previously known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or Jabhat al-Nusra.

These three cities –Deir ez-Zour, al-Raqqa, and Idlib – will define what the Syrian endgame looks like. Invisible borders are being created around them, outlining each stakeholder’s share of the Syrian patchwork. Contrary to what many presume, very little fighting is now taking place on the streets of Syria, as under-the-table deals are being cut between traditional enemies who, until very recently, were at daggers drawn with each other.

Deir ez-Zour, the largest of these three contested cities, has been under brutal ISIS control since 2014. Government troops have been advancing on the oil-rich city, which lies east of the Euphrates, marching deep into territory once believed to be part of the country’s US/Kurdish fiefdom.

Opposition sources say government troops, with Russian air cover, will only be taking Deir ez-Zour City and not the entire province, arguing that everything around it, including farmland and oil wells, has been earmarked for the SDF. The exact parameters of these borders is what Hamo wanted to discuss in Moscow.

Reportedly, he pressed for a commitment from the Russians not to confront his troops in the Deir ez-Zour countryside, while promising to stop short of al-Sukhna, the last ISIS stronghold in the Homs Governorate, and leave the honors of its liberation to the Syrian and Russian Armies. On October 7, he and his men had stood by and watched government troops overrun ISIS strongholds in the city of al-Mayadeen, in the countryside of Deir ez-Zour — a job that until recently, would have been left to the SDF.

In exchange for such cooperation, the SDF is seeking Russian guarantees that the Turkish Army will not march on the Kurdish city of Afrin, west of the Euphrates River. Kurdish leaders are panicking after Turkish troops plunged into Idlib over the weekend, seemingly to implement part of the de-conflict zone agreement reached at the Astana ceasefire talks in May. Afrin lies within the Russian pocket of influence in Syria, and the Turks are trying to win control of the summit of Sheikh Mount Barakat, which overlooks it. A former radar post for the Syrian Army, it would give Erdogan’s forces a birds-eye view of Afrin. Moscow agreed to give Hamo the specific guarantee he asked for.

Meanwhile, the Turks are cutting their own deals in Idlib – with the militant jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Instead of bankrolling a new proxy army of Syrian recruits, or sending its own troops to battle, Ankara is trying to reach a political understanding with HTS, calling for its silent evacuation from Idlib and safe passage to the countryside of Deir ez-Zour.

On October 8, HTS militants escorted a Turkish reconnaissance unit into Idlib. This was followed by no fewer than three meetings between Turkish officials and HTS commanders, raising eyebrows among the Syrian Opposition. This is the very same group that the Turks have been mandated to crush, but which many believe they helped to create early in the Syrian conflict five years ago.

In exchange for safe exodus, Turkey wants HTS to withdraw quietly from Atme, north of Idlib and east of the Turkish border, through Darat Izzat (30 km northwest of Aleppo), all the way to Anadan, on the Aleppo-Gazientap International Highway. This would further secure the Turkish border from any Kurdish advancements, and create a new buffer zone in which to relocate Syrian refugees living in Turkey since 2011. It would also enlarge Turkey’s zone of influence in Syria, which already includes the two border cities of Jarablus and Azaz, and that of al-Bab, 40km northeast of Aleppo.

Similar secret deals are also being cut between the SDF and ISIS in al-Raqqa, where the jihadists have been on the defensive since the Kurdish campaign started last June.

The city has been subjected to a horrific aerial bombardment by the US-led Coalition, believed to be one of the worst in modern history. Within days, however, al-Raqqa will be liberated fully from ISIS control, bringing an end, once and for all, to the myth of the “capital” of the Islamic State.

Only 120 fighters are left in al-Raqqa, stranded in a pass of just 1.5 km, and all of them are foreign fighters. All local Syrian ISIS fighters were evacuated through secret agreement with the SDF on the night of October 6-7, disguised as ordinary civilians. The agreement with ISIS basically allows local Syrians to jump ship, distancing themselves from the terror group that captured their hearts and minds back in 2014. In exchange for handing back al-Raqqa, these Syrian fighters might even get a free pass to return to ordinary life, if they help eliminate what remains of foreign fighters inside still inside the city.

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Chavistas Take 17 of 23 States in Venezuelan Regional Elections as Opposition Cries Fraud

By Lucas Koerner – Venezuelanalysis – October 16, 2017

Caracas – President Nicolás Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 17 of 23 states in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections, the National Electoral Council (CNE) has confirmed.

According to CNE President Tibisay Lucena, 61.14 percent of Venezuela’s eighteen-million-strong electorate came out to vote, marking a record participation in the country’s regional elections, second only to the 65.45 percent turnout in 2008.

The result defied forecasts of high abstention fueled by the current economic crisis as well as polls showing dissatisfaction with the leadership of both the government and political opposition.

With 95 percent of all votes counted, the governing PSUV won in the states of Amazonas, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Miranda, Monagas, Sucre, Trujillo, Yaracuy, Delta Amacuro, and Vargas.

For its part, the opposition Democratic Action party triumphed in Anzoátegui, Merida, Tachira, and Nueva Esparta, while the First Justice party took the strategic northwestern border state of Zulia.

The CNE has yet to release final results for the mineral rich Amazonian state of Bolivar in the country’s southeast border.

The PSUV won 54 percent of the total vote, marking a significant recovery since the ruling party’s landslide defeat in the 2015 parliamentary elections when it garnered only 40.8 percent of the vote. The pro-government upswing follows on the heels of July 30 National Constituent Assembly (ANC) elections, which saw over eight million people turn out to vote amid deadly opposition protests and escalating US pressure.

The CNE indicated that the right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, won 45 percent of votes, amounting to a loss of 2.2 million votes relative to 2015.

Speaking late Sunday evening, President Maduro welcomed the result, vowing to work with the newly elected opposition governors.

“I extend my hand to the opposition governors to work with them for the peace and calm of the country,” he declared.

The head of state likewise called on the CNE to carry out a “100 percent audit” of all paper ballots from Sunday’s vote.

Under Venezuela’s electoral system, every electronic vote is backed up by a paper ballot, 50 percent of which are by law subject to recount in any given electoral cycle.

Despite scoring important victories in several key states, the MUD responded to the CNE announcement by refusing to recognize the results, alleging “fraud”.

In a press conference early Monday morning, MUD campaign head Gerardo Blyde rejected the outcome as “not reliable”.

Blyde cited the CNE’s controversial decision announced several weeks ago to relocate 334 voting centers – predominantly located in opposition areas and targeted by anti-government violence during the July 30 ANC vote– which he claimed impacted 700,000 people.

The Baruta mayor called on the CNE to “audit the whole process”, echoing President Maduro’s remarks several hours earlier.

Blyde urged opposition candidates to mobilize their supporters in the streets in the coming days to put pressure on the nation’s electoral authority.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton Calls Alleged Russian Interference in Election ‘Cyber 9/11’

Sputnik – 16.10.2017

Former US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has referred to the alleged interference of Russian actors into the 2016 election that she lost to Donald Trump as a “cyber 9/11.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed News (whose most significant contribution to Russia Gate was publishing a dossier filled with scandalous and uncorroborated claims of Trump watching Russian sex workers pee on beds,) Hillary compared the alleged hacking to a savage terrorist attack that killed thousands of civilians.

“We had really well-respected security, intelligence veterans saying this was a cyber 9/11, in the sense it was a direct attack on our institutions,” said Clinton. “That may sound dramatic, but we know that they probed and tried to intrude into election systems — not just the social media propaganda part of their campaign.”

She didn’t explain how this interference, if it’s even real, was somehow comparable to the fiery and tragic deaths of thousands of innocent people.

The “election systems” comment is a seeming reference to the FBI warning 21 states that “bad actors” may be targeting their election systems prior to the election. Several states performed independent investigations and found no evidence of tampering with their voting systems. Four states reported that someone stole the information of some of their voters — but did not change or manipulate any data.

In other words, while there are unanswered questions about the election systems, there is no proof besides the FBI’s claim that Russian hackers tried to rig the US election in Trump’s favor by meddling with election systems.

Clinton added that the Russians are “not done,” and the “ongoing threat” of Russian interference is something she would have gotten “to the bottom of” if she had been elected president.

“[Russian President Vladimir Putin] believes that [undermining NATO and the EU] will then give Russia a real chance to be dominant, certainly in Europe and certainly along its borders,” she added. “And that the United States, which he views as his primary adversary, will be weakened.”

Clinton went on to say that Putin sought to weaken the US by dividing the American people from within. “He got some of what he was looking for. He hasn’t gotten everything. But keep an eye on him, because he’s not done.”

Hillary is one to talk about dividing the American people. Since her loss in 2016, she has blamed her loss on sexist men and self-hating women, on more popular Democrats like Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, on former FBI Director James Comey, on the people who didn’t vote for her being stupid or emotional or bigoted or paranoid, on the Republican Party’s voter suppression and the Democratic Party’s incompetence, on the mainstream media (which gave Clinton favorable coverage) and on campaign finance laws (when Clinton raised around twice as much money as Trump and still managed to lose.) And that’s only a partial list.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

DEA, Congress complicit in US opioid epidemic – whistleblowers

RT | October 16, 2017

The US Drug Enforcement Administration ‘shut off’ investigations into large distributors of addictive opioid pills, while a new law made it nearly impossible to prosecute them, the agency’s former employees said.

During the Obama administration, the drug industry used their money and influence to pressure top lawyers at the DEA to take a softer approach to investigating large distributors of opioid pills, even when there was ample evidence of suspicious dealings, Joe Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, told CBS’ 60 Minutes program.

Rannazzisi accused America’s largest painkiller distributors, including Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, of “knowingly” turning a blind eye to the addictive pills being diverted to illicit use.

Former attorney at the DEA Jonathan Novak told CBS that in 2013 he also noticed a sea change in the way prosecutions of big distributors were handled, as his supervisors turned down cases they would have once easily approved. The DEA operates under the Department of Justice.

“These were not cases where it was black – where it was grey… These were cases where the evidence was crystal clear that there was wrongdoing going on,” Novak said.

Jim Geldhof, another former DEA investigator, told the program about a West Virginia case he was looking into where 11 million pills wound up in one of its counties with a population of just 25,000. He said he suddenly ran into roadblocks from one DEA supervisor.

“Every time I talked to this guy he wants something else. And I get it for him and that’s still not good enough,” Geldhof said. “And this goes on and on and on. When these roadblocks keep get thrown up in your face, at that point you know they just don’t want the case.”

“There was a lotta pills, a lotta people dying, and and we had tools in our toolbox to try to use and stem that flow. But it seemed down in headquarters that that toolbox was shut off,” said another former DEA official, Frank Younker.

The ex-employees said one of the reasons for the roadblocks was the “revolving door” between the DEA and the drug industry, as a number of the administration’s top lawyers landed lobbying jobs for the pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors upon leaving the government.

One such former DEA attorney wrote legislation which “made it all but impossible” to prosecute unscrupulous distributors, according to DEA chief administrative law judge, John J. Mulrooney.

The bill, called Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, was signed into law by president Obama last year, after it was passed by both chambers of Congress. Critics say it effectively stripped the DEA of its authority to investigate suspicious transactions as the government is now required to meet a higher standard before taking enforcement actions.

After Rannazzisi accused the bill’s co-sponsors Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) of protecting distributors under his investigation, the lawmakers wrote the inspector general for the Justice Department, demanding that Rannazzisi be investigated for trying to “intimidate the United States Congress.”

Soon after, Rannazzisi was stripped of his responsibilities. He told CBS he went from supervising 600 people to supervising none – so he resigned.

Seven months after the bill became law, Marino’s chief of staff Bill Tighe became a lobbyist for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Last month, President Donald Trump nominated Marino to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In the wake of the 60 Minute investigation, some congressional Democrats called on the president to withdraw his nomination

Acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg, who led the agency under President Barack Obama, resigned at the end of September, reportedly over disagreements with Trump’s policies.

Prescription painkillers have stoked the epidemic of opioid overdoses and addictions across the US.

In August, Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency after his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis reported that the US faces the death toll equal to “September 11th every three weeks” as the epidemic claims the lives of up to 142 Americans every day.

“60,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses” in 2016, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said later that month.

“That will be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history,” Session stated, adding that “this is not a sustainable trend nor an acceptable America.”

“80 percent of heroin addictions in America started with prescription drug addiction,”  Sessions added, saying that the abuse of prescription drugs needs to be stopped.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments