Donald Trump has appointed at least two neocons to his foreign policy group.
First, let’s consider Joseph E. Schmitz. He is a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense and a former executive with Blackwater Worldwide. He fled the Pentagon after he was accused of protecting top Bush officials accused of wrongdoing.
Blackwater, now Academi, the military contractor founded by Eric Prince, played a substantial role during the Iraq War. It is infamous for killing seventeen Iraqi citizens in 2007, the same year the corporation was accused of illegally smuggling weapons into the country. Blackwater did not like being investigated for its misdeeds. In 2007, Blackwater Manager Daniel Carroll threatened to kill Jean Richter, a State Department Investigator.
Schmitz is connected to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a think tank formed by Frank Gaffney, a neocon so radical he was rejected by the Pentagon when he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration. He is associated with other neocons, including Richard Perle, who rose to prominence as aides of the late Democrat Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson.
The Center for Security Policy, described by William Arkin as the “Domino’s Pizza of the policy business,” claims there is a “stealth jihad” underway in America and Muslims plan to install sharia law. Former CIA director and staunch neocon James Woolsey coauthored a report for the center claiming sharia law is a major threat to the United States.
After CSP sent a letter to the State Department Inspector General accusing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of working undercover for the Muslim Brotherhood, a number of Republicans, including John McCain, John Boehner, and Marco Rubio, denounced the group.
Trump and former Republican member of the House, Michele Bachmann, often cited CSP propaganda.
Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” was in part inspired by the results of a CSP poll. The poll said 25% of Muslims queried supported violent jihad and more than half favored sharia law. The methodology and accuracy of the poll is suspect. Philip Bump of The Washington Post said the poll’s structure encouraged Muslims to select the options endorsing violence.
On Friday The Canary reported Schmitz worked with a Saudi prince to illegally provide arms to the jihadists in Syria. “Schmitz was in direct contact with then Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Gen. Salim Idris. Schmitz hoped his deal with Gen. Idris would be a first step toward potential future assistance from Blackwater founder Erik Prince himself,” writes Brad Hoff.
Idris, a former Syrian Army commander, was appointed to lead a Salafist dominated military command in 2012. “The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who had defected from Assad’s military,” Reuters reported.
Its composition, estimated to be two-thirds from the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, reflects the growing strength of Islamist fighters on the ground and resembles that of the civilian opposition leadership coalition created under Western and Arab auspices in Qatar…
“Idris and [Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi] were the very men that Joseph Schmitz stood ready to arm through a mysterious Saudi middle man before the whole private venture was reportedly shut down by a CIA official who intervened in Amman, Jordan,” writes Hoff.
Trump has a second fringe neocon in his circle of confidants—Walid Phares.
Phares is associated with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neocon organization that teamed up with the American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute to propagandize (and lie) America into invading Iraq.
In 2011, Phares became one of several neocon advisors to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. Other advisers included Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Eric Edelman, John Lehman, Dan Senor, Vin Weber, and Paula Dobriansky.
Phares, a Christian Maronite of Lebanese origin, was associated with the Lebanese Forces in the 1980s.
In the 1970s the Lebanese Forces were part the Kataeb Party, also known as the Lebanese Phalanges Party. Its militia killed 3,500 Palestinians at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut in 1982 during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Elie Hobeika, a prominent figure in the Phalanges, served as the Lebanese Forces intelligence chief and liaison officer with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
Many of Donald Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements are contradictory. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has demonstrated her willingness to do the bidding of the neocons in Libya and Syria. She has not vacillated in her commitment to total war. More than a few neocons, most notably Max Boot, have said they will vote her.
The danger for America “is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton,” writes John Pilger. “She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted ‘exceptionalism’ is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.”
Trump may indeed rollback the aggressive military posture of the United States, as promised, then again, considering his coterie of foreign policy advisers and his penchant for flip-flopping, he may continue to engage in foreign interventionism, albeit with his signature flair.
Man who “ran the CIA” offers an entirely new perspective
On August 5th, Michael Morell, a former acting Director of the CIA, pilloried GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, concluding that he was an “unwitting agent of Russia.” Morell, who entitled his New York Times op-ed “I Ran the CIA and now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton,” described the process whereby Trump had been so corrupted. According to Morell, Putin, it seems, as a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities… In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
I have previously observed how incomprehensible the designation of “unwitting agent” used in a sentence together with “recruited” is, but perhaps I should add something more about Morell that might not be clear to the casual reader. Morell was an Agency analyst, not a spy, who spent nearly his entire career in and around Washington. The high point of his CIA experience consisted of briefing George W. Bush on the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).
Morell was not trained in the arduous CIA operational tradecraft course which agent recruiters and handlers go through. This means that his understanding of intelligence operations and agents is, to put it politely, derivative. If he had gone through the course he would understand that when you recruit an agent you control him and tell him what to do. The agent might not know whom exactly he is really answering to as in a false flag operation, but he cannot be unwitting.
Morell appears to have a tendency to make promises that others will have to deliver on, but perhaps that’s what delegation by senior U.S. government officials is all about. He was also not trained in CIA paramilitary operations, which perhaps should be considered when he drops comments about the desirability of “covertly” killing Russians and Iranians to make a point that they should not oppose U.S. policies in Syria, as he did in a softball interview with Charlie Rose on August 6th.
Morell appears to be oblivious to the possibility that going around assassinating foreigners might be regarded as state sponsored terrorism and could well ignite World War 3. And, as is characteristic of chickenhawks, it is highly unlikely that he was intending that either he or his immediate family should go out and cut the throats or blow the heads off of those foreign devils who seek to derail the Pax Americana. Nor would he expect to be in the firing line when the relatives of those victims seek revenge. Someone else with the proper training would be found to do all that messy stuff and take the consequences.
Be that as it may, Morell was a very senior officer and perhaps we should accept that he might know something that the rest of us have missed, so let’s just assume that he kind of misspoke and give him a pass on the “recruited unwitting agent” expression. Instead let’s look for other American political figures who just might be either deliberately or inadvertently serving the interests of a foreign government, which is presumably actually what Michael Morell meant to convey regarding Trump. To be sure a well-run McCarthy-esque ferreting out of individuals who just might be disloyal provides an excellent opportunity to undertake a purge of those who either by thought, word or deed might be guilty of unacceptable levels of coziness with foreign interests.
So who is guilty of putting the interests of a foreign government ahead of those of the United States? I know there are advocates for any number of foreign states running around loose in Washington but the friends of Israel in government and the media come immediately to mind largely because there are so many of them, they are very much in-your-face and they are both extremely well-funded and very successful. Now deceased former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, often referred to as the congressman and senator from Israel. And there are many more: Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Tom Cotton, Mark Kirk, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Sherman, Ileana-Ros Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to name only a few in the Congress. All are major recipients of Israel related PAC money and all are reliable defenders of Israel no matter what Benjamin Netanyahu does and no matter how it effects the United States.
And then there are the Clintons. One only has to go back to Bill’s one-sided pro-Israeli diplomacy at Camp David in 2000 to discern how the game was played. And then there was the widely condemned January 2001 last minute pardon of Mossad agent Marc Rich, whose wife Denise was a major contributor to the Clintons, to realize that there was always a deference to Israeli interests particularly when money was involved. The only problem is that the Clintons, relying on Morell’s formulation, might more reasonably be described as witting agents of Israel rather than unwitting as they have certainly known what they have been doing and have been actively supporting Israeli policies even when damaging to U.S. interests since they first emerged from the primordial political swamps in Arkansas. If one were completely cynical it might be possible to suggest that they understood from the beginning that pandering to Israel and gaining access to Jewish power and money would be a major component in their rise to political prominence. It certainly has worked out that way.
Trump’s crime, per Morell, is that he is disloyal to the United States because he is not sufficiently hostile to the evil Vladimir Putin, which somehow means that he is being manipulated by the clever Russian. Trump has indeed called for a positive working relationship with Putin to accomplish, among other objectives, the crushing of ISIS. And he is otherwise in favor of leaving Bashar al-Assad of Syria alone while also being disinclined to get involved in any additional military interventions in the Middle East or elsewhere, which pretty much makes him the antithesis of the Clintonian foreign policy promoted by Morell.
In comparison with the deeply and profoundly corrupt Clintons, Trump’s alleged foreign policy perfidy makes him appear to be pretty much a boy scout. To understand the Clintons one might consider the hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from foreign sources, that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State. And there is the clear email evidence that Hillary exploited her government position to favor both foreign and domestic financial supporters.
The leading individual foreign donor to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 and 2014 was Ukrainian Viktor Pinchuk, who “directed between $10 and $25 million” to its Global Initiative, has let the Clintons use his private jet, attended Bill’s Hollywood 65th birthday celebration and hosted daughter Chelsea and her husband on a trip to Ukraine. Pinchuk is a Jewish oligarch married to the daughter of notoriously corrupt former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. He is very closely tied to Israel, a supporter of regime change in his country, who was simultaneously donating money and also lobbying in Washington while Hillary was Secretary of State and promoting a similar agenda as part of her $5 billion program to “democratize” Ukraine. Clinton arranged a dozen meetings with substantive State Department officers for Pinchuk.
Hillary and Bill’s predilection for all things Israeli and her promise to do even more in the future is a matter of public record. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz asserted that of all the political candidates in the primaries “Clinton had the longest public record of engagement with Israel, and has spent decades diligently defending the Jewish state.” In a speech to AIPAC in March she promised to take the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.” Hillary’s current principal financial supporter in her presidential run is Haim Saban, an Israeli who has described himself as a “one issue” guy and that issue is Israel.
Hillary Clinton boasts of having “stood with Israel my entire career.” Her website promises to maintain “Israel’s qualitative military edge to ensure the IDF is equipped to deter and defeat aggression from the full spectrum of threats,” “stand up against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS),” and “cut off efforts to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood outside of the context of negotiations with Israel.” In a letter to Haim Saban, Hillary declared that “we need to make countering BDS a priority,” which means she is prepared to support laws limiting First Amendment rights in the U.S. in defense of perceived Israeli interests.
As part of the Obama Administration Hillary Clinton at first supported his attempts to pressure Israel over its illegal settlements but has now backed off from that position, only rarely criticizing them as a “problem” but never advocating any steps to persuade Netanyahu to reverse his policy. Notably, she has repeatedly decried terroristic attacks on Israelis but has never acknowledged the brutality of the Israeli occupation of much of the West Bank in spite of the fact that ten Palestinians are killed for each Jewish victim of the ongoing violence.
Clinton supported Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War, which killed more than 500 children, describing them as an appropriate response to a situation that was provoked by Hamas. On the campaign trail recently husband Bill disingenuously defended Hillary’s position on Gaza, saying that “Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools…” placing all the blame for the large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinians, not on the Israelis. When the media began to report on the plight of the civilians trapped in Gaza Hillary dismissed the impending humanitarian catastrophe, saying “They’re trapped by their leadership, unfortunately.”
Earlier, as a Senator from New York, Hillary supported Israel’s building of the separation barrier on Palestinian land and cheer-led a crowd at a pro-Israel rally that praised Israel’s 2006 devastation of Lebanon and Gaza. She nonsensically characterized and justified the bombing campaign as “efforts to send messages to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians – to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom…” More than nine hundred civilians died in the onslaught and when a vote came up subsequently in Congress to stop the supply of cluster bombs to countries that use them on civilians Hillary voted against the bill together with 69 other pro-Israel senators.
Hillary enjoys a particularly close relationship with Netanyahu, writing in November, “I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.” She has worked diligently to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond with Israel – and Benjamin Netanyahu.” She has boasted of her being one of the promoters of annual increases in aid to Israel while she was in the Senate and Secretary of State and takes credit for repeatedly using America’s Security Council veto to defend it in the United Nations.
So I think it is pretty clear who is the presidential candidate promoting the interests of a foreign country and it ain’t Trump. Hillary would no doubt argue that Israel is a friend and Russia is not, an interesting point of view as Israel is not in fact an ally and has spied on us and copied our military technology to re-export to countries like China. Indeed, the most damaging spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard worked for Israel. In spite of all that Israel continues to tap our treasury for billions of dollars a year while still ignoring Washington when requests are made to moderate policies that damage American interests. Against that, what exactly has Moscow done to harm us since the Cold War ended? And who is advocating even more pressure on Russia and increasing the rewards for Israel, presumably in the completely illogical belief that to do so will somehow bring some benefit to the American people? Hillary Clinton.
It’s a little strange to write a fact sheet about a term that actually has no meaning.
That’s right – there’s no real definition of a “run-of-river” hydro project. As our former director, Patrick McCully, once said of run-of-river hydro, “It’s a sort of Alice in Wonderland, ‘it means exactly what I want it to mean’ term.”
Simply put, run-of-river (ROR) hydro projects have limited storage capacity as compared to conventional storage dams. But there, the clarity ends. The term has been applied to everything from micro-hydro projects providing electricity in remote villages to the Belo Monte mega-dam in Brazil, which will devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian rainforest, displace over 20,000 people, and threaten the survival of indigenous tribes that depend on the river.
One World Bank insider told me that Bank officials often misuse the term as short-hand for “low-impact.” That kind of imprecision lulls officials and the public into thinking ROR projects are the silver (or green) bullet: hydro projects that produce power but without the negative impacts. Because the term sounds so innocuous, ROR projects usually don’t get the level of scrutiny they require. And the truth is, run-of-river dams are anything but low-impact.
Preparing our new fact sheet, “Swindling Rivers,” I’ve learned a lot about run-of-river hydro, the different forms it takes, and the significant impact ROR projects can have:
The Himalayas are perforated by run-of-river tunnels where river flows are diverted to powerhouses, bypassing river channels for often dozens of kilometers. India’s Teesta River is undergoing a ROR boom that, once complete, will see more of the river flow though tunnels than the river channel itself. These ROR schemes divert some, or even all, of a river’s flow, often causing changes to a river’s temperature, velocity and depth that can completely kill off the natural life in a river.
At the same time, so-called “peaking” ROR projects are wreaking havoc on communities and aquatic life. Unlike the diversion tunnels, these projects often store a river’s flows behind a dam during the day, only to be released all at once in the evening to generate power during peak energy demand. These daily fluctuations between drought and flood are incredibly disruptive to river ecology. More tragically, these unexpected releases have made drownings a common occurrence for downstream communities in India.
And just like traditional dams, all run-of-river projects stymie the life cycle of migratory fish.
A new feature in The Economist highlights the perils of dam construction on one of the world’s greatest waterways, the Mekong River, where Laos is currently building the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dams. These would be the first two of eleven dams planned on the lower mainstream of the river, all of which are classified as “run-of-river” projects, despite sizeable reservoirs. Laos’ downstream neighbors fear the dams’ impacts on fish populations and agriculture that sustain the livelihoods and food security of millions and have voiced strong concerns over the projects. The Government of Laos, in return, has pointed to the fact these projects are run-of-river in an attempt to downplay concern over their impacts. If the full suite of dams is constructed, they would transform more than half of the vibrant river into a series of stagnant reservoirs.
But the concerns are not going away. In fact, they were recently echoed in an article in the prestigious magazine Science, which raised the alarm about the threat of major biodiversity losses by run-of-river projects on the world’s great rivers – the Mekong, the Amazon and the Congo.
In short, there’s nothing innately better about run-of-river projects. If anything, the term is a greenwash for some deeply destructive projects. The upshot? Don’t be fooled by the name: All ROR projects deserve the same exacting scrutiny as any other dam.
With more than 34 trillion cubic meters, Iran owns the world’s largest natural gas reserves but its share of global trade in gas is less than 1%
Iran is pitching its massive gas sector for trade with Asia where it sees a better market for exports than Europe.
“Gas prices are more attractive in East Asia than in Europe,” Deputy Petroleum Minister for trade and international affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia has said.
The country hopes to eventually export natural gas to East Asia, including Japan, he told the Kyodo news agency in an interview on Sunday.
Zamaninia held the prospect of Iran and Japan forming a long-term partnership for the supply of Iranian LNG to the Asian country.
“Japan has a great potential of becoming a major partner for Iran in developing its gas industry,” he said.
The two countries have a chequered history of trade relations. They had to ditch a massive petrochemical project in 1991 as the Iraqi war of 1980-1988 under former dictator Saddam Hussein dragged on.
In 2010, Japan’s state-owned Inpex walked out of an agreement to develop Iran’s South Azadegan oilfield under US pressures.
Tokyo, however, was among the first countries to rush through a series of measures to lift sanctions on Iran before a nuclear agreement with Tehran went into effect.
In August, Japan sent its State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Daishiro Yamagiwa to Tehran with executives from major trading houses such as Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Itochu, as well as plant-engineering giant JGC and major banks.
Tehran accounted for 10% of Japan’s oil imports before sanctions cut them to five percent. Japan wants to raise the purchases to the previous level.
“Given that Iran’s oil and natural gas reserves are one of the world’s biggest, there is a possibility that Iran will play a part if Japan seeks to diversify its supply sources,” Kyodo quoted a Japanese gas and oil industry source as saying Sunday.
Zamaninia said Japanese companies are interested in being re-engaged in the Iranian energy sector, especially in the gas sector, adding he thinks Japan’s current policy seems to be focusing less on crude oil.
With more than 34 trillion cubic meters under its belt, Iran owns the world’s largest natural gas reserves but its share of the global trade in gas is less than one percent.
According to an Iranian energy official, natural gas will be the main fuel in the next 20 to 30 years. Zamaninia said within two to three years, Iran will be a major supplier of gas to its neighbors.
Currently, Turkey is Iran’s biggest customer with 30 million cubic meters a day of imports under a 25-year deal signed before the West imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Iran seeks to raise gas production to 1.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) a day in five years, from 800 million cubic meters now. Annual output totals 166 bcm, which is mostly used at home.
The country exports 10 bcm of gas per year. To put it in perspective, Russia exports about 150 billion cubic meters of gas a year.
South Pars in southern Iran is the world’s largest gas field which the country is developing in two dozen phases.
It provides feedstock for a number of petrochemical complexes in an area known the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone (PSEEZ) in Assaluyeh on the Persian Gulf coast.
Yoichi Yamamoto, adviser in charge of the Middle East at the Japan External Trade Organization in Tokyo, says petrochemical products, rather than natural gas itself, might be more attractive for Japanese companies for now.
“To transport gas across the sea, it is necessary to convert gas into liquefied natural gas and use special tankers, resulting in relatively large investment,” he told Kyodo.
“If Japanese companies are to form joint ventures or invest funds in the PSEEZ, petrochemical products produced there would be attractive,” he said.
“They cannot sell all the products in Japan. If they could draw up a business model in which they will sell the products also to third-party countries, I think it would be possible for them to invest,” he added.
On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a “mulligan” for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.
Morell did so despite Rose’s efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about “killing” Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission.
In the earlier interview, Morell said he wanted to “make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria.”
Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians?”
Rose: “And killing Iranians?”
Morell: “Yes … You don’t tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”
In the follow-up interview, some of Rose’s fretful comments made it clear that there are still some American non-neocons around who were withholding applause for Morell’s belligerent suggestion.
Rose apparently has some viewers who oppose all terrorism, including the state-sponsored variety that would involve a few assassinations to send a message, and the notion that U.S. bombing Syria to “scare” Assad is somehow okay (as long as the perpetrator is the sole “indispensable” nation in the world).
Rose helped Morell ‘splain that he really did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians. No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored “moderate opposition” in Syria did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his advocacy of the U.S. Air Force bombing Syrian government targets. That would be “an okay thing” in Morell’s lexicon.
The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” That would seem to cover Morell’s plan.
But Morell seems oblivious to international law and to the vast human suffering already inflicted in Syria over the past five years by government forces, rebels, terrorists and outside nations trying to advance one geopolitical goal or another.
What is needed is a serious commitment to peace talks without unacceptable preconditions, such as outside demands for “regime change.” Instead, the focus should be on creating conditions for Syrians to make that choice themselves through elections or power-sharing negotiations.
Morell prefers to think that a few more U.S.-directed murders and some more aerial-inflicted mayhem should do the trick. Perhaps he thinks that’s the sort of tough-guy/gal talk that will impress a prospective President Hillary Clinton.
A Slight Imprecision?
Charlie Rose begins the “mulligan” segment with the suggestion that Morell might have slightly misspoken: “Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it … Tell me what you meant to say … perhaps you did not speak as precisely as you should have or I didn’t ask the right questions.”
Morell responded, “No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions,” and then he presented his killing plan as a route to peace, albeit one in which the United States dictates “regime change” in Syria: “So there’s not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution. … And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people.
“That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen. So … we need to increase our leverage over those … three people and countries, in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.
“And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. … So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was: Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they’re already fighting Russians and Iranians. …
“So … the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians, is fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that’s an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive.” (Emphasis added)
Rose: “You weren’t suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground.”
Morell: “And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that. …
“So that’s Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don’t kill anybody, right, zero collateral. … You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. … (Emphasis added)
“You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this.
“Now these issues that I’m talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They’re talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn’t talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it.”
Acts of Illegal War
Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as “aggression” or as an “invasion” or as “terrorism.”
Remember, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in February 2014, when Russia intervened to allow Crimea to hold a referendum on splitting away from the new regime in Kiev and rejoining Russia, the U.S. government insisted that there was no excuse for President Vladimir Putin not respecting the sovereignty of the coup regime even if it had illegally ousted an elected president.
However, regarding Syria, the United States and its various “allies,” including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have intervened directly and indirectly in supporting various armed groups, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, seeking the violent overthrow of Syria’s government.
Without any legal authorization from the United Nations, President Barack Obama has ordered the arming and training of anti-government rebels (including some who have fought under Nusra’s command structure), has carried out airstrikes inside Syria (aimed at Islamic State militants), and has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Syria with Kurdish rebels.
Now, a former senior U.S. intelligence official is publicly urging bombing of Syrian government targets and the killing of Iranians and Russians who are legally inside Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government. In other words, not only does the U.S. government operate with breathtaking hypocrisy in the Syrian crisis, but it functions completely outside international law.
And, Morell says that in attacking Syrian government targets — supposedly without causing any deaths — the United States would employ “the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists,” except those rules of engagement explicitly seek to kill targeted individuals. So, what kind of dangerously muddled thinking do we have here?
One can only imagine the reaction if some Russian version of Morell went on Moscow TV and urged the murder of U.S. military trainers operating inside Ukraine – to send a message to Washington. And then, the Russian Morell would advocate Russia bombing Ukrainian government targets in Kiev with the supposed goal of forcing the U.S.-backed government to accept a “regime change” acceptable to Moscow.
Rather than calls for him to be locked up or at least decisively repudiated, the American Morell was allowed to continue his fawning audition for a possible job in a Hillary Clinton administration by extolling her trustworthiness and “humanity.” – Full article
By Vanessa Beeley | 21st Century Wire | August 20, 2016
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ~ George Orwell.
The media furore surrounding the now viral image of wounded Syrian child, Omran Daqneesh, in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo, Syria is still raging, while the push back against the tide of western-sponsored anti-Syrian State propaganda reveals itself to be strengthening with each new spike in pro-terrorist hyperbole designed to provoke a knee-jerk foreign policy response that is either advocating a “No Fly Zone”, or some form of escalation foreign military intervention inside of Syria.
Today I had the honour to meet with Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. We discussed many issues including this most recent heart wrenching image that is appearing across all main stream media channels. As we opened the discussion, Dr Shaaban said immediately: “We are paying for this propaganda with our blood.”
Dr Shaaban went on to describe how the “corporate media is distorting reality in Syria,” while also explaining why she was reluctant at the beginning of the NATO member and allies war on Syria, to speak to western mainstream media:
“They came here with accusatory questions, they didn’t come here to know what is going on. They came here to ask me why are you working with a man who is ‘killing his own people.’ What an ugly start for an interview. I said there is no point, they come here to gain credibility but only to re-confirm their own story rather than to find out what is really going on. I didn’t want to be used to ‘re-confirm’ their own story or to give them credibility.”
Dr Shaaban believes that there is a need to ensure voices like hers that resonate with passion for her country and its people, which should be heard across a far wider range of media platforms to counter what might be described as a vast Zionist and Gulf State (GCC) funded media network that is driving the propaganda train though the US and Europe. Dr Shaaban mentioned a weekly column that she is writing in Arabic and suggested that perhaps she should translate it for English media.
What follows is the transcript of Dr Shaaban’s statements on various subjects:
Why is our country being destroyed?
“I wrote that really we are going through a third world war, without naming it a third world war but this time it’s a global war between two projects and two ways of thinking – between western concepts that they want to promote: their own way of life, their own ideology, their own way of thinking even at the expense of other lives and the innocence of our countries while the old civilisations like the Chinese, the Indian, the Arab civilisation are struggling to keep their identity and to pass this identity to their children and grand-children
Personally I no longer believe that the way the system is working in the west has any ‘democracy’ for us, or has any ‘human rights’ for us, or that there is any ‘free press’ for us in their official media system. If you know how we feel now you would be really surprised.
I have two daughters and a son. One daughter is doing a PhD in architecture in London and the other is doing a PhD in the US in international relations and politics. The one in London has a three year old girl, the one in the States has a four year old boy. They have been here for a month, every time they go to the Old City, they come back crying. They say, is it possible that our children cannot live the way we lived, cannot know the Syria we knew, cannot enjoy the Syria we enjoyed? Why?
Why are we being prevented from passing on our experience, our culture, our livelihood to our children? Why are our families being destroyed? Why is our country being destroyed? This is a daily struggle for our children. My children take their children and show them everything because they are afraid that tomorrow this will not be here anymore.
This is a terrible thing to happen to any country, to any people on earth. We have the right to live the way we think, to live our own culture. You might find Paris exciting, I find Damascus the most beautiful place on earth. This is us, this is who we are. I was asked many times to leave as an Ambassador but I cannot leave Damascus, can you believe it? I do not want to live one year out of Damascus, I can never get enough of this city.
So, leave us alone – that is really our message and unfortunately the calculus of politics in the west has no consideration whatsoever for the way people feel or for their aspirations.”
“The problem with the western system is that they think they are superior and they think that they want to “civilize” us and they want us to come up to their “standards”, and I hate when I hear Obama or any US official talking about American exceptionalism. What do they mean American exceptionalism?
God created us as people. We belong to the same humanity, we belong to the same world. In the Quran God spoke about the differences between us and we should understand that we should celebrate and cherish these differences. This idea of supremacy is basically rooted in racism because it believes in the supremacy of one sect, colour or nationality over another.
I feel it is bad for the west too because racism is now producing bad results for western countries especially as there are so many different religions living everywhere in the world. The only salvation for all of us is to say there is one world, one humanity and to apply this rule to everybody. We must truly believe in that not only talk about it in the media and then practice racism in the law. There is a huge area for dialogue but we need people who believe in similar values.
We are fighting a war on the ground but it is also a clash of values.”
Reshaping our world and the problems we face.
“The Gulf States are a huge problem. With the petro dollar they are feeding the arms industry in the US, UK and France and prolonging this conflict. It is going to be a long process, we are living through a transitional stage in world history. It is going to be a long process in order to reshape our world. That is why we all have the obligation to be active so our new world is based on better values, better ethics, better ways of dealing with each other.
To achieve this new world, co-operation between east and west is crucial.
Where are the leaders in the US, or even in Europe, who are visionary and who are thinking about their countries for the next fifty years and who are doing the right thing for the people from an historical perspective? So perhaps we are living through a crisis of leadership.”
The Destruction of the Middle East is to protect Israel. NATO is trying to impose an Islamist extremist state onto Syria’s secular state.
“I think there are two explanations for that. First the west should be embarrassed to be supporting countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar against Syria, Iraq or Sudan. We were the secular republics who produced books, scientists, intellectuals etc. I think there is a reason for that. The reason for what the west is doing, in my opinion as an Arab woman, could be summed up by the Arab-Israeli conflict. I feel that the western support for Israel against the Palestinian people and the destruction of a whole people and their identity by Israel shows that what the west cares about is for Israel to be the powerful state in the region for the next fifty or a hundred years. In order for Israel to be the prevailing force in the Middle East it is necessary to destroy Arabic culture.
Unfortunately, now I can see a union of evil between the Gulf States and Israel and western systems. I use the word systems to divorce this evil from the western people.
I respond as an Arab woman, who grew up knowing that my country was part of Bilad al-Sham, Greater Syria. I do not say this in an aggressive tone, but in a loving tone because Syria was Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and I can’t understand why as a Syrian woman, I cannot visit Al Aqsa. Its very close geographically, yet its impossible for me to get there because Israel has been planted in the Middle East.
Israel is a major focus for western countries and all these wars against Arab countries and what they call the ‘Arab Spring’ is to destroy Arab armies and to prevent any Arab country being able to resist Israel in the future. They do not want us to be able to liberate our Golan Heights, or Palestine, or to simply assure the rights of the Arab people.
By the way, there are at least 50 UN resolutions that give the Palestinians at least half of Palestine and the world is doing nothing about that – on the contrary the US used 37 vetoes in order to prevent the Palestinians getting their rights. Western hypocrisy is amazing.
That is where the supremacy in the west is turned against Arabs because it is the Zionist media that tells the west that the Arabs are ‘backwards’ or primitive. People are persuaded by this propaganda and they treat us as the Zionists wish us to be treated. This is racism against Arabs and emanates from the Zionists.
Hillary Clinton has spoken about working with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is extensively documented that the Muslim Brotherhood has had connections to the CIA since they were created. Even if we read nothing but we apply the western proverb, “who is the beneficiary” – you will find Israel is the beneficiary from all this destruction.
You can see that the army and our intellectuals are the major targets for Israel. They dont want any intellectuals or any army left in our country. They destroyed the Iraqi army. There is a war of attrition against the Syrian army, against the Libyan army, the Sudanese, the Lebanese.
Unfortunately some who call themselves Arab in the Gulf use the petro-dollar in order to serve this project against our culture and our civilization because as a Syrian woman I feel the Gulf has no culture, no history. This is Bilad al-Sham continually inhabited for ten thousand years. The Gulf is forty years old and therefore they have no right to speak in the name of the Arabs
We are the Arabs, we are history, we are civilization.
What they are doing is against our civilization, against our history and against our future but I feel this is a very dangerous project that reminds me of how the American Indians were treated. They have destroyed Palmyra, they have destroyed our history and our culture.
Khaled al-Assad is the only archaeologist in the world who was writing about who was here in the past, in Palmyra. He was proving that the Zionists were never here. They killed him, they burned his library, they burned his books so we have nothing left of his work. From an observers’ perspective, they are focusing on history, material history, cultural history, identity, army. Any power that keeps you as an entire state, or any statesman that represents strength or unity will be demonized and destroyed.
Even Ramadan al Bouti a Sunni scholar who was speaking sense was murdered because they want to destroy anybody who speaks the truth or who is influential and can gather people around him.
What is the significance of President Assad? He is credible, people believe in him, Arab people believe in him. They do not want anybody like that to have influence. I feel there is a huge plan against all of us.
They operate by buying people, Arab people, people in powerful positions who serve the Zionist project against our culture and identity because they can be bought by money.
I am talking to you from experience, I was subjected to a huge amount of pressure by many countries to be bought by money and all the temptations you can think of were offered to me but I am somebody who cannot be bought by money. I am somebody who believes in my country and in my people. Even if I die, I can die for a cause. If I can’t live for it I can die for it.
Most of the defections that happened in Syria were driven by money. None of them has a cause or an ideology or any credibility with our people.
As you said quite rightly, the western people do not see any of this, they only see the shadow. Those people bought by money, they are the shadow state.
Nobody wants to know who we really are.”
The reason nobody knows the real Syria and the real Syrians, is because the western media has routinely lied and deceived us from the very beginning of the war against Syria – led by the US, NATO members and funded by the Gulf states, supported and encouraged by Israel who, as Dr Shaaban states, stands to benefit most from the perpetual chaos being maintained inside their strongest enemy in the region.
A British politician is calling for a ban on Coca Cola’s illuminated Christmas truck this holiday season, citing childhood obesity concerns.
The festive red truck makes its way through shopping centers across Britain annually, usually beginning in late November.
“At each stop, family and friends will have the chance to take pictures with the truck as it lights up, and experience a snowy winter wonderland setting while enjoying a choice of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Coke Life,” a press release from the company read prior to last year’s tour.
The twinkling truck fleet was conceived in 1995, after one appeared on television in a wildly successful seasonal advertising campaign.
On Thursday, Councillor Richard Kemp, who heads the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council, called for shopping mall owners to ban the trucks on the same day that the government unveiled a new “Childhood Obesity Strategy.”
“In Liverpool, sugar is the new tobacco. At 11 years of age, 30 percent of the children in our city are obese, one in 10 of those are clinically obese,” Kemp stated. “Almost all of them will become obese adults with a cost to the NHS of 5.1 billion pounds a year (6.72 billion US dollars). This takes no account of the personal misery of the conditions which have to be treated; the shortened lives that many of them will have and the cost to businesses they work for because of sick leave.”
He said that he was “appalled” by last year’s Coca Cola promotion.
“The causes are many and the actions needed to deal with them are even more varied. There is one thing on which everyone agrees. Too many children are drinking too many fizzy, sugary drinks. That is why last year in the run-up to Christmas, I was appalled to see a big promotion by Coca-Cola when its red van visited Liverpool as part of its advertising campaign tour around the country.”
“To my mind this glorifies the sale of something which is often consumed in vast quantities with people having little knowledge of just how dangerous the sugar content can be to the long-term health of them and their children.”
Donald Trump has said publicly that he fears the next election will be rigged. Based both on technical capability and recent history, Trump’s concerns are not unfounded.
Why would the Clintons not cheat again?
The issue here is both voter fraud, which is limited but does happen, and election theft through the manipulation of the computerized voting machines, particularly the DIEBOLD/PES voting machines in wide usage in most states.
POLITICO profiled a Princeton professor — who has demonstrated how the electronic voting machines that are most widely used can be hacked in five minutes or less! Robert Fitrakis Professor of Political Science in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Columbus State Community College has written a must-read book on the strip and flip technique used to rig these machines. Professor Fitrakis is a Green Party activist.
A computer hacker showed CBS how to vote multiple times using a simple $15.00 electronic device.
To be very clear both parties have engaged in this skullduggery and it is the party in power in each state that has custody of the machines and control of their programing. This year, the results of machines in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio, where Governor John Kasich controls the machines, must be matched with exit polls, for example.
Illinois is another obvious state where Trump has been running surprisingly strong, in what has become a Blue state. Does anyone trust Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a longtime Clinton hatchet man. not to monkey with the machines? I don’t. He was using City funded Community groups to recruit anti-Trump “protestors” who posed such a threat to public safety the Trump Chicago event was canceled when the Secret Service couldn’t guarantee his safety.
How do the pols of both parties do it? As easy as determining, on the basis of honest polling, who is going to win. Then, if it isn’t your candidate, simply have the votes for the other guy be given to your guy and vice versa. You keep the total vote the same. This is where the “strip and flip” technique described by Professor Fitrakis comes in.
Maybe you don’t need all the votes the other guy was going to get. If you have a plan in mind involving votes and their redistribution, you can find a programmer who can design the machine instructions to produce that outcome. Or you can hack the machine you are voting in with that $15 device that you can get at BEST BUY.
Europe has rejected electronic voting machines because they are untrustworthy. This is not a secret. The media continues a drum beat insisting voter fraud is non existent without ever addressing the more ominous question of manipulation of the voting machines. It keeps those in control in control.
Additionally some states still use machines that include no paper trail. The “evidence” is destroyed. Florida’s machines have no paper trail in Bush v. Gore.
In Europe, they use exit polling to determine who won and lost. The tabulated vote only serves as a formal verification. But that is done with paper ballots and hand counts under supervision, the way we used to do it.
Here’s the recipe now:
(1) Publish a poll contrived to suggest the result you are going to bring about.
(2) Manipulate the machines to bring about precisely your desired outcome.
As someone with great sentimental attachment to the Republican Party, as I joined as the party of Goldwater, both parties have engaged in voting machine manipulation. Nowhere in the country has this been more true than Wisconsin, where there are strong indications that Scott Walker and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elections including the defeat of a Walker recall election.
Mathematician and voting statistic expert Richard Charnin has produced a compelling study by comparing polling to actual results and exit polls to make a compelling case for voting machine manipulation in the Badger state.
When the Trump vs. Cruz primary took place, the same pattern emerged again of a Marquette University poll showing a 20 point shift from Trump ahead by 10% to Trump behind by 10%, which was simply absurd. Shifts like that don’t happen over brief intervals of time, absent a nuclear explosion. It didn’t make any sense — unless you knew what was going on was an “instant replay” of Walker’s victories. The machine Priebus built was delivering for Cruz big time.
Today, the polling industry has been reported to be “in a state of crisis” because they are altering their samples to favor Hillary. The Reuters poll actually got busted for oversampling Democrats in order to inflate Hillary’s lead. We even had the absurdity of a Gallup poll proclaiming that 51% of those who had heard Trump’s speech were less likely to vote for him, which was endlessly repeated by the shills at MSNBC.
I predicted that Trump would lead in the polls after his highly successful convention (despite the media frenzy over the non-issue of a Melania Trump staffer plagiarizing a handful of words). In fact, post convention polling for the Trump effort by pollster Tony Fabrizio in key swing states was encouraging. Perhaps this is why the establishment elites have gone into over-drive to attack Trump.
Hillary hasn’t exactly had smooth sailing. Julian Assange of Wikileaks said he had inconvertible proof that as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton armed ISIS. The IRS has opened an investigation to the Clinton Foundation and it’s many offshoots, and Hillary got caught lying about what FBI Director Comey did say about her.
But you will see less of Hillary’s problems in the mainstream media, which has gone completely overboard in its relentless, even hysterical, efforts to lambaste Trump and promote her. Every remotely objective commentator has been stunned. Trump will, however, have an opportunity to drive these points home in the debates.
We are now living in a fake reality of constructed data and phony polls. The computerized voting machines can be hacked and rigged and after the experience of Bernie Sanders there is no reason to believe they won’t be. Don’t be taken in.
In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.
— Eugene Victor Debs, 1855-1926.
Oh dear, as the fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” ratchets up in the US-UK-NATO driven new Cold War, the Independent runs a piece headed “What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine”, the sub-heading is: “Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”
Trying to find the “Russian threat to the Ukraine” is, as ever, a hard task. It was, of course, the US which organized the February 2014 coup which replaced the legitimate government and reduced yet another country to chaos. Russia, however, also appears the victim in a recent incident which triggered the Independent article which Katehon describes with admirable clarity:
A Ukrainian group of saboteurs was arrested last week (10th August) by Russia’s secret service, the FSB. It was revealed that the Ukrainians had intended to organize terrorist attacks in Russian Crimea. During the arrest, two Russian citizens from the Federal Security Service and military of the Armed Forces were killed. This tragic incident has provoked tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian regime has begun to move its troops towards the border with Russia and the republics of Donbass, preparing for an invasion.
Thus Ukrainian forces are encroaching on Russia, not the other way round. Moreover, according to The Telegraph (August 10th): “Russian security agencies said on Wednesday that two Russians were killed as they thwarted Ukrainian commando raids into Crimea over the weekend.” (Emphasis added.) The paper expands:
The FSB said the agent who died was killed during an overnight operation on Saturday and Sunday, when officers smashed a ‘terrorist’ group and seized an arms cache including twenty homemade explosive devices. The Agency claimed Ukrainian forces tried to ‘break through’ twice more on Sunday night and Monday morning, killing a Russian soldier.
Katehon further comments:
Obviously, this hostile activity is coordinated with the United States and NATO, which want to unleash a new war on the border with Russia. At the same time, the US leadership believes that Russia will not inflict a crushing defeat on Ukraine and thereby objectively lower its status in the geopolitical confrontation by trying to solve an insolvable conflict. At the same time, the United States wants to show ‘Russia’s aggressiveness’ to Europe.
Faithfully toeing the West’s misteaching mantra, the Independent article dropped in:
Crimea has not experienced serious military action since it was annexed from Ukraine by the Kremlin in the chaotic aftermath of the Maidan protests.
Crimea, of course, was not “annexed” by a marauding Russia as is implicated.
Only two years ago the paper wrote of the referendum (March 16th, 2014) held in Crimea – arranged by Crimea, not Russia – in which over 95% of voters made their feelings clear over the US engineered coup:
Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds on Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia … after the polls closed late on Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with jubilant chants in the main square, overjoyed at the prospect of once again becoming part of Russia.
The referendum was monitored by 135 international observers from 23 countries.*
Russia thus had not aggressively “annexed” Crimea, the people had voted to secede. Definition of referendum: “A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.” (Oxford Dictionary.) At the time of the referendum Russia anyway had a lease on Crimea until 2042 under the Kharkiv Pact.
On the day of the referendum the White House released a statement ending, apparently without irony:
In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another. We call on all members of the international community to continue to condemn such actions, to take concrete steps to impose costs, and to stand together …
This from a country that has, since the end of World War 11, “forcibly seized”, invaded, interfered in or decimated thirty three countries to 2011 – not counting Syria and Ukraine subsequently.
As for “The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”, in the Independent’s epic bit of Russia bashing:
Leaked State Department documents provide further evidence that United States authorities knew that the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, a key ally of Washington in the Caucasus region, initiated the August 2008 war with Russia.
Cables from US diplomats in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were released through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. They show that Washington was well aware that the Georgian government was intensifying its military build-up near the breakaway province of South Ossetia in the weeks before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities.
A cable records that US embassy observers witnessed 30 government buses ‘carrying uniformed men heading north’ towards South Ossetia the day of the Georgian attack.
The Georgian assault on South Ossetia, launched August 7, involved the shelling of the main city of Tskhinvali followed by a ground invasion by 1,500 troops. The operation destroyed hundreds of civilian properties and claimed the lives of an estimated 160 South Ossetians and 48 Russian military personnel.
Despite this knowledge of Georgian military preparations, once the war began, US ambassador John Tefft simply relayed the claims of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that Russia was the aggressor.
The pretext for the attack was US ally Georgia’s allegation of an imminent Russian attack.
The subsequent investigation into the invasion and destruction, held under Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, found that: “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack”, were valid.
“In particular, there was no massive Russian military invasion under way, which had to be stopped by Georgian military forces,” Tagliavini confirmed.
“There is the question of whether the force by Georgia during the night of 7/8 August was justifiable under international law. It was not …”, the investigators found.
It was: “The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008” which “marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia”, the Report stated. Thus Georgia’s belligerence triggered Russia’s response in defence of an allied country, Russia’s own military personnel and Russia’s three military bases there.
The parallels between the Georgia and Crimea disinformation are stark, whether orchestrated by political Western Cold Warriors, or media ones.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov has said relating to the Crimea insurgents:
We really don’t conceal what is known, we show people who were detained, stores with weapons and munitions, which were detected in the Crimea. Of course we cannot show everything on TV, but we have irrefutable evidence that it was sabotage, which had been masterminded by the main directorate of intelligence of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and aimed to destabilize the Russian Crimea.
He added: “Russia is open for provision of additional facts … to our Western partners, who are seriously interested in avoidance (of a repeat) of what happened in the future. For that to happen, one should influence Kiev”, he added pointedly.
So why the Independent’s strange interpretation of above events and creating a fantasy of Russia planning an Olympic timed war? Heaven forbid it would be anything to do with their owner, Russian billionaire and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev, who bought the ailing newspaper for just a £1 in March 2010, pledging major financial backing.
The Independent built a name on foreign policy expertise, but this year has been forced to shut down the main daily print version and the Independent on Sunday. Whilst the Independent is still on line, the only hard copy in its stable is the good, but more limited daily “I.”
Billionaire backers are rare in these straightened times. Mr Lebedev is a Putin critic. The cynic might say there could be a connection given the slant of the Crimea story. However, with titles Alexander Lebedev has backed at home and abroad, he has always vowed never to interfere with editorial policy, so many would surely regard such thoughts as conspiratorial rubbish.
* For minute detail on Ukraine complexities also see here.
The conventional wisdom that politics should be kept out of sport, that sport and politics do not mix, is a myth propagated by an establishment for whom political engagement on any level, apart from that which involves passively entering a voting booth to put your ‘X’ in the appropriate box, is deemed a threat to the status quo.
In truth, sports and politics are two sides of the same coin simply because politics and life are two sides of the same coin.
When it comes to football there is no more political an institution than Celtic Football Club in Glasgow. Formed in 1888 by an Irish Catholic cleric known as Brother Walfrid to raise money to feed and minister to the material needs of poverty-stricken Irish immigrants in the West of Scotland — a migrant community whose presence was regarded as anathema to a native population and workforce on the basis that they were people of an alien religion and culture, competing for the same jobs and thereby lowering the wages of all workers by dint of that eternal law of capitalist economics, supply and demand. It reminds us that we live in a country and a society in Britain that has scarred the world with an Empire that sowed misery and despair on a grand scale when in its pomp, and whose legacy remains a distorting factor across the world to this day.
The consequence for the Irish in Scotland in the late 19th century was that their assimilation into mainstream society was blocked, forcing them to create parallel social structures and organisations of their own for the purposes of survival — material and cultural. Celtic FC came into being as part of this process.
Out of this history has derived a concrete identity and set of values that generations of Celtic fans have embraced, upheld, and carried with pride. Aligned with the republican and nationalist community in the North of Ireland, with their bitter Glasgow rivals Rangers FC associated with Ireland’s loyalist and unionist community, Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.
Which brings us onto the furore over the intention of Celtic supporters to fly Palestinian flags during the club’s European Champions League qualifying fixture against Hapoel Beer Sheva of Israel. Celtic supporters, along with the aforementioned republican and nationalist community in Ireland, have embraced the Palestinian struggle against occupation and apartheid as their own. It is an affinity based on a shared experience of colonial oppression and the religious, cultural, and racial bigotry upon which it rests. Laid bare, Israel is a settler colonial state that exists at the negation of the Palestinian people, a people whose existence has been reduced to a living hell on a daily basis as a consequence.
Aside from an occupation that has been extant since 1967, the same year that Celtic FC were making history in Europe, aside from the theft of evermore Palestinian land and resources, the expansion of illegal settlements, economic embargo, hundreds of military checkpoints making free passage impossible, and the erection of an apartheid wall; aside from all that the Palestinians have been subjected to numerous full scale military assaults over the years, utilising the most lethal and destructive weaponry in existence, in which thousands of civilians, women and children among them, have been slaughtered or seriously injured and maimed.
The idea that those who carry Palestinian flags are motivated by anything other than the desire to express solidarity with those suffering injustice and oppression, that instead it is antisemitism and racism which drives such people, this is utterly grotesque and deserving of contempt.
It is not Israel’s Jewish character that is the issue, as those who attempt to delegitimise the Palestinian struggle and those who support it continually maintain. It is Israel’s apartheid character that is the issue, and where better to demonstrate resistance to apartheid than in a packed football stadium alongside thousands of others.
The Palestinian flag is more than a national symbol; it has taken on the mantle of a symbol of defiance in the face of colonial oppression and apartheid, both of which the Ireland to which Celtic FC is historically and culturally rooted has experienced in its long and tortured history.
Sport does not exist in a vacuum and the struggle for justice cannot and should not be parked outside a football stadium for ninety seconds much less ninety minutes. It is why the attempt to ban the Palestinian flag from Celtic Park is tantamount to an attempt to ban justice from Celtic Park.
If such a ban is implemented and succeeds the rumbling that greets it will be the sound of Brother Walfrid turning in his grave.
John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1
Sport is often regarded as a “no go” area for politics, especially by those states intent on portraying an air of normality around their regimes on the world stage. The best opportunities for this sort of charade are presented at international sporting and cultural events. Bizarrely, in Israel’s case this means European sporting platforms even though the Zionist State is not part of Europe; it is squatting in the Middle East, shoehorned into parts of historic Palestine between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
As the international community becomes more aware of the injustices meted out on the Palestinian people by Israel, protests have increased, despite the best attempts of the state and its supporters to silence dissenting voices. Efforts to stifle free speech and the right to protest in the democratic world does not go down very well.
Hence, when the fans of Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic Football Club were instructed not to fly Palestinian flags during a match between their team and Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva the outcome was fairly predictable; thousands of flags were waved by the crowd in defiance of the UEFA diktat. Now Celtic FC faces a penalty from the European governing body of the sport after the mass flag-waving during a Champions League playoff match; Celtic won 5-2, by the way.
If UEFA goes ahead and fines the Scottish club it will expose double-standards at play in the sporting world. The organisation’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee fined Celtic two years ago when fans also waved Palestinian flags during a match. The committee took action based on Article 16 (2) (e) of its regulations, which forbids political, ideological and religious messages at sports events.
However, the same disciplinary committee regularly turns a blind eye to the racism and violence meted out by some of Israel’s fans at home and away. Palestinian or Muslim footballers playing in matches against Beitar Jerusalem have been met with chants of “Death to Arabs” from the stands; as far as I’m aware, UEFA has failed to take any action against the club and its fans.
Furthermore, thugs in the crowd at Beitar — encouraged by the silence of the Israel Football Association to sanction the club for its fans’ behaviour — continue with their abuse. As a result, Beitar remains a sanctuary for racism in Israel. Its fans wave banners proclaiming “Beitar forever pure”, which is their way of pointing out that it does not sign any Arab players even though 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Arabs.
Assaults against Palestinians on match days, including women and children, are regular occurrences, but neither the Israel FA nor UEFA appear to be willing to end such racism. Attempts by Israel to stop Palestinian football fixtures have been well documented in Middle East Monitor, with interference regularly crossing the jurisdiction between UEFA and football’s world ruling body, FIFA.
The Israel FA not only remains silent when attacks against Palestinian sports are committed routinely, but it is also complicit with the occupation, having accepted five teams from illegal Israeli settlements. All of this is not lost on ordinary football and sporting fans around the world who refuse to be silent about such injustice. Many believe that sporting events should be used as platforms to promote peace and not to whitewash the occupation of Palestinian lands or the brutal actions of an apartheid state.
It is not Celtic FC which should be punished, but the State of Israel; it should be excluded not just from football competitions but also from major tournaments like the Olympic Games. Six members of the Palestinian team, including the 55-year-old dressage rider and German businessman Christian Zimmerman, had their official uniforms and equipment impounded by Israeli customs.
Before the games began in Rio, Munther Masalmeh, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Olympic Committee, told the media that the team’s gear had not cleared customs. “We got one shipment several months ago and we have not been able to bring it in,” he explained. “We were forced to travel without our equipment and to buy it in Brazil instead.”
In a further act of interference in the Palestinian Olympic team, Issam Qishta, the head of the Palestinian delegation, was banned by the Israeli authorities from leaving the Gaza Strip to join the Rio-bound group. The more that Tel Aviv meddles in the sporting affairs of Palestine, the more that genuine fans of sport around the world will rise up and protest.
The only common goal achieved by the Zionist State is that young Palestine athletes and their supporters resent their occupiers and are reminded constantly — on a daily basis — of the injustices of the Israeli occupation. Instead of thinking about fining courageous Celtic fans thousands of miles away in Scotland, UEFA should pressure Israel by threatening to expel it from European football.
The democratic world should also add pressure on Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement until Palestinian athletes are free to train, play and compete at the highest levels of international sport without being impeded or having their training or equipment stopped by Israeli oppression. The amazing show of support for Palestinians this week was organised via a Facebook group called “Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice”. Organisers called on Celtic fans to support the BDS movement and oppose what they called “Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism and countless massacres” of the Palestinian people.
“When someone represents Israeli institutions it is sadly never merely a game,” they said. “Football, UEFA, and Celtic FC are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air of normality and acceptance it should not and cannot enjoy until its impunity ends and it is answerable to international law and faces sanctions for the countless UN resolutions it had breached.”
During its Apartheid years, South Africa, where most sports were segregated based on race, found itself barred from the Olympics, suspended from world football and excluded from cricket tours. International rugby teams also came under strong pressure to stay away.
Until similar sporting boycotts are imposed on Israel it seems that the Zionist State will continue to persecute and target Palestinian athletes. If Palestinians cannot play sport freely, then the world’s governing bodies will be seen as legitimising Israel’s continued occupation, oppression and apartheid policies. The fans of Celtic FC may be ordinary men and women, but they are extraordinary human beings for standing up for justice.
By Michael Hoffman | RevisionistHistory | August 15, 2016
In late September the Zionists will once again advance their cartoon version of history by means of Hollywood, their “court” of first resort. Tinseltown is the ideal venue for projecting fantasies disguised as historical truth and trying and convicting heretics and dissidents. The target in question is English historian David Irving, author of more than 20 best-selling history books and the leading military historian of National Socialist Germany.
In the year 2000 he brought to trial a libel suit in London against Deborah Lipstadt, a dreary thought cop from Emory University in Georgia who has made it her life’s work to dream up a new category of heretic (“Holocaust denier”), reflective of the hysteria and megalomania of the religion of Holocaustianity, of which she is high priestess. The hobby horse of one obscure professor soon became a marching order for the media of the entire western world. The story behind that chilling Orwellian perversity is itself deserving of a book-length study.
Thanks to Deborah, many writers and historians now bear the career-withering “ holocaust denier” stigmata, branded both by new media (Google search engine, Wikipedia) and the senile print media. Imagine if every atheist who was a chemist, astronomer, geographer, novelist or sculptor, who did not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, would have to endure going through life perpetually branded by the media as a “Resurrection-denier”?
Of course in our modern world one may deny the central tenet of Christendom all one likes. Hollywood director James Cameron lavishly funds the Resurrection denial of Israeli activist Simcha Jacobvici. In the Israeli state there is a tourist trade based on selling maps and taking tours of what the Israelis describe as the tomb where the bones of Jesus rot, but Cameron and co. bear no contumely for it.
Acting as his own attorney, Irving went it alone against Lipstadt and her team of lawyers and researchers in the masonic courts of injustice, for which Britian is notorious. In spite of a few failings (chiefly in deciding not to call German-American chemist/historian Germar Rudolf as a witness), Irving mounted a magnificent defense against a legal team consisting of lawyers for England’s aristocracy, funded by the bottomless pockets of movie mogul Steven Spielberg, and with the Israeli ambassador seated in the courtoom with his retinue of gun-toting bodyguards — in case the presiding judge didn’t get the message about which way the verdict should go.
Unfortunately, there is no revisionist book about the Irving trial as there is for the show trial of Ernst Zündel in Canada. In the breach, on September 30 Hollywood will tender “Denial,” its mendacious spin on the ignominious Lipstadt, who was so cowardly she hid behind her high-priced lawyers and refused to take the stand and endure Mr. Irving’s cross-examination (it will be interesting to see how the film will handle this embarrassing, self-indicting fact).
The part of the slim and good-looking Irving of that era is played by Timothy Spall, a chubby thespian with a flaccid jaw who typically portrays villains. The role of the plain-looking Prof. Lipstadt is undertaken by the glamorous Rachel Weisz, who is usually cast as a heroine.
This is a morality play in a shades-of-gray world. When Christians endeavor to slay a dragon we are told to lighten up, don’t be a fanatic, embrace diverse viewpoints. When the Zionists prepare to slay a revisionist reptile, existential factors are banished and a pure struggle between cosmic good and evil takes center stage.
We will soon place online a video of a speech this writer delivered at Mr. Irving’s “Real History” Cincinnati conference more than a decade ago, concerning Lipstadt’s use of the theological term “Amalek” to denigrate him.
In 2006, when that speech was first placed on Google’s fledgling online video channel, friends of Lipstadt had it removed. She stated afterward: “The video, which was a virulent attack on me by Hoffman, was introduced by David Irving. I am sorry the video is gone. It was such a blatant example of the venomous hatred these folks feel towards Jews. It also was a prime illustration of their delusional conspiracy theories. I had used it in a number of speeches to illustrate their thinking.”
Needless to say, there was absolutely “no hatred toward Jews” in the video. Deb can’t seem to refrain from recklessly spouting this “Jew hater” trope. It’s a Pavlovian response to any informed criticism of a Judaic academic that is accurate — and wounding because it is accurate. By ominously terming Irving “Amalek,” Prof. Lipstadt rendered him, in terms of rabbinic theology, a target for extermination (how ironic). Pointing this out is only “Jew hate” in a Wonderland world where any defiance of the impostures of the Holy People is automatically suspect; again we observe the relentless megalomania.