Archive | July 17th, 2015

It Was the First Time the CIA Overthrew a Government

NOVANEWS

By Nick Giambruno

62 years later, the aftermath is still troubling global politics. Operation Ajax was a pivotal moment in US and world history. It was the first time the CIA overthrew a government. Yet even today the US government would rather not talk about it. That’s why it remains an unknown story for many Americans. The year was 1953. The objective was to oust Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected leader of the Majlis, Iran’s parliament. Mossadegh was not a communist or a radical Islamist. He didn’t follow any objectionable ideology. Instead, he was a secular nationalist. But he was inconvenient.

Like many Iranians, he was proud of his Persian heritage. (Until 1935, Iran was still known as Persia.) Persia once was an imperial civilization, like Rome. Twentieth-century nationalists channeled that glorious past, and they were keen on independence. So it’s no surprise Mossadegh was earnest about ridding the country’s politics of foreign influence. At the time, Great Britain was the most active outside power in Iran. For decades the British had enjoyed a sweetheart oil deal struck with a former, corrupt Iranian leader. It allowed them to control Iran’s petroleum industry and, by extension, the country’s entire economy. To nationalists like Mossadegh, this was intolerable and infuriating.

It would be like China getting a sweetheart deal from President Obama for control of the US auto industry. No red-blooded American would stand for such a thing. It was the early 1950s. The smoke from World War II, a war that killed over 60 million people, still lingered. The horrors were fresh in everyone’s mind. Access to oil had been a decisive factor in that war. Had Hitler succeeded in securing his supply in 1942, the world might look very different today. It was a concept not lost on the British. If any country wanted to win a big war, it needed oil. Lots of it. It was a matter of life and death. Iran was a major source of oil for the British. Access to it was a strategic military asset of the highest order.

One the British would not give up for any price. Mossadegh understood this. He concluded that the only way to claw back the oil industry was to nationalize it. On May 1, 1951, he did just that. Shortly afterward, he stated: Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence. The British were not about to give up. They hatched a plot to regain their influence in Iran. But they couldn’t do it alone. They would need help from the US. But the US just wasn’t interested. So the British undertook a campaign to paint Mossadegh as a communist.

The Brits played America’s Cold-War fears like a piano. They convinced the US government that the commies were making inroads in Iran. Given that Iran was just south of the expanding Soviet Union, the story was plausible… but not true. In the end, it worked. The Americans came on board. Operation Ajax was born. The objective: overthrow Mossadegh’s elected government and replace it with something more pliable. MI6, the UK’s foreign spy agency, and the CIA would organize the coup. Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of former US President Teddy Roosevelt, was the CIA officer in charge.

The goal was to return the monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (also known as “the Shah”) to power. (In Farsi, the Persian language, “shah” means “king.”) The CIA and MI6 used classic methods of subterfuge. They paid Iranian goons to pose as communists and wreak havoc in Tehran, the Iranian capital, and vandalize its business district. The police couldn’t restrain them, and the violence grew. The coup plotters knew such events would disgust ordinary Iranians, who were fearful of communism. It would cause them to demand action. That action would include the Iranian military stepping in. As part of the plot, the CIA and MI6 had corrupted key Iranian generals for just this moment. As if on cue, the generals took charge and deposed Mossadegh’s government.

The Iranian people didn’t resist. Instead, they cheered. They thought the military was saving them from a violent communist revolution. Mossadegh’s government was out of the way. The coup’s operatives in the Iranian military had seized power. The path had been cleared for the Shah. The Shah knew he owed his position to the US and UK. What they giveth, they could taketh away. The Shah was more than willing to do whatever the US and UK wanted him to do. Operation Ajax was a success… but it would not be an enduring one. The Iranian people would eventually figure out what really happened. Many of them would come to despise the Shah as a puppet of a foreign power.

To maintain his position, the Shah became more despotic… which only fed the opposition. In 1979, 26 years after Operation Ajax, a popular uprising overthrew the Shah. A power struggle ensued, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamist forces prevailed. The Islamic Republic of Iran was born. This time, it was an anti-American government that came to power. Decades of animosity followed, and it continues to this day. It’s unthinkable to most that the Islamic Republic of Iran could offer any sort of investment opportunity. Many find the mere mention of the country distasteful. There’s another country that most would have considered unthinkable to invest in at one time. Many got hot under the collar just at the mention of its name too: the People’s Republic of China. If you had followed their thinking, you would have missed out on one of recent history’s most powerful economic booms.

That’s precisely why you should ditch the conventional wisdom when it comes to thinking about profiting from Iran. If you don’t, you could be letting a once-in-a-generation opportunity pass you by. Recently, I discussed investing in Iran with legendary investor Jim Rogers. He told us: I bought Iranian shares in 1993, and over the next few years, [they] went up something like 47 times, so it was an astonishing success. That was then. Now, additional sanctions make investing directly in Iran off limits to Americans and most Europeans. But that could soon change. The conclusion of the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program means the economic floodgates will open. Persia will once again be open for business. It would be a big deal: Iran’s $370 billion economy is by far the largest still excluded from the international financial system.

Iran has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves (10% of the world’s total) and the second-largest proven natural gas reserves (17% of the world’s total). A tremendous amount of wealth is waiting to be developed. Iran’s economy is not all about natural resources. The country is home to advanced nanotechnologies and the Middle East’s largest car manufacturer. Its young population of 78 million yearns for iPhones and other Western products, and there’s enormous built-up demand. That demand is getting ready to explode like Mt. St. Helens. European and Asian companies have been scrambling to Tehran to line up business deals. In short, the opening of Iran is a massive opportunity.

Even if the West doesn’t lift the sanctions, Iran will simply turn to the East to do business. Either way, the Iranian economy is on course to experience one of the greatest booms in recent history. It’s on a scale the world hasn’t seen since the opening of China. Opportunities like this don’t happen every day, every year, or even every decade. But for the average American, Iran is at the bottom of the list of potential investment destinations. That’s what more than 30 years of hostility and charter membership in the “Axis of Evil” will do. The sentiment couldn’t get any worse. As a contrarian, that’s just how I like it. But only if there is a solid reason to believe that the negative sentiment is misplaced. In the case of Iran, I am certain that it is. In the not-so-distant past, I used to live in the United Arab Emirates… right across the Persian Gulf from Iran. Being there gave me the chance to see the country firsthand. On the Ground in Iran Hands down, Iran is the most fascinating country I’ve ever been to. I’ve been to almost every country in the Middle East.

Iran stands out for a number of reasons. Unlike most other states in the Middle East, Persia is not an artificial construct. By race, religion, and social history, it is a nation. And European bureaucrats didn’t dream up Iran by drawing zig-zags on a map. The map reflects the geographic reality of a country with natural, fortress-like, mountain borders. For an American, getting there isn’t easy. But that’s part of the allure. You can’t simply hop on a flight to Tehran from New York, like you would to Vancouver or London. You can’t enter the country unless the Iranian government has granted you permission in advance. And they take their careful time. The US has no diplomatic relations with Iran.

There is no Iranian embassy or consulate in the US at which to apply for a visa, but there is an Iranian interests section in the Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC, that can handle such requests. I was living near Dubai at the time, so it was easier for me to go to the Iranian consulate there. But you can’t just drop in to the Iranian consulate and apply for a tourist visa. You have to work with an authorized service to assist you in the process, which is what I did. After I submitted my paperwork and waited a number of weeks, and then waited another couple of weeks, the Iranian government approved my application. I immediately noticed that the Iranian visa in my passport was not the kind of cheap stamp you often get from Third-World countries. Instead it carried holograms and other anti-counterfeiting features.

Things that are associated with documents from developed countries. It was a clue that Iran, a seemingly isolated and underdeveloped place, was more sophisticated than I had expected. Sanctions have disconnected Iran from the international financial system. Your ATM and credit cards won’t work there. You need to bring cash (US dollars or euros work best) and exchange it for Iranian rials. Iranians also have increasingly returned to gold as a store of value and medium of exchange. This is no surprise. People in all corners of the globe have used gold this way for thousands of years. As soon as my flight landed in Tehran, my Iranian “tour guide” greeted me. The Iranian government requires that minders accompany Americans at all times. It’s a result of the Iranian government’s not-necessarily unreasonable paranoia.

They’d like to prevent Operation Ajax 2.0. Having a mandatory tour guide wasn’t all bad. Mine was a dual American-Iranian citizen named Ali. Ali had spent a lot of time in California and spoke perfect American English. He took me everywhere I wanted to go. At the end of some days, Ali would let me go off on my own. This gave me the chance to explore Tehran’s affluent northern suburbs and legendary bazaar. No matter where I went, everyone was genuinely kind and hospitable… even after figuring out I was American. Not what you would expect for a place known for its “Death to America” chants. It became obvious the average Iranian harbors no hatred for Americans. (For more on what life is really like in Iran, I’d suggest you watch travel writer Rick Steves’ video, Rick Steves’ Iran.)

The trip to Iran helped solidify my belief that the country is the ultimate contrarian opportunity. It revealed the reality hiding behind the frenzied sentiment of conventional thinking. It was just waiting for the right catalyst. And now that catalyst is at hand. The conclusion of the nuclear negotiations and the relaxation of sanctions will release all the massive, built-up economic potential. The rationale for profiting from the opening of Iran is clear. Finding a practical way to do so is not. There is a way, however… and a good one. One that is easily accessible through any brokerage account to US investors and is completely legal for them. For all the details click here to check out the latest issue of Crisis Speculator.

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White House reportedly offers to boost military aid to NAZI regime after Iran deal

NOVANEWS
 Image result for AMERICAN-ISRAELI FLAG CARTOON

Zionist opposition leader to visit US over Iran nuclear deal

President Obama has offered to increase U.S. military aid to NAZI regime in the wake of the Iran nuclear agreement, according to a published report.

According to the New York Times, Obama broached the subject in a phone conversation with NAZI Prime Minister NAZIyahu on Tuesday. White House officials said that Obama told NAZIyahu that he was prepared to hold “intensive discussions” on bolstering NAZI defense capabilities.

The paper reported that NAZIyahu denied to discuss the subject with the president, leading U.S. officials to believe he wants to wait and see what Congress has to say about the deal, which was agreed to after long talks involving the U.S., Iran, and five other world powers. Lawmakers have up to 60 days to review the agreement.

NAZIyahu has been the staunchest critic of the agreement, calling it a “bad mistake of historic proportions” mere minutes after it was agreed to. He continued his criticism on Wednesday, saying there were “absurd things” in the agreement, and accusing world leaders of falling into “a trap of smiles set by the tyrannical Iranian regime.”

In remarks to Israel’s parliament, NAZIyahu said he was not bound by the terms of the deal and could still take military action against Iran.

“We will reserve our right to defend ourselves against all of our enemies,” said NAZIyahu, who sees Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon as a threat to NAZI regime existence.

The Times reports that under a memorandum of understanding that runs until 2018, the U.S. provides NAZI regime with $3 billion per year in aid, most of which is used to buy military hardware, such as jets. An official familiar with ongoing negotiations told the paper that NAZI has asked for between $4.2 and $4.5 billion per year for 10 years in a new aid agreement. According to The Times, negotiations on the agreement began long before the Iran talks ramped up.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is scheduled to visit the NAZI regime next week, while NAZI opposition leader Isaac Herzog has said that he will soon visit the U.S. to discuss “security measures to suit the new situation.”

Any lobbying campaign in Congress by NAZI regime would likely be futile, mainly because Obama doesn’t need Congressional approval. Lawmakers will likely try to derail the agreement by passing new sanctions or preventing Obama from lifting existing sanctions — the key incentive for Iran to comply with the deal.

Obama has already threatened to veto any resolutions from Congress seeking to undermine the deal, meaning opponents would have to muster a two-thirds majority in Congress to override the veto.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on White House reportedly offers to boost military aid to NAZI regime after Iran deal

Syrian: Zio-Wahhabi decry Iran’s nuclear deal with the west

NOVANEWS

Opposition fighters in Syria say the deal to lift sanctions will encourage Iran to lend further support to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime

Syrian rebels march in a show of strength during a demonstration in Idlib, Syria.
Syrian rebels march in a show of strength during a demonstration in Idlib, Syria. Photograph: Anonymous/AP
Opposition fighters said the agreement, which will provide billions of dollars of sanctions relief to the Iranian government, strengthens a widely held belief that the US does not wish to see Assad’s departure.But they said the deal’s impact would not immediately be felt on the ground in Syria given Iran’s already plentiful support for Assad, and vowed to press on with their campaign.“It is the belief of many on the ground that America and Iran are strategic allies, and all the overt signs of animosity are simply hypocrisy,” said Ahmad al-Alwan, a religious official with the Army of Conquest, an alliance of rebel groups in the north of Syria that scored a series of victories against the regime’s army this year.

“Iranian assistance has never been severed from Assad and Iran has been aiding Assad above and below the table before the entire world with the tools to kill the Syrian people,” he added. “The nuclear agreement will not change this equation.”

Signed by western powers along with Russia and China, the historic deal with Iran will limit the country’s nuclear programme and subject it to inspections in exchange for the removal of numerous international sanctions that have battered the Islamic Republic’s economy.

But critics of the deal say Iran is likely to use a portion of its windfall to expand its influence across the Middle East, appearing to have gained from its expansionism in Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad.

“We have a real fear that Iran will use the unfrozen accounts for more shameless intervention in the region and enflaming strife and war, as well as providing more support to the Assad regime to prevent its fall and allow it to continue carrying out terrorist massacres against the Syrian people,” said Mohammed Maktabi, the secretary general of the Syrian National Council, the exiled opposition.

Despite the withering sanctions, Iran has continued to provide billions of dollars-worth of support and weaponry to its allies in recent years. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has emerged as the prime guerrilla movement in the world with an arsenal more powerful than that of many states after a destructive war with Israel in 2006, paying tribute to Iran’s support. The Assad regime has endured a brutal four-year civil war with Iranian support in the form of personnel, arms, cash and fuel.

Meanwhile, the US has declined to intervene in the war except to bomb the terror group Islamic State and the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The US-led campaign against Isis has not prevented Assad’s air force from carrying out thousands of air raids against rebel-held territory, including the use of barrel bombs, a highly inaccurate weapon, to kill thousands of civilians.

The contrast between Iran’s support for Assad and American reluctance to become enmeshed has convinced many rebels that the US sees the survival of Assad, or at least his regime, as a strategic goal that serves its interests as well as the security of Israel, its ally. “We know that if America wanted to remove Assad it would have, but America wants to lengthen the conflict in Syria, to manage it, not to end it,” said Alwan.

“Iran is America’s best partner in the region,” said a source close to Jabhat al-Nusra. “The war in Syria will continue, and the solution for them is a political transition while preserving the regime.”

The perception of American complicity in Assad’s survival could empower radical groups in Syria, such as Isis, who have long argued that both the west and Iran are conspiring against its people.

“A freed-up Iran is [the opposition’s] worst nightmare scenario, whatever actually ends up being the consequence of that,” said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Doha Brookings Center. “Unfortunately, the effect this deal will have on perceptions – and perceptions are so incredibly important here – can only benefit the more isolationist views of those on the more extreme end of the opposition spectrum.”

The deal’s timing is also highly sensitive, coming at a moment when Assad’s army appears fragile, having lost swaths of territory to the opposition in recent months, as well as to Isis in the provinces of Homs and Hassakah, and fighting off fresh offensives in Aleppo and the south.

“Everyone is feeling resentment: why at this decisive time?” said Ibrahim Noureddine, a spokesman for the First Legion, an opposition faction in the south. Many of the opposition groups in the area, save for Jabhat al-Nusra, are seen as moderate and close to western and Gulf states opposed to Assad.

“The street and the opposition factions in the south resent this because it is completely against them,” he said. “Iran’s role in resolving the Syria crisis is to leave Syria.”

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Why We Must Not Arm Even 1 More Zio-Wahhabi Rat

NOVANEWS
The fact that the US can find only 60 Syrian rebels to train is quite telling.
It means that out of nearly 18 million Syrians (reduced by 4 million since the start of the conflict) the US could only find 60 that were willing to fight against the Syrian Army, only 60.(1)
In other words, only an increase of ~0.000333% of the Syrian population is deemed “moderate” by the US and willing to fight.  The military is currently in the process of vetting 7,000 volunteers, so if we assume that all of them will pass inspection, that will amount to a mere ~0.039222% of the population. A far cry from 0.1%, let alone 1% of the total inhabitants.
The fact that only 60 can be deemed “moderate” is also quite telling.  This coming from a government who deemed the Free Syrian Army, among others, as “moderates.”
In September of 2014, FSA “moderate” commander and recipient of US aid Bassel Idriss admitted that “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front,” the reason for this being “We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice.”(2)
Back in April of the same year, the leader of the US-backed “moderate” Syrian Revolutionary Front Jamal Maarouf admitted that al-Qaeda was “not our problem” and that his fighters conducted joint operations with al-Nusra.  “If the people who support us tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them. They [Jabhat al-Nusra] asked us a month ago to send weapons to Yabroud so we sent a lot of weapons there. When they asked us to do this, we do it.”(3)
One of the most senior “moderate” rebel commanders to be backed by the US and main recipient of Western aid, Col. Okaidi, is seen in a video, which has been authenticated by Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, speaking during interviews saying “My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good… I communicate almost daily with brothers in ISIL… the relationship is good, even brotherly.”
Okaidi admits al-Qaeda is not any different from the FSA “They [al-Nusra] did not exhibit any abnormal behavior, which is different from that of the FSA.”  The video shows Okaidi with ISIS Emir Abu Jandal celebrating a victory, an ally ISIS fighter shouts “I swear to Allah, O Alawites, we came to slaughter you.  Await what you deserve!”(4)
US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who worked closely with Okaidi, himself admitted to giving material support to ISIS and al-Nusra, stating that he “absolutely does not deny” knowing that most of the rebels he backed fought alongside ISIS and Nusra.(5)
The reason for all of this is simply that, as pointed out by the leading Western journalist in the region, Patrick Cockburn, “In reality, there is no dividing wall between them [ISIS and Nusra] and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies.”  According to Vice President Biden, “there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers.”(6)
This means that apart from a plethora of substantially foreign terrorist jihadi lunatics, there is no other force willing to fight against the government.
The reasons for this were further articulated by Obama himself, who stated that it was a “fantasy” to think that the US could arm and equip “farmers, dentists, and folks who never fought before” and have them be an effective force against Assad.(7)  What is implied here is that ordinary Syrians, actually moderate individuals, have no desire for military action nor are they capable of effectively harnessing it, hence the need to support the extremists, who are.  And therefore, as Biden points out, the Wests’ allies “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons to… al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”  What Biden leaves out is that this was all coordinated under a covert US-led operation.
In reality, these moderates were the peaceful opposition that did not want the destruction of the state but instead desired democratic change, who were then displaced by foreign-backers and terrorist who hijacked their uprising, as is conceded by prominent opposition leaders.(8)
This hijacking was the result of US leaders realizing that the actual moderates only wanted peaceful change, while the West desired the overthrow of the state through any means necessary, including violent takeover, and so therefore “Jihadi groups ideologically close to al-Qaeda have been relabeled as moderate if their actions are deemed supportive of US policy aims,” as Patrick Cockburn rightly points out.  The result of this is that “Washington thus allowed advanced weaponry to be handed to its deadliest enemy.”(9)
The recent training of 60 “moderates” is nothing different.
To illustrate this, it’s important to see that this narrative of a moderate opposition stays constant, while the group this label is applied to constantly changes.
Right now this label is being applied to the Southern Front, hailed as the new moderate force America can morally support.  However, this group is financed and supported by the Military Operations Centre (MOC) in Amman that is staffed by agents from the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, as well as other anti-Assad governments, and according to Syrian expert Aron Lund, “adoption of MOC-provided talking points” of moderation by members of this alliance are likely “to be more opportunistic than heartfelt.”(10)
The reason the US is now training 60 rebels is because every single other rebel group that the US trained, equipped, funded, and marked as “moderate” has gone on to join either al-Qaeda or ISIS.  FSA brigades, the Syrian Revolutionary Front, Harakat Hazm, all of them have now defected to al-Qaeda and ISIS.(11)
At every point along the way while receiving US-aid they were branded as “moderates.”  After they went on to join ISIS or it became too hard to keep up their “moderate” image, the torch was passed on to a new group, as now it is passed onto the Southern Front, yet “in reality” there was never any “moderate middle” nor is there “a dividing wall between [the extremists] and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies.”
Therefore we should not be fooled when new rebels “ideologically close to al-Qaeda” are “relabeled as moderate” all because “their actions are deemed supportive of US policy aims”, whether they be the Southern Front, the new 60-trainees, or the next group that is sure to emerge in the future, especially given that from the beginning, according to US intelligence, the opposition has taken “a clear sectarian direction”, and according to leading Western journalists has been dominated from the start by “ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra… in addition to other extreme jihadi groups.”(12)
There is nothing moderate about voluntarily taking up arms and agreeing to be a proxy force for foreign powers.  Furthermore, there is nothing moderate about attacking and overtaking towns and villages, which is the expressed aim of this new US-backed force, when the majority of the population isn’t calling for it and doesn’t desire it.  As Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated, Assad has more support than any group opposing him, and surely he has more support than a US-backed militia, as polls consistently show world opinion sees the US as the major threat to peace, and since most Syrians are aware of the dirty war being perpetrated on them by the West.(13)
The presence of ISIS is not an argument for the training of more rebels, it is instead an argument against this, as quite possibly the single biggest factor in the creation and rise of ISIS was the US sponsoring of the insurgency in Syria which they knew to be sectarian and extremist, coupled with the training of rebels who were either themselves extremist terrorist or affiliated with such parties, flooding them with arms and funds to the tune of $1 billion per year and $2.91 billion since 2014.(14)
It must be remembered what former Scotland Yard detective and UK counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge rightly pointed out, that “the ‘moderate’ rebels the US and UK support themselves openly welcomed the arrival of such extremists. Indeed, the Free Syria Army backed by the West was allied with ISIS, until ISIS attacked them at the end of 2013.”(15)
For the first 3 years of the crisis the rebels the West openly backed were allies of ISIS, committing the exact same kind of atrocities and terroristic acts.  And according to Patrick Cockburn, the US-backed FSA were at times despised even more than the other terrorist organizations as they would terrorize and ransack the civilian populations, “Pilloried in the West for their sectarian ferocity, these jihadists were often welcomed by local people for restoring law and order after the looting and banditry of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.”(16)
If you train rebels one time and they commit these atrocities and fight alongside fanatical terrorists you can at least plead ignorance and good intentions, however if you continue these actions when this has been the outcome every single time, let alone doing it over, and over, and over, and over again, then that is premeditated complicity in the sponsoring of terrorism, an act by the West that Syria’s Christian leaders are also demanding an end to.(17)
This recent attempt to train “moderate” rebels is no different.  There is nothing moderate about the entire process, and these fighters will go on to commit the exact same kinds of atrocities and ally with the exact same terrorist entities that all of our other rebels have done in the past.
Furthermore, just the mere action of pumping in more bullets, guns, weaponry, and fighters will inevitably lead to further bloodshed and civilian casualties caught within the crossfire, exacerbating the situation and increasing pain and suffering.  As Charles Shoebridge notes, the notion that “pouring sophisticated weaponry into a war zone already awash with weapons” will somehow “save civilian lives” is a deeply “flawed assumption.”  “Syria’s rebels must be assessed as they are, not as they once were, or as we’d romantically like them to be,” and therefore on that basis, noting the extensively documented history of rebel atrocities, “we should not be backing them.”(18)
In his book “The Rise of Islamic State” Patrick Cockburn writes, “An intelligence officer from a Middle Eastern country neighboring Syria told me that ISIS members “say they are always pleased when sophisticated weapons are sent to anti-Assad groups of any kind, because they can always get the arms off them by threats of force or cash payments.”” (19) (emphasis mine)
I think it’s about time we stop fueling the spilling of blood and the arming of terrorists inside Syria.  If we actually wanted to stop ISIS, that’s the first place we would start.
Notes:
1.)    Rizzo, Jennifer, “Carter: U.S. trains only 60 Syrian rebels.” CNN, July 7th, 2015.http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/07/politics/united-states-training-syrian-rebels-ashton-carter/; CIA World Factbook, Syria. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sy.html; Syria Regional Refugee Response, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Last Updated 09 Jul 2015, accessed July 15th, 2015.http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php.
2.)   Knutsen, Elise. “Frustration drives Arsal’s FSA into ISIS ranks.” The Daily Star, September 8, 2014. http://cached.newslookup.com/cached.php?ref_id=394&siteid=2319&id=8144452&t=1410149280.
3.)   Hunter, Isabel. “’I am not fighting against al-Qa’ida… it’s not our problem’, says West’s last hope in Syria.” The Independent, April 2nd, 2015.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/i-am-not-fighting-againstalqaida-itsnot-our-problem-says-wests-last-hope-in-syria-9233424.html.
4.)   Joshua Landis, “US Key Man in Syria Worked Closely with ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra.” https://twitter.com/joshua_landis/status/504610185952784384.
5.)   “In February 2015, he [Robert Ford] openly confessed to having given support to ISIS and Al-Nusra terrorists after being questioned by Al-Monitor News journalist Edward Dark. THE TWITTER HANDLE, @fordrs58 is indeed Ambassador Robert Ford’s account, as was confirmed to me in a personal email by Dr. Joshua Landis, Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the most well-known Syria scholar in the United States.” Hoff, Brad. Levant Report, May 25th, 2015.http://levantreport.com/tag/robert-ford/.
6.)   Cockburn, Patrick, “Preface” & “The Rise of ISIS”, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015). Pg. xx, 3. Print.
7.)   “Obama: Notion that Syrian opposition could have overthrown Assad with U.S. arms a “fantasy.”  CBS News, June 20th, 2014.http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-notion-that-syrian-opposition-could-overthrow-assad-a-fantasy/.
8.)   In the beginning of the uprisings, Syrians did not desire the destruction of the pluralistic and socially inclusive albeit authoritarian state given the popular support for the president and the country’s religious diversity and tolerance. They supported the country’s protection of minorities, as well as the status of women and free education and health care yet opposed corruption, the security-intelligence apparatus, and the feared political police. Wikstrom, Cajsa. “Syria: ‘A kingdom of silence’”. Al Jazeera, February 9th, 2011.http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/02/201129103121562395.html; Muhanna, Elias. “No Revolution in Syria: An Interview with Camille Otrakji.”http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/otrakji030511.html; Otrakji, Camille. “The Real Bashar Al-Assad.” Conflict Forum, February 4th, 2012.http://www.conflictsforum.org/2012/the-real-bashar-al-assad/; For further on this, see Tim Anderson, “Washington’s ‘New Middle East’ Stalls, the Resistance Rises.” Global Research, July 12th, 2015. http://www.globalresearch.ca/washingtons-new-middle-east-stalls-the-resistance-rises/5462101; The fact that the peaceful protests were hijacked and displaced by foreign-backed extremists is also explored in Andersons piece, as well as being conceded by leading opposition figures like Dr. Haytham Manna, who states that “the pumping of arms to Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the phenomenon of the Free Syrian Army, and the entry of more than 200 jihadi foreigners into Syria in the past six months have all led to a decline in the mobilisation of large segments of the population… and in the activists’ peaceful civil movement. The political discourse has become sectarian; there has been a Salafisation of religiously conservative sectors”, Haytham Manna, The Guardian, “Syria’s opposition has been led astray by violence.” June 22, 2012.http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/22/syria-opposition-led-astray-by-violence; This point is as well articulated by leading Western journalists. According to Patrick Cockburn “Come the uprisings of 2011, it was the jihadi and Sunni-sectarian, militarized wing of rebel movements that received massive injections of money from the kings and emirs of the Gulf.  The secular, non-sectarian opponents of the long-established police states were soon marginalized, reduced to silence, or killed.”  As well, “Saudi involvement, along with that of Qatar and Turkey, de-emphasized secular democratic change as the ideology of the uprising, which then turned into a Sunni bid for power using Salafi jihadist brigades as the cutting edge of the revolt.” Cockburn, Patrick. “The Rise of ISIS” & “Saudi Arabia Tries to Pull Back.” The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), pg. 8, 103-4. Print; What Cockburn leaves out in these passages is that this was all coordinated under a covert US/CIA operation out of US-led operation rooms in Turkey and Jordan, where the US was giving intelligence to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar on which rebels to support, which ended up going “largely to hard-line Islamists.” Schmitt, Eric. New York Times, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition.” June 21, 2015.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=0; Sanger, David E. New York Times, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria.” October 14, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/world/middleeast/jihadists-receiving-most-arms-sent-to-syrian-rebels.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&.
9.)   Cockburn, Patrick. “Jihadis on the March.” The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), pg. 52-3. Print.
10.)            A prominent example of the Southern Front dubiously being labelled as moderate comes from a recent piece by the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Khatib, Lina. “Syria’s Last Best Hope: The Southern Front.” The National Interest, July 6th, 2015; Cockburn, Patrick. “Isis in Syria: We can’t win a war without taking sides.” The Independent, July 4th, 2015.http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-in-syria-we-cant-win-a-war-without-taking-sides-10366142.html.
11.) Zaman Alwasl, “FSA brigades pledge allegiance to ISIS in Al Bukamal, east Syria.” July 7th, 2014. https://en.zamanalwsl.net/readNews.php?id=5696; In September 2014 Abu Fidaa, a retired Colonel in the Syrian army who headed the Revolutionary Council in Qalamoun stated that “A very large number of FSA members [in Arsal] have joined ISIS and Nusra,” while FSA Commander Bassel Idriss said that “After the fall of Yabroud and the FSA’s retreat into the hills [around Arsal], many units pledged allegiance.” Knutsen, Elise. “Frustration drives Arsal’s FSA into ISIS ranks.” The Daily Star, September 8, 2014.http://cached.newslookup.com/cached.php?ref_id=394&siteid=2319&id=8144452&t=1410149280; Fadel, Leith. “3,000 FSA Fighters Defect to ISIS in the Qalamoun Mountains.” The Arab Source, January 9th, 2015. http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/3000-fsa-fighters-defect-isis-qalamoun-mountains/; “Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaeda… Among the groups whose bases were overrun in the assault was Harakat Hazm, the biggest recipient of U.S. assistance offered under a small-scale, covert CIA program launched this year, including the first deliveries of U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles… rebel fighters there surrendered their weapons and fled without a fight.” Sly, Liz. “U.S.-backed Syria rebels routed by fighters linked to al-Qaeda.” The Washington Post, November 2nd, 2014.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-backed-syria-rebels-routed-by-fighters-linked-to-al-qaeda/2014/11/02/7a8b1351-8fb7-4f7e-a477-66ec0a0aaf34_story.html; “The Syrian rebel group Harakat al-Hazm, one of the White House’s most trusted militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad, collapsed Sunday, with activists posting a statement online from frontline commanders saying they are disbanding their units and folding them into brigades aligned with a larger Islamist insurgent alliance.” Dettmer, Jamie. “Main U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Disbanding, Joining Islamists.” The Daily Beast, March 1st, 2015.http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/01/main-u-s-backed-syrian-rebel-group-disbanding-joining-islamists.html; “Islamic fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra… routed US-backed groups the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SFR) and Harakat Hazm… [Washington] has thus been supplying them with heavy weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles… ‘Some of the rebels swore allegiance to al-Nusra, others fled.’” Bacchi, Umberto. “Syria: Al-Nusra Jihadists ‘Capture US TOW Anti-Tank Missiles’ from Moderate Rebels.” International Business Times, November 3rd, 2014.http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-al-nusra-jihadists-capture-us-weaponry-moderate-rebels-1472864; “Fighters under the Obama-backed SRF commander Jamal Maarouf… have apparently been joining al-Qaeda in droves. “Dozens of his fighters defected and joined Nusra, that is why the group won,” Rami Abdulrahman with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was quoted as saying by Reuters. Nusra fighters also confirmed the defections of U.S.-equipped fighters to al-Qaeda. According to sources on the ground cited in media reports, Nusra obtained tanks and other heavy weapons as large numbers of SRF fighters swore allegiance to al-Qaeda.” Newman, Alex. ““Moderate” Rebels Armed by Obama Join al-Qaeda, ISIS.”New American, November 21, 2014. http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/asia/item/19583-moderate-rebels-armed-by-obama-join-al-qaeda-isis; “Abu Majid, another rebel leader, who has been receiving western support for six months, said it had not prevented his recent defeat by Jabhat al-Nusra… More than 1,000 men, half his brigade’s strength, had left in despair, many defecting to Isil… Defection to the jihadists has now been going on for years. Mahmoud, a former prisoner of the regime who used to work for the FSA, now runs safe houses in Turkey for foreign fighters looking to join Jabhat al-Nusra and Isil.” Sherlock, Ruth. “Fears that US weapons will fall into al-Qaeda’s hands as Syrian rebels defect.” The Telegraph, November 11th, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11224488/Fears-that-US-weapons-will-fall-into-al-Qaedas-hands-as-Syrian-rebels-defect.html.
12.) Declassified Defense Intelligence Agency documents from August 2012 state that “Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction… The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria… AQI supported the opposition from the beginning… The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition.”  Judicial Watchhttp://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf; Patrick Cockburn, “The Rise of ISIS”, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), pg. 3. Print.
13.) USA Today reports Defense Secretary Carter explaining that the 60 rebel fighters primary mission will be “to protect their towns and villages from ISIL fighters.” The word “protect” here is a euphemism for “control”, as these rebel groups “protect” villages by taking them over, thus insuring that others, like ISIL, do not. Vanden Brook, Tom, “Pentagon pays Syrians $400 per month to fight ISIL.” USA Today, June 22nd, 2015. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/06/22/pentagon-syria-isis/29113251/; The problem with this kind of “protection” is that the Syrians aren’t calling for it, and don’t desire it, especially from a US-proxy, as Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated “whether we like it or not, Assad does have some significant support in Syrian society.  And probably more than any one of the several groups that are opposing him… he has a better standing than any one of them.” “Brzezinski: Assad has more support than any group opposing him,” C-SPAN, January 26th, 2015.http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4525103/brzezinski-assad-support-group-opposing; Polls consistently show that, according to world opinion, the US is the greatest threat to world peace. Gallup International’s annual global End of Year survey 2013, Gallup Internationalhttp://www.wingia.com/web/files/services/33/file/33.pdf?1437015589.
14.)            Covert CIA Syrian rebel training program costs $1 billion per year. Miller, Greg et al, “Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut.” The Washington Post, June 12th, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmakers-move-to-curb-1-billion-cia-program-to-train-syrian-rebels/2015/06/12/b0f45a9e-1114-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html; “As of June 18, 2015, the total cost of operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014, is $2.91 billion.” US Department of Defense.http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2014/0814_iraq/.
15.) Ahmed, Nafeez. “How the Pentagon Exploits ISIS to Kill Surveillance Reform and Re-Occupy Iraq,” Counterpunch, September 26th, 2014.http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/26/how-the-pentagon-exploits-isis-to-kill-surveillance-reform-and-re-occupy-iraq/.
16.)            Cockburn, Patrick. “Jihadists Hijack the Syria Uprising.” The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), pg. 84-5. Print.
17.) Gledhill, Ruth, “Syrian Christian leader tells West: ‘Stop arming terror groups who are massacring our people.’” Christian Today, July 1st, 2015.http://www.christiantoday.com/article/syrian.christian.leader.tells.west.stop.arming.terror.groups.who.are.massacring.our.people/57747.htm.
18.)             Shoebridge, Charles. “Why We Shouldn’t Be Arming Syria’s Rebels.”Huffington Post, March 14th, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/charles-shoebridge/syria-rebels-uk_b_2873880.html; Shoebridge, Charles. “The West Should Not Support Syrian Rebels.” Huffington Post, July 31st, 2012.http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/charles-shoebridge/post_3720_b_1722772.html.
19.)            Cockburn, Patrick, “The Rise of ISIS”, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015), pg. 3. Print.

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MH-17 Mystery: A New Tonkin Gulf Case?

NOVANEWS

Exclusive: In 1964, the Tonkin Gulf incident was used to justify the Vietnam War although U.S. intelligence quickly knew the facts were not what the U.S. government claimed. Now, the MH-17 case is being exploited to justify a new Cold War as U.S. intelligence again is silent about what it knows, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

One year ago, the world experienced what could become the Tonkin Gulf incident of World War III, the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. As with the dubious naval clash off the coast of North Vietnam in 1964, which helped launch the Vietnam War, U.S. officials quickly seized on the MH-17 crash for its emotional and propaganda appeal – and used it to ratchet up tensions against Russia.

Shocked at the thought of 298 innocent people plunging to their deaths from 33,000 feet last July 17, the world recoiled in horror, a fury that was then focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Putin’s face emblazoned on magazine covers, the European Union got in line behind the U.S.-backed coup regime in Ukraine and endorsed economic sanctions to punish Russia.

Russian-made Buk anti-missile battery.

Russian-made Buk anti-missile battery.

In the year that has followed, the U.S. government has continued to escalate tensions with Russia, supporting the Ukrainian regime in its brutal “anti-terrorism operation” that has slaughtered thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev have even dispatched neo-Nazi and ultranationalist militias, supported by jihadists called “brothers” of the Islamic State, to act as the tip of the spear. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

Raising world tensions even further, the Russians have made clear that they will not allow the ethnic Russian resistance to be annihilated, setting the stage for a potential escalation of hostilities and even a possible nuclear showdown between the United States and Russia.

But the propaganda linchpin to the West’s extreme anger toward Russia remains the MH-17 shoot-down, which the United States and the West continue to pin on the Russian rebels – and by extension – Russia and Putin. The latest examples are media reports about the Dutch crash investigation suggesting that an anti-aircraft missile, allegedly involved in destroying MH-17, was fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Yet, the U.S. mainstream media remains stunningly disinterested in the “dog-not-barking” question of why the U.S. intelligence community has been so quiet about its MH-17 analysis since it released a sketchy report relying mostly on “social media” on July 22, 2014, just five days after the shoot-down. A source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the reason for the intelligence community’s silence is that more definitive analysis pointed to a rogue Ukrainian operation implicating one of the pro-regime oligarchs.

The source said that if this U.S. analysis were to see the light of day, the Ukrainian “narrative” that has supplied the international pressure on Russia would collapse. In other words, the Obama administration is giving a higher priority to keeping Putin on the defensive than to bringing the MH-17 killers to justice.

Like the Tonkin Gulf case, the evidence on the MH-17 case was shaky and contradictory from the start. But, in both cases, U.S. officials confidently pointed fingers at the “enemy.” President Lyndon Johnson blamed North Vietnam in 1964 and Secretary of State John Kerry implicated ethnic Russian rebels and their backers in Moscow in 2014. In both cases, analysts in the U.S. intelligence community were less certain and even reached contrary conclusions once more evidence was available.

In both cases, those divergent assessments appear to have been suppressed so as not to interfere with what was regarded as a national security priority – confronting “North Vietnamese aggression” in 1964 and “Russian aggression” in 2014. To put out the contrary information would have undermined the government’s policy and damaged “credibility.” So the facts – or at least the conflicting judgments – were hidden.

The Price of Silence

In the case of the Tonkin Gulf, it took years for the truth to finally emerge and – in the meantime – tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and millions of Vietnamese had lost their lives. Yet, much of the reality was known soon after the Tonkin Gulf incident on Aug. 4, 1964.

Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1964 was a young Defense Department official, recounts – in his 2002 book Secrets – how the Tonkin Gulf falsehoods took shape, first with the panicked cables from a U.S. Navy captain relaying confused sonar readings and then with that false storyline presented to the American people.

As Ellsberg describes, President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced retaliatory airstrikes on Aug. 4, 1964, telling “the American public that the North Vietnamese, for the second time in two days, had attacked U.S. warships on ‘routine patrol in international waters’; that this was clearly a ‘deliberate’ pattern of ‘naked aggression’; that the evidence for the second attack, like the first, was ‘unequivocal’; that the attack had been ‘unprovoked’; and that the United States, by responding in order to deter any repetition, intended no wider war.”

Ellsberg wrote: “By midnight on the fourth, or within a day or two, I knew that each one of those assurances was false.” Yet, the White House made no effort to clarify the false or misleading statements. The falsehoods were left standing for several years while Johnson sharply escalated the war by dispatching a half million soldiers to Vietnam.

In the MH-17 case, we saw something similar. Within three days of the July 17, 2014 crash, Secretary Kerry rushed onto all five Sunday talk shows with his rush to judgment, citing evidence provided by the Ukrainian government through social media. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory asked, “Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?”

Kerry: “There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Kerry’s Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment.”]

Two days later, on July 22, the Director of National Intelligence authorized the release of a brief report essentially repeating Kerry’s allegations. The DNI’s report also cited “social media” as implicating the ethnic Russian rebels, but the report stopped short of claiming that the Russians gave the rebels the sophisticated Buk (or SA-11) surface-to-air missile that the report indicated was used to bring down the plane.

Instead, the report cited “an increasing amount of heavy weaponry crossing the border from Russia to separatist fighters in Ukraine”; it claimed that Russia “continues to provide training – including on air defense systems to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia”; and its noted the rebels “have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems, downing more than a dozen aircraft in the months prior to the MH17 tragedy, including two large transport aircraft.”

Yet, despite the insinuation of Russian guilt, what the public report didn’t say – which is often more significant than what is said in these white papers – was that the rebels had previously only used short-range shoulder-fired missiles to bring down low-flying military planes, whereas MH-17 was flying at around 33,000 feet, far beyond the range of those weapons.

The assessment also didn’t say that U.S. intelligence, which had been concentrating its attention on eastern Ukraine during those months, detected the delivery of a Buk missile battery from Russia, despite the fact that a battery consists of four 16-foot-long missiles that are hauled around by trucks or other large vehicles.

Rising Doubts

I was told that the absence of evidence of such a delivery injected the first doubts among U.S. analysts who also couldn’t say for certain that the missile battery that was suspected of firing the fateful missile was manned by rebels. An early glimpse of that doubt was revealed in the DNI briefing for several mainstream news organizations when the July 22 assessment was released.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector.’”]

The Russians also challenged the rush to judgment against them, although the U.S. mainstream media largely ignored – or ridiculed – their presentation. But the Russians at least provided what appeared to be substantive data, including alleged radar readings showing the presence of a Ukrainian jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of MH-17.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov also called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems to sites in eastern Ukraine and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

On July 29, amid this escalating rhetoric, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of mostly retired U.S. intelligence officials, called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence.”

But the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had begun shifting away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible, funded by one of Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian oligarchs. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Flight 17 Shoot-down Scenario Shifts”and “Was Putin Targeted for Mid-air Assassination?”]

Last October, Der Spiegel reported that the German intelligence service, the BND, also had concluded that Russia was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND still blamed the rebels for firing it. The BND also concluded that photos supplied by the Ukrainian government about the MH-17 tragedy “have been manipulated,” Der Spiegel reported.

And, the BND disputed Russian government claims that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to MH-17, the magazine said, reporting on the BND’s briefing to a parliamentary committee on Oct. 8, 2014. But none of the BND’s evidence was made public — and I was subsequently told by a European official that the evidence was not as conclusive as the magazine article depicted. [See Consortiumnews.com’s Germans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case.”]

Dog Still Doesn’t Bark

When the Dutch Safety Board investigating the crash issued an interim report in mid-October, it answered few questions, beyond confirming that MH-17 apparently was destroyed by “high-velocity objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” The 34-page Dutch report was silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who fired it.

In January, when I re-contacted the source who had been briefed by the U.S. analysts, the source said their thinking had not changed, except that they believed the missile may have been less sophisticated than a Buk, possibly an SA-6, and that the attack may have also involved a Ukrainian jetfighter firing on MH-17.

Since then there have been occasional news accounts about witnesses reporting that they did see a Ukrainian fighter plane in the sky and others saying they saw a missile possibly fired from territory then supposedly controlled by the rebels (although the borders of the conflict zone at that time were very fluid and the Ukrainian military was known to have mobile anti-aircraft missile batteries only a few miles away).

But the larger dog-not-barking question is why the U.S. intelligence community has clammed up for nearly one year, even after I reported that I was being told that U.S. analysts had veered off in a different direction – from the initial blame-the-Russians approach – toward one focusing on a rogue Ukrainian attack.

For its part, the DNI’s office has cited the need for secrecy even as it continues to refer to its July 22 report. But didn’t DNI James Clapper waive any secrecy privilege when he rushed out a report five days after the MH-17 shoot-down? Why was secrecy asserted only after the U.S. intelligence community had time to thoroughly review its photographic and electronic intelligence?

Over the past 11 months, the DNI’s office has offered no updates on the initial assessment, with a DNI spokeswoman even making the absurd claim that U.S. intelligence has made no refinements of its understanding about the tragedy since July 22, 2014.

If what I’ve been told is true, the reason for this silence would likely be that a reversal of the initial rush to judgment would be both embarrassing for the Obama administration and detrimental to an “information warfare” strategy designed to keep the Russians on the defensive.

But if that’s the case, President Barack Obama may be acting even more recklessly than President Johnson did in 1964. As horrific as the Vietnam War was, a nuclear showdown with Russia could be even worse.

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Greece: PM Tsipras Banishing Ministers Opposing Sellout to Creditors, Syriza Sharply Divided

NOVANEWS
Global Research
tsipras714

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned after being pushed out – replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos.

After leaving, he said he’s no longer under “incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend…”

He cited the “complete lack of any democratic scruples (displayed by) the supposed defenders of Europe’s democracy. (V)ery powerful figures look you in the eye and say ‘(y)ou’re right in what you’re saying, but we’re going to crunch you anyway.”

Paying dominant bankers and large creditors like Germany alone matters – no matter the pain and suffering inflicted on millions of Greeks helpless against the war on their well-being.

Make no mistake. What’s happening in Greece signifies what’s ongoing throughout Europe, America, Canada, and other countries, heading for getting much worse – ending social justice to enrich monied interests more than ever, and at the same time, destroy what remains of democratic rights. Financial tyranny rules!

Varoufakis said dealing with other finance ministers in Brussels was like talking to the wall. His reasoned analysis was ignored. He was unwanted – an annoyance to be humiliated and banished.

He “might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem” for all the good it did to present sensible arguments responded to with “blank stares.” His involvement accomplished nothing.

Deputy Finance Nadia Valavani resigned. She called the mandated deal Greek agony, saying she was “ready to serve in any capacity to the end during challenges.”

“However, when our delegation returned with liabilities that are ‘stillborn measures’ and at such a price (demanded by Troika bandits) once again when the dilemma appears of retreating or Grexit, it will be impossible for me to remain a member of the government.”

This ‘capitulation’ is so overwhelming that it will not allow a regrouping of forces. With your signature there will be a deterioration in the status of an already suffering population, and this will be a tombstone around their necks for many years with little potential of redemption.

SYRIZA officials are sharply divided. Stiff opposition denounced Tsipras’ betrayal. Retired Greek diplomat Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos called the deal “too tough, too late, the death of Greeks.”

“These absurd measures do not reflect the EU we entered back in 1981. It has actually made Greece a colony of Germany, not to say of the European Union. (D)espite the concessions the EU has made to Greece, the country is far from being out of the crisis.”

SYRIZA coalition partner Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos/current defense minister rejects Troika demands he and other party members “cannot agree with…”

SYRIZA parliamentary spokesman Nikos Filis said “Germany unfortunately for a third time in 100 years is attempting to destroy Europe.”

Overwhelming public sentiment opposes harsh Troika demands. Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis called on Tsipras to reject the deal he agreed to in Brussels.

“Greece had an alternative to the agreement,” he said. The creditors’ dilemma: capitulation or destruction is fake. It aims to terrorize and has caused the collapse of popular consciousness.”

The agreement signed with the institutions is unacceptable and a radical party, such as SYRIZA, does not deserve to be responsible for bringing such an agreement, after fighting to abolish the bailout programs and austerity measures.”

He called German and other Eurozone negotiating partners “financial assassins.”

Perhaps more heads will roll before Greece’s parliament votes on Troika demands late Wednesday evening Athens time. Reports indicate Tsipras wants opposition ministers replaced so he can get parliamentary approval of what demands rejection.

Around three dozen or more SYRIZA deputies intend voting “no” – including at least two ministers and House Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.

Sources close to Tsipras say he intends doing whatever it takes to ram through parliament legislation already drafted surrendering to Troika authority.

Public anger spilled into streets near parliament demanding rejection of what looks sure to pass. Civil servants and pharmacists called a one-day anti-austerity strike. Betrayed pensioners plan their own demonstration.

Part of the deal calls for Greece to hand over 50 billion worth of public assets to a fund controlled by German KfW bank run by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble – to be sold at fire sale prices.

Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse. It dominates Eurozone policy. What it says goes – including writing Greece’s obituary as a sovereign country.

 

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Jewish lobby, Jewish billionaires immediately trash Iran deal

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I thought there was no such thing as an “Jewish lobby”? Isn’t that a “bigoted, anti-Semitic canard”? The Jewish Daily Forward reports:

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” that the deal “would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”

The considerable clout of pro-Israel interests on Capitol Hill will play an important role in deciding the fate of the pact, hammered out in Vienna after many months by Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

Congressional votes on the deal, which got a rough initial reception from Republican lawmakers, were not expected until September. Regardless of Israeli lobbying, however, odds were slim that U.S. lawmakers would be able to derail the deal.

AIPAC has 11 registered lobbyists in Washington and spends about $3 million a year on lobbying, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group that monitors lobbying expenditures and campaign finance.

AIPAC is widely viewed as the most influential group in the United States advancing the Israeli government’s agenda.

“Few lobbies dedicated to international issues are so active and well-financed as the Israel lobby,” the center said of pro-Israel organizations generally.

Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, speaking to Israel’s Army Radio, said his government “must focus and explain all of the holes in this agreement” and “hopefully the Congress and Senate will see the truth.” […]

Some of the lobbying will be aimed at Jewish members of Congress, who will be influential voices in the upcoming debate. Two of them are so far withholding judgment: Senator Benjamin Cardin, the senior Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrat; and Senator Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat.

Besides lobbying, 2016 political campaign contributions to members of the U.S. Congress are expected to be dangled.

In 2014, pro-Israel groups contributed $11.9 million to congressional candidates, with $6.8 million going to Democrats and $5.1 million to Republicans, according to the center.

Among the top recipients were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, and Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat.

Meanwhile, Sheldon Adelson, a U.S. billionaire businessman and outspoken critic of the Iran negotiations, could also use his vast financial resources to try to influence Congress.

In 2012, Adelson pumped $92.8 million into Republican “super PACs,” the center said, making him the single highest contributor to outside groups that year. […]

According to professional Jewish advocates, such as Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, the very idea that there is such a thing as “the Israel lobby” or that it wields enormous, dominating influence in Washington, DC and  American politics generally is an “anti-Semitic canard.”

And yet here we have a well-established and respected Jewish newspaper – The Jewish Daily Forward – openly reporting on the network of pro-Israel political lobbying organizations, along with a number of plutocratic Jewish billionaires who finance and fund the election campaigns of major political candidates (especially at the presidential level), who are determined to undermine and derail the internationally negotiated deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Jewish state of Israel and its international network of advocates and partisans are determined to undermine any sort of peaceful, respectable, and diplomatic solution to any of the problems between America and the wider Western world on one hand, and the Islamic world on the other.

The Jewish strategy of the 21st century is to pit the West against the Islamic world in a never-ending “clash of civilizations,” where the American military and her NATO allies are to be engaged in a “Global War on Terrorism” – a paradigm of foreign policy conjured up entirely by Jewish intellectuals and Israeli military and geopolitical strategists in the late 1970s – against a faceless, manufactured “enemy” known as “radical Islam” in an effort to advance Israel’s geopolitical agenda in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, this Jewish strategy has been highly successful, especially following 9/11, a false flag attack organized and executed by Jewish criminals in key positions of power and influence in the American government and mass media, an event that was used to initiate and institutionalize the fraudulent “Global War on Terrorism”.

It is past time that the American people recognize these basic facts.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Jewish lobby, Jewish billionaires immediately trash Iran deal

IDLIB: SYRIAN AIR FORCE DROWNS ALQAEDA IN THE FLAMES OF HELL

NOVANEWS
HUNDREDS OF RATS ELIMINATED IN LATAKIA AS VILLAGES LIBERATED WHOLESALE

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A-lebanon-daily-617×330.jpg

الطيران-الحربي-السوري-lebanon-daily-617x330IDLIB:  The preparations for the assault on Jisr Al-Shughoor and the extermination of the rats inside should be very obvious to our readers because they are obvious to the rodents who infest the Syrian landscape.  The SAAF flew over 40 sorties yesterday attacking concentrations of rodents all around the Jisr Al-Shughoor countryside.  All this was taking place as forces are coming down from the Zaawiya Mountain chain through Hallooz and Ghassaaniya in a force that will be unstoppable.

Tallat  Khattaab:  (July 16, 2015) SAA air defenses shot down a Jaysh Al-Fath drone which was photographing SAA positions 3 days after the Nusra/Alqaeda terrorist flopped in overrunning this town.  The losses to Nusra were over 30 rats with scores wounded.   The drone was reportedly provided by the Saudi Arabian apes with the permission of the United States.  So much for the war against terrorism.

Jannat Al-Quraa:  SAAF has massacred a large grouping of terrorist rodents killing and wounding close to 150 based on aerial assessments.

Bizayt Village:  60 or more rats have been confirmed killed by aerial estimates as their areas of concentration become easier to hit thanks to ground spotters and the help of hundreds of citizens who are sickened by the sight of heretics and mass murdering psychopaths.

Ma’arrat-Massreen:  A large number of vultures were sent to Hell courtesy of Sukhoi bombers and a barrage of FROG and Katyusha rockets.   3 nests were annihilated their rat inhabitants torched beyond recognition.

image: http://jpnews-sy.com/ar/images/news/big/89999.jpg

صد هجوم على مطار كويرس.. والجماعات المسلحة تعترف بمقتل 31 من إرهابييها بريف حلبAbu Dhuhoor Village area:  Nusra and Ahraar Al-Shaam took it in the solar plexus as the SAAF continues to fly out of the airbase to flush the rats down the toilet whose destination is Satan’s Saloon and Spa.

Kafr ‘Uwayd Village:  SAAF hit this area hard last night in the far southwest of the province.  Nightly estimates are difficult.

Heavy fighting with massive losses to the rats here:  Al-Tamaani’ah, Binnish, Umm Jareen, Al-Tur’ah, Qar’ Al-Ghazaal.

LATAKIA:  VILLAGES DELOUSED BY SYRIAN ARMY AS RATS SURRENDER IN THE HUNDREDS:

image: http://albaathmedia.sy/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/syria_army_flag.jpg

syria_army_flagThe Syrian Army has liberated these villages in the north of Latakia Province as confirmed by the Ministry of Defense:

Bayt Zayfaa

Bayt Khudhoor

Al-Sindiyaan Mountain summit

Tal Al-Dhudhr

Al-Rahmaliyya Mountain summit

Al-Maqtaraaniyya Mountain summit

According to rat websites, the Nusra/Alqaeda group lost over 130 rats in the fighting.

image: http://jpnews-sy.com/ar/images/news/big/89989.jpg

الجيش السوري يبسط سيطرته على عدة قرى في ريف اللاذقية الشمالي

Posted in SyriaComments Off on IDLIB: SYRIAN AIR FORCE DROWNS ALQAEDA IN THE FLAMES OF HELL

Nicolas Sarkozy Wants a Comeback but Is not Wanted

NOVANEWS
Alexander Nikolov

Nicolas Sarkozy is firmly set on coming back to the Élysée Palace in the 2017 elections. The first obstacle to his new goal in life is the primary elections of the right and part of center political parties. After a short absence from politics Nicolas Sarkozy came back home and seized back control over the party by becoming leader of the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement). He then did some refreshment repairs, renaming the party to Les Republicaines (The Republicans). However, there is something burning somewhere in the house. Contrary to all expectations the primaries of the right are far from won. All latest polls show one and the same. Yes, in most of them Nicolas Sarkozy has a lead over François Hollande. Not, however, because the French like Nicolas Sarkozy, but because they dislike François Hollande more. Many of the respondents do not want to see Sarkozy president again.

In the latest Opinionway poll for the news channel LCI just 30% of respondents have a positive opinion of the leader of the right-wing. Nicolas Sarkozy is not only far behind Alain Juppé (58%) and Bruno Le Maire (46%), but is even overtaken by Marine Le Pen (31%). True, polls conducted so early before the elections are seldom correct. There are plenty of examples when they were not. Sociologists pointed as favourites Édouard Balladur in 1995 and Lionel Jospin in 2002, and they did not make it to the second round. In 2010 Dominique Strauss-Kahn was the favourite for the 2012 elections. It is true, however, that Sarkozy’s popularity has hardly moved from its lowest level. And the time for correcting the trend is running out. But why?

There are four main reasons.

1. A former president, already beaten once, saying he wants to do new things. Why then not vote directly for a new face?

Nicolas Sarkozy is repeating part of the arguments he used to win the 2007 elections. “Breaking away from the model” – good, but which model? He was president from 2007 to 2012, a minister for Jacques Chirac before that, a minister for Balladur before that, and so on all the way back to 1995. His attempt to present himself as someone, who wants “to change everything” meets the logical question “Why did you not change things during your five years in office?”. Those five years weigh a ton, and what was achieved during those five years does not bring nostalgic thoughts to voters. The heavy loss to outsider Hollande in 2012 hurt his image of a winner among right-wing supporters. In all the polls the French say they want new faces – from Bruno Le Maire to the right, through Manuel Valls to the left to Marine Le Pen. A consensual figure as Alain Juppé as a last resort. An image that Sarkozy has no chance of acquiring.

2. He repeats Marine Le Pen’s arguments. Why not vote for the original then?

In 1988, Édouard Balladur gives Jacques Chirac the following advice: “To become president any candidate from the right should lean slightly to center and not turn hard right”. Nicolas Sarkozy chose the exact opposite strategy in 2012 and, to a lesser degree, in 2007. The worn-out face of Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2007 brought victory, but the center, represented by François Bayrou achieved the best result at presidential elections ever, almost costing him the win. In 2012, Sarkozy delved deeper in the far right and lost. His strong speeches on immigration not only did not get him new votes, having a new face in the far right (Marine Le Pen), but caused part of the voters in center-left who voted for him in 2007 to turn their backs on him. As Marine Le Pen’s supporters say “Why vote for a copy, when the original has a chance?”.

3. Managed to negotiate an agreement with the centrists, but their supporters don’t like him.

Sarkozy managed to broker a deal with many of the centrist parties (NC, UDI) with the exception of François Bayrou (MoDem). The coalition brought victory at the regional elections, but centrist electorate continues to dislike him. Alain Juppé is favourite in this part of the political spectrum, followed by Bruno Le Maire, and even François Fillon. All three of them have an image of “moderates”, which can never be said about Sarkozy. Moreover, Alain Juppé is liked even by socialist supporters.

4. On the road to Gaullism. Perhaps too late.

Since 1974 right supporters have been several types and balance between the different fractions is difficult to achieve. The main battle is between the people’s right (Jacques Chirac for example) and the conservative, aristocratic, highly Catholic right (Édouard Balladur was a prime example; Bernadette Chirac brought that note to her husband). The last leader of the right to bring the two fractions together was General de Gaulle. Even 50 years later Gaullism is an important factor in rightist political talk.

With his perpetual zig-zagging, especially in foreign policy, Sarkozy disappointed many of the traditional Gaullists. The divorce with Cécilia, who was their favourite, the constant display of his personal life in media (yachts, Disneyland with Carla Bruni, expensive gifts and vacations abroad) damaged his image seriously among this group of voters. Bruno Le Maire and Dominique de Villepin get the most of their support.

Yet Sarkozy has one trump card – the party. It could prove enough to win him the nomination of the right at the primaries, then he could beat Hollande and Bayrou at the first and Marine Le Pen at the second round, for presidential elections are voting for a person, but twice as much voting against a person. And the reason he lost the elections in 2012 could be Sarkozy’s biggest trump card in 2017. The cards are already dealt.

Posted in FranceComments Off on Nicolas Sarkozy Wants a Comeback but Is not Wanted

Eurozone Is More United than Ever

NOVANEWS
Adelina Marini

Criticism like a summer storm has been pouring down from everywhere over the last few days aimed at the Monday morning deal between the Eurozone and Greece. The main arguments are that this is a brutal diplomatic blow at Greece, the currency club has never stood more divided, and this is one very bad deal. Some even venture further, predicting the demise of the whole European project. Certainly, regardless of what smaller states are doing, all of the attention goes to Germany, who is portrayed as a meek but gradually hardening dictator of the Eurozone. All of this because the Eurozone refused to budge from its principle of money-for-reforms. As illustrated by the re-elected for a second term Eurogroup boss Jeroen Dijsselbloem, there is not much sense in giving money to a state that is not solving its underlying problems.

Actually, contrary to the predominant idea, the Eurozone has never been more unified. In the words of Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan out of 18 members (excluding Greece) only three were against kicking Greece out of the Eurozone – France, Italy and Cyprus. All the rest were firmly in favour of ending the six-year long drama. There is much greater disunion in the media sphere, where interpretations of the July 13 agreement vary widely. Which is very strange, for the situation is crystal clear.

What did Greece want?

The government of populist Alexis Tsipras wanted to receive an indefinite amount of financing to keep the state and economy on life support while conjuring up a new economic model to allow Greece to continue spending at the current rate, not lowering pensions, wages, and other expenses, while at the same time investing in its economy, so that it comes back on its feet somehow without reforming the deeply fragmented VAT system, not touching the labour market that is adamantly keeping away new players, and all the rest that the EU demands of Greece and all the rest with similar problems by the way. This can be easily seen in the European semester reports and nation-specific recommendations.

In principle, Alexis Tsipras’s government agrees that tax collection rates must improve and a battle against corruption and clientelism should be started but until now had no suggestions as to how and when this will happen, so the Eurozone can assess how much longer it will need to finance Greece waiting for the far left’s economic miracle. Neither did they work on it over the last six months. As an award for its patience the Eurozone was expected to write off all the money invested so far in the attempt to stand Greece on its legs. This, according to the critics, would have saved the European project for it is much more than just fiscal discipline.

What would have happened if the Eurozone had yielded to Greek demands, or rather refusals in the name of unity and integrity?

Critics keep forgetting that the problems that came up between Greece and the Eurozone over the last six months are not ideological or economic in their nature. The Greek government behaved like a child that says “no” to everything, stomps his foot, raises hellish noise, and offers no alternative, backed by definite figures, deadlines and other vital data. Thus any extension of financial aid without a lon-term commitment to ending of its necessity is throwing public funds in the garbage.

Had the currency club accepted such a solution in the name of “unity” it would have continued to drag on its belly with unsteady economic growth, continuing drop in investments, and an upward trend of public debt, whose price would only grow due to not taking adequate measures. The Eurozone struggled out of a prolonged recession that took a heavy toll – gigantic unemployment in the periphery, nearly the entire economic convergence built for decades swept away in no time. The currency club’s escape from the great recession happened partly as a result of the substantial reform of economic governance with dropping oil prices making the exit quicker and easier. The countries whose economies are currently growing are the ones that implemented serious reforms. The others, where growth is more moderate, but still present, benefit from their size, low oil prices, and the European Central Bank’s monetary policy.

Too much national sovereignty

Today it is SYRIZA, tomorrow PODEMOS, National Front, it is a long list. Each of them has their own vision that has nothing to do with EU unity, nor would it contribute to it as a side effect. What happened to Greece, good or bad, is a blow against populism, which is against everything but offers no alternative. SYRIZA wants Greece to remain in the Eurozone but does not know how to make this happen with no money. National Front in France is against the Eurozone in principle. Paris received its third two-year extension for the correction of its excessive deficit and other economic imbalances. The new deadline coincides wit the presidential elections year (2017). If at that point France once more stalls and asks for its violation of Stability and Growth Pact provisions to be remitted, as it has been several times already, how would that contribute to Eurozone unity when everyone unanimously agrees that it is suffering from violations of its own rules? Wouldn’t disregarding rules become even easier if a new bigger concession is granted to Greece?

It is a very real situation where Marine Le Pen, provided she wins the presidency, could threaten with exiting the Eurozone if her demands are not met. And this is France, not Greece which the Eurozone could swallow. If France, the second irreplaceable component of the European twin engine, leaves, then the Eurozone and the EU as a whole lose their point. We should not disregard the resilience of smaller member states – Finland, the Netherlands, and also the ones who lack populist movements but got through heavy reforms on their own and now have to swallow the fact that rules do not apply to some, while they themselves have already paid the stiff price of change. Full demoralisation ensues and respectively disintegration. This is the price of the “solidarity” demanded of the EU toward Greece. And the Eurozone is only partially responsible for the Greek bankruptcy. Outside of the common currency Greece would have gone bankrupt several times due to bad management. The Eurozone however has no cure for this problem. Any step in this direction is labelled a “coup”, “dictatorship”, “Eurooligarchy” and so on.

How to come out of this situation?

According to the critics – with more integration, though, if possible, without taking away any more sovereignty, without enforcing strict reforms, by the creation of something like a transfer union, where every member develops at its own speed, but the speedy flow of money towards the slower and less-achieving ones to keep going, waiting for the integrational miracle – a strong Eurozone. At this point a deeper integration to deal with the lack of political and economic convergence is impossible. At the moment sovereignty is united (shared) in the Eurozone, which turns out to be a problem to critics too. With shared sovereignty the fate of all is built around the musketeers’ principle – one for all and all for one. The construction is quite wobbly but nevertheless sharp criticisms for violated or even revoked sovereignty, meddling in internal affairs, and so on are voiced at every attempt to fix creaks here and there.

Once the masterminds of the Eurozone thought that economic convergence would solve the structural flaws of the project. Alas, they failed to predict the democratic and political discrepancies. In some states democracy is fragile and often falls prey to oligarchies and soft dictatorships. In others democratic evolution requires parliamentary approval or even referendums for every change, and yet in third the situation is more moderate. This makes the solution to the equation too difficult, especially at

this point. The solution to any one of he Eurozone’s problems, especially structural flaws, is by no means a continuation of subsidising unreforming countries.

A possible solution to the problem is instituting accession to the new, more integrated Eurozone to be based on strict economic and political criteria. The report of the five presidents provides for such a filter. It talks about denying access to more integrational elements like an eventual common budget to countries that do not implement structural reforms fully and thoroughly. This is a good option. At the moment, contrary to the preliminary signals, there is strong support within the Eurozone towards going along with the five presidents’ report. If at the beginning attitudes were that until the Greek problem is solved there could be no going forward, at this point member countries agree that it is exactly because of Greece that integration should continue. It is very important that a sober and well thought-out decision on how this should happen is made. Whether by the exclusion principle, meaning the ones that do not cope have no access to certain integrational goods, or by the inclusion principle – access to said goods to be granted by the accession mechanism.

That would mean enforcing high economic, political, and democratic access benchmarks to closer integration. It is possible to do a combination of the two – after implementing regular monitoring of the mentioned benchmarks and at a detected deviation the “guilty” state’s access is automatically revoked.

Posted in GreeceComments Off on Eurozone Is More United than Ever

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