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CIA Tries to ‘Edit the Past’ With Release of Declassified Documents on Internet

Sputnik | January 21, 2017

There is more to the CIA’s online release of unclassified documents than meets the eye, security expert Dmitry Efimov told Sputnik.

On Wednesday the CIA published roughly 930,000 documents online, totaling more than 1 million pages, which had previously only been accessible on computers at the National Archives in Maryland.The database, which is searchable via the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST), contains information from the 1940s to the 1990s, including reports from the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The CIA had planned to publish the documents at the end of 2017, but finished the work ahead of schedule. The agency began the project following a Freedom of Information Act injunction launched in 2014 by Muckrock, a non-profit news organization.

“Access to this historically significant collection is no longer limited by geography. The American public can access these documents from the comfort of their homes,” Joseph Lambert, CIA Director of Information Management, said.

However, not everybody is convinced that the documents in the CREST database are genuine. Security expert Dmitry Efimov, a member of Moscow Council’s Advisory Committee on Security, told Radio Sputnik that he suspects many of the files are fakes.

“I think this was published on the personal orders of CIA Director Brennan, a famous neocon who is leaving along with Obama and who is probably using this opportunity to create a new stream of misinformation,” Efimov said.

“Particularly since there is no such thing as the whole truth, there is the truth which is present in the CIA’s real documents, which of course exist, but I think that a lot of work has been done to falsify a huge number of documents in this batch and change the relationship to the Vietnam War, for example.”

Commenting on the release, CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak insisted that the documents, which appear redacted, are genuine and were not released on a selective basis.

“None of this is cherry-picked,” Horniak said.

“It’s the full history. It’s good and bads.”

However, Efimov claims that the release is an attempt by the CIA to rewrite history in order to assist its political ambitions.

“The main objective of the US is the spread of liberal American democracy around the world despite the objections of the receiving country. It is in this respect that history will change, there will be new documents which don’t have sources. But the presence of a large number of hidden sources in certain documents on a specific topic says that here (in the declassified CIA documents) someone has edited the past very well.”

Among CREST’s revelations is that the CIA carried out research on topics like UFO’s, telepathy and psychic phenomena. For example, the Stargate Project, which ran from 1978 to 1995 and was intended to investigate psychic phenomena, even interviewed Israeli celebrity psychic Uri Geller in the 1980s to see if his supposed paranormal abilities could be of use in military and domestic intelligence applications.This kind of disclosure is a way to distract attention from political topics, Efimov said.

“Disclosure of the ‘Stargate’ CIA program is a wonderful theme, a great way to divert the consciousness of American society away from real problems. Just imagine how you can use that topic on CNN, in order to bring it to the attention of all American housewives. I don’t exclude the possibility that some more fine papers will appear, some kind of reports about something, which predicted something, we will get the names of some new American prophets. That is, the construction of a mythical American history that will distract the attention of Americans,” Efimov said.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Ukraine May Have a New President in Waiting, But He’s Another Oligarch

Sputnik | January 21, 2017

In December, Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk wrote an explosive op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, laying out how Ukraine can end its conflict with Russia. Pinchuk’s plan is simple: Kiev must close its eyes on Crimea, proceed with elections in Donbass, and forget NATO. Unfortunately, elites in Kiev see his ideas as nothing less than treasonous.

Pinchuk’s appeal, published in the opinion pages of the WSJ on December 29, laid out his vision on how the new administration in Washington can try to sort out the mess in Kiev in the interests of improving relations with Moscow.

Kiev, the billionaire steel magnate wrote, must be willing to compromise, including making a genuine effort to end the civil war that’s being waged in the country’s east. Ukrainian authorities must accept local elections in the breakaway territories, and live up to their commitments under the Minsk agreements, as must Russia, the oligarch added. Crimea, he said, “must not get in the way of a deal that ends the war in the east on an equitable basis.”

Kiev sent the Ukrainian army to deal with unrest in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, after protesters refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities who came to power in the February 2014 coup d’état. In March 2014, Crimean authorities organized a referendum, asking the peninsula’s residents if they wanted Crimea to rejoin Russia. A whopping 96% voted ‘yes’, and Moscow soon accepted the peninsula’s request.Pinchuk also made proposals on other, related fronts, suggesting that Ukraine “should consider temporarily eliminating EU membership from our stated goals for the near future.” As for NATO membership, he stressed that Kiev should “accept that Ukraine will not join NATO in the near- or midterm.” For now, he said, the country should choose neutrality. He even hinted that Kiev would be “ready to accept an incremental rollback of sanctions on Russia” if that helps to restore peace, unity and security to the country.

Pinchuk’s ideas didn’t include anything radically outside the reigning political orthodoxy in Ukraine. He didn’t propose recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, and maintained that Moscow was to blame for “initiating” the conflict in the east.

Nevertheless, as expected, the billionaire’s op-ed caused uproar both in the Ukrainian media and in political circles. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thundered that Kiev would never compromise on Russian ‘aggression’, and stressed that he would never abandon plans to join NATO and integrate into the EU. Pundits called the op-ed “An offer to surrender,” condemned Pinchuk’s “tone of appeasement” and defiantly proclaimed that Ukrainians would never accept his peace proposals.

Eventually, Pinchuk was even forced to apologize for publishing the article, blaming heavy editing and WSJ’s provocative headline, which read ‘Ukraine Must Make Painful Compromises for Peace With Russia.’So what was actually behind this political storm in a teacup? According to Radio Sputnik contributor Daria Cherednik, Kiev was mistaken to see Pinchuk’s op-ed a “treacherous blow to the back,” since the jab was actually “direct, open, and frontal – right in the stomach.”

With the publication of the editorial, Cherednik wrote, “all Poroshenko’s horses and all of his men were suddenly alarmed overnight, since the throne under the king had clearly started to wobble.” In fact, she added, not only was the throne wobbling, “but a contender has appeared for the king’s seat. At least that’s how it appeared to the Ukrainian president himself, and to his entourage saw things,” accusing Pinchuk of “filing down the throne’s legs.”

Pinchuk, the journalist recalled, has long been a notable figure in Ukraine’s circles of power. He’s married to the daughter of former President Leonid Kuchma, and is valued at $1.5 billion, making him the third richest person in Ukraine. “But most importantly,” Cherednik added, “he hasn’t been tainted in any political scandal.”Pinchuk “even managed to help finance Hillary Clinton’s election campaign without creating problems with Donald Trump,” the journalist wrote. The oligarch had indeed used the Victor Pinchuk Foundation to make millions of dollars in contributions to the Clinton Foundation, but also paid $150,000 to the Trump Foundation in exchange for a speech by then-candidate Trump in September 2015.

The billionaire’s op-ed in the WSJ was perceived as a stab in the back for obvious reasons, Cherednik stressed. “How else could the current Ukrainian establishment perceive Pinchuk after such ‘seditious speeches’? It would be one thing if he presented his ideas on some local television channel, something that could be cast off as insane and forgotten. But he published his thoughts in an American newspaper. What if the White House reads the article (it surely has) and thinks that Victor Pinchuk is a reasonable figure who’s able to negotiate, and therefore a very suitable candidate for the presidency?”

Kiev certainly didn’t appreciate Pinchuk’s “creative” approach, Cherednik suggested. “Poroshenko and his staff even refused to participate in the traditional breakfast organized by the businessman in Davos on Thursday. And that’s a shame. David Cameron and Henry Kissinger decided that this would be quite a worthy event and did not reject the invitation.” Ultimately, the journalist noted, President Poroshenko was left “standing outside the door at Davos salivating, not just because of the lost opportunities for a delicious meal, but also for the lost company.”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

CIA Documents Confirm Yom Kippur War Was An Act of Agression By Israel

Penny For Your Thoughts | January 20, 2017

From the CIA document dump earlier this week: Online Now! 12 Million Pages of Declassifed CIA Documents I read all four documents Ynet is claiming demonstrate some imminent danger against Israel.

What is actually written there leaves one with the impression that Israel desired and planned for the war- despite the US asking them, more than once, not to preemptively strike other nations. And clearly reporting that Israel had begun to mobilize troops in advance of their desired war.

Considering all the recent Israeli aggression against Syria present day. The invasion of Lebanon. I find it impossible to believe that Israel was anything but the aggressor in this instance.

Despite the spin put on this news by Ynet.

The very first document Ynet points to:

 Intelligence briefing for Nixon on October 6, 1973 Intelligence briefing for Nixon on October 6, 1973

There is NO information to confirm Israeli reports of an imminent attack-
 “We have no information that would confirm the Israeli reports of an imminent attack”
In fact there is proof of a partial mobilization of Israeli Defense forces already being underway
“He said that a partial mobilization of the Israeli Defense Force is underway”

The second document used by Ynet, again fails to demonstrate an attack is imminent against Israel- It may demonstrate that there was going to be an attack against Syria? If we should assume citizens of the Soviet Union were  actually being evacuated? Which is what this document does. “probably”?

CIA report before the war broke out

 The third document doesn’t confirm imminent attack either?

The US asks Israel to exercise restraint
The US asks Israel to take no preemptive action
The US opposes preemptive action on the part of Israel

Kissinger's conversations on October 6

The fourth document tells us only about Israel’s intelligence.
“I was notified that the Israeli’s have what they consider to be hard information…”
“Urgently communicating with the Israelis, Warning them against any pre emptive attack”
And Egypt expected an Israeli provocation..
 

 Kissinger's message to Nixon
Reading all those documents for myself, suggests to me that Yom Kippur was a desired war, planned by the Israeli’s against Egypt and Syria.
 Not sure why Ynet is using these to bolster the official narrative?
Ynet :  The morning of the coordinated attack on Israel, US assessments flipped from presuming war was not on the horizon to frantic attempts to prevent Syria and Turkey from attacking the Jewish state, which was warned off any preemptive strike.

 Read the documents and decide for yourself... In all four documents it is clear Israel has prepared for an aggressive move and the US is repeatedly calling for restraint. Warning Israel not to move preemptively. Egypt expecting an Israeli provocation..

Self-defense or provocation: Israel’s history of breaking ceasefires

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 7 Comments

British Fingerprints in Dirty Tricks Against Trump

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.01.2017

Britain’s divisive Brexit politics are playing out through the new US presidency of Donald Trump. It seems that a faction within the British political establishment which is opposed to Britain leaving the European Union has joined forces with American intelligence counterparts to hamper Trump’s new administration.

By hampering Trump, the pro-EU British faction would in turn achieve a blow against a possible bilateral trade deal emerging between the US and Britain. Such a bilateral trade deal is vital for post-Brexit Britain to survive outside of the EU. If emerging US-British trade relations were sabotaged by disenfranchising President Trump, then Britain would necessarily have to turn back to rejoining the European Union, which is precisely what a powerful British faction desires.

What unites the anti-Trump forces on both sides of the Atlantic is that they share an atlanticist, pro-NATO worldview, which underpins American hegemony over Europe and Anglo-American-dominated global finance. This atlanticist perspective is vehemently anti-Russian because an independent Russia under President Vladimir Putin is seen as an impediment to the US-led global order of Anglo-American dominance.

The atlanticists in the US and Britain are represented in part by the upper echelons of the intelligence-military apparatus, embodied by the American Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Military Intelligence (Section) 6 (MI6).

Notably, incoming US President Donald Trump has expressed indifference towards NATO. This week he repeated comments in which he called the US-led military alliance «obsolete». Trump’s views are no doubt a cause of grave consternation among US-British atlanticists.

It is now emerging that British state intelligence services are involved much more deeply in the dirty tricks operation to smear Trump than might have been appreciated heretofore. The British involvement tends to validate the above atlanticist analysis.

The dirty tricks operation overseen by US intelligence agencies and willing news media outlets appears to be aimed at undermining Trump and, perhaps, even leading to his impeachment.

The former British MI6 agent, named as Christopher Steele, who authored the latest sexual allegations against Trump, was initially reported as working independently for US political parties. However, it now seems that Steele was not acting as an independent consultant to Trump’s political opponents during the US election, as media reports tended to indicate.

Britain’s Independent newspaper has lately reported that Steele’s so-called «Russian dossier» – which claimed that Trump was being blackmailed by the Kremlin over sex orgy tapes – was tacitly given official British endorsement.

That endorsement came in two ways. First, according to the Independent, former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Woods, reportedly gave assurances to US Senator John McCain that the dossier’s allegations of Russian blackmail against Trump were credible. Woods met with McCain at a security conference in Canada back in November. McCain then passed the allegations on to the American FBI – so «alarmed» was he by the British diplomat’s briefing.

The second way that Britain has endorsed the Russian dossier is the newly appointed head of MI6, Sir Alex Younger, is reported to have used the material produced by his former colleague, Christopher Steele, in preparing his first speech as head of the British intelligence service given in December at the agency’s headquarters in London. That amounts to an imprimatur from MI6 on the Russian dossier.

Thus, in two important signals from senior official British sources, the Russian dossier on Trump was elevated to a serious intelligence document, rather than being seen as cheap gossip.

Excerpts from the document published by US media last week make sensational claims about Trump engaging in orgies with prostitutes in the presidential suite of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel while attending a Miss World contest in 2014. It is claimed that Russian secret services captured the alleged lewd activity on tape and will now be able to leverage this «kompromat» in order to blackmail Trump who becomes inaugurated this week as the 45th president of the United States.

Several informed analysts have dismissed the Russian dossier as an amateurish fake, pointing out its vague hearsay, factual errors and questionable format not typical of standard intelligence work. Also, both Donald Trump and the Kremlin have categorically rejected the claims as far-fetched nonsense.

While most US media did not publish the salacious details of Trump’s alleged trysts, and while they offered riders that the information was «not confirmed» and «unverifiable», nevertheless the gamut of news outlets gave wide coverage to the story which in turn directed public attention to internet versions of the «sensational» claims. So the US mainstream media certainly lent critical amplification, which gave the story a stamp of credibility.

US intelligence agencies, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan, appended the two-page Russian dossier in their separate briefings to outgoing President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump last week. Those briefings were said to mainly focus on US intelligence claims that Russian state-sponsored hackers had carried out cyber attacks to influence the US election last November.

Therefore, US intelligence, their British counterparts and the mass media all played a concerted role to elevate low-grade gossip against Trump into a seemingly credible scandal.

Trump has been waging a war of words with the US intelligence agencies, snubbing them by cutting back on presidential briefings and rubbishing their claims of Russian hacking as «ridiculous». Recently, Trump appeared to shift towards accepting the US intel assessment that Russia had carried out cyber attacks. But he balked at any suggestion that the alleged hacking was a factor in why he won the election against Hillary Clinton.

At a news conference before the weekend, Trump turned up the heat on the US intelligence agencies by blaming them for leaking to the media their briefing to him on the notorious Russian dossier. Trump compared their tactics to that of «Nazi Germany». CIA chief John Brennan couldn’t contain his anger and told media that such a comparison was «outrageous».

Trump may have savaged the Russian blackmail allegations as «fake news». But there are indications that US and British intelligence – and their reliable media mouthpieces – are not giving up on their dirty tricks operation, which has all the hallmarks of a vendetta.

Pointedly, James Clapper, the outgoing US Director of National Intelligence, has said that the secret services have not arrived at a judgment as to whether the Russian blackmail claims are substantive or not. British state-owned BBC has also reported that CIA sources believe that Russian agents have multiple copies of «tapes of a sexual nature» allegedly involving Trump in separate orgies with prostitutes in Moscow and St Petersburg.

In other words this scandal, regardless of veracity, could run and run and run, with the intended effect of undermining Trump and crimping his policies, especially those aimed at normalizing US-Russia relations, as he has vowed to do. If enough scandal is generated, the allegations against Trump being a sexually depraved president compromised by Russian agents – a declared foreign enemy of the US – might even result in his impeachment from the White House on the grounds of treason.

Both the American and British intelligence services appear to be working together, facilitated by aligned news media, to bolster flimsy claims against Trump into allegations of apparent substance. The shadowy «deep state» organs in the US and Britain are doing this because they share a common atlanticist ideology which views Anglo-American dominance over the European Union as the basis for world order. Crucial to this architecture is NATO holding sway over Europe, which in turn relies on demonizing Russia as a «threat to European security».

Clamping down on Trump, either through impeachment or at least corrosive media smears, would serve to further the atlanticist agenda.

For a section of British power – UK-based global corporations and London finance – the prospect of a Brexit from the EU is deeply opposed. The Financial Times list of top UK-based companies were predominantly against leaving the EU ahead of last year’s referendum. Combined with the strategic atlanticist ideology of the military-intelligence apparatus there is a potent British desire to scupper the Trump presidency.

But, as it happens, the American and British picture is complicated by the fact that the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May is very much dependent on cooperation and goodwill from the Trump administration in order for post-Brexit Britain to survive in the world economy outside the EU.

The British government is committed to leaving the EU as determined by the popular referendum last June. To be fair to May’s government, it is deferring to the popular will on this issue. Premier May is even talking about a «hard Brexit» whereby, Britain does not have future access to the European single market. Fervent communications between Downing Street and the Trump transition team show that the British government views new bilateral trade deals with the US as vital for the future of Britain’s economy. And Trump has reciprocated this week by saying that Britain will be given top priority in the signing of new trade deals.

In this way, the British establishment’s divisions over Brexit – some for, some against – are a fortunate break for Trump. Because that will limit how much the British intelligence services can engage in dirty tricks against the president in league with their American counterparts. In short, the atlanticist desire to thwart Trump has lost its power to act malevolently in the aftermath of Britain’s Brexit.

That might also be another reason why Donald Trump has given such a welcoming view on the Brexit – as «a great thing». Perhaps, he knows that it strengthens his political position against deep state opponents who otherwise in a different era might have been strong enough to oust him.

Trump and Brexit potentially mean that the atlanticist sway over Europe is fading. And that’s good news for Russia.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestine: the International Community Screws Up Again

… and so does the Palestinian leader (again)

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | January 20, 2017

The Middle East peace conference in Paris was the usual farce with Israel and Palestine, the subjects under discussion, both staying away. Netanyahu called the talks “useless” and Abbas was off opening an embassy in Vatican City and meeting the Pope while 70 nations gathered to take part in another peace pantomime. It ended with a pathetic declaration urging both sides to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution”.

Is this what the much-trumpeted 2-state solution looks like?

Everyone knows Netanyahu and the Israeli regime have never wanted peace. Land-grabbing and ethnic cleansing is what they do, so the jackboot of Israeli occupation must remain firmly on the Palestinians’ neck. He was bound to treat any peace conference with utmost contempt. And Abbas’s crass absence was not only another slap in the face to all who sympathise with the Palestinians’ plight and to the millions of campaigners who fight for their cause but also another disservice to the Palestinian people.

I call the conference declaration “pathetic” because no-one in the international community, as far as I’m aware, has actually told us what the 2-state solution they keep banging on about will look like – or even what they think it should look like. No-one, that is, since Ehud Barak and his so-called “generous offer” to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War). Conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs was an astonishingly big-hearted concession on their part.

But it wasn’t enough for greedy Israel. Barak’s “generous offer” demanded the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within the 22% Palestinian remnant. It was obvious on the map that those settlement blocs created impossible borders and already severely disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also demanded the Palestinian territories be placed under “Temporary Israeli Control”, meaning Israeli military and administrative control probably indefinitely. The generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation in the world would accept that? But the ludicrous reality of Barak’s 2-state solution was cleverly hidden by propaganda spin.

Later, at Taba, Barak produced a revised map but withdrew it after his election defeat. The ugly facts of the matter are well documented and explained by organisations such as Gush Shalom, yet the Israel lobby’s stooges continue to peddle the lie that Israel offered the Palestinians a generous peace on a plate. Is Barak’s crazed vision of the 2-state solution the one the 70 nations have in mind?

Britain’s stance on Palestinian independence has always been nonsensical. I remember former foreign secretary Alistair Burt announcing that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.”

Where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? And is Israel within them? Where did he think Israel’s capital is? And where did Israel claim it to be? In other words, is Israel where Israel is supposed to be? If not, how could he possibly recognise it let alone align himself with it? “We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements because our position is again very straightforward: We wish to see a two-state solution, a secure and recognized Israel side by side with a viable Palestine, Jerusalem as a joint capital and agreed borders,” Burt said.

Negotiations about illegal settlements? Since when did Her Majesty’s Government favour negotiating with the perpetrator of criminal acts and crimes against humanity? At around the same time Hillary Clinton had rejected in advance an anticipated Palestinian bill in the UN against unlawful Israeli settlement building. According to her, Israel’s illegal squats could be resolved through “negotiations” between Palestinians and Israelis and to hell with international law. Burt embraced this “solution” instead of enforcing international law and upholding justice, as he should have. He co-operated with the most dishonest peace brokers on the planet to revive discredited, lopsided direct talks. It’s been the same story with every other UK foreign secretary.

Resolution 242, a work of evil

So why, after decades, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations have said it shouldn’t be?

And why are the Palestinians being pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, victim versus armed invader haggling and pleading for their freedom?

The answer appears to lie in the hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:

The UN Security Council…

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

  1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories [i..e. Gaza, West Bank including Jerusalem, and Golan Heights belonging to Syria] occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

  1. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

  1. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
  1. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

It was adopted unanimously.

Article 2 of the UN Charter states, among other things, that all Members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

Nothing too difficult there for men of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 49 years nothing has happened to give effect to the Charter’s fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security free from threats or acts of force. Israel still occupies the Holy Land and the Golan Heights with maximum brutality while law and justice, the cornerstones of civilisation, have evaporated.

This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the deliberate non-use of a certain word, the “the” word which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was purposely omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.

Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw

Arthur J. Goldberg, US Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key drafter of Resolution 242, stated:

There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words ‘secure and recognized boundaries’ that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.

According to Lord Caradon, then the UK Ambassador to the UN and another key drafter:

The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognised is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognised boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognised…. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary….

He later added:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.

Professor Eugene Rostow, then US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, had also helped to draft the resolution. He was on record in 1991 that Resolution 242:

… allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War – not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the ‘Green Line’).

Israel could thus keep the territory it seized as long as the Zionist regime avoided making peace. Even if it did make peace, it could keep some unspecified territory, presumably what it had stolen in terror raids before the 1967 war.

In the meantime Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the all-important “the” word in relation to territories had been included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version ruled.

For Israel, Abba Eban said:

As the representative of the United States has said, the boundaries between Israel and her neighbors must be mutually worked out and recognized by the parties themselves as part of the peace-making process. We continue to believe that the States of the region, in direct negotiation with each other, have the sovereign responsibility for shaping their common future. It is the duty of international agencies at the behest of the parties to act in the measure that agreement can be promoted and a mutually accepted settlement can be advanced. We do not believe that Member States have the right to refuse direct negotiation….

Eban seemed to forget that Israel was in breach of international law.

‘Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible’, right?

So here was Israel, aided by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967 and sensing that the defenceless and impoverished Palestinians under their heel would be easy meat.

But the Russian, Vasily Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.

In the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the ‘withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict’ becomes the first necessary principle for the establishment of a just and lasting peace….  We understand the decision taken to mean the withdrawal of Israel forces from all, and we repeat, all territories belonging to Arab States and seized by Israel following its attack on those States on 5 June 1967.

Kuznetsov dismissed Goldberg’s border-adjustment argument, saying that the clause concerning the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition trumped any consideration for secure boundaries. He argued that the security needs of Israel “cannot serve as a pretext for the maintenance of Israel forces on any part of the Arab territories seized by them as a result of war.”

Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by the missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of the territories you occupied in the recent conflict”.

US Secretary of State Dean Rusk writing in 1990 remarked:

We wanted [it] to be left a little vague and subject to future negotiation because we thought the Israeli border along the West Bank could be rationalized; certain anomalies could easily be straightened out with some exchanges of territory, making a more sensible border for all parties…. But we never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war. On that point we and the Israelis to this day remain sharply divided…. I’m not aware of any commitment the United States has made to assist Israel in retaining territories seized in the Six-Day War.

And how had UN members so conveniently forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important Arab towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state in the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israel militia while the ink was still drying on the document? Had they also forgotten that the Palestinians were never consulted on the UN’s decision to hand over their lands to aliens mainly from Europe and with no ancestral links to the ancient Holy Land? The borders set down in the 1947 Partition and incorporated into UN Resolution are certainly “recognised” because they were duly voted on and accepted even by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?

As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Of course, a Palestinian state, if or when it emerges, is equally entitled to secure borders but the Israeli regime is unlikely to agree. It wants total control. So going down the talks path again and again is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent once Israeli troops are no longer in occupation.

Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Should the parties fail to settle it by those means Article 37 says they must “refer it to the Security Council. If the Security Council deems that the continuance of the dispute is in fact likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to take action under Article 36 or to recommend such terms of settlement as it may consider appropriate.”

Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.”

Isn’t the Israeli occupation a legal dispute? How much longer must we wait to see the Charter complied with? Which brings us back to the question: why wasn’t Abbas at the conference batting for Palestine’s freedom and a just solution based on law? His presence would have put Netanyahu on the wrong foot.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why are US tech firms suddenly trying to restrict RT’s access to social media?

RT | January 20, 2017

On Wednesday RT found its access to Twitter’s official news discovery partner Dataminr stifled, and it was temporarily denied full use of Facebook. These events followed weeks of hysteria about the network in the US.

First up, we need to explain what Dataminr is. It’s an American startup with exclusive access to Twitter’s ‘firehose’ (the full flow of all Tweets in real time), vital to any agency that breaks the news.

While it isn’t hugely significant for casual users, it’s extremely useful for media services, and it appears government intelligence agencies too.

The firehose is also seemingly a valuable resource for anyone looking for illegal activity on Twitter. This is due to how the information can help “explore an individual’s past digital activity on social media and discover an individual’s interconnectivity and interactions with others on social media.”

We know this because a lobbying firm called Beacon Global Strategies told the Danish government about these abilities when pitching a partnership between Copenhagen and the tech company.

RT, along with dozens of other news organizations, has been using Dataminr successfully for some time. Nobody batted an eyelid until a strange Wall Street Journal article last May placed the network center stage in a battle between Twitter and American spies. Headlined “Twitter Picks Russia Over the US,” it suggested that Dataminr was selling information directly to Vladimir Putin, via RT. Meanwhile, it denied CIA operatives access to its platform.
Changing tack

This stance changed five months later, when the startup, which is partially owned by Twitter, agreed to provide an “advanced altering tool” to the FBI. Furthermore, it was at the same time when RT’s relationship with Dataminr suddenly became more confused.

As this network attempted to pay the annual service charge for usage, the tech company insisted they’d prefer monthly payments, as they were “reviewing how we work with government agencies.” While that seemed unusual at the time, the reasons finally became apparent when RT’s access to Dataminr was revoked with immediate effect on Wednesday.

This unfortunate and sad move appears to be a result of the climate of fear that sections of the US press are whipping up around RT and Russian media in general. The preposterous Wall Street Journal article of last May is just one of countless similar diatribes.

Written by Louis Gordon Crovitz, senior enough to have been a former publisher of the paper, it hysterically created the impression that RT was somehow passing on information from Twitter to Russian special services – in other words, baseless, utter nonsense.

Crossed purposes

Just after Dataminr cut off RT, the plot thickened on Thursday when The Verge reported that it wasn’t only Denmark that Beacon had considered collaborating with. They also met officials from Azerbaijan and at least five other embassies over a period of three months. Unlike RT, which used the facility only for news gathering, these pitches were clearly made in ways that suggested it could have been used for surveillance.

While Dataminr has exclusive access to Twitter’s firehose, Facebook has a de facto near-monopoly on the distribution of news these days. Thus, when they blocked RT’s ability to post new links and video from Wednesday night to Thursday evening, it was easy to see the one-two punch to RT’s social media access as more than mere coincidence.

Especially, when RT was accused of breaching terms of service by merely streaming a video purchased under license from the Associated Press; AP confirmed it was entirely legal in a statement to RT. Not just that, but Facebook generated a notice nonsensically alleging that RT’s stream of AP video was infringing on the rights of US state broadcaster Radio Free Europe.

Facebook rectified its error the next day. Where RT’s Dataminr relationship is concerned, it is reasonable to assume the decision to deny service came from high-up in the company – or perhaps even above.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

What’s going on in Gambia?

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | January 20, 2017

An international scandal has been unfolding over the past month due to supposedly outgoing President Jammah’s flip-flopping remarks, with even the UN Security Council asking him to respect the democratic vote of the people and step down like he promised. Just yesterday, in fact, the regional military-economic integrational bloc of ECOWAS launched an invasion in order to depose him. However, everything needs to be put into context here because the situation isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.

Yes, Jammah did lose the vote, and yes, he did initially recognize it as having been free and fair, but in the immediate electoral aftermath, presumable President-elect Adama Barrow and his campaign vowed to go on a political witch hunt and imprison Jammah within the next year. Worse still, they even pledged to reverse his decision to withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, or ICC. What this amounts to is essentially a top-to-bottom purge of the Gambian “deep state”, or its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies under the presumed justification of carrying out “international justice” against a former “dictatorial regime”.

Adama Barrow

It’s thus somewhat understandable why Jammah so abruptly reversed his former position and perceptively seems to have the backing of the military and police as well. The fact remains that they’re interested in self-preservation, and that Barrow’s witch hunt was a politically premature move to declare when he hadn’t even entered into power yet and had chance of carrying it out. He likely did this to please his foreign patrons, which had been waging a concerted infowar against Jammah due to his domestic policies. The clearest indication of unipolar grand strategic connivance against Jammah and the Gambia comes from former US ambassador to Senegal and Gambia and former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Herman J. Cohen, who penned an op-ed at allafrica.com titled “Gambia: A message to the Gambia – Build that Bridge.” Former diplomats are usually much more candid than presently serving ones are and thus tend to directly say what the US wants as opposed to ‘diplomatically’ beating around the bush.

Former Ambassador Cohen said that “several African nations have suffered from psycopathic regimes during the past five decades, but the Jammeh dictatorship has assuredly been the worst“. One of the steps that he suggests Barrow’s new government take in rebuilding the country is to, ironically enough, dismantle it through what he says should be “the re-establishment of a confederation between the two nations [meaning with Senegal], including a joint military and a federal parliament.” The former diplomat is surprisingly undiplomatic by characterizing Gambia’s decision to pull out of that former arrangement as a “stupid mistake.” So what we can surmise from all of this lobbying and the ongoing post-election political crisis in Gambia is that the US wants Barrow to purge Jammah and all of his institutional supporters out of the country under the cover of the ICC in order for the country’s sovereignty to be ceded to Senegal under a so-called “confederation”.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

About 7,500 Foreign Soldiers to Take Part in 2017 Drills in Ukraine

Sputnik – 20.01.2017

KIEV – Around 7,500 foreign servicemen and about 12,500 Ukrainian soldiers will participate in military drills in Ukraine this year, spokesperson of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Dmytro Hutsulyak said on Friday.

“We are going to involve about 12,500 Ukrainian servicemen. Our partners are expected to send around 7,500 soldiers,” Hutsulyak said at a press conference.

He added that about 1,500 Ukrainian servicemen would take part in various drills abroad in 2017.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law allowing foreign troops to be present in the country in 2017 to participate in multinational drills.

The bill outlines the admission in the framework of multi-national drills of the US and other NATO member states’ military, as well as of the countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program, totaling up to 3,000 personnel, for up to 365 days in January-December 2017.

The document is yet to be signed by the president.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Western Media Whitewashes Rebel Destruction of Damascus Water Supply

By Maram Susli – New Eastern Outlook – 20.01.2017

Syria’s capital city Damascus continues to suffer without water. The water which supplied four million people, was cut off by insurgents who have occupied the aquifer in Wadi Barada since late December. The insurgents, which include an alliance of US backed groups and Al Qaeda’s Syria branch Jabhat Fateh Al Sham (formally Jabhat al Nusra), uploaded a video of themselves rigging the ancient Ein Al Fijeh spring with explosives. Two days before this upload, the rebels were also accused of tainting the water supply with diesel. As a result of the success of the Syrian military campaign to recapture parts of Wadi Barada, the insurgents were forced to agree to allowing engineers in to fix the aquifer as part of a ceasefire agreement. However after the agreement was reached the insurgents shot and killed the negotiating team overseeing repairs. Previously they had shot at technicians as they attempted to enter Wadi Barada.

Several groups which included the so called “White helmets” NGO released a written statement, that they will not allow engineers to fix the spring until the Syrian government agrees to give them certain concessions. The White Helmets have received tens of millions of dollars from various Western governments. Their signed statement shows that they are complicit with Al Qaeda in what the UN has stated is tantamount to a war crime.

Yet NATO backed media outlets have failed to explicitly state this, tip toeing around the subject of responsibility. Some outlets were even initially suggesting its was the Syrian government that was responsible. The most offending headlines included this one from the Daily Beast, “Assad’s Newest War Tactic: Dehydration”. The Qatar linked Middle East Eye, a newspaper run by a former Guardian and Al Jazeera journalists, headlined with “Water war: Wadi Barada and Assad’s latest weapon”. Australia’s ABC news suggested that, “this was not the first time the Syrian government targeted it’s own facilities”.

Perhaps the worst offender was the discredited Bellingcat website, run by Eliot Higgins, which claims to be independent open source analysis while consistently backing up US State Department propaganda. They released an article claiming that the Syrian government was responsible for the damage to the aquifer. Bellingcat did not touch on the fact that it is the insurgents who refuse to allow the aquifer to be fixed.

Evidence

There is also ample evidence that the insurgents were indeed behind the initial destruction of the spring. The insurgents uploaded a video of themselves on Facebook, rigging the ancient Ein el Fijeh spring with explosives. In the video a rebel is seen walking through the pipes saying, “this is one of the water pipes of Ein el Fijah spring, the revolutionaries are rigging it with explosives right now”. The video was accompanied by the following written statement.

“Let everyone know that the lives of the traitors in Damascus are not more precious than the life of a child from Wadi Barada. This is one of the tunnels that supply the occupied city of Damascus with water, it’s currently being boopy-trapped by the rebels, in the event that the mercenary commander Qaus Farwa continues his offensive on Wadi Barada, all the main tunnels will be detonated and will never be restored.” #Bombing_is_better_than_evacuation”

Rebels also made Facebook posts celebrating the destruction of the spring and taunting the people of Damascus. One rebel posted photographs of himself flashing victory signs over the rubble of the aquifer tunnels. One post reads,

“Hahaha just as like you wanted, your water has turned into diesel, and the bombing will happen tomorrow or the day after. The bombing is ready no matter what and after that let the flood come. We will burn the soul of each christian, shi’ites and those traitor sunnis who sold their religion and decided to side with you, you jew idiots. You want a ceasefire now just so you can pull your dead bodies out of our sacred soil? You can drink water from my d**k you pigs.”  

Seemingly in coordination with the US backed rebels, ISIS cut off the water supply to Aleppo a few days later, suggesting that the water crisis was a planned reprisal for the liberation of Aleppo. This would not be the first time that insurgents cut off water to Aleppo, Syria’s second capital. In 2014, the insurgents filmed themselves celebrating the destruction of Aleppo’s water supply. The population of Aleppo was without water for over a year.

Motive

Furthermore, the insurgents have motive to cut off the water supply while the Syrian government doesn’t. The recent liberation of Aleppo city, involved the evacuation of insurgents to the city of Idlib in green buses, part of the terms of their surrender. The Syrian military was approaching Wadi Barada with the same terms of evacuation on the table.The rebels from the area have cut water supplies to Damascus several times in the past as a bargaining chip to prevent the Syrian army from entering the area and pushing them out. This was likely what caused the insurgents to use the water again as leverage, and escalate by not only stopping the water flow as they have done previously, but destroying it entirely. This is reflected in the Facebook posts made by rebels, that “bombing [the aquifer] is better than evacuation”. The people in Wadi Barada do not get their water from Ein el fijah spring, but from sources further upstream, hence the rebels would not be damaging their own water supply by poisoning and bombing the spring.

On the other hand there is no motive for the Syrian government to cut off water to Damascus, a city which they hold and reside within. It was the government who demanded to get engineers in to fix the aquifer, and in the meantime initiated a program of rationing and distributing water. Bellingcat’s author Nick Waters was wise to this and did not attempt to invent a motive. Instead he claimed that the Syrian government had destroyed the aquifer by accident, coincidentally at the same time that the insurgents were rigging it with explosives. The claim that the attack could have been  an ‘accident’ is contradicted by the United Nations, which said the “infrastructure was deliberately targeted.”

Bellingcat’s Whitewash Attempt

The Bellingcat article was written by Nick Waters a former British military officer. This brings up the question of whether he is still biased towards serving Britain’s interests versus objective fact. Britain has been calling for regime change in Syria since 2011. Waters’ article is riddled with logical fallacies and non-sequitur conclusions.

Waters asks us to accept that a Syrian airstrike on the militants holding Ein El Fijah spring, resulted in diesel leaking into the water supply, claiming that it “probably” must have “damaged a fuel tank, generator or otherwise”. However he provides no evidence that this occurred, or an explanation as to what a fuel tank would be doing near the aquifer. He states that the same rebels who showed the tunnel being prepared for demolition were the ones who blamed the water crisis on the Syrian government. He asks us to accept their word on the latter but not the former. To Waters, the credibility of Al Qaeda-linked militants is not damaged by the fact they intended to destroy Damascus’s water supply. Water’s says “using media freely available on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, it is clear that the structure that covers the spring was significantly damaged on or after the 23rd December”. However the source he used showing the damage to the spring was from the 26th and 27th of December. Embarrassingly, Waters referred to Wadi Barada as “Barada Wadi” multiple times showing a complete lack of understanding about the very place he is attempting to write about. In another example of Waters’ profound ignorance, he also referred to one of the rebels posting on Facebook as “Abu”, however Abu is not a name, but a designation meaning ‘father of.’

Conclusion

Bellingcat and its founder Elliot Higgins are committed to building narratives in support the US State Department’s agenda. In the past, Bellingcat attempted to pin the blame on the crash of Malaysia MH17 on Russia. Bellingcat also produced shaky analysis claiming to have smoking gun evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta. The article that was jointly written by Dan Kaszeta and Eliot Higgins, was contradicted by well known Physics Professor and rocket engineer Theodore Postol who also stated that Dan Kaszeta was a fraud. Dan Kazseta claimed to be a chemical weapons expert but in fact had no education in chemistry. Bellingcat’s article on the water crisis in Damascus will stand as further testament to the unreliability, even intentionally deceptive nature of its reporting.

The United Nations has stated that the cutting off of Damascus’s water could constitute a war crime. One awaits similar UN statements to be made about Aleppo where there is no shadow of doubt that the US backed rebels cut off the water supply in 2014. The UN’s statement could mean that the Al Qaeda linked White Helmets NGO could be implicated in war crimes. This raises the stakes for NATO governments who have provided them with tens of millions of dollars in donations. It is no wonder that a campaign of disinformation is being run to deflect blame and whitewash the incident.

Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Talks in Astana will give green light to the peace process in Syria

Dr Alexander Yakovenko | RT | January 20, 2017

It is important to clarify some of Russia’s approaches to the negotiations between representatives of the Syrian Government and armed opposition groups in Astana on January 23.

We believe that the best is to limit the number of foreign participants to representatives of the countries-guarantors of the ceasefire – Russia, Turkey and Iran. The new US administration has been invited too. We hope that Deputy Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General R.Ramzi will act as a mediator at the talks.

The meeting in Astana is not a substitute for the intra-Syrian talks, which begin on February 8 in Geneva. On the contrary, it will contribute to the further development of the negotiation process by inviting the representatives of the armed opposition, who have real influence “on the ground.” We hope that they will also agree to participate in the Geneva talks as an equal and permanent member of the united delegation of the Syrian opposition.

On the agenda – discussions on strengthening the ceasefire, delivering humanitarian aid, building confidence, ensuring free movement of citizens throughout the country except in areas controlled by the terrorists, who are not a party to any agreement and must be defeated as endorsed by the UNSC resolutions.

We hope that a substantive discussion of the modalities of the constitutional reform in Syria will be launched, including the creation of the Constitutional Commission to get the work on a new Constitution started. The members of this Commission will include representatives of both the government and the various political opposition groups, which is provided for in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

We hope that the meeting in Astana will contribute to the peace process in Syria and strengthen counter-terrorism efforts.

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump brings optimism to Syrian peace talks

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | January 20, 2017

On Thursday, Moscow slipped in the formal invitation to Washington to attend the intra-Syria talks in Astana on coming Monday (January 23). It waited till the last ‘working day’ of the Barack Obama administration. A snub to the outgoing administration? But it could as well have been a pre-emptive measure to guard against any last-minute temper tantrum by the outgoing US administration.

No doubt, it is a thoughtful Russian move to engage the incoming Donald Trump administration on its very first day in the White House. Trump will now take the call. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

  • We hope the new US administration will accept this invitation and will be represented at this meeting at any expert level it considers appropriate. This could be the first official contact during which we will be able to discuss a more effective way to fight terrorism in Syria… Russia and the United States created and are co-chairing the International Syria Support Group… It has two task forces – a Humanitarian Task Force and a Ceasefire Task Force. There is a good chance we can invigorate these mechanisms.

Lavrov’s optimism must be based on considered assessment regarding Trump’s disposition to work with President Vladimir Putin in the fight against terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.

A novel feature of the Astana talks is that the field commanders of the Syrian opposition groups have been brought to the forefront as the Syrian government’s interlocutors. Previously, politicians living in exile who were proxies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar used to represent these groups. They were vulnerable to outside manipulation. Evidently, Turkish and Russian intelligence acted together, pooling resources, to wean the field commanders away from the orbit of Saudi and Qatari influence and entice them to agree to a ceasefire and  get them to jettison their previous aversion to dealing with the Syrian government.

Of course, the field commanders too have little room to maneuver after the capture of Aleppo by the government forces. Besides, Trump’s win effectively shuts the door on any future US support for these rebel groups. There is bitterness among the residual rebel groups who remain within the Saudi orbit, but losers cannot be choosers. A commentary by Fox News brings this out.

In the final analysis, Moscow has shown almost seamless patience to get as many rebel groups as possible on board – with the exception of Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front. No ‘pre-conditions’ have been set except that the participants in the Astana talks must agree on ceasefire. What we see here is a total marginalization of regional states who played a negative role aimed at fragmenting Syria – principally, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

Moscow would feel gratified that Turkey is using its clout with the rebel groups to persuade them to attend the Astana talks. In a dramatic turnaround, Russian jets are now providing air support for the Turkish ground operations in northern Syria, testifying to the phenomenal shift in the regional alignments over Syria. (Associated Press )

The bottom line is that the departure of the Obama administration has dramatically improved the prospects for a Syrian peace process taking off, finally. Moscow is pinning hopes that there will be a sea change in the US policies in Syria w.e.f January 20. Again, to quote Lavrov:

  • When he (Trump) says that his key foreign policy priority will be the fight against terrorism, we are happy to welcome this intention. This is exactly what our American partners lacked before him. On paper, they (Obama administration) seemed to be cooperating with us…, but in fact, they were deceiving us… According to a recent leak about John Kerry’s meeting with Syrian opposition forces several years ago, the United States regarded ISIS as a suitable force for weakening Bashar al-Assad… What Donald Trump and his team are saying now shows that they have a different approach and will not apply double standards in the fight against terrorism in order to achieve unrelated goals.

The talks in Astana are expected to be substantial. Russia and Turkey hope to involve the field commanders in the drafting of a new constitution, holding of a referendum and fresh elections. Equally, a consolidation of the country-wide ceasefire can be expected as a tangible outcome of the Astana talks. (TASS )

January 20, 2017 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Deception, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leonard Peltier denied clemency or commutation by Obama

International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee | January 18, 2017

Brothers, sisters, friends and supporters:

Our hearts are heavy today. President Obama has denied Leonard’s application for a commutation. His name appears on the January 18 list of commutations denied by Obama as issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Leonard’s attorney Martin Garbus was also notified. (Pardon Attorney’s Letter)

Today, in an email, Leonard said, “If I should not [receive clemency] then after we are locked in for the day I will have a good cry and then pick myself up and get myself ready for another round of battles until I cannot fight [any] more. So, don’t worry. I can handle anything after over 40 years.”

It’s hard to bear such a blow, though. And make no mistake — Leonard has been hit hardest of all. But let’s not mourn so very long. Instead, let’s move ever forward. Channel your grief and anger in a positive way. Remember that Leonard still needs our help. He needs quality health care and a transfer to a medium security facility, among other things. We’ll always work towards freedom for Leonard, but these actions may help to make his life more bearable until freedom is won.

Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him. Send cards and letters to:

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Thank you for your hard work and determination. Blessings to all of you.

Please stay tuned.

In solidarity,

International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

January 19, 2017 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment