Archive | October 4th, 2016

The Betrayal of Syria: The US, France, and Britain’s UN Ambassadors and the United Nations

NOVANEWS

Image result for SYRIA IN UN CARTOON

By Felicity Arbuthnot 

An ambassador is a … gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.

— Attributed to Sir Henry Wotton, 1568-1639

When Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (“We the people of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war …”) rose to speak at the UN to address Syria’s ongoing tragedy, on Sunday September 25th, US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, François Delattre, Permanent Representative for France and British Permanent Representative, Matthew Rycroft, metaphorically threw their toys out of the pram and walked out. Anything more infantile and further away from the UN’s founding aspirations would be hard to find.

They would have done well to hear Mr Churkin’s full address. It lays out home truths and the reality of international State sponsored terrorism – resulting in Syria’s living nightmare – in succinct detail. He began:

It is the sixth year that the Syrian people have been suffering a grave tragedy. In 2011, Washington and some other Western capitals decided to continue the reshaping of the geopolitical space of the Middle East and North Africa, which started with the US and UK criminal invasion in Iraq in 2003. Besides, both in Libya and Syria they continued to ‘use an axe’ without any disdain for the support of terrorist groups … consequences of countries’ break-ups and flows of millions of refugees were qualified as an unforeseen ‘irritant’.

Samantha Power, however, has never seemingly found a conflict she would not embrace (safely, from afar, of course.) The Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria, “liberation” by annihilation seemingly ever her preferred option. The UN welcomes some unlikely Representatives to uphold its founding aspirations.

“What Russia is sponsoring and doing in Aleppo is not counter terrorism, it is barbarism”, railed Ms Power. Clearly she has forgotten the US led, multi-country barbarisms above and further that Russia has been invited to work with Syria to attempt to resolve the country’s terrorist crisis. The US and their “allies” – in the air and on the ground – are illegals, in contravention of a swathe of international law.

She appears to also have forgotten the numerous substantiations of the US (and allies) funding and arming the head chopping, organ eating, child murdering and other illegal immigrants from over one hundred foreign countries, according to varying analysts. Another irony is America appointing itself the “world’s policeman” – as the world is seeing what its policemen are doing at home.

Also dropped through Ms Powell and her fellow UN absconders memory hole seems to be General Wesley Clark’s near immediate post 9/11 revelation from a Pentagon colleague that:

… we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” Moreover, not to be forgotten is that the plans for Syria’s destruction were plotted in detail from within the then US Embassy in Damascus.

Interesting is also the UK walkout Representative’s background, recalling that the UK is ever a willing killer-in-arms with the US. Matthew Rycroft has trailed around varying war zones or war enablers in a “diplomatic” capacity since graduation from Oxford University in 1989.

An early placement was at the NATO desk in the British government’s bailiwick, Whitehall. After various Foreign Office placements he joined the British Embassy in Washington in 1998, from where he was seconded to both the US State Department and US Congress. On returning to the UK he became, in February 2002, Private Secretary Foreign Affairs, to the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, according to his evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Iraq.

February 2002 was, of course, the time the planning in the Foreign Office was concentrating on Tony Blair’s now infamous meeting with George W. Bush in Crawford Texas in the coming April. Rycroft denied having any involvement in those plans; however, he had integral involvement in the infamous Downing Street memo of July 23rd, 2002.

The memo related to the plans to overthrow Saddam Hussein, discussed at a meeting held by Tony Blair at which Rycroft was one of the attendees. His memo began:

“SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL – UK EYES ONLY

“DAVID MANNING

From: Matthew Rycroft

Date: 23 July 2002

S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER’S MEETING, 23 JULY

Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest (Joint Intelligence Committee) assessment. Saddam’s regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action …

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. (Emphasis added.)

In the memo’s “Conclusions” Rycroft’s first is:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action …

The rest is Nuremberg’s “supreme international crime …” and bloody, genocidal history. Ongoing.

Rycroft has now turned his attentions to Syria. On walk-out day, September 25th, in a speech to the UN which includes too many inaccurate and misleading statements (many might say mistruths) to address here, he includes:

… the death and destruction that the sectarian Assad regime has unleashed upon them. Nor will they forget that Russia aided and abetted this ruthless sectarian dictator in waging war against his own people.

Goodness, word for word out of the US-UK Saddam Hussein hand book – “waging a war against his own people”, “sectarian dictator.” As Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Syria is secular and the government is fighting a war to rid the country of the terrorists who flooded in as a result of the fruition of the US plans formulated in 2006.

Rycroft also alleged the use by the government of chlorine bombs – he had clearly not read, or chosen to ignore the various reports, including by the UN, categorically disproving this.

Iraq had the US inspired “Iraq Liberation Act” of 1998 held over the nation’s head until destroyed by the US and UK in 2003. Syria has the Syria Accountability and Liberation Act of July 2009. Apart from imposing draconian sanctions of the sort that resulted in the deaths of half a million children between August 6th 1990 and May 12th 1996 in Iraq, the Act:

Sets forth diplomatic measures intended to isolate the government of Syria.

And:

Authorizes the (US) President to provide assistance to support a democratic transition in Syria.

In another re-run of the Iraq lies, Rycroft adapts the “Saddam starves his own people” line – when, in fact, the US-UK driven embargo even denied baby formula – and accuses President Assad of “failing to stop starvation.”

Incidentally, in 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, Matthew Rycroft was awarded the CBE: “… an honour awarded to an individual by the Queen for a leading role at a regional level or a prominent … role at a national level in any activity. The definition of CBE is Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.” The cynic might speculate that his part in “Empire’s” Iraq slaughter might have been a contributory factor.

But he has not lost talent for plotting and economy with the truth, it would seem. But then, between experience in the Foreign Office, the State Department and Congress would be a peerless education. An example:

On 12 September, the eve of the ill-fated ceasefire:

President Dr. Bashar Al-Assad vowed to regain every inch of Syria from the terrorist forces.

The Syrian President made this promise during his visit to the rural Damascus town of Darayya on Monday.

In addition to his promise to recover every inch of the country, the Syrian President stated that his government will rebuild Darayya after the four year long battle left the town in ruins.

On September 15th, Matthew Rycroft translated this statement in a address to the UN as:

Earlier this week, Assad said it was his objective to regain the entire country by force …

He surely learned well from his part in Iraq plotting.

Meanwhile, on September 25th (clearly a very busy plotting day) the UK’s new Foreign Secretary (it is hard to think of anyone less suitable to be a diplomat) was in Turkey. He tweeted:

Boris Johnson

@BorisJohnson

Follow
#Turkey is a vital partner to the UK. Pleased to visit for first time as Foreign Sec for talks with Govt, civil society & #Syrian Opposition
9:34 AM – 25 Sep 2016

Meeting “opposition” head choppers, eh? Another shocking international conspiracy against a small, proud nation, which threatens no one. The onslaught against Syria, the betrayal of a fellow Member of the United Nations will be added to the list of crimes of enormity laid at the feet of the “Special relationship” – the barbarism of the US-UK alliance.

Incidentally, diplomacy: “The art of dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way.”

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The Betrayal of Syria: The US, France, and Britain’s UN Ambassadors and the United Nations

Pentagon paid PR firm 540mn to make fake terrorist videos

NOVANEWS

Image result for AMERICAN PROPAGANDA LOGO

The Pentagon paid a UK PR firm half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq in a secret propaganda campaign exposed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

PR firm Bell Pottinger, known for its array of controversial clients including the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation, worked with the US military to create the propaganda in a secretive operation.

The firm reported to the CIA, the National Security Council and the Pentagon on the project with a mandate to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers.

Both the White House and General David Petraeus, the former general who shared classified information with his mistress, signed off on the content produced by the agency.

The Bell Pottinger operation started soon after the US invasion of Iraq and was tasked with promoting the “democratic elections” for the administration before moving on to more lucrative psychological and information operations.

Former employee Martin Wells told the Bureau how he found himself working in Iraq after being hired as a video editor by Bell Pottinger. Within 48 hours, he was landing in Baghdad to edit content for secret “psychological operations” at Camp Victory.

The firm created television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light as well as creating content to look as though it had come from “Arabic TV”. Crews were sent out to film bombings with low quality video. The firm would then edit it to make it look like news footage.

They would craft scripts for Arabic soap operas where characters would reject terrorism with happy consequences. The firm also created fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, which were then planted by the military in homes they raided.

Employees were given specific instructions to create the videos. “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage,” Wells was told. “We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.”

The videos were created to play on Real Player which needs an internet connection to run. The CDs were embedded with a code linking to Google Analytics which allowed the military to track IP addresses that the videos were played on.

According to Wells, the videos were picked up in Iran, Syria and the US.

“If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one,” Wells explained. “And that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”

The Pentagon confirmed the PR firm did work for them under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF) creating content they say was “truthful”. The firm also worked under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF). The Pentagon said it could not comment on JPOTF operations.

US law prohibits the government from using propaganda on its population, hence the use of an outside firm to create the content.

Documents show the Pentagon paid $540 million to Bell Pottinger in contracts between 2007 and 2011, with another contract for $120 million in 2006. The firm ended its work with the Pentagon in 2011.

In 2009, it was reported that the Pentagon had hired controversial PR firm, The Rendon Group, to monitor the reporting of journalists embedded with the U.S. military, to assess whether they were giving “positive” coverage to its missions.

It was also revealed in 2005 that Washington based PR company the Lincoln Group had been placing articles in newspapers in Iraq which were secretly written by the US military. A Pentagon investigation cleared the group of any wrongdoing.

Posted in USAComments Off on Pentagon paid PR firm 540mn to make fake terrorist videos

Attacks on international agencies and arrests of Palestinian aid workers part of systematic Israeli assault

NOVANEWS
Attacks on international agencies and arrests of Palestinian aid workers part of systematic Israeli assault
By Charlotte Kates 

halabi-borsh

Two Palestinian UN and international NGO workers in Gaza, Mohammed al-Halabi and Waheed Bursh, have been targeted by the Israeli occupation for arrest and military prosecution in high-profile cases that seemingly aim to imprison not only these individual Palestinians, but also to pressure international agencies into a further separation and deeper division from the Palestinian people under occupation with whom they work, and towards control and authorization by Israeli occupation forces.

Mohammed al-Halabi, the operations manager for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 15 June as he crossed at the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing (to which he had already been given a permit by the Israeli occupation.) After being held incommunicado and under interrogation, facing torture and abuse for over a month and a half, Al-Halabi was accused in a showy statement of allegedly “diverting” up to $50 million USD to the Palestinian resistance organization and political party Hamas – based on a “confession.” Despite the allegations, World Vision noted that its “cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past 10 years was approximately $22.5 million,” making the alleged amounts of money involved materially impossible. World Vision also noted that “Mohammad El Halabi was the manager of our Gaza operations only since October 2014; before that time he managed only portions of the Gaza budget. World Vision’s accountability processes cap the amount individuals in management positions at his level to a signing authority of US$15,000.”

Nevertheless, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a video message alleging that the Israeli occupation project “cared more” about Palestinians than Palestinian leadership organizations, particularly Hamas in Gaza. While the Israeli occupation state controls access to Gaza and entirely occupies its sea and skies, it claims to not have control or occupying power over Gaza. Nevertheless, the Israeli occupation state is imprisoning Al-Halabi for matters that – even taking their tortured “confessions” at face value – is seemingly entirely internal to Palestinians in Gaza and international organizations working with them.

It should be noted that the allegations against Halabi appear to be based entirely upon confessions obtained through torture and potentially the word of a collaborator or a “disgruntled employee” who disappeared from Gaza to Egypt after his firing from World Vision by Halabi; this is reflected in the clearly inaccurate financial amounts reported in coverage of this case. Perhaps because of the very weakness of the allegations themselves, Halabi will allegedly be tried in a “secret court,” reported his lawyer, Lea Tsemel. Despite the origins of the allegations (confessions obtained through torture) and their seeming physical impossibility, both theAustralian and German governments suspended aid to World Vision. While World Vision has announced its trust in its staff, the cut in funds – and an Israeli freeze on its bank account in Jerusalem for the international Christian charity – has meant that over 120 local Palestinian staff have been laid off in Gaza and operations are suspended, where unemployment already ranges near 40% and poverty forces Palestinians to rely on international aid.

This is not the first run-in between the Israeli state and World Vision. Israel and its supporters in NGO Monitor attacked the Christian charity in 2004 for supporting Palestinian rights, thus “support for terror.” World Vision’s programs came under attack previously by Mossad-linked law firm “Shurat Ha-Din,” known for its pursuit of dubious yet fiscally draining lawsuits against opponents and critics of Israel around the world, Shurat Ha-Din attacked World Vision and other charities for their support for the work of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, a land and water defense organization operating in the West Bank and Gaza that has been honored with the UN’s Equator Prize and is a member of the global peasant movement, Via Campesina. Shurat Ha-Din demanded an end to Australian support of World Vision, claiming that UAWC was a “front” for Palestinian leftist political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Shurat Ha-Din’s efforts were rejected in Australia and refuted both by the Australian government and World Vision itself. Still, the continuing focus on World Vision and its engagement with local Palestinian organiztions in Gaza appears to be a continuing thread in Israeli surveillance and repression.

While Halabi was arrested on 15 June, Waheed Bursh, a Palestinian engineer contracted by the UN Development Program (UNDP) was arrested one month later, also as he crossed the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing, for which he had previously received a permit. The case of Bursh is particularly striking: over two weeks after his arrest, and several days after the public announcement of the allegations against Halabi, he was accused by the Israeli occupation of allegedly “diverting” rubble in Gaza created by the massive Israeli bombing of Gaza in 2014 for Palestinian use to shore up a port and jetty on Gaza’s north shore. The Israeli occupation accuses the rubble of being “diverted to Hamas,” but it is distinctly unclear if that simply means to the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, which is run by Hamas officials – and in any case, the UNDP itself reaffirmed that the rubble in question was directed as agreed to a civilian area and there “was no diversion.”

This case is, essentially, about whether Palestinians have the right to decide in any small way what to do with the massive rubble created when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli bombs and warplanes – and that any individual Palestinian following Palestinian direction in such a case is subject to torture and imprisonment. Not only does Israel declare the right to bomb and destroy Gaza at will; it also declares the right and ongoing authority to determine the usage of the rubble created by its bombing and destruction.

The Bursh case highlights the insufficiency and the injustice of the UN reconstruction program for Gaza, which has seen both an extremely high level of inefficiency as only a small portion of the buildings destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt, but also an extremely high level of utter disregard for Palestinian sovereignty and internationally-recognized rights, instead creating a program in which all access to funds and building materials is dependent on the approval of the Israeli occupation that destroyed those places to begin with.

The UN has argued that Bursh is immune from prosecution given his UN role, and that he acted according to the request of the Palestinian Authority. This case is not only about the imprisonment of one Palestinian engineer, but about who has the right to build with the rubble created by Israel’s bombs, and who decides: Palestinians, including their political forces? Or international organizations with the consent and oversight of the Israeli occupation? Or, perhaps more precisely, the Israeli occupation, with the work carried out by international organizations and highly subjugated Palestinian staff?

Both the Gaza reconstruction mechanism and the Halabi and Borsh cases highlight the severity of the ongoing Israeli occupation of Gaza as well as an apparent political priority of disempowering Palestinian non-governmental organizations and even staff of international organizations in any context in which they operate outside of complete Israeli control. While the Israeli occupation has generally supported the “NGOization” of Palestinian society as an alternative to Palestinian resistance organizations, these recent cases appear to indicate an intention for Israel to outsource not only the costs but also the repressive mechanisms of its  occupation of Gaza to international organizations, thus requiring the dismissal and complete control of any local Palestinian staff empowered to make independent decisions.

Conditional aid that requires all staff at an organization not to be members of any organization on the US list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” such as that distributed by USAID, has commonly been discussed as a long-running problem in Palestinian civil society. The US FTO list includes major Palestinian political forces such as Hamas, the PFLP, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even Fateh’s armed wing; similar lists are to be found in the European Union, Canada, Australia, the UK and elsewhere – although Hamas is currently fighting a legal case for removal from the EU’s list. Further, the overall impact of international donor funds in directing the priorities of Palestinian organizations away from Palestinian national liberation and towards “projects” and state-building amid ongoing occupation and oppression, and demobilizing the Palestinian national movement into “civil society” or “interest groups” has been the subject of intense discussion among Palestinian organizations and activists.

In Gaza in particular, the filing and heavy publicity surrounding the Halabi and Bursh cases seems to indicate that the Israeli state is pursuing an even heavier hand on all forms of Palestinian organization and even Palestinian roles in directing the work of international organizations. Palestinian organizations in 1948 Palestine have come under attack through new laws designed to block “foreign funding,” while the Balad/National Democratic Assembly political party, represented in the Knesset by Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi and Basil Ghattas, has been subject to a series of raids and arrests accusing them of undisclosed “foreign funds.” Of course, Palestinian organizations like Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, thePalestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies and other organizations in the West Bank continue to be subject to arrests, raids and other attacks by occupation forces, while Israel continues to threaten escalation against Palestinian civil society organizations supporting the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Ben White in Al-Jazeera noted that “Israeli minister Gilad Erdan has claimed that the accusations against Halabi prove the government’s claim that ‘there are extensive ideological and monetary ties between terrorist organisations and delegitimisation organisations that work against Israel.’”

Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada wrote, “But by spreading sensational allegations that a group as well-known as World Vision is ‘funding terrorism,’ Israel may seek to put other organizations and the Israel-friendly Western governments that fund them on notice that all their operations, especially in Gaza, are at its mercy. It may also be an effort to break growing solidarity for Palestinians in churches, where there has been a strong push to hold Israel accountable through boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

These allegations perhaps bear the closest resemblance to early-to-mid-2000s calls from the Israeli occupation and Western states regarding “corruption” in the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat. Viewing the PA’s role in outsourcing the costs of occupation and suppressing Palestinian resistance as apparently insufficient, Israeli and Western charges of corruption and demands for higher levels of international and Israeli control led in part to the imposition of Mahmoud Abbas as a prime minister and the“Daytonization” of PA security forces under US command, removing Fateh loyalists and turning them into even more of a direct mechanism for security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

Circumstances differ in that corruption in the PA was – and remains – a legitimate concern of Palestinians (although higher levels of Israeli and international control in fact exacerbated the problem and were opposite to the solutions demanded by Palestinians), while in these cases the arrests reflect entirely Israeli interests at the expense of Palestinians. However, the projected outcomes are similar in the re-orienting of international organizations as opponents and monitors of Palestinians and the escalation of international and Israeli control at the expense of even the most individual and basic levels of Palestinian control or self-determination.

The roots of the prosecution of Halabi and Bursh, the shuttering of World Vision’s programs and the threat of further raids and prosecutions against Palestinian staff of international organizations can also be found in the use of “foreign terrorist lists” by international states and bodies to criminalize Palestinian political life and resistance. While the United States, European Union, Canada, UK, Australia and other states are clearly not opponents of either state-sponsored or non-state violence when carried out by allies and agents, and while Palestinians are internationally recognized as an occupied people with rights to sovereignty and self-determination, Palestinian resistance organizations are routinely labeled as “terrorist.” In the post-Oslo era, the drive to redefine the Palestinian struggle from an anti-colonial national liberation movement into a “state-building project” and a “mediated conflict” with the Palestinian Authority as its reference has been used to criminalize and prosecute Palestinian organizing not only inside but also outside Palestine, while obscuring the nature of Palestinian reality today.

That governments such as those of Australia and Germany chose to cut funding to World Vision in response to these allegations rather than defend an occupied people under colonization and denounce the actions of a belligerent occupier abducting and accusing people under occupation of using funds and, indeed, the rubble created by the occupier’s bombing, in their own interest, indicates the enmeshment of these states with the Israeli state in a common support for settler colonialism, Zionism and racism in Palestine and internationally.

From the siege on Gaza – against which the Women’s Boat to Gaza today sails with the support of people’s movements and against the will of Western states and the Israeli occupation – to the imprisonment of over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, it is nearly impossible to support fundamental Palestinian rights while labeling Palestinian resistance as “terrorist.” Attempts to do so are then only more vulnerable to attacks of this type – while local Palestinian staff attempting to serve their people within the context of international organizations are targeted for secret trials and persecution on the basis of torture-borne “confessions,” even if the charges themselves are materially incoherent or manifestly absurd. Thus, the international reconstruction mechanism in Gaza has only allowed a greater level of Israeli occupation and control of the Strip, while years after Israel’s bombing, Palestinians in Gaza are still living in shelters while their homes remain rubble.

International mobilization in defense of Halabi and Bursh is necessary. It is not enough to demand a “fair trial” when the charges and structure of prosecution exist only as a mechanism of colonialism.  It is urgent to stand not only against the persecution of these Palestinian staff but against the entire framework that seeks to undermine Palestinian sovereignty, redefine resistance as “terror” and legitimize ongoing colonization and occupation.

Charlotte Kates is the international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. She coordinates the National Lawyers Guild’s International Committee and works with a number of organizations advocating for Palestinian rights.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Attacks on international agencies and arrests of Palestinian aid workers part of systematic Israeli assault

“White Helmet” “Save Aleppo” Protest Proves How Easy it is to Dress Up Actors as “War Victims”

NOVANEWS
By Tony Cartalucci 

Recent protests held across North America and Europe staged by supporters of armed militants in Syria have staged scenes in Western streets eerily similar to those featured in the photos and videos of the US-European funded “Syrian Civil Defence” also known as the “White Helmets.”

This is not Aleppo, Syria, but rather the streets of Europe where a recent “save Aleppo” protest was staged. Actors posing in fake dust and blood proved just how easy it is for anyone to create “war victims” anytime, anywhere.

Saudi state media, Al Arabiya English would report in an October 1, 2016 article titled, Worldwide protest against Assad, Russia to ‘save Aleppo’,” that:

The stalling talks between international powers on Syria – with Russia ramping up its air raid campaign – has ignited worldwide protests calling for an end to the horror in Aleppo.
Protestors in Turkey, France, Netherlands, America and Canada took to the streets opposing Bashar al-Assad’s and Russia’s crimes in Aleppo, carrying posters that read “Stop bombing Aleppo” and “Save Aleppo”.

Al Arabiya’s ironic hand-wringing over Syria as Riyadh devastates Yemen with its own aerial bombardment and ground incursion, attempts to portray eastern Aleppo as a horrific cauldron where “where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped without food or clean water.”

And while undoubtedly war is raging in eastern Aleppo, it should be noted that the vast majority of Aleppo’s population – 1.75 million in fact – live in the government-controlled majority of Aleppo.  But despite this reality, the West and its allies – including Saudi Arabia – have attempted to use their sway over international public opinion to exaggerate Syrian security operations and fabricate a “humanitarian catastrophe” to serve as yet another pretext for wider Western intervention.

Central to this appeal to public opinion has been the so-called “White Helmets,” also referred to as the “Syrian Civil Defence” despite the nation of Syria already having a legitimate, professional civil defense force.

Posing as an impartial rescue force, the “White Helmets” are transparently auxiliaries serving exclusively side-by-side armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organizations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide.

Their primary means of doing this is publishing photos and videos of their members – wearing elaborate, matching uniforms and driving brand new ambulances – pulling dust and blood covered victims from rubble allegedly brought down upon them by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

The veracity of their photos, videos, and many claims have never been independently verified, and in many cases, evidence suggests that much of what they present to the public across their extensive, well-funded social media presence has been fabricated.

The recent coordinated “save Aleppo” protests held across Europe and North America, perhaps revealed just how transparently fabricated and fictional the “White Helmet’s” work really is. During one protest, photos retweeted by the official “White Helmet’s” Twitter account showed actors dressed up as “war victims,” covered in fake dust and blood, appearing almost indistinguishable from the alleged “victims” the “White Helmets” regularly “save” in Syria.

The protest, staged in European streets far from the Syrian conflict, even included children – likewise covered in fake dust and blood – cradled in the arms of adults, posing with despondent looks upon their faces.  Also part of the staged scene were actors dressed like the “White Helmets” themselves.

The only difference between admittedly staged scenes in European streets during a recent “save Aleppo” protest, and the daily output of the Western created and funded “White Helmets” acting  troupe in Syria is that in Syria, the devastation of war provides a much more convincing “set” for the actors to perform on.

While the acting troupe that organized this protest may have thought they were cleverly “bringing the conflict to the streets of Europe” to invoke global sympathy for their cause, what they really proved was just how easy it really is for the “White Helmets” to create “war victims” anytime, anywhere.

In Syria, where years of US-backed violence has left many parts of the country devastated, such staged scenes playing out with the devastation of war as a backdrop become all the much more convincing. With “White Helmet” videos heavily edited before reaching the public, they are able to create tragic scenes of war, anytime, anywhere – even in the streets of Europe thousands of miles away from where Syrian and Russian warplanes are operating.

Their primary goal and that of the special interests funding them tens of millions of dollars, is to manipulate the hearts and minds of the global public in support of Western-backed armed militants – not “save lives” nor bring peace to Syria.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on “White Helmet” “Save Aleppo” Protest Proves How Easy it is to Dress Up Actors as “War Victims”

Facebook, Twitter, Western Media Attempt to Reassert Monopoly Over “Truth”

NOVANEWS

hillary-clinton-at-google-1406029179-300x153

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook 

In a surreal and stunning example of 21st century propaganda and censorship, Google has cobbled together a coalition it is calling “First Draft” to tackle what it calls “misinformation online.” 

First Draft’s “founding partners” include News Corporation’s (parent company of Fox News) Storyful and NATO think tank Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat blog, headed by formally unemployed social worker Eliot Higgins who now fashions himself as a weapons expert and geopolitical analyst despite no formal training, practical real-world experience or track record of honest, unbiased reporting. In fact, between News Corporation and Bellingcat alone, Google’s First Draft appears to be itself a paragon of, and nexus for “misinformation online.” 

Google’s Glaring Conflicts of Interest 

Google too, having for years now worked closely with the US State Department, faces its own conflicts of interest in “social newsgathering and verification.” In fact, Google has admittedly been involved in engineering intentional deceptions aimed specifically to skew public perception, including doctoring its maps and Google Earth in real-time amid conflicts in favor of US-backed militant groups and through the development of applications designed to psychologically target the Syrian government into capitulating before US-backed militant groups.

The UK Independent in its article,Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim,” would report that:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed.

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.

The article would continue:

The email detailing Google’s defection tracker purportedly came from Jared Cohen, a Clinton advisor until 2010 and now-President of Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, the company’s New York-based policy think tank.

In a July 2012 email to members of Clinton’s team, which the WikiLeaks release alleges was later forwarded to the Secretary of State herself, Cohen reportedly said: “My team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”

Cohen would conclude:

“Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition.”

Can Google then be relied upon to sort out “misinformation online” if it itself is directly involved in manipulating public perception to achieve US foreign policy objectives? To impartial observers, the answer is clearly “no.”

First Draft would publish on its website a post titled,Social networks unite with global newsrooms to take action against misinformation online,” adding further details behind the alleged rationale of the coalition. It would state:

Today, news breaks online. Today, the first images to emerge from a breaking news event have been captured by an eyewitness. Today, injustices that may never have been reported become global news stories because a bystander reached for their smartphone. Today, malicious hoaxes and fake news reports are published in increasingly convincing and sophisticated ways.

We live in a time when trust and truth are issues that all newsrooms, and increasingly the social platforms themselves, are facing. In July, the Guardian’s Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner wrote about the ways technology is disrupting the truth, explaining “in the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same – whether they come from a credible source or not.” Filtering out false information can be hard. Even if news organisations only share fact-checked and verified stories, everyone is a publisher and a potential source.

The members that constitute the First Draft coalition, however, have enjoyed an uncontested monopoly for decades in determining just what the “truth” actually is, as well as a monopoly over propagating things the global public now know for a fact were “untruths.” Again, we see another case of the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.

The Liars Who Lied About WMDs in Iraq Will Protect Us from Liars Online? 

Indeed, many of the organizations that constitute First Draft’s coalition played a pivotal role in perhaps the most destructive and costly lie of the 21st century (to date), that involving alleged “weapons of mass destruction” or “WMDs” in Iraq, serving as the pretext for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

According to some estimates, up to a million perished in the initial invasion and subsequent occupation. More conservative estimates are still in the hundreds of thousands.

Undoubtedly, the invasion, justified by lies propagated across the entirety of US and European media, helped trigger a predictable chain of catastrophes that have left the Middle East to this day in conflict and ruination. These same US and European media organizations, the same ones now signing their names to First Draft, also helped justify the continued presence of US troops in Iraq for years after the invasion, up to and including today.

And the same names signed on to First Draft are also the same names who helped sell the disastrous intervention in Libya and who are now attempting to sell yet another direct Western military intervention in Syria.

And it is perhaps the lack of success these same names are having in selling this most recent potential intervention in Syria that has precipitated First Draft’s creation in the first place.

There is a burgeoning alternative media composed of individual independent journalists, analysts and commentators both biased and impartial, both professional and amateur, competing directly with and overcoming the West’s longstanding monopoly over international public perception. There is also the emergence of professional and competitive national media organizations across the developing world who are taking increasingly large shares of both the West’s media monopoly and its monopoly over the public’s trust.

It is clear that First Draft has no intention of protecting the truth as none among its membership have done so until now individually, but rather in collectively protecting what the special interests behind these organizations want the global public to believe is the truth. First Draft is a desperate measure taken by Western special interests to reassert the West’s dominance over global public perception by leveraging the widely used social media platforms it controls, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as IT giant Google and its large range of services and applications.

In the end, all that First Draft is likely to accomplish is convincing the developing world of the necessity of creating domestic alternatives to Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as to continue expanding their own domestic media organizations to better represent their respective national interests upon the global stage and to dilute the dangerous and destructive media monopoly the West has enjoyed and abused for decades.

Until the members of First Draft can cite a lie told by their competitors that is as destructive and as costly as their own lies preceding and underpinning the invasion and occupation of Iraq or the more recent destruction of Libya, their efforts appear more as a means of further deflecting away from the truth, not defending it.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on Facebook, Twitter, Western Media Attempt to Reassert Monopoly Over “Truth”

US Syria Policy in Doldrums: Letting Emotions Loose Won’t Help

NOVANEWS
Image result for US Syria Policy CARTOON
By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation 

The United States administration appears to be in panic mode. A number of emotional statements were made by US officials on September 28 to reflect the growing unease with the way the events unfold in Syria and the stance taken by Russia. State Secretary John Kerry threatened to pull out of Russia-US talks on Syria over the situation on Aleppo.

In a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Secretary said the US was preparing to suspend its engagement with Moscow on Syria if Russia didn’t take «immediate steps» to halt the Aleppo offensive.

Citing US officials, The Wall Street Journal reported the administration has renewed an internal debate over giving rebels more firepower to fend off a stepped-up Russian and Syrian assault on their Aleppo stronghold.

The renewed debate centers on what is known as Plan B, authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency and its partners in the region to supply US-supported rebels in Syria with weapons systems to strike Syrian and Russian forces from longer distances, including anti-aircraft missiles.

The package has been on the table for months, but was temporarily shelved after the cessation of hostilities agreement was concluded in February.

John Kirby, the State Department spokesperson, said in his press briefing that, «that extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources – even, perhaps, more aircraft».

This is an unusually hostile and emotional statement that has nothing to do with diplomacy. It sounds more like an invitation for terrorists to attack Russia.

Meanwhile lawmakers are considering legislation to beef up US sanctions against the Syrian government and its «backers».

The bill submitted for consideration by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R., Calif.) and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the panel’s top Democrat, is designed to increase pressure on the military supply chain in Syria by sanctioning the country’s energy industry and penalizing anyone doing business with its telecommunication or transportation sectors. The legislation also would require the White House to submit reports to Congress on risks of establishing and maintaining a no-fly zone or a safe zone in Syria. The calls to establish a «no-fly zone» in Syria are tantamount to advocating an open military confrontation with Russia.

John Kerry has been reported to hold talks with European foreign ministers about stepping up punitive measures.

The US verbal attacks against Russia are made at the very same time extremist forces launch an offensive near the central city of Hama in an attempt to relieve pressure on rebels fighting in Aleppo.

And wasn’t it a coincidence that exactly on September 28 – the date all the «emotional statements» were made –Reuters reported that foreign states had given Syrian rebels surface-to-surface Grad rockets of a type not previously supplied to them?

The Grad rockets with a range of 22 km and 40 km will be used on battlefronts in Aleppo, Hama and the coastal region.

Rebel groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner have received military aid from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad via a US-backed coordination center in Turkey. It means the United States is well aware of the shipments and responsible for implications.

To prevent the fall of Aleppo the US is preparing to allow its Gulf allies – Qatar and Saudi Arabia – to flood the city with shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles. Rebels are being told only to target Syrian aircraft, not Russian – but it’s not clear they will abide by this. One needs training to distinguish the types and national identity of air targets – something the rebels definitely lack. «The US won’t let Aleppo fall. We can expect to see Syrian helicopters falling from the sky within weeks», a source said.

Actually, this is nothing else but an open declaration of war by the United States on the Russia-supported Syrian government. The weapons fired in Aleppo will be used to support the Jabhat al Nusra (recently renamed into Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) group, an al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and the main fighting force on the ground in Aleppo province. Russia and the United States have agreed to fight it together.

Thus, the US is responsible for providing aid to terrorists while blaming Russia for each and everything that goes awry in Syria. Somehow, these activities were omitted in the texts of the statements made by US officials. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone conversation that Fateh al-Sham Front had been receiving foreign support and American weapons.

In an interview with German-language daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger earlier this week, a Jabhat Fateh al-Sham commander identified only as Abu al-Ezz confirmed that the US is supporting the terror group, saying, «The Americans are on our side».

A very indicative statement to corroborate what Mr. Lavrov said!

The use of military force is also on the table. The options under consideration include a US air strike on a Syrian air base at the distance from the fighting between Syrian government troops and rebel forces in the north.

Actually, having failed to separate the «moderate» rebels from the al Nusra group, America is taking the side of those it vowed to resolutely fight after 9/11. In Syria, it will benefit the Islamic State group as it won’t have to face a united front of forces opposing it.

Other options include sending more Special Operations Forces ((SOF) to «train and advise» Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups and deploying additional American and allied naval and airpower to the eastern Mediterranean, where the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is already en route.

A military intervention to rescue the «rebels», which amounts to a war to save, the al Nusra Front, could quickly get the US and its allies into the quagmire of prolonged conflict. An incident could spark a real war with Russia. Is it worth it?

The US is in a blind alley in Syria. The administration is evidently at a loss and on the brink of emotional break down. A negotiated settlement the US is trying to back away from is the only viable pathway out of the Syrian crisis, but the United States appears to be more prone to take sides and support terrorist groups. It could admit its failure to live up to the commitments stipulated by the agreement with Russia and separate other groups from al Nusra. It could enhance the coordination of military activities and be more frank and transparent at the talks with Russia.

It could but it didn’t. But there is no escape from reality: Aleppo is doomed to fall. The Syrian government will establish its control over it soon. It will change the military situation into its favor. It’ll strengthen its and Russia’s position for a negotiated settlement of the crisis. And talks will start again as there is no alternative to them.

Despite all the failures of Obama’s policy on Syria, there is a big chance Russia and the United States will join together in the fight against terror. Republican nominee Donald Trump has stated that if elected US president he would weigh an alliance with Russia against Islamic State militants. «When you think about it, wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?» Trump said.

«Wouldn’t it be nice if we got together with Russia and knocked the hell out of ISIS (Islamic State)?» he asked.

It gives the world a hope. A hope that the United States will have a president with clear vision of national interests and goals to achieve. A hope that the US will no longer openly side with terrorists putting the blame on others for its own mistakes and failures. And a hope that America will have a leader able to convert his words into deeds, even if he won’t be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US Syria Policy in Doldrums: Letting Emotions Loose Won’t Help

‘Death Caravan’ Perpetrators to Face Court in Chile

NOVANEWS
Augusto Pinochet.
Augusto Pinochet. | Photo: EFE
teleSUR 

The Death Caravan was the name of a military operation that killed almost 100 political prisoners in Chile beginning on Sept. 30, 1973.

Former Army Commander Juan Emilio Cheyre and six military officials were arrested July 7 in Chile for their involvement in the death of 15 people as part of an operation known as the Death Caravan, launched the same month as the military coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende.

The Death Caravan was the name of a military operation that killed and disappeared almost 100 political prisoners in Chile beginning on Sept. 30, 1973, following General Augusto Pinochet’s coup, with the support of the United States. The military ruled the country with an iron fist for 17 years, until 1990.

Judge Mario Carroza told La Tercera that the decision to arrest the former commander-in-chief of the Chilean army was based on “knowledge of what happened during the three hours in La Serena,” where the killing took place.

Carroza added that “testimonies of direct observers during the reconstruction of the scene” coincided with other elements of the investigation, and will be an important factor in the trial.

The arrests followed a complaint filed by the Human Rights Program affiliated with the interior ministry.

Cheyre was named commander-in-chief of Chile’s army in 2002, one year before he was publicly accused of participating in the murder of a couple and stealing their 2-year-old child in La Serena back in 1973. Chile’s justice eventually filed a case without finding Cheyre responsible for the act.

Serving in the top-ranking military role until 2006, Cheyre was appointed as president of Chile’s electoral body in 2013 by the neoliberal President Sebastian Piñera.

Cheyre jailed an estimated 80,000 people, tortured 30,000 and murdered around 3,200. Only 75 of more than a thousand of his former agents are serving prison sentences for human rights violations.

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on ‘Death Caravan’ Perpetrators to Face Court in Chile

Prejudices mar Indian view of CPEC

NOVANEWS

Image result for Indian view of CPEC LOGO

By M K Bhadrakumar 

The reported decision by Asian Development Bank to lend $2.5 billion to Pakistan and be a collateral financier for upgrade of Lahore-Peshawar segment of the Karachi-Peshawar railway line is a significant development. India should analyse it carefully. (Business Standard )

Firstly, Karachi-Peshawar railway line upgrade falls within the ambit of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). That is to say, ADB is joining hands with China (which is the co-financier for the railway line upgrade) in a CPEC project.

Now, this is a big concessional loan ($2.5 billion at low interest rate less than 2 percent) and it wouldn’t have been possible without approval by Japan and the United States, which dominate ADB’s decision-making. We need to take note that Japan and the US are showing pragmatism here, given the reality that CPEC is a flag carrier of China’s One Belt One Road.

In sum, this is a political affirmation of their interest in Pakistan’s stability and development.

The other salience that emerges here is that it is an extremely untimely and counterproductive move on our part to raise dust on Baluchistan. It complicates India’s relations with not only Pakistan but also with China, considering that a significant segment of the CPEC activity is located in Baluchistan, and, equally, our campaign on Baluchistan will not get a sympathetic ear in the world capitals. It will only make us look small-minded and petulant.

Similar pragmatism toward One Belt One Road as ADB is showing also characterises the attitudes of Asian, Middle Eastern and European countries. No doubt, projects enhancing regional connectivity attract all countries. India probably stands out as solitary exception, in its perspective on One Belt One Road derived exclusively through the geopolitical prism.

Secondly, we need to take note that the CPEC is indeed going ahead despite the ‘hawks’ amongst us hoping against hope that it may not take off. The ADB loan itself wouldn’t have been forthcoming without expert opinion saluting the CPEC. The ADB decision has prompted China to fill in with an additional loan of $5.5 billion for the railway project, which now makes CPEC a $51.5 billion eighth wonder in the world.

Two things become clear. One, China is determined to build Pakistan’s infrastructure development and make its economy resilient. Clearly, it is a ‘win-win’ for China too for a variety of factors at work in regional politics and China’s own national strategies. Two, China usually puts its money (big or small) only where the mouth is, which means it is becoming a stakeholder in Pakistan’s future and prosperity with a long-term perspective.

And where China goes, the US and Japan are bound to follow. Simply put, Indian diplomacy runs into almost-impossible headwinds to ‘isolate’ Pakistan in the prevailing circumstances.

It is about time we wake up and put to ourselves some searching questions. Do we have the ghost of a chance to annex Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, as the present government is leading the domestic opinion  to believe? To my mind, our government is whistling in the dark and leading the public opinion in a wrong direction.

Again, from a regional security point of view, if the POK and Northern Areas of Pakistan, which are hopelessly impoverished regions, are set on a path of infrastructure development and economic activity, there is less chance of them becoming the sanctuaries of terrorist groups. In fact, this is also one consideration China would have. Don’t we have a congruence of interests with China on regional security and stability in this regard? This is one thing.

Besides, if Pakistan integrates these regions politically, doesn’t it open up an interesting avenue to resolve the Kashmir problem? A realistic perspective would be that without any redrawing of boundaries as such, if the Line of Control gets legitimacy as an internationally recognised border – with Pakistan keeping the areas under its control and India keeping J&K as an integral part of it – won’t that be a basis of durable settlement?

Put differently, if Pakistan integrates Northern Areas and POK, it is tantamount to a unilateral move to ‘solve’ the Kashmir problem. We should actually applaud Pakistan if it goes on to integrate those regions just as it plans at present to integrate the tribal areas. Which in turn would also enable India to work out its own terms of integration of J&K in terms of our democratic principles.

Frankly, India’s paranoia over the CPEC has no rationality. It is based on contrived and often trivial arguments lacking basis and/or unsupported by empirical evidence or are outright falsehoods, which are assembled uncouthly with the ulterior motive to arrive at a certain pre-determined conclusion.

The name of the game is Sinophobia – to somehow complicate the Sino-Indian normalization itself. See a paper by the Vivekananda Foundation on the topic titled Implications of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Posted in India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Prejudices mar Indian view of CPEC

Russia warns US against ‘direct aggression’

NOVANEWS

bb5d352a-5e61-49f5-be7a-eae42e697131

Russia has warned that any “direct aggression” by the US against the Syrian government or army would lead to “frightening, tectonic shifts” in the Middle East.

The warning by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Saturday came after US officials said Washington had begun considering tougher responses to an ongoing Syrian assault on Aleppo, including military options.

Russia has been supporting the Syrian government in its push to take back Aleppo from Takfiri terrorists.

The US is backing what it calls “moderate” militants fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad besides carrying out airstrikes against what it calls Daesh targets.

However, with Syrian advances on Aleppo gaining momentum, US officials have hinted at direct attacks on Syrian troops.

US aircraft recently bombed Syrian army positions in Dayr al-Zawr, killing 83 soldiers. The airstrike, which helped Daesh briefly overrun government positions in the area, was characterized by Washington as unintentional but Syria rejected the allegation.

“How could they (Daesh) know that the Americans are going to attack that position in order to gather their militants to attack right away and to capture it one hour after the strike?” Assad asked during an interview with the Associated Press.

Last week, the Middle East Eye news portal cited a source close to militants as saying that the US was resolved to prevent the fall of Aleppo.

The US State Department has warned it was considering the suspension of “bilateral engagement” in Syria unless Russia took “immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo.”

A US-Russian brokered ceasefire recently fell apart after the American airstrike on Syrian troops.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Russia warns US against ‘direct aggression’

CrossTalk on Russia-US relations: Increased Tensions

NOVANEWS

Image result for CrossTalk LOGO

RT 

Going from bad to even worse: The very strident and harsh rhetoric coming out of Washington and directed towards Russia is unprecedented. Bilateral relations have reached a dangerous low. What happens now?

CrossTalking with Gilbert Doctorow, Brian Becker, and Daniel McAdams.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on CrossTalk on Russia-US relations: Increased Tensions


Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

October 2016
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31