Archive | April 10th, 2017

Mass rally held in Sana’a against Saudi Zio-Wahhabi onslaught on Yemen

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People take part in a demonstration in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on March 3, 2017 to denounce the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi military campaign against their country.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a to express outrage over Saudi Zio-Wahhabi deadly military campaign against the impoverished Arab country.

The protesters converged in the Old City of Sana’a following Friday prayers, carrying Yemeni flags and banners in condemnation of the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi aggression.

Participants in the demonstration, under the motto “Tough against Disbelievers”, also held up pictures of civilians injured in the deadly Saudi Zio-Wahhabi airstrikes, calling on the United Nations to fulfil its responsibilities and stop the Riyadh regime’s atrocious military offensive.

They also warned the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi leadership that the continued attacks on the people in Yemen will only strengthen the steadfastness of the nation.

Protesters also accused the United States of being complicit in the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi crimes against the Yemeni nation by providing the Al Saud regime with various munitions.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi has been engaged in a deadly campaign against Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall C.I.A puppet Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a close Riyadh ally.

The airstrikes have taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, says the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi campaign has claimed the lives of 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others wounded.

McGoldrick told reporters in Sana’a earlier this year that the figure was based on casualty counts given by health facilities and that the actual number might be higher.

On February 23, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group, put the civilian death toll in the war-torn Arab country at 12,041.

The fatalities, it said, comprise 2,568 children and 1,870 women.

Posted in Saudi Arabia, Yemen0 Comments

‘Killing and maiming children’: Watchlist calls UN to blacklist Nazi army

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Image result for Killing and maiming Palestinian children PHOTO

RT

The global network of humanitarian organisations that defends children’s rights across the world has called on the UN to blacklist the Nazi Defence Forces, for multiple violations of children rights.

Various human rights organisations have noted a number of incidents in the recent past where Nazi forces have applied psychological pressure on children.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UN0 Comments

Trump’s ‘Wag the Dog’ Moment

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By Robert Parry | Consortium News 

Just two days after news broke of an alleged poison-gas attack in northern Syria, President Trump brushed aside advice from some U.S. intelligence analysts doubting the Syrian regime’s guilt and launched a lethal retaliatory missile strike against a Syrian airfield.

Trump immediately won plaudits from Official Washington, especially from neoconservatives who have been trying to wrestle control of his foreign policy away from his nationalist and personal advisers since the days after his surprise victory on Nov. 8.

There is also an internal dispute over the intelligence. On Thursday night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. intelligence community assessed with a “high degree of confidence” that the Syrian government had dropped a poison gas bomb on civilians in Idlib province.

But a number of intelligence sources have made contradictory assessments, saying the preponderance of evidence suggests that Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels were at fault, either by orchestrating an intentional release of a chemical agent as a provocation or by possessing containers of poison gas that ruptured during a conventional bombing raid.

One intelligence source told me that the most likely scenario was a staged event by the rebels intended to force Trump to reverse a policy, announced only days earlier, that the U.S. government would no longer seek “regime change” in Syria and would focus on attacking the common enemy, Islamic terror groups that represent the core of the rebel forces.

The source said the Trump national security team split between the President’s close personal advisers, such as nationalist firebrand Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner, on one side and old-line neocons who have regrouped under National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army general who was a protégé of neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus.

White House Infighting

In this telling, the earlier ouster of retired Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and this week’s removal of Bannon from the National Security Council were key steps in the reassertion of neocon influence inside the Trump presidency. The strange personalities and ideological extremism of Flynn and Bannon made their ousters easier, but they were obstacles that the neocons wanted removed.

Though Bannon and Kushner are often presented as rivals, the source said, they shared the belief that Trump should tell the truth about Syria, revealing the Obama administration’s CIA analysis that a fatal sarin gas attack in 2013 was a “false-flag” operation intended to sucker President Obama into fully joining the Syrian war on the side of the rebels — and the intelligence analysts’ similar beliefs about Tuesday’s incident.

Instead, Trump went along with the idea of embracing the initial rush to judgment blaming Assad for the Idlib poison-gas event. The source added that Trump saw Thursday night’s missile assault as a way to change the conversation in Washington, where his administration has been under fierce attack from Democrats claiming that his election resulted from a Russian covert operation.

If changing the narrative was Trump’s goal, it achieved some initial success with several of Trump’s fiercest neocon critics, such as neocon Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, praising the missile strike, as did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The neocons and Israel have long sought “regime change” in Damascus even if the ouster of Assad might lead to a victory by Islamic extremists associated with Al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State.

Wagging the Dog

Trump employing a “wag the dog” strategy, in which he highlights his leadership on an international crisis to divert attention from domestic political problems, is reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s decision to attack Serbia in 1999 as impeachment clouds were building around his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov

Trump’s advisers, in briefing the press on Thursday night, went to great lengths to highlight Trump’s compassion toward the victims of the poison gas and his decisiveness in bombing Assad’s military in contrast to Obama’s willingness to allow the intelligence community to conduct a serious review of the evidence surrounding the 2013 sarin-gas case.

Ultimately, Obama listened to his intelligence advisers who told him there was no “slam-dunk” evidence implicating Assad’s regime and he pulled back from a military strike at the last minute – while publicly maintaining the fiction that the U.S. government was certain of Assad’s guilt.

In both cases – 2013 and 2017 – there were strong reasons to doubt Assad’s responsibility. In 2013, he had just invited United Nations inspectors into Syria to investigate cases of alleged rebel use of chemical weapons and thus it made no sense that he would launch a sarin attack in the Damascus suburbs, guaranteeing that the U.N. inspectors would be diverted to that case.

Similarly, now, Assad’s military has gained a decisive advantage over the rebels and he had just scored a major diplomatic victory with the Trump administration’s announcement that the U.S. was no longer seeking “regime change” in Syria. The savvy Assad would know that a chemical weapon attack now would likely result in U.S. retaliation and jeopardize the gains that his military has achieved with Russian and Iranian help.

The counter-argument to this logic – made by The New York Times and other neocon-oriented news outlets – essentially maintains that Assad is a crazed barbarian who was testing out his newfound position of strength by baiting President Trump. Of course, if that were the case, it would have made sense that Assad would have boasted of his act, rather than deny it.

But logic and respect for facts no longer prevail inside Official Washington, nor inside the mainstream U.S. news media.

Intelligence Uprising

Alarm within the U.S. intelligence community about Trump’s hasty decision to attack Syria reverberated from the Middle East back to Washington, where former CIA officer Philip Giraldi reported hearing from his intelligence contacts in the field that they were shocked at how the new poison-gas story was being distorted by Trump and the mainstream U.S. news media.

Giraldi told Scott Horton’s Webcast: “I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.”

Giraldi said his sources were more in line with an analysis postulating an accidental release of the poison gas after an Al Qaeda arms depot was hit by a Russian airstrike.

“The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving … which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels – now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda – where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear.”

Giraldi said the anger within the intelligence community over the distortion of intelligence to justify Trump’s military retaliation was so great that some covert officers were considering going public.

“People in both the agency [the CIA] and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented what he already should have known – but maybe he didn’t – and they’re afraid that this is moving toward a situation that could easily turn into an armed conflict,” Giraldi said before Thursday night’s missile strike. “They are astonished by how this is being played by the administration and by the U.S. media.”

One-Sided Coverage

The mainstream U.S. media has presented the current crisis with the same profound neocon bias that has infected the coverage of Syria and the larger Middle East for decades. For instance, The New York Times on Friday published a lead story by Michael R. Gordon and Michael D. Shear that treated the Syrian government’s responsibility for the poison-gas incident as flat-fact. The lengthy story did not even deign to include the denials from Syria and Russia that they were responsible for any intentional deployment of poison gas.

The article also fit with Trump’s desire that he be portrayed as a decisive and forceful leader. He is depicted as presiding over intense deliberations of war or peace and displaying a deep humanitarianism regarding the poison-gas victims, one of the rare moments when the Times, which has become a reliable neocon propaganda sheet, has written anything favorable about Trump at all.

According to Syrian reports on Friday, the U.S. attack killed 13 people, including five soldiers at the airbase.

Gordon, whose service to the neocon cause is notorious, was the lead author with Judith Miller of the Times’ bogus “aluminum tube” story in 2002 which falsely claimed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting a nuclear-weapons program, an article that was then cited by President George W. Bush’s aides as a key argument for invading Iraq in 2003.

Regarding this week’s events, Trump’s desperation to reverse his negative media coverage and the dubious evidence blaming Assad for the Idlib incident could fit with the “Wag the Dog” movie from 1997 in which an embattled president creates a phony foreign crisis in Albania.

In the movie, the White House operation is a cynical psychological operation to convince the American people that innocent Albanian children, including an attractive girl carrying a cat, are in danger when, In reality, the girl was an actor posing before a green screen that allowed scenes of fiery ruins to be inserted as background.

Today, because Trump and his administration are now committed to convincing Americans that Assad really was responsible for Tuesday’s poison-gas tragedy, the prospects for a full and open investigation are effectively ended. We may never know if there is truth to those allegations or whether we are being manipulated by another “wag the dog” psyop.

Posted in USA, Syria0 Comments

‘UK curbing academic free speech on ‘Israel’’

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817d5d49-6914-43a6-91a4-0099482086e7The British government is helping universities across the UK suppress the right to criticize Nazi over its human rights violations in Palestine, says a Jewish professor, vowing to never give in to the pressure.

“They are trying to stop us talking about Palestinian rights, and about peace and we will just not shut up,”  Dr. Haim Bresheeth, a Jewish academic and filmmaker, told Press TV on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately the government has helped the universities that want to shut up free speech by accepting a definition of anti-Semitism that makes anti-Semitism any criticism of Israel,”  he added.

The scholar was referring to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition that was adopted by the government of Prime Minister Theresa May last year.

It was based on IHRA’s definition that the University of Exeter and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) cancelled an annual pro-Palestinian event on Monday, which was aimed at raising awareness about human rights violations in the occupied territories.

Following the move, some 250 academics at dozens of universities across the UK penned an open letter, condemning the Tory government’s attempts to curb their right to free speech by banning criticism of the Nazi regime.

The professors said in their letter that the government’s definition of anti-Semitism is too broad and can include any criticism of the Nazi regime with regards to its occupation of Palestinian lands.

“The government has ‘adopted’ the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which can be and is being read as extending to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights, an entirely separate issue, as prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism,”  read the letter, sent to the Guardian.

“This definition seeks to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism,” the academics charged, accusing universities minister Jo Johnson of asking for the definition to be “disseminated”  throughout the higher education system.

In his interview with Press TV, Bersheeth said the definition sought to protect “Zionism and Israel”  from criticism.

“You can criticize and you should criticize every political institution that you wish,”  he argued. “We are told now that Jews who criticize Israel like me are anti-Semitic. This is nonsense.”

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Berkeley event was successful despite efforts against it

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If Americans Knew 

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Alison Weir provides the following report back on an event that almost didn’t happen:

After I was invited by the Social Justice Committee of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists (BFUU) to give a public presentation, extremist pro-Israel activists went to work to get the event canceled. They put up blog posts and even a Craigslist advertisement attacking me, exaggerating inaccurate claims about me by the ADL and, especially, the widely refuted JVP-US Campaign dossier on me.

This has become standard practice for Israel partisans who wish to prevent audiences from hearing my presentation.

A few individuals within the BFUU then took up the JVP-USC false claims, trying to get the event shut down before anyone had the chance to hear me directly. This effort threatened to succeed, but ultimately failed when members committed to social justice and free speech refused to cave in.

Activist songwriter-musician Vic Sadot, former Social Justice Committee Chair Cynthia Johnson, human rights worker Tom Luce, and current Social Justice Committee Chair Gene Herman – all longtime, respected Berkeley human rights activists – didn’t give in to the significant pressure, took a great deal of heat for this, and the event went on.

Nevertheless, they were nervous, particularly after seeing the Craigslist ad that seemed designed to foment hate against me and possibly provoke violence. At a recent event elsewhere in the area, a similar smear campaign had been undertaken against me (including another Craigslist ad), and a few Israel partisans showed up to disrupt the event — to the degree that the police had to be called. One Israel partisan then hit a woman videotaping the incident.

Fortunately, no protesters showed up this time, and I again spoke to a full house. The audience included many members of BFUU – which has a long tradition of peace and human rights activism – who came to hear me for themselves.

At the end of the talk, I was honored and extremely grateful to receive a standing ovation. Numerous audience members said they appreciated the talk, had learned new information, and bought my book.  One person told me she hadn’t known any of the information before.

This success only happened because Vic, Cynthia, Tom, Gene and others were willing to stick their necks out, and because the BFUU congregation came down on the side of free speech and against censorship.

It would have been much easier for them to cancel the event entirely, or to bring a less “controversial” speaker. But they didn’t.

This is an example of what a few brave souls can do. Thank you.

UPDATE: I’ve just learned that the event was co-sponsored by Norcal Sabeel, another committed and courageous group.

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NYT Op-Ed Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By ‘Israel’

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By Matt Peppe | American Herald Tribune 

That the New York Times demonstrates a systematic editorial bias in favor of Israeli state power and against Palestinian demands for self-determination and sovereignty is old news. Whether it is reporting on the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, the deadly Gaza flotilla raid, cease fire violations between the IDF and Hamas, or any other aspect of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the New York Times reliably acts as a mouthpiece for propagating Israeli hasbara (propaganda). Aside from its “objective” reporting, this editorial bias also manifests itself in the narratives that make their way into the Opinion section. On Tuesday, the paper allowed a spokesperson for the illegal settlers in the occupied territories to openly advocate violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the establishment an apartheid state in Mandatory Palestine.

“A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future” by Yishai Fleisher offers an alternative perspective about the future of the state of Israel than that envisioned by the Israeli government, which established a state nearly 70 years ago by forcibly dispossessing 50 percent of the native inhabitants from their land and subsequently maintaining a Jewish majority by preventing the natives from returning home because they were not Jewish. However, the perspective presented in the pages of the Times is not that of the colonized victims, but that of the settler-colonists who, like the white pioneers of the Plains in the United States, participate in the dispossession.

Unlike the Israeli and U.S. governments, which purport to seek a two-state solution while actively perpetuating the status quo in which Israel takes all the land and resources it wants from Mandatory Palestine while denying rights to the Palestinians, Fleisher makes no pretense of his rejectionist belief that Palestinians do not deserve a state of their own:

But for us settlers, the truth is clear: The two-state solution was misconceived, and will never come to pass, because Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people. Our right to this land is derived from our history, religion, international decisions and defensive wars.

The author rejects the position of every single nation on the planet – apart from Israel itself – that the West Bank belongs to its native inhabitants. This was famously imbued with the legitimacy of international law in UN Security Resolutions 242 and 338. The first resolution called unequivocally for the “(w)ithdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the latter resolution demanded the implementation of resolution 242. This is consistent with international law’s prohibition against the acquisition of territory through military conquest.

Though Fleisher references international decisions and defensive wars, he is merely spouting baseless propaganda. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was not legally binding in the first place, and even if it had been, it never would have withstood challenge in the World Court because a partion plan that granted majority rights to a group that made up a mere 1/3 of the population and owned 7 percent of the land is diametrically opposed to the principle of democracy. Likewise, whole books such as John Quigley’s The Six-Day War and Israeli Self-Defense, have meticulously dismantled the argument that Israel had any claim to self-defense in its 1967 conquest of the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

Fleisher’s real argument for possession of the West Bank is history and religion, i.e., a religious text which he believes provides a more legitimate claim than the rights of the native inhabitants whose ancestors have lived on the land for hundreds of years.

Fleisher goes on to reject the core principle of democracy, that all citizens are inherently equal and should have the same political rights in government:

Arabs can live in Israel, as other minorities do, with personal rights, not national rights. But many Arabs reject that option because they do not recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish State, with or without settlements.

In other words, the country does not belong to its citizens but to an ethnic group that enforces legal discrimination against non-members of the group. This is a political system founded on the notion of ethnic supremacy, as was the state of apartheid South Africa. It is virtually impossible to imagine the Times lending the invaluable real estate of its Opinion section to rationalizations for the denial of civil rights to any other minority. That such overt discrimination can be promoted openly in 2017 is a testament to the rampant racism in popular culture as well as in elite media against Arabs and Muslims, and the persistence of the Orientalist mentality Edward Said analyzed so thoroughly 40 years ago. It seems true indeed that anti-Arab racism is the only type of racism still publicly condoned in American society.

To Fleisher’s credit, he points out rightly that many (actually all) Palestinians reject the idea that their nation should be organized on the principle of ethnic supremacy. However, he portrays this as an example of their intransigence. In reality, Palestinians reject a state that would treat them as second-class citizens because it is inherently unjust and is incompatible with the principles of equality and democracy. It is the same position that any reasonable person would take if they were offered an unfair and inferior political status. It is worth noting that Fleisher refuses to even refer to Palestinians as such, instead using the traditional technique of calling them “Arabs”, rhetorically denying their very existence.

He goes on to state that:

Most settlers say without ambivalence that the two-state solution is dead, and the time has come for a discussion of new options by which Israel would hold onto the West Bank and eventually assert Israel sovereignty there, just as we did with the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem. Yes, Israel will have to grapple with questions of the Arab population’s rights, and the issues of the country’s security and Jewish character, but we believe those questions can be worked out through the democratic process.

This represents unapologetic advocacy for violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the formal establishment of an apartheid regime over the territories. By referring to questions worked out through the democratic process, he means the democratic process of the colonizers, with no input from the colonized people who represent the actual owners of the land. This is a conception of democracy so far removed from the meaning of the word that it bears no relation at all to the actual concept.

Fleisher then presents what he calls five “credible” alternatives to the two-state solution, none of which are remotely compatible with international human rights law. One of the alternatives calls for outright ethnic cleansing by banishing Palestinians to Arab countries, rationalized by saying they would be “generously compensated” to emigrate voluntarily. This despite the fact that not only do the 5 million Palestinians in the occupied territory enjoy the inalienable right to live in their lands, but 5 million more Palestinian refugees retain the right of return, per UNGA Resolution 194, to the land they and/or their ancestors were forcibly removed from.

He says the new administration presents a new opportunity to solve the conflict, and opines that John Kerry’s proclamation that “there really is no viable alternative” to the two-state solution is contradicted by its manifest failure.

Indeed, the failure of the two-state plan is undeniable. However, there is another actual solution – apart from the five discriminatory and unjust proposals presented in Fleisher’s column – that goes unmentioned despite its long history. Pronounced in a 1969 PLO resolution, revived in 1999 by Edward Said after the failure of the Oslo Accords, and promoted widely today by Palestinian activists such as Ali Abunimah, it is a solution – indeed the only solution – that would be entirely compatible with international law and the principles of equality, democracy and human rights. The solution is one state with universal citizenship and equal rights for all residents of Mandatory Palestine, be they Jewish, Muslim or any other religion or ethnicity. Unfortunately, Times readers are left with only the fanatically extremist views of the settler-colonists who for decades have stolen Palestinian land and water while denying Palestinians self-determination.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Trump’s ‘Wag the Dog’ Moment

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By Robert Parry | Consortium News 

Just two days after news broke of an alleged poison-gas attack in northern Syria, President Trump brushed aside advice from some U.S. intelligence analysts doubting the Syrian regime’s guilt and launched a lethal retaliatory missile strike against a Syrian airfield.

Trump immediately won plaudits from Official Washington, especially from neoconservatives who have been trying to wrestle control of his foreign policy away from his nationalist and personal advisers since the days after his surprise victory on Nov. 8.

There is also an internal dispute over the intelligence. On Thursday night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. intelligence community assessed with a “high degree of confidence” that the Syrian government had dropped a poison gas bomb on civilians in Idlib province.

But a number of intelligence sources have made contradictory assessments, saying the preponderance of evidence suggests that Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels were at fault, either by orchestrating an intentional release of a chemical agent as a provocation or by possessing containers of poison gas that ruptured during a conventional bombing raid.

One intelligence source told me that the most likely scenario was a staged event by the rebels intended to force Trump to reverse a policy, announced only days earlier, that the U.S. government would no longer seek “regime change” in Syria and would focus on attacking the common enemy, Islamic terror groups that represent the core of the rebel forces.

The source said the Trump national security team split between the President’s close personal advisers, such as nationalist firebrand Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner, on one side and old-line neocons who have regrouped under National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army general who was a protégé of neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus.

White House Infighting

In this telling, the earlier ouster of retired Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and this week’s removal of Bannon from the National Security Council were key steps in the reassertion of neocon influence inside the Trump presidency. The strange personalities and ideological extremism of Flynn and Bannon made their ousters easier, but they were obstacles that the neocons wanted removed.

Though Bannon and Kushner are often presented as rivals, the source said, they shared the belief that Trump should tell the truth about Syria, revealing the Obama administration’s CIA analysis that a fatal sarin gas attack in 2013 was a “false-flag” operation intended to sucker President Obama into fully joining the Syrian war on the side of the rebels — and the intelligence analysts’ similar beliefs about Tuesday’s incident.

Instead, Trump went along with the idea of embracing the initial rush to judgment blaming Assad for the Idlib poison-gas event. The source added that Trump saw Thursday night’s missile assault as a way to change the conversation in Washington, where his administration has been under fierce attack from Democrats claiming that his election resulted from a Russian covert operation.

If changing the narrative was Trump’s goal, it achieved some initial success with several of Trump’s fiercest neocon critics, such as neocon Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, praising the missile strike, as did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The neocons and Israel have long sought “regime change” in Damascus even if the ouster of Assad might lead to a victory by Islamic extremists associated with Al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State.

Wagging the Dog

Trump employing a “wag the dog” strategy, in which he highlights his leadership on an international crisis to divert attention from domestic political problems, is reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s decision to attack Serbia in 1999 as impeachment clouds were building around his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov

Trump’s advisers, in briefing the press on Thursday night, went to great lengths to highlight Trump’s compassion toward the victims of the poison gas and his decisiveness in bombing Assad’s military in contrast to Obama’s willingness to allow the intelligence community to conduct a serious review of the evidence surrounding the 2013 sarin-gas case.

Ultimately, Obama listened to his intelligence advisers who told him there was no “slam-dunk” evidence implicating Assad’s regime and he pulled back from a military strike at the last minute – while publicly maintaining the fiction that the U.S. government was certain of Assad’s guilt.

In both cases – 2013 and 2017 – there were strong reasons to doubt Assad’s responsibility. In 2013, he had just invited United Nations inspectors into Syria to investigate cases of alleged rebel use of chemical weapons and thus it made no sense that he would launch a sarin attack in the Damascus suburbs, guaranteeing that the U.N. inspectors would be diverted to that case.

Similarly, now, Assad’s military has gained a decisive advantage over the rebels and he had just scored a major diplomatic victory with the Trump administration’s announcement that the U.S. was no longer seeking “regime change” in Syria. The savvy Assad would know that a chemical weapon attack now would likely result in U.S. retaliation and jeopardize the gains that his military has achieved with Russian and Iranian help.

The counter-argument to this logic – made by The New York Times and other neocon-oriented news outlets – essentially maintains that Assad is a crazed barbarian who was testing out his newfound position of strength by baiting President Trump. Of course, if that were the case, it would have made sense that Assad would have boasted of his act, rather than deny it.

But logic and respect for facts no longer prevail inside Official Washington, nor inside the mainstream U.S. news media.

Intelligence Uprising

Alarm within the U.S. intelligence community about Trump’s hasty decision to attack Syria reverberated from the Middle East back to Washington, where former CIA officer Philip Giraldi reported hearing from his intelligence contacts in the field that they were shocked at how the new poison-gas story was being distorted by Trump and the mainstream U.S. news media.

Giraldi told Scott Horton’s Webcast: “I’m hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available who are saying that the essential narrative that we’re all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham.”

Giraldi said his sources were more in line with an analysis postulating an accidental release of the poison gas after an Al Qaeda arms depot was hit by a Russian airstrike.

“The intelligence confirms pretty much the account that the Russians have been giving … which is that they hit a warehouse where the rebels – now these are rebels that are, of course, connected with Al Qaeda – where the rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear.”

Giraldi said the anger within the intelligence community over the distortion of intelligence to justify Trump’s military retaliation was so great that some covert officers were considering going public.

“People in both the agency [the CIA] and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented what he already should have known – but maybe he didn’t – and they’re afraid that this is moving toward a situation that could easily turn into an armed conflict,”  Giraldi said before Thursday night’s missile strike. “They are astonished by how this is being played by the administration and by the U.S. media.”

One-Sided Coverage

The mainstream U.S. media has presented the current crisis with the same profound neocon bias that has infected the coverage of Syria and the larger Middle East for decades. For instance, The New York Times on Friday published a lead story by Michael R. Gordon and Michael D. Shear that treated the Syrian government’s responsibility for the poison-gas incident as flat-fact. The lengthy story did not even deign to include the denials from Syria and Russia that they were responsible for any intentional deployment of poison gas.

The article also fit with Trump’s desire that he be portrayed as a decisive and forceful leader. He is depicted as presiding over intense deliberations of war or peace and displaying a deep humanitarianism regarding the poison-gas victims, one of the rare moments when the Times, which has become a reliable neocon propaganda sheet, has written anything favorable about Trump at all.

According to Syrian reports on Friday, the U.S. attack killed 13 people, including five soldiers at the airbase.

Gordon, whose service to the neocon cause is notorious, was the lead author with Judith Miller of the Times’ bogus “aluminum tube” story in 2002 which falsely claimed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting a nuclear-weapons program, an article that was then cited by President George W. Bush’s aides as a key argument for invading Iraq in 2003.

Regarding this week’s events, Trump’s desperation to reverse his negative media coverage and the dubious evidence blaming Assad for the Idlib incident could fit with the “Wag the Dog” movie from 1997 in which an embattled president creates a phony foreign crisis in Albania.

In the movie, the White House operation is a cynical psychological operation to convince the American people that innocent Albanian children, including an attractive girl carrying a cat, are in danger when, In reality, the girl was an actor posing before a green screen that allowed scenes of fiery ruins to be inserted as background.

Today, because Trump and his administration are now committed to convincing Americans that Assad really was responsible for Tuesday’s poison-gas tragedy, the prospects for a full and open investigation are effectively ended. We may never know if there is truth to those allegations or whether we are being manipulated by another “wag the dog” psyop.

Posted in USA, Syria0 Comments

Here’s why Donald Trump is unlikely to attack Syria

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By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran 

The debate about the Syrian chemical attack yesterday and President Trump’s comments during a news conference with the King of Jordan have led to speculation that the US might be readying an attack on Syria.

The speculation stems from the fact that Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said that if the UN Security Council fails to take action over the chemical attack the US might consider taking “unilateral action”, whilst President Trump himself made comments during the news conference that appeared to have the military option open.

Whilst in any international issue the possibility of unilateral military action by the US can never unfortunately be completely ruled out, on balance neither Nikki Haley’s comment nor President Trump’s comment seem to presage military action.

Nikki Haley’s comment was made during a debate in the UN Security Council about the setting up of an investigation to look into the details of the chemical attack.  No one questions that such an investigation should take place.  The draft Resolution prepared by the Western powers is – as with every Resolution the Western powers have proposed during the Syrian crisis – absurdly unbalanced, effectively blaming the Syrian government for the chemical attack before the investigation takes place.  However even this Resolution concedes that an investigation is needed, especially after the relevant UN bodies have said that they cannot themselves say who was responsible for the chemical attack.

The Russians for their part have prepared their own draft Resolution which – far more neutrally – calls for an investigation.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that Nikki Haley’s comment was part of the game of bluff and counter bluff that nowadays regularly takes place in the UN Security Council.  Specifically, she appears to have been trying to scare the Russians into agreeing to the Western draft Resolution and to drop their own.

The Russians are most unlikely to be intimidated by this kind of bluff, and having already ruled the West’s draft Resolution out they will almost certainly persist in rejecting it.

As for Donald Trump’s comments, as the entirety of his words during the press conference show, he did not directly threaten unilateral US military action in Syria but made his comments when pressed to say by a journalist whether or not he was considering military action.  He declined to give any concrete answer one way or the other, but the clear impression from his comments is that he is not contemplating it.

Overall the impression President Trump’s news conference gave was that Donald Trump’s focus remains overwhelmingly on fighting ISIS – he said far more about that than about the chemical attack in Syria – and that though he does not want to give more ammunition to his domestic opponents by denying the Syrian government’s responsibility for the chemical attack, he tried to shift ultimate responsibility for the likely lack of a US reaction away from himself onto President Obama.

Ultimately the same factors that deterred a US military attack to lift the Syrian army’s siege of eastern Aleppo last autumn remain in place today.  The Russian air defence system which was installed in Syria with its S400 and S300 missiles is still there.  The US military in the autumn made absolutely clear their deep reluctance to engage this system, and nothing since has happened to change their views.

President Trump more than any other President in recent years looks to the US military for political support.  It is even less credible that he will go against their advice than President Obama did.

In light of all this a unilateral US attack on the Syrian military on anything like the necessary scale to affect the course of the Syrian war is extremely unlikely.

Posted in USA, Syria0 Comments

CrossTalk: Unhinged Intel

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Top French banks, insurer financing Nazi settlements

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Several human rights organizations have exposed the complicity of four major French banks and an insurance company in financing Nazi Jewish illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The revelation was made in a Wednesday report titled “Dangerous Liaisons: French banks and Israeli settlements” on the website of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), an international human rights NGO with 184 member organizations from 112 countries.

The banks of BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole and Groupe BPCE as well as AXA insurance firm hold shares in or are involved with Nazi banks, which are an “essential political tool in the creation of the settlements (and) finance construction,” the report read.

The five companies are further involved with businesses that help settlement development through the building of “housing, factories, the installation of telephone and internet connections, or surveillance equipment,” it added.

Additionally, the report, which was co-authored by a number of other human rights groups, including the France-Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS), held France responsible for indirectly supporting the Nazi Jewish illegal settlement enterprise by allowing the institutions to finance businesses involved in the construction activities.

“The French government must bring pressure to bear on the banks and insurance companies, demanding that they bring all their support to an end,” the report concluded.

Meanwhile, FIDH Vice President Maryse Artiguelong expressed frustration at the French groups’ involvement “in this illegal activity just to make a bit more money,” adding, “(They) are seeking profit at any cost.”

Moreover, Didier Fagart, an AFPS member, urged the French groups to  “withdraw their money from Israeli businesses with a connection to the settlements.”

“French banks cannot say they don’t know what is going on. They must make the right decision,”  Fagart said.

Emboldened by the support of US President Donald Trump’s administration, the Tel Aviv regime has given the go-ahead to the construction of many Nazi Jewish illegal settler units in the occupied territories.

Nazi Jewish illegal settlement expansion defies United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 adopted in December 2016 that condemned the settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.

Over half a million Nazi Jewish live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The continued expansion of Nazi Jewish settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, France0 Comments

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