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US threatens to shutter Palestinian office in Washington, DC

Press TV – November 18, 2017

The government of US President Donald Trump has threatened to close down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, DC, if it supports a Palestinian bid to prosecute Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to a law passed by the US Congress, Palestinians would be stripped of the right to have a mission in the US capital if they support an ICC investigation of Israelis for committing crimes against them.

Apparently, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson now thinks that Palestinian leaders have ran afoul of that law but it is up to Trump to make the decision, the Associated Press reported Friday, citing a State Department official.

This means Trump has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” the official said. If Trump determines they are, the Palestinian office stays open.

The official claimed that even if the office closes, Washington would not cut off relations with the Palestinians and continue to work towards “a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Trump has tasked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with brokering a peace deal between the two sides. However, the president’s unclear stance on the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict has further pushed back expectations for an agreement.

The news came only two days after the US House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation that would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority.

The committee approved the bill known as the Taylor Force Act on Wednesday. It stipulates a cut in funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it discontinues paying stipends to the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Another piece of legislation, known as the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, would slap sanctions on foreign governments, entities, and individuals for providing financial and material support to Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

The measures are set to be put to a vote at the full chamber of the House of Representatives.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

War Crimes as Policy

By Mark Taliano | Global Research | November 17, 2017

Despite appearances and differing ideologies, both the Kurds’ SDF and ISIS are Western intelligence assets in Syria. Neither would exist in Syria without the West and its allies, and both serve to destroy the country.

The Empire’s anti-democratic SDF proxies are not defeating the U.S Daesh proxies. They are simply replacing them.

One might reasonably ask how two seemingly opposed terrorist groups could possibly share the same strategic purpose. The answer would likely escape the awareness of the fighters as well, and it certainly escapes the awareness of most Canadians, whose tax dollars are supporting the terrorists. But the answer isn’t that complicated.

Consider the similarities between the two groups:

  • Both groups seek to illegally “impose their will” on Syria, and are effectively destroying Syria, contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of Syrians[1]
  • Both groups seek to partition Syria
  • Both groups require and receive support from the same aggressor nations
  • Both groups engage in activities that are illegal under international law and punishable according to Nuremburg Principles

ISIS/Daesh serves the military strategy of “place-setter”[2], as outlined in an earlier article. Empire first infests an area with terrorists, then destroys the area, using the fake pretext of “going after terrorists”, subsequently, it channels the original terrorists elsewhere, and then replaces the former terrorists with new terrorist occupiers who are portrayed as “liberators”.

Syrian journalist Nasser Atta describes the following video as an ISIS convoy “carrying 4500 fighters and their families leaving Raqqa a month ago after an agreement with US-backed Kurdish forces”:

The West, their allies, and their proxies are not wanted in Syria. They are the problem, not the solution. Their foreign “interventions” in Syria amount to war crimes as policy.

Notes

[1] TESEV (2012) ‘The perception of Turkey in the Middle East 2011’, TürkiyeEkonomikveSosyalEtüdlerVakfi, Istanbul, February, online: http://tesev.org.tr/en/yayin/ the-perception-of-turkey-in- the-middle-east-2011/ Accessed 17 November, 2017

[2] Mark Taliano, “The Islamic State as “Place-Setter” for the American Empire. ISIS is the Product of the US Military-Intelligence Complex.” Global Research, 26 October, 2017.  (https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-islamic-state-as-place-setter-for-u-s-empire-isis-is-the-product-of-the-us-military-intelligence-complex/5606371). Accessed 11 November, 2017

Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2017

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law

By Ralph Nader | November 15, 2017

Me Too is producing some results. At long last. Victims of sexual assault by men in superior positions of power are speaking out. Big time figures in the entertainment, media, sports and political realms are losing their positions – resigning or being told to leave. A producer at 60 Minutes thinks Wall Street may be next.

Sexual assaults need stronger sanctions. Only a few of the reported assaulters are being civilly sued under the law of torts. Even fewer are subjects of criminal investigation so far.

Perhaps the daily overdue accounting, regarding past and present reports of sexual assaults will encourage those abused in other contexts to also blow the whistle on other abuses. Too often, there are not penalties, but instead rewards, for high government and corporate officials whose derelict and often illegal decisions directly produce millions of deaths and injuries.

A few weeks ago, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice shared a stage at the George W. Bush Institute, reflecting on their careers to widespread admiration. What they neglected to mention were the devastated families, villages, cities and communities and nations plunged into violent chaos from the decisions they deliberately made in their careers.

In a 1996 interview, Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was asked by Lesley Stahl of CBS 60 Minutes about the tens of thousands of children in Iraq whose deaths were a direct result of Clinton-era sanctions designed to punish Baghdad and whether it was worth it (At that time, Ms. Stahl had just visited these wasting children and infants in a Baghdad hospital). Secretary Albright replied in the affirmative.

Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under George W. Bush, pushed for the criminal and unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, which resulted in over one million Iraqi deaths, millions of refugees, a broken country and sectarian violence that continues to this day. She has said she often thinks about this mayhem and feels some responsibility. Yet one wonders, as she collects huge speech fees and book advances from her position at Stanford University, whether she might consider donating some of her considerable resources to charities that support those Iraqis whose lives were destroyed by the illegal interventions she advocated.

Then there is lawless Hillary Clinton, who, against the strong advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and without any Congressional authorization, persuaded Barack Obama to support a destabilizing regime overthrow in Libya– which has since devolved into a failed state spreading death, destruction and terror in Libya to its neighboring countries. Clinton, who is at large touting her new book and making millions of dollars in book royalties and speech fees to applauding partisan audiences, should also consider making donations to those who have been harmed by her actions.

Relaxing in affluent retirement are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the butchers of millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. They too are raking it in and receiving ovations from their partisans. No prosecutors are going after them for illegal wars of aggression that were never constitutionally declared and violated our federal laws, international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.

As these ex-officials bask in adulation, the American people are not being shown the burned corpses, charred villages, and poisoned water and soil created by their “public service.” Nor are they exposed to the immense suffering and broken hearts of survivors mourning their deceased family members. Americans never hear the dreaded 24/7 whine of the omnipresent drones flying over their homes, ready to strike at the push of a button by remote operators in Virginia or Nevada. Nor do they hear the screams and sobbing of the victims of unbridled military action, fueling ever-greater hatred against the US.

Corporate executives also get rewarded for the mayhem they unleash by selling dangerously defective cars (e.g. GM, Toyota and VW recently) or releasing deadly toxins into the air and water or presiding over preventable problems in hospitals that a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study reported is talking 5000 lives a week in this country.

What’s the difference? Because the cause and effect by officials pushing lethal politics, openly carried out with massive armed forces, do so at a distance in time and space (the Nuremberg principles after World War II, which included adherence by the US, addressed this problem). They lather their massive violent, unlawful actions with lies, cover-ups and deceptions, as was the case in 2002-2003 in Iraq. They wrap the flag around their dishonorable desecrations of what that flag stands for and the lives of US soldiers whom they sent there to kill or die.

These officials overpower the rule of law with the rule of raw power – political, economic and military.

For centuries patriarchal mayhem has exploited women in the workplace or the home. Raw power – physical, economic and cultural, regularly, overpower the legal safeguards against wrongful injury, rape and torture, both in the household and at work.

Sporadic assertions of a punishing public opinion will not be enough in either sphere of humans abusing humans. That is why the rule of law must be enforced by the state, and through private civil actions.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Cuts Funds for Disarming Explosives It Dropped on Cambodia

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 15.11.2017

In an article by Thai PBS titled, “US cuts 2018 funding for demining operations in Cambodia,” it’s revealed that next year’s meager $2 million in US government funding for demining operations of US unexploded ordnance (UXO) in eastern Cambodia leftover from the Vietnam War has been discontinued without warning or explanation.

The move caused confusion across Cambodia’s government, as well as across partner nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia participating in the US program.

Speculation over the move revolves around growing tensions between Washington and Phnom Penh as the United States desperately attempts to reassert itself in Asia Pacific, while Asian states – including Cambodia – continue to build closer and more constructive ties with Beijing at the expense of Washington’s waning influence.

Cambodia has recently exposed and ousted a myriad of US-funded fronts posing as NGOs and independent media platforms executing a campaign of US-backed political subversion. This includes the disbanding of the Cambodia National Rescue opposition party and the arrest of its leader, Kem Sokha, who bragged of his role in a US conspiracy to overthrow the Cambodian government and install him into power.

Tensions in Cambodia represent a wider, regional trend where US footholds face increasing scrutiny and resistance as Washington’s abuse of “NGOs,” “rights advocacy,” and “democracy promotion” is systematically exposed and rolled back.

Cut or Renewed, US UXO Assistance is Meaningless  

The US embassy in Cambodia would claim after receiving backlash for the move that the US had unilaterally decided to shut down funding in order to open up bidding for a new and “world-class removal program” – the details of which have yet to be confirmed or released.

The US boasts that it has spent “more than 114 million dollars” over the past 20 years to clear explosives it itself helped drop on Cambodia as part of its nearly two decades-long war in Vietnam and wider intervention in Southeast Asia – or in other words – the US has spent over 5,000 times less in 20 years on removing UXO in Cambodia than it does annually on its current military operations around the globe. In fact, a single F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplane costs roughly the same amount of money the US has spent on demining Cambodia over the last 20 years.

There are an estimated 6 million pieces of UXO still littering Cambodia, which since the end of the Vietnam War and the rule of the Khmer Rouge have cost nearly 20,000 Cambodians their lives – with casualties still reported monthly.

Efforts that last 20 years, cost as little as a single warplane in Washington’s current arsenal, and still leave people dead or maimed monthly indicate efforts that are halfhearted – a diplomatic stunt more than sincere reparations or humanitarian concern.

Doubling Nothing is Still Nothing 

In neighboring Laos, the United States left an estimated 80 million submunitions littering the country, or about 11 for each man, woman, and child that lives there. 20,000 people have also been killed by UXO in Laos and many more have been maimed.

According to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO LAO), 444,711 submunitions (about 0.55%) have been destroyed between 1996 and 2010. Despite the dangerous and exhausting work, eliminating 0.55% of the 80 million submunitions still littering the country amounts to virtually nothing.

Despite this, the US insists that it is “dramatically” increasing its efforts. US Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian would claim upon the US being criticized for its current meddling in Laos in light of the horrific UXO legacy it has left there, that:

We’ve been spending hundreds of millions of [dollars] to clean them up and [President] Obama just doubled [our] annual [contribution].

Western establishment journal, The Diplomat, in an article titled, “Obama in Laos: Cleaning up After the Secret War,” would try and explain this increased “contribution,” claiming (emphasis added):

In recent years, U.S. support for UXO clearance and victim assistance in Laos has dramatically increased. In response to steady pressure from NGOs like Legacies of War and their allies in Congress, U.S. funding for this work increased from $5 million in 2010 to a record $19.5 million this year. These resources, disbursed by the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, are used to support clearance efforts that destroy up to 100,000 pieces of lethal ordnance in Laos annually, employing 3,000 workers in the commercial and humanitarian sectors.

While the US repeatedly boasts of the “millions” that it spends to clean up a mess it itself intentionally created, at the current rate of UXO disposal in Laos alone, the country should be safe in approximately 1,000 years – or effectively – never.

When Washington’s remaining points of leverage in Asia Pacific include the threat of continued political subversion and destabilization and the cutting of already meaningless levels of aid to deal with a decades-spanning UXO threat – versus China’s offer of economic, infrastructural, and military partnerships – it finds itself in a self-feeding cycle of decline in Asia that will – in turn – further feed its decline as a global hegemon.

The cruel irony of America’s clumsy, inadequate, and embarrassing UXO policy in Southeast Asia is that the annual military budget that dwarfs its UXO annual removal efforts in Asia by a factor of tens of thousands, is being used to fuel conflict elsewhere around the globe – from the Middle East to North Africa, and Central Asia to Eastern Europe – that is littering the planet with not only additional UXO dangers, but new and more horrifying threats including depleted uranium munitions and chemical weapons proliferation.

While the US could potentially play a constructive, positive role in Asia Pacific, the same mentality that underpinned US foreign policy that drove the Vietnam War and resulted in the current UXO threat is the same mentality that still prevails today on Wall Street and in Washington. If that mentality and those possessing it are not rooted out, America’s current state of decline will be terminal.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi-led coalition air raid puts Yemen’s Sana’a airport out of service

MEMO | November 14, 2017

An air raid by the Saudi-led military coalition put the Ansarullah-controlled Yemeni airport in the capital Sana’a out of service today, jeopardising relief shipments to a country on the brink of famine, the state news agency SABA reported.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Ansarullah movement said last week it had closed all air, land and seaports in Yemen to stem what it said was the flow of arms to the Ansarullah from Iran.

Air raids destroyed radio navigation station for aircraft, civil aviation authorities told SABA, which is controlled by Ansarullah.

Air traffic in Sana’a’s airport is currently restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other international organisations.

The Ansarullah control most of the north, including Sana’a and its international airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace. Any reopening would need an agreement between the two sides, which blame each other for Yemen’s humanitarian disaster.

The top UN aid official in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition today to open all Yemen’s sea ports urgently, saying it risked damaging the fight against cholera and hunger, with seven million already in “famine-like conditions”.

Millions of lives were at risk because of the blockade, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said to reporters in Geneva by telephone from Amman. The Saudi-led coalition was not immediately available for comment.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Mattis claims UN let US intervene in Syria, although it never did

A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows smoke billowing out following a coalition air strike in the western al-Daraiya neighbourhood of the embattled northern Syrian city of Raqa. © Delil Souleiman

RT | November 14, 2017

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has recently claimed that Washington received a mandate to operate in Syria from no less than the UN itself. The problem is the UN never did any such thing as it does not even have any legal capacity to do so.

The UN cannot sanction a foreign invasion of Syria or any other country because it is absolutely impossible under international law, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said, commenting on the issue. “The UN cannot do such things,” he told the Russian media.

He went on to say that “Syria is a sovereign independent state,” adding that “only the Syrian government can invite armed forces of the third countries onto its territory” while “the UN has no such right,” as reported by Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily. The diplomat also said that “the fight against terrorism does not give any states or coalitions a free hand to establish their presence on Syrian territory.”

International law indeed envisages no way for the UN or any other international body to sanction an invasion of one state’s armed forces on the territory of another state. In fact, such actions are regarded as aggression under international law and are strictly prohibited.

UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 on the definition of aggression explicitly states that an “invasion or attack by the armed forces of a State of the territory of another State” as well as “any military occupation, however temporary” or “bombardment by the armed forces of a State against the territory of another State” is what particularly constitutes aggression.

However, all these facts did not prevent Mattis from claiming that it was the UN that sanctified the presence of the US troops on the Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian government. “You know, the UN said that … basically we can go after ISIS. And we’re there to take them out,” the US defense secretary said, referring to the US actions in Syria as he answered a journalist’s question on Monday.

Apparently, he implied that a call by UN on the international community and the US in particular to take action was more than enough to justify the US military’s presence in Syria. Actually, the UN did issue such a call – in Resolution 2249 adopted by the Un Security Council in November 2015.

Resolution 2249 called on UN member states “that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures” and “to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL [Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL)]” as well as other terrorist groups.

However, it urged the states to do so “in compliance with international law” – something that the US officials often neglect when they assess the actions of the US military abroad.

The statements of the US defense secretary also provoked an angry reaction in Damascus. The Syrian government once again stated that the US troops are operating on Syrian territory without its consent and in violation of international law.

“The presence of the US forces or any foreign military presence in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government constitutes an act of aggression and an attack on the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as a gross violation of the Charter and principles of the United Nations,” Syria’s Foreign Ministry said, as cited by the SANA news agency.

It further said that the US presence “only leads to prolonging the crisis and further complicating it,” adding that the real goal of the US in Syria apparently lies in obstructing the peace process. The ministry then once again called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US forces from Syrian territory.

The statements made by Mattis are “absolutely baseless” and “irresponsible,” Vyacheslav Matuzov, a political scientist and the head of the Russian-Arab Friendship and Business Cooperation Society, told RT, commenting on the issue. He went on to say that any foreign military presence on the territory of any state can be authorized solely by the legitimate government of that state.

“There is a clear position of the Syrian authorities, according to which the US troops are stationed on the Syrian territory illegally,” he said, adding that there can be “no argument” about the legal status of US forces in Syria.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan war crimes probe a sham and cover-up for US

© Ruptly

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 14, 2017

When The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was planning to investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, the timing seemed appropriate.

The announcement by the ICC on November 3 came within days of a deadly airstrike by US forces in northern Afghanistan, which UN officials say killed ten civilians.

But the history of the intergovernmental court since it was set up some 15 years ago gives pause to hope that it might deliver justice in Afghanistan. For many critics, the ICC is a byword for self-serving Western political control, either whitewashing crimes or smearing designated opponents. A pertinent question is: why has it taken the ICC so long to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s war?

The Pentagon claimed the air raid near the city of Kunduz on November 4 killed only Taliban militants. However, last week the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) provided a very different version of events. UNAMA said extensive interviews with local residents and medics show that at least ten civilians died in the airstrike.

The incident would, therefore, be a prime case to investigate. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has promised an investigation into any alleged war crimes in Afghanistan would be “independent, impartial and objective.”

As a Reuters report stated, the ICC “could examine the role of US forces” in Afghanistan, which have been occupying the country for the past 16 years since October 2001, following the 9/11 terror attacks in Washington DC and New York City.

US torture practices conducted during CIA interrogations and renditions could also be probed, according to reports. An earlier announcement by the ICC said it would be looking into alleged violations committed by three parties: US military, Afghan security forces, and Taliban militants.

If the ICC did carry out an earnest probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, it would have its work cut out – even if it just restricted itself to incidents involving US forces and the CIA.

Two years ago, in October 2015, the northern city of Kunduz was the location of another apparent atrocity committed by the US air force. A hospital run by the French-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was bombed and machine-gunned by US aircraft, killing 42 medical staff and patients. MSF condemned the attack as a violation of the Geneva Convention – a war crime. Though, the Pentagon maintained that its forces made a mistake while targeting militants.

There is very little clarity on the number of Afghan civilians who have been killed by US forces over the past 16 years, from gun battles, house raids, drone strikes, and airstrikes. One estimate puts the total number of civilian deaths in the war at over 31,000. Many of them are victims of Taliban shootings, and bombings or operations carried out by the US-backed Afghan security forces.

Nevertheless, there are abundant incidents involving civilians being killed by US operations in what could merit war crimes prosecutions. This is especially so given the renewal of American military operations in the country ordered by President Trump in August this year – three years after the US forces were officially supposed to wind down.

Trump’s defense secretary James Mattis, on a trip to the Afghan capital Kabul in September, warned that US airstrikes would be ramped up in the coming months. Already this year, the UN reports that there was a surge in civilian casualties from American-backed air raids. The situation has an ominous resonance with how civilian casualties have escalated from increased US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria under the Trump administration’s wider authorization to the Pentagon to mount operations.

So, it seems clear that if the ICC were to open prosecution cases in Afghanistan it would, to say the least, be kept busy. However, critics of the ICC say that its intentions are not motivated by seeking justice.

It’s a political move, says international criminal lawyer Christopher Black.

Since its establishment in 2002, the international court has come in for much criticism that it is a “political tool” of the United States and European allies. Virtually all of the court’s prosecutions and indictments have been against African leaders. For example, Omar Bashir (Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) are among those indicted by the ICC.

The US is not a member of the 123-nation ICC. Neither are Russia, China, and India. However, the US exerts a controlling influence over the court’s prosecution office via European governments and the European Union, which are dominant in the administration of the ICC.

“The United States and its European allies use the ICC as a means of political control, not for justice,” says Christopher Black who is registered on the defense counsel for the court, but who has vociferously criticized its political subservience.

Black says the ICC has a similar function to several other ad hoc international tribunals, such as those which purportedly investigated war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“These courts serve to cover-up actual crimes committed by Western powers while criminalizing political enemies of the West,” says Black.

In the case of former Yugoslavia, he points out, the Hague-based court did not examine the putative crimes of NATO bombing Belgrade in 1999. It only went after former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic whom Washington and the European governments wanted to criminalize to justify NATO’s illegal intervention in the Balkans.

With regard to Afghanistan, the declared intention of the ICC to divide its investigations between US and Afghan parties raises the suspicion the court will seek to mitigate violations carried out by American forces by embroiling other criminal actors.

Even if the ICC were to find US forces guilty of war crimes, it is doubtful that Washington would take any notice of such rulings.

As Christopher Black points out too, the focus of any forthcoming investigation is misplaced in its entire framework. “The focus of a war crimes investigation should be looking at the way the US launched this military occupation back in 2001. A case can be made that the US is guilty of the supreme crime of war of aggression. All other violations stem from Washington committing the ultimate crime of going to war in Afghanistan.”

He says the ICC planned investigation is a piecemeal approach which will serve to conceal the primary responsibility of the US in Afghanistan.

So why then would the ICC bother to set up such a probe into Afghanistan?

The answer is simply to salvage much-needed credibility for the court. Because of its lop-sided focus in prosecuting African leaders, the ICC has come under fire from African members for “double standards” and serving as a neocolonial instrument for Western powers.

Beginning last year, several African nations threatened to walk away from the ICC, including Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Gambia, and Uganda. Last month, Burundi formally completed its withdrawal from the ICC.

In other words, the court is in danger of imploding from lack of credibility. Hence, the announcement to go into Afghanistan is an attempt to salvage authority and public image by appearing to, at last, investigate alleged American war crimes.

“This is all about giving the ICC some badly needed credibility as it unravels in the face of a mass African walk-out,” says lawyer Christopher Black.

As such US and NATO states have nothing to fear from this proposed war crimes investigation in Afghanistan. It’s a cover-up and a sham driven by political interests, not by justice.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

Read more:

US airstrike kills at least 10 civilians in Kunduz – UN

‘Cold day in hell before ICC goes after US for committing Afghanistan war crimes’

‘The more US engages in war on terror, the more terrorists it produces’

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

UAE buys new weapons worth $684 million from US firm

Press TV – November 14, 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a new deal with an American arms manufacturer under which the firm would supply the small Persian Gulf country with laser-guided bombs, authorities say.

The deal, announced Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow and worth 2.5 billion dirhams ($684.4 million), would see the American missile maker Raytheon Co. sell GBU-10 and GBU-12 Paveway laser-guided bomb kits to Abu Dhabi, among other weapons.

UAE authorities also signed arms deals with Germany’s Rheinmetall to buy artillery from the company. The contract will also enable Rheinmetall to support Etihad Airways with transportation equipment.

The purchase of weapons comes amid the UAE’s involvement in a deadly campaign, led by Saudi Arabia, against Yemen. More than 10,000 people have been killed and over two million have been displaced since March 2015, when the regime in Riyadh began the campaign.

Abu Dhabi has also announced plans for buying 75 Mirage 2000-9 aircraft from the French multinational company Dassault and Thales to upgrade its air force fleet. That comes despite increasing calls for a halt to the UAE’s contribution to the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes on civilian areas in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are two major recipients in the Persian Gulf of weapons from the United States and other Western countries. Other countries in the region have accused the two of sparking an arms race by their excessive purchase of modern weaponry from the West.

Reports over the past few years have indicated that much of the UAE’s modern weaponry have found their way into the hands of militants in Libya, where Abu Dhabi supports an administration opposed to Tripoli’s internationally-recognized government.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Money Machine

Jewish oligarchs fund crimes against humanity

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • November 14, 2017

The stars came out in Hollywood on November 2nd, or at least some of them did. The gala event celebrated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and raised funds to support its mission in Israel itself and on the occupied West Bank. The organization being fêted was the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which has fourteen regional offices in the United States and operates under the slogan “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.” In attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Gerald Butler. Entertainment was provided by the singer Seal.

Hollywood Jewish royalty was thick on the ground, the grub was strictly kosher and billionaires competed to see who could give the most to such a worthy cause. The 1,200 attendees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel donated a record $53.8 million, with Oracle founder Larry Ellison leading the pack with a contribution of $16.6 million. Israeli media mogul Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s most generous supporter, served as host of the event and donated $5 million. Two weeks ago, a similar gathering of 1,200 in New York City dubbed “A Night of Heroes,” attended by GOP major donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, raised $35 million, $7 million coming from Adelson personally. FIDF reportedly was sitting on $190 million in contributions for the year before the Hollywood and New York events.

Donations to FIDF are tax deductible as the organization is registered with the U.S. Treasury as a 501(c)3 educational and charitable non-profit foundation. One might well ask how it is possible that the American taxpayer should subsidize a foreign military organization that is regularly accused of war crimes in its ongoing brutal and genocidal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem? One might also wonder how an organization that continues a military occupation in opposition to multiple United Nations resolutions that have been endorsed by Washington gets any kind of tax break at all? And finally, one might reasonably ask why an organization that already gets in excess of $3.8 billion annually directly from the U.S. Treasury needs more money to allegedly provide creature comforts for its soldiers?

The answer to all of the above would be that Jewish power in the United States makes it happen. But more particularly, it is Jewish money that does the trick since cash on the table provides access both to the media and to the people that matter in Washington. A tight circle of billionaire oligarchs, including Saban, Ellison and Adelson as well as Paul Singer and Bernard Marcus directly support organizations like FIDF as well as major pro-Israel groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the America Israel Political Action Committee, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The billionaires are not shy about where their loyalty lies, boasting as does Saban, that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. Adelson has stated that he wishes that he had served in the Israeli army instead of the U.S. military and wants his son to grow up to “be a sniper for the IDF.” Both have publicly advocated bombing Iran. In Adelson’s case, the bomb would be nuclear.

Sometimes both the Israel agenda and the financial support is deliberately hidden, as in the case of the recently launched “Christian engagement in the Middle East” anti-Iran Philos Project, which was funded by Singer. The billionaires also directly donate to the campaigns of politicians and support projects that engage in the message management that is used to justify pro-Israel policies in Congress and the media.

Much of the current agitation to “do something” about Iran comes, for example, from these groups and media assets. In truth, American aid to Israel has become virtually untouchable and is something like a goose that keeps on laying golden eggs. The operation of “The Lobby,” generally regarded as the most powerful voice on foreign policy in Washington, led Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to ask, “Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security … in order to advance the interests of another state? [No] explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the U.S. provides.” They observed that “Other special interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country—in this case, Israel—are essentially identical.”

The money committed by the Jewish oligarchs on behalf of Israel has turned out to be a good investment, returning billions for millions spent. Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, it has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to the Congressional Research Service. The United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in adjusted for inflation aid between 1948 through the end of 2012, reports Haaretz.

The $38 billion over ten years in military assistance that the Obama recently promised to Israel is far less than what will actually be received from the United States Treasury and from other American sources, including handouts from Congress. To cite only one recent example, in September Congressman Alcee Hastings proposed a legislative amendment that would give $12 million to help settle Israel’s Ethiopian community. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking in the most recent legislative discussion over Israeli aid, stated that the $38 billion should be regarded as a minimum amount, and that Congress should approve additional funds for Israeli defense as needed.

At its most recent meeting in March 2017, AIPAC announced the latest windfall from America, applauding “the U.S. House of Representatives for significantly bolstering its support of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the FY 2017 defense appropriations bill. The House appropriated $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.” And there is a long history of such special funding for Israeli-connected projects. The Iron Dome missile-defense system was largely funded by the United States, to the tune of more than $1 billion. In the 1980s, the Israeli Lavi jet-fighter development program was funded by Washington, costing $2 billion to the U.S. taxpayer before it was terminated over technical and other problems, part of $5.45 billion in Pentagon funding of various Israeli weapons projects through 2002.

How Israel gets money from the United States Treasury is actually quite complex and not very transparent to the American public, going well beyond the check for $3.8 billion handed over at the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1st. Even that check, uniquely given to aid recipient Israel as one lump sum on the first day of the year, is manipulated to produce extra revenue. It is normally immediately redeposited with the U.S. Treasury, which then, because it operates on a deficit, borrows the money to pay interest on it as the Israelis draw it down. That interest payment costs the American taxpayer an estimated $100 million more per year. Israel has also been adept at using “loan guarantees,” an issue that may have contributed to the downfall of President George H.W. Bush. The reality is that the loans, totaling $42 billion, are never repaid by Israel, meaning that the United States Treasury picks up the tab on principle and interest, a form of additional assistance. The Bush-era loan amounted to $10 billion.

Department of Defense co-production projects, preferential contracting, “scrapping” or “surplusing” of usable equipment that is then turned over to the IDF, as well as the forward deployment of military hardware to an Israeli base, are considerable benefits to Tel Aviv’s bottom line. Much of this assistance is hidden from view.

In September 2012, Israel’s former commander-in-chief, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, admitted at a conference that between 2009 and 2012 American taxpayers had paid for more of his country’s defense budget than had Israeli taxpayers. Those numbers have been disputed, but the fact remains that a considerable portion of the Israeli military spending comes from the United States. It currently is more than 20 percent of the total $16 billion budget, not counting special appropriations.

Through tax exemptions, the U.S. government also subsidizes the coordinated effort to provide additional assistance to Israel. Like FIDF, most organizations and foundations that might reasonably be considered active parts of the Israel Lobby are generally registered with the Department of the Treasury as tax-exempt foundations. Grant Smith, speaking at a conference on the U.S. and Israel on March 24th, explained how the broader Israel Lobby uses this legal framework:

“Key U.S. organizations include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Hundreds more, including a small number of evangelical Christian organizations, play a role within a vast ecosystem that demands unconditional U.S. support for Israel. In the year 2012 the nonprofit wing of the Israel lobby raised $3.7 billion in revenue. They are on track to reach $6.3 billion by 2020. Collectively they employed 14,000 and claimed 350,000 volunteers.”

The $3.7 billion raised in 2012 does not include the billions in private donations that go directly to Israel, plus billions in contributions that are regarded as “religious exemptions” for groups that don’t file at all. There are also contributions sent straight to various Israeli-based foundations that are themselves often registered as charities. The Forward magazine investigated 3,600 Jewish tax-exempt charitable foundations in 2014 and determined that they had net assets of $26 billion, $12–14 billion in annual revenue, and “focuse[d] the largest share of [their] donor dollars on Israel.” The Forward added that it is “an apparatus that benefits massively from the U.S. federal government and many state and local governments, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants, billions in tax-deductible donations and billions more in program fees paid for with government funds.”

Money being fungible, some American Jews have been surprised to learn that the donations that they had presumed were going to charitable causes in Israel have instead wound up in expanding the illegal settlements on the West Bank, an objective that they sometimes do not support. Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner has a family foundation that has made donations to Israel, including funding of West Bank settlements, which is illegal under U.S. law, as has Ambassador David Friedman.

Israel also benefits in other ways, frequently due to legislative action by Congress. It enjoys free and even preferential trade status with the United States and runs a $9 billion trade surplus per annum. Its companies and parastatal organizations can, without any restrictions, bid on U.S. defense and homeland-security projects—a privilege normally only granted to NATO partners. It’s major defense contractor Elbit recently was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to apply technologies to defend American tanks. It was a prime example of U.S. aid subsidizing an Israeli industry that then competes directly with American companies, producing a loss of jobs in the United States.

And the transfer of public money to Israel is common even at state and local levels. Some state treasuries and pension funds have purchased Israel Bonds, which are a bad investment, putting retirees at risk, as they have to be held to maturity and therefore have no secondary market and lack liquidity. Most recently, the Ohio Treasurer’s office bought a record $61 million in Israel Bonds on April 3rd. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel admitted the purchase was in response to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, meaning that Ohio taxpayers are unsuspecting participants in a risky investment scheme largely intended to punish critics of Israel. Mandel is, not surprisingly, hardly a disinterested party on the subject of Israel. He was a member of AIPAC while attending Ohio State University and spoke at its 2008 Policy Conference in Washington. After denouncing Iran, he said that “Israel is our best friend and ally in the Middle East and it’s important that we maintain a strong and lasting relationship with them.” Eighty other state and municipal public employee pension and treasury funds have also reportedly bought the bonds.

The U.S.-Israeli bilateral relationship has been an expensive proposition for Americans, yet another instance where the perceived needs of a U.S. “ally” take precedence over genuine national interests. Tens of billions of dollars need not necessarily be spent to placate a wealthy foreign country and its powerful domestic lobby or to satisfy the pretensions of the billionaires who grease the machinery to keep Israel’s money machine operating.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Former Afghan President Karzai Says US Responsible for ISIS

teleSUR | November 12, 2107

During an interview with Al Jazeera television, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai linked the emergence of Islamic State group in the region to U.S. interventions.

“In my view, under the full (United States) presence, surveillance, military, political, intelligence, Daesh has emerged,” he said.

Karzai also noted that that the United States is colluding with Islamic State group in Afghanistan in order to allow the terrorist group to thrive in the war-torn country, according to PressTV.

“And for two years, the Afghan people came, cried loud about their suffering, of violations. Nothing was done,” Karzai said.

A year after securing control over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, Islamic State group began to establish itself in the eastern province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan. From there the group has carried major attacks on the Central Asian country.

Karzai went on to assert that after the U.S. military dropped the GBU-43/B MOAB — the largest non-nuclear bomb detonated since World War II — in Nangarhar’s Achin District, Islamic State group fighters seized control of “the next district.” It was the first time the U.S. military dropped the 21,600 pound bomb, which contains an Australian made explosive called H6 and has an explosive equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, according to Inverse.

The incident “proves to us that there is a hand” aiding the emergence of Islamic State group and “that hand can be no one else but them (the United States) in Afghanistan,” Karzai concluded.

He condemned the U.S. government for using Afghanistan as a “testing ground for new and dangerous weapons” and welcomed a recent call by Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to open an inquiry into war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

“She’s right to open an investigation,” Karzai said, adding that he will cooperate with the investigation, even if it probes his own complicity in such crimes.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Arab states spent $130bn to destroy Syria, Libya, Yemen: Algerian PM

Press TV – November 12, 2017

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia says some regional Arab states have spent $130 billion to obliterate Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Ouyahia made the remarks on Saturday at a time when much of the Middle East and North Africa is in turmoil, grappling with different crises, ranging from terrorism and insecurity to political uncertainty and foreign interference.

Algeria maintains that regional states should settle their differences through dialog and that foreign meddling is to their detriment.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since 2011. Takfirism, which is a trademark of many terrorist groups operating in Syria, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia.

Libya has further been struggling with violence and political uncertainty since the country’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed in 2011 and later killed in the wake of a US-led NATO military intervention. Daesh has been taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to increase its presence there.

Yemen has also witnessed a deadly Saudi war since March 2015 which has led to a humanitarian crisis.

Last Month, Qatar’s former deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said the United Arab Emirates had planned a military invasion of Qatar with thousands of US-trained mercenaries.

The UAE plan for the military action was prepared before the ongoing Qatar rift, but it was never carried out as Washington did not give the green light to it, he noted.

In late April, reports said the UAE was quietly expanding its military presence into Africa and the Middle East, namely in Eritrea and Yemen.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ – Michael Fallon, Yemen, And The ‘Mainstream’ That Is Anything But

Media Lens | November 10, 2017

The truth of corporate journalism, and the great irony of its obsession with ‘fake news’, is that it is itself utterly fake. What could be more obviously fake than the idea that Truth can be sold by billionaire-owned media dependent on billionaire-owned advertisers for maximised profit?

The ‘mainstream’ worldview is anything but – it is extreme, weird, a product of corporate conformity and deference to power. As Norman Mailer observed:

‘There is an odour to any Press Headquarters that is unmistakeable… The unavoidable smell of flesh burning quietly and slowly in the service of a machine.’ (Mailer, ‘The Time Of Our Time’, Little Brown, 1998, p.457)

A prime example of ‘mainstream’ extremism is the way the UK’s illegal wars destroying whole countries are not an issue for corporate moralists. Physicians for Global Responsibility estimate that 1.3 million people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan alone. And yet it is simply understood that UK wars will not be a theme during general elections (See here and here). By contrast, other kinds of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ are subject to intense scrutiny.

Consider the recent resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and his replacement by Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson. Fallon resigned after it was revealed that he had ‘repeatedly touched the broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee at a dinner in 2002’.

Fallon was damaged further by revelations that he had lunged at journalist Jane Merrick:

‘This was not a farewell peck on the cheek, but a direct lunge at my lips.’

The Commons leader Andrea Leadsom also disclosed that she had complained about ‘lewd remarks’ Fallon had made to her.

Sexual harassment is a serious issue, despite the scoffing of some male commentators. In the Mail on Sunday, Peter Hitchens shamefully dismissed women’s complaints as mere ‘squawking’.

But it is strange indeed that, while harassment is rightly deemed a resigning offence, other ‘inappropriate behaviour’ leaves ‘mainstream’ commentators completely unmoved.

Fallon voted for both the 2003 war that destroyed Iraq and the 2011 war that wrecked Libya. He voted for war on Syria. He voted for replacing the Trident nuclear missile system. Earlier this year, he even declared that Britain would be willing to launch a nuclear first strike.

After he was made Secretary of Defence in July 2014, Fallon oversaw the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia waging war on Yemen. Two years later, Campaign Against Arms Trade reported that UK sales to Saudi Arabia since the start of the war included £2.2 billion of aircraft, helicopters and drones, £1.1 billion of missiles, bombs and grenades, and nearly half a million pounds’ worth of tanks and other armoured vehicles. British sales of military equipment to the kingdom topped £1.1bn in the first half of this year alone.

In December 2016, Fallon admitted that internationally banned cluster munitions supplied by the UK had been used in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign. Six months earlier, Amnesty International had reported that British-made cluster bombs were being used in attacks on civilians that had claimed the lives of children. For none of these horrors did Fallon resign.

So what kind of conflict are these weapons fuelling? The Guardian reports this week:

‘Yemen is in the grip of the world’s worst cholera outbreak and 7 million people are already on the brink of famine.’

In July, Reliefweb reported:

‘The scale of the food crisis in conflict-ridden Yemen is staggering with 17 million people – two thirds of the population – severely food insecure and seven million of these on the verge of famine.’

Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, José Graziano da Silva, has described Yemen as the UN’s ‘largest humanitarian crisis today’, noting that conflict and violence have disrupted agriculture, with violence intensifying in areas most short of food. In December 2016, a study by UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, found that at least one child was dying in Yemen every 10 minutes. The agency found that, since 2014, there had been a 200 per cent increase in children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, with almost half a million affected. Nearly 2.2 million children were in need of urgent care.

This week, the Saudi-led coalition declared it would close Yemen’s borders to prevent an alleged flow of weapons from Iran, after it intercepted a missile attack by Houthi rebels near Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Johan Mooij, Yemen director of Care International, commented:

‘For the last two days, nothing has got in or out of the country. Fuel prices have gone up by 50% and there are queues at the gas stations. People fear no more fuel will come into Hodeidah port.’

He added:

‘People depend on the humanitarian aid and part of the cholera issue [is] that they do not eat and are not strong enough to deal with unclean water.’

There have been ‘daily airstrikes in Sana’a,’ Mooij said, adding: ‘People fear the situation is escalating.’

On Monday, the UN’s World Food Program said that, out of Yemen’s entire population of 28 million people, about 20 million, ‘do not know where they’re going to get their next meal’. These are Fallon’s millions, May’s millions, the ‘mainstream’s’ millions.

In the Independent, Mary Dejevsky made the only mention of Yemen in an article discussing Fallon’s resignation that we have seen in the national corporate press:

‘In the Middle East [on Fallon’s watch], the UK made great efforts to maintain its alliance with Saudi Arabia – and the arms sales that went with it – playing down the desperate plight of Yemen which was a by-product of this policy.’

Mass death, Iraq and Libya destroyed, millions of lives torn apart, profiteering in the billions from the torture of an impoverished, famine-stricken nation – none of this was deemed worthy even of mention in considering the record of Fallon and his ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

As for his replacement, the Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow tweeted a link to his blog piece titled: ’10 things you might not know about Gavin Williamson’. Vital facts included news that the new Defence Secretary ‘kept a pet tarantula called Cronus on his desk’, ‘likes hedgehogs’, ‘is only 41’, and ‘went to a comprehensive school’.

Sparrow was adhering to the journalistic convention that parliamentary politics should be depicted as a light-hearted, Wodehousian farce. It is all a bit of a laugh – everybody means well. Despite Williamson’s lethal new role, the word ‘war’ was not mentioned.

Preoccupied with spiders and hedgehogs, Sparrow found no space to mention that Williamson ‘almost always voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas’. He voted for war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. He voted against the Yemen motion put before the House of Commons in October 2016 that merely called on the Government to suspend its support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen until it had been determined whether they had been responsible for war crimes. The motion was defeated by 283 votes to 193, telling us everything we need to know about the ‘mainstream’s’ much-loved myth that British policy is motivated by a ‘responsibility to protect’.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted a link to the BBC’s own comedy profile, which also discussed the tarantula and other nonsense, and made no mention of Williamson’s record on war. We asked Kuenssberg:

‘Will you be asking him if he has any regrets on voting against the Yemen motion to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, given the vast civilian crisis?’

We received no reply.

The extreme cognitive dissonance guiding ‘mainstream’ moral outrage was again highlighted by the Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff, who tweeted:

‘Can’t help thinking that now would be quite a good time for the first ever female defence secretary, really’

We asked:

‘What difference would it make to the civilians dying under our bombs in Yemen and Syria? Isn’t that the key issue on “defence”?’

Hinsliff did not reply. But the answer, of course, is that it would make no difference at all.

November 11, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment