Archive | June 6th, 2017

Trump Is Out of Control

NOVANEWS

President Trump at the White House on Monday. (Photo: Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)

The statements President Trump issued on Twitter in recent days lead to a chilling conclusion: The man is out of control.

I know that is a radical thing to say about the elected leader of the United States, the most powerful individual in the world. And I know his unorthodox use of social media is thought by some, including the president himself, to be brilliant. But I don’t see political genius in the invective coming from Trump these days. I see an angry man lashing out at enemies real and imagined — a man dangerously overwhelmed.

On Monday, he started at 6:25 a.m. to comprehensively undermine his own legal team in its quest to win Supreme Court approval for a travel ban targeting Muslims. I can call it that, without legalistic hemming and hawing, because the president did so. Emphatically.

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN,” Trump wrote.

Maybe he thinks that tweets, somehow, don’t count. But of course they do. These are written statements typed by the president himself, and as such should carry more weight than a processed release from the White House press office, not less. Trump’s lawyers — arguing in support of the blocked measure, which would bar visitors from six majority-Muslim countries — contend it is not a “travel ban” as such. Attorneys on the other side will surely use Trump’s own words against him.

And he had plenty more to say:

“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C. [Supreme Court]”

“The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!”

“In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!”

Let that last one settle in for a moment. Has a president ever publicly dismissed the entire judicial branch of our government as “slow and political,” even in a moment of pique? Does Trump grasp the concept of separation of powers? Has he even read the Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend?

Whether Trump’s statements during the campaign — calling for a surely unconstitutional blanket ban on Muslim visitors from anywhere — should be taken into account by courts considering the current “watered down” version is debatable. His written statements as president, however, are clearly germane. Opponents of the ban might want to send him flowers.

Trump first let the cat out of the bag Saturday night, following the terrorist attack in London, when he wrote, “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

He went on to express compassion and support for “London and the U.K.” But by Sunday he was off the rails: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’ ”

What rational head of state attacks the mayor of a city that has just been hit by terrorists? Why would Trump do such a thing, in the process taking Mayor Sadiq Khan’s words out of context in a way that totally changed their meaning? Because last year Khan, perhaps the highest-profile Muslim public official in a non-Muslim country, criticized then-candidate Trump, saying that his “ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe.”

What Khan actually said Sunday was that the public had “no reason to be alarmed” about an increased police presence on the streets — not, as Trump suggests, that they should be nonchalant about terrorism. Khan’s stoic and defiant response is in the tradition of Churchill’s during the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, and Thatcher’s during the Irish Republican Army’s terrorism campaign. Londoners have rallied around him. Trump, by contrast, sounds like a ridiculous Chicken Little squawking about the coop.

Words have consequences. Trump’s may hurt British Prime Minister Theresa May in Thursday’s election. Assuming she survives, she will have learned a lesson about getting too close to a volcanic president who might at any minute erupt.

We already knew that Trump had a narrow mind and a small heart. Now we must wonder about his emotional stability, his grasp of reality, or both.

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America’s Real Red Scare: The Slow-Motion Collapse of the American Empire

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A convoy of armored personnel vehicles cross the Soviet-Afghan border during the withdrawal of the Red Army from Afghanistan in May 1988. (Photo: AFP / Getty Images, file)

Jump into your time machine and let me transport you back to another age.

It’s May 2001 and the Atlantic Monthly has just arrived in the mail.  I’m tantalized by the cover article.  “Russia is finished,” the magazine announces.  The subtitle minces no words: “The unstoppable descent into social catastrophe and strategic irrelevance.”  Could it be that the country I had worried most about as a military officer during all those grim years of the Cold War, the famed “Evil Empire” that had threatened us with annihilation, was truly kaput, even in its Russian rather than Soviet guise?

Sixteen years later, the article’s message seems just a tad premature.  Today’s Russia surely has its problems — from poverty to pollution to prostitution to a rickety petro-economy — but on the geopolitical world stage it is “finished” no longer.  Vladimir Putin’s Russia has recently been enjoying heightened influence, largely at the expense of a divided and disputatious superpower that now itself seems to be on an “unstoppable descent.”

Sixteen years after Russia was declared irrelevant, a catastrophe, finito, it is once again a colossus — at least on the American political scene, if nowhere else.  And that should disturb you far less than this: more than a generation after defeating the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the United States of 2017 seems to be doing its level best to emulate some of the worst aspects of its former foe and once rival superpower.

Yes, the U.S. has a Soviet problem, and I’m not referring to the allegations of the moment in Washington: that the Trump campaign and Russian officials colluded, that money may have flowed into that campaign via Russian oligarchs tied to Putin, that the Russians hacked the U.S. election to aid Donald Trump, that those close to the president-elect dreamed of setting up a secret back channel to Moscow and suggested to the Russian ambassador that it be done through the Russian embassy, or even that Putin has a genuine hold of some sort on Donald Trump.  All of this is, of course, generating attention galore, as well as outrage, in the mainstream media and among the chattering classes, leading some to talk of a new “red scare” in America.  All of it is also being investigated, whether by congressional intelligence committees or by former FBI director — now special counsel — Robert Mueller.

When it comes to what I’m talking about, though, you don’t need a committee or a counsel or a back channel or a leaker from some intelligence agency to ferret it out.  Whatever Trump campaign officials, Russian oligarchs, or Vladimir Putin himself did or didn’t do, America’s Soviet problem is all around us: a creeping (and creepy) version of authoritarianism that anyone who lived through the Cold War years should recognize.  It involves an erosion of democratic values; the ever-expanding powers exercised by a national security state operating as a shadow government and defined by militarism, surveillance, secrecy, prisons, and other structures of dominance and control; ever-widening gaps between the richest few and the impoverished many; and, of course, ever more weapons, along with ever more wars.

That’s a real red scare, America, and it’s right here in the homeland.

In February, if you remember — and given the deluge of news, half news, rumor, and innuendo, who can remember anything these days? — Donald Trump memorably compared the U.S. to Russia.  When Bill O’Reilly called Vladimir Putin “a killer” in an interview with the new president, he responded that there was little difference between us and them, for — as he put it — we had our killers, too, and weren’t exactly innocents abroad when it came to world affairs.  (“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”)  The president has said a lot of outlandish things in his first months in office, but here he was on to something.

My Secret Briefing on the Soviet Union

When I was a young lieutenant in the Air Force, in 1986 if memory serves, I attended a secret briefing on the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan was president, and we had no clue that we were living through the waning years of the Cold War.  Back then, believing that I should know my enemy, I was reading a lot about the Soviets in “open sources”; you know, books, magazines, and newspapers.  The “secret” briefing I attended revealed little that was new to me. (Classified information is often overhyped.)  I certainly heard no audacious predictions of a Soviet collapse in five years (though the Soviet Union would indeed implode in 1991).  Like nearly everyone at the time, the briefers assumed the USSR would be our archenemy for decades to come and it went without saying that the Berlin Wall was a permanent fixture in a divided Europe, a forever symbol of ruthless Communist oppression.

Little did we know that, three years later, the Soviet military would stand aside as East Germans tore down that wall.  And who then would have believed that a man might be elected president of the United States a generation later on the promise of building a “big, fat, beautiful wall” on our shared border with Mexico?

I wasn’t allowed to take notes during that briefing, but I remember the impression I was left with: that the USSR was deeply authoritarian, a grim surveillance state with an economy dependent on global weapons sales; that it was intent on nuclear domination; that it was imperialist and expansionist; that it persecuted its critics and dissidents; and that it had serious internal problems carefully suppressed in the cause of world mastery, including rampant alcohol and drug abuse, bad health care and declining longevity (notably for men), a poisoned environment, and an extensive prison system featuring gulags.  All of this was exacerbated by festering sores overseas, especially a costly and stalemated war in Afghanistan and client-states that absorbed its resources (think: Cuba) while offering little in return.

This list of Soviet problems, vintage 1986, should have a familiar ring to it, since it sounds uncannily like a description of what’s wrong with the United States today.

In case you think that’s an over-the-top statement, let’s take that list from the briefing — eight points in all — one item at a time.

1. An authoritarian, surveillance state: The last time the U.S. Congress formally declared war was in 1941.  Since then, American presidents have embarked on foreign wars and interventions ever more often with ever less oversight from Congress.  Power continues to grow and coalesce in the executive branch, strengthening an imperial presidency enhanced by staggering technologies of surveillance, greatly expanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Indeed, America now has 17 intelligence agencies with a combined yearly budget of $80 billion.  Unsurprisingly, Americans are surveilled more than ever, allegedly for our safety even if such a system breeds meekness and stifles dissent.

2. An economy dependent on global weapons sales: The U.S. continues to dominate the global arms trade in a striking fashion.  It was no mistake that a centerpiece of President Trump’s recent trip was a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.  On the same trip, he told the Emir of Qatar that he was in the Middle East to facilitate “the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment.”  Now more than ever, beautiful weaponry made in the U.S.A. is a significant driver of domestic economic growth as well as of the country’s foreign policy.

3. Bent on nuclear domination: Continuing the policies of President Obama, the Trump administration envisions a massive modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal, to the tune of at least a trillion dollars over the next generation.  Much like an old-guard Soviet premier, Trump has boasted that America will always remain at “the top of the pack” when it comes to nuclear weapons.

4. Imperialist and expansionist: Historians speak of America’s “informal” empire, by which they mean the U.S. is less hands-on than past imperial powers like the Romans and the British.  But there’s nothing informal or hands-off about America’s 800 overseas military bases or the fact that its Special Operations forces are being deployed in 130 or more countries yearly.  When the U.S. military speaks of global reach, global power, and full-spectrum dominance, this is traditional imperialism cloaked in banal catchphrases.  Put differently, Soviet imperialism, which American leaders always professed to fear, never had a reach of this sort.

5. Persecutes critics and dissidents: Whether it’s been the use of the Patriot Act under George W. Bush’s presidency, the persecution of whistleblowers using the World War I-era Espionage Act under the Obama administration, or the vilification of the media by the new Trump administration, the U.S. is far less tolerant of dissent today than it was prior to the Soviet collapse.  As Homeland Security Secretary and retired four-star Marine General John Kelly recently put it, speaking of news stories about the Trump administration based on anonymous intelligence sources, such leaks are “darn close to treason.”  Add to such an atmosphere Trump’s attacks on the media as the “enemy” of the people and on critical news stories as “fake” and you have an environment ripe for the future suppression of dissent.

In the Soviet Union, political opponents were often threatened with jail or worse, and those threats were regularly enforced by men wearing military or secret police uniforms.  In that context, let’s not forget the “Lock her up!” chants led by retired Lt. General Michael Flynn at the Republican National Convention and aimed at Donald Trump’s political opponent of that moment, Hillary Clinton.

6. Internal problems like drug abuse, inadequate health care, and a poisoned environment: Alcoholism is still rife in Russia and environmental damage widespread, but consider the U.S. today.  An opioid crisis is killing more than 30,000 people a year.  Lead poisoning in places like Flint, Michigan, and New Orleans is causing irreparable harm to the young.  The disposal of wastewater from fracking operations is generating earthquakes in Ohio and Oklahoma.  Even as environmental hazards proliferate, the Trump administration is gutting the Environmental Protection Agency.  As health crises grow more serious, the Trump administration, abetted by a Republican-led Congress, is attempting to cut health-care coverage and benefits, as well as the funding that might protect Americans from deadly pathogens.  Disturbingly, as with the Soviet Union in the era of its collapse, life expectancy among white men is declining, mainly due to drug abuse, suicide, and other despair-driven problems.

7. Extensive prison systems: As a percentage of its population, no country imprisons more of its own people than the United States.  While more than two million of their fellow citizens languish in prisons, Americans continue to see their nation as a beacon of freedom, ignoring Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.  In addition, the country now has a president who believes in torture, who has called for the murder of terrorists’ families, and who wants to refill Guantánamo with prisoners.  It also has an attorney general who wants to make prison terms for low-level drug offenders ever more draconian.

8. Stalemated wars: You have to hand it to the Soviets.  They did at least exhibit a learning curve in their disastrous war in Afghanistan and so the Red Army finally left that country in 1989 after a decade of high casualties and frustration (even if its troops returned to a land on the verge of implosion).  U.S. forces, on the other hand, have been in Afghanistan for 16 years, with the Taliban growing ever stronger, yet its military’s response has once again been to call for investing more money and sending in more troops to reverse the “stalemate” there.  Meanwhile, after 14 years, Iraq War 3.0 festers, bringing devastation to places like Mosul, even as its destabilizing results continue to manifest themselves in Syria and indeed throughout the greater Middle East.  Despite or rather because of these disastrous results, U.S. leaders continue to over-deploy U.S. Special Operations forces, contributing to exhaustion and higher suicide rates in the ranks.

In light of these eight points, that lighthearted Beatles tune and relic of the Cold War, “Back in the USSR,” takes on a new, and far harsher, meaning.

What Is to Be Done?

Slowly, seemingly inexorably, the U.S. is becoming more like the former Soviet Union.  Just to begin the list of similarities: too many resources are being devoted to the military and the national security state; too many over-decorated generals are being given too much authority in government; bleeding-ulcer wars continue unstanched in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere; infrastructure (roads, bridges, pipelines, dams, and so on) continues to crumble; restless “republics” grumble about separating from the union (Calexit!); rampant drug abuse and declining life expectancy are now American facts of life. Meanwhile, the latest U.S. president is, in temperament, authoritarian, even as government “services” take on an increasingly nepotistic flavor at the top.

I’m worried, comrade!  Echoing the cry of the great Lenin, what is to be done?  Given the list of symptoms, here’s one obvious 10-step approach to the de-sovietization of America:

1. Decrease “defense” spending by 10% annually for the next five years.  In the Soviet spirit, think of it as a five-year plan to restore our revolution (as in the American Revolution), which was, after all, directed against imperial policies exercised by a “bigly” king.

2. Cut the number of generals and admirals in the military by half, and get rid of all the meaningless ribbons, badges, and medals they wear.  In other words, don’t just cut down on the high command but on their tendency to look (and increasingly to act) like Soviet generals of old.  And don’t allow them to serve in high governmental positions until they’ve been retired for at least 10 years.

3. Get our military out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn countries in the Greater Middle East and Africa.  Reduce that imperial footprint overseas by closing costly military bases.

4. Work to eliminate nuclear weapons globally by, as a first step, cutting the vast U.S. arsenal in half and forgetting about that trillion-dollar “modernization” program.  Eliminate land-based ICBMs first; they are no longer needed for any meaningful deterrent purposes.

5. Take the money saved on “modernizing” nukes and invest it in updating America’s infrastructure.

6. Curtail state surveillance.  Freedom needs privacy to flourish.  As a nation, we need to remember that security is not the bedrock of democracy — the U.S. Constitution is.

7. Work to curb drug abuse by cutting back on criminalization.  Leave the war mentality behind, including the “war on drugs,” and focus instead on providing better treatment programs for addicts.  Set a goal of cutting America’s prison population in half over the next decade.

8. Life expectancy will increase with better health care.  Provide health care coverage for all using a single-payer system.  Every American should have the same coverage as a member of Congress.  People shouldn’t be suffering and dying because they can’t afford to see a doctor or pay for their prescriptions.

9. Nothing is more fundamental to “national security” than clean air and water.  It’s folly to risk poisoning the environment in the name of either economic productivity or building up the military.  If you doubt this, ask citizens of Russia and the former Soviet Republics, who still struggle with the fallout from the poisonous environmental policies of Soviet days.

10. Congress needs to assert its constitutional authority over war and the budget, and begin to act like the “check and balance” it’s supposed to be when it comes to executive power.

There you have it.  These 10 steps should go some way toward solving America’s real Russian problem — the Soviet one.  Won’t you join me, comrade?

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Seeds of Fascism Sprout Anew in Trump’s America

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“It is of course conceivable that a fascist party could be elected to power in free, competitive elections,” wrote Robert Paxton in his 2004 book The Anatomy of Fascism

“It got me thinking that nations, like people, can be changed very quickly according to how they are led,” writes Greenway. (Photo: AP)

Watching Donald Trump on TV whipping up his base of supporters at a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., I had a sudden feeling I had seen this all before. I remembered a speech I had seen on YouTube. It was a speech Mussolini had given in Milan in 1932. I watched it again, and it was all there. The chin thrust, the pouts, the hand gestures, the adoring base cheering every word. He spoke of the might of his army “second to none,” the “injustices committed against us,” and how he had “stormed the old political class.” There was even a complaint about the press that had drawn “arbitrary conclusions” to what he was saying. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, his squads of roughnecks, were used to assaulting reporters they didn’t like.

It got me thinking that nations, like people, can be changed very quickly according to how they are led. Today, Angela Merkel is thought of as the thoughtful, reasonable voice of the liberal order that has ruled in the West since World War II. But within my memory, her country lived under two monstrous dictatorships, Hitler’s and East Germany’s. What makes Germany today different from the Germany of my childhood is leadership.

“In his 2004 book, The Anatomy of Fascism, Robert O. Paxton wrote that fascism did not die with the end of World War II, that its seeds were planted ‘within all democratic countries, not excluding the United States.’”

Japan today is our closest ally in the Far East. A more civilized and polite society you cannot find. Yet older Americans can remember when the Japanese played a very different role. The difference in the way the Japanese treated their prisoners of war in World War I and World War II demonstrates how quickly a country can change. In World War I, Japan was on the side of the Allies, and treated the German and Austrian POWs it captured in Germany’s Far East possessions with extreme respect and to the letter of the Geneva Convention.

Then, in the 1930s, Japan turned toward militarism and nationalism. In one generation, when World War II came, Japanese society had changed. When WWII broke out, the Japanese began treating their prisoners of war with extreme cruelty against every convention. The difference was leadership.

Today the Italians are an easygoing and generous people. But when Fascism took hold in the early 1920s, Italy became belligerent and bullying. Its concentration camps for the native population in Libya and its use of poison gas became genocidal. And it was quick to join the Nazis in dreams of conquest. Mussolini was telling Italians they had to begin winning again.

In his 2004 book, The Anatomy of Fascism, Robert O. Paxton wrote that fascism did not die with the end of World War II, that its seeds were planted “within all democratic countries, not excluding the United States.” According to Paxton, fascism was a “form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood. . . . “Fascism was an affair of the gut more than of the brain.”

Or as R.J.B. Bosworth wrote in his 2005 book “Mussolini’s Italy,” “Border fascism,” an obsession with borders and keeping the population pure, was always a “key strain in the fascist melody,” as was “allowing the nation to stand tall again.” All you needed was a charismatic leader, Mussolini, whom Paxton compared to the modern “media-era celebrity.

Thirteen years ago Paxton wrote that all that is required for a rebirth of fascism is “polarization, deadlock, mass mobilization against internal and external enemies, and complicity by existing elites. . . . It is of course conceivable that a fascist party could be elected to power in free, competitive elections.”

But that could never happen here in America, the oldest democracy in the world, could it?

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Where Are All Saudi Arabia’s Protesters? These 14 Are Awaiting Execution

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“The sentences should immediately be quashed,” said Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf

“In nearly all the trial judgments analyzed, defendants retracted their ‘confessions,’ saying they were coerced,” Human Rights Watch notes. (Photo: Getty)

Following President Donald’s Trump recent visit to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross came under fire for his tone-deaf remarks in which he lauded the lack of public protest he witnessed while in the country.

A report published by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on Tuesday offers a worrying explanation for why public dissent is so hard to find in the oil-rich kingdom.

“Court documents show that all defendants, including the 14 sentenced to death, were held in pretrial detention for more than two years before their trial began.”
—Human Rights Watch

In what Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch called a ploy to “settle scores and crush dissent under the guise of combating ‘terrorism,'” Saudi Arabia is reportedly set to execute 14 protestors following trials rife with inequities and abuse.

“Court documents show that all defendants, including the 14 sentenced to death, were held in pretrial detention for more than two years before their trial began,” noted Human Rights Watch. “In nearly all the trial judgments analyzed, defendants retracted their ‘confessions,’ saying they were coerced in circumstances that in some cases amounted to torture, including beatings and prolonged solitary confinement. The court rejected all torture allegations without investigating the claims.”

The death sentences were upheld by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court, which is responsible for trying terrorism cases. Human Rights Watch characterized the court as “notorious,” and concluded that any ruling it disseminates should be rejected.

Of those set to be executed, four were deemed guilty of crimes committed when they were teenagers. All 14 are Shiites, a persecuted religious minority in the kingdom. The report notes that there are 38 Saudi Shiites “currently sentenced to death.”

“The sham court proceedings that led to death sentences for 38 Shia men and boys brazenly flout international fair trial standards,” Lynn Maalouf, the director of research at Amnesty International in the Middle East, said in a statement. “The sentences should immediately be quashed.”

This conclusion comes after Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International examined a number of court judgments issued by the Specialized Criminal Court between 2013 and 2016.

Most of the judgments, the organizations found, “were against men and children accused of protest-related crimes following mass demonstrations in 2011 and 2012.”

Saudi Arabia has of late become a frequent topic of political conversation in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

As Common Dreams reported on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, has been pressuring Prime Minister Theresa May to release a study that reportedly implicates Saudi Arabia in the spread of violent extremism.

In the United States, President Donald Trump was sharply criticized recently for his lavish visit to the kingdom, during which he announced many massive “deals”—including an arms deal that Brookings deemed “fake news” in an analysis published on Monday—and failed to confront the regime over its flagrant and persistent violations of human rights.

“Dozens of human rights defenders and activists,” Human Rights Watch concluded in its annual report on the kingdom, are currently serving “long prison sentences for criticising authorities or advocating political and rights reforms.”

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Bolivian President Warns Trump’s America ‘Main Threat to Mother Earth and Life Itself’

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By ditching global agreement on climate, Evo Morales says United States denying “future to upcoming generations”

Bolivian President Evo Morales addresses the Ocean Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on June 5, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Bolivian President Evo Morales addresses the Ocean Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on June 5, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua/Li Muzi)

As the United Nations this week warned the world’s ocean are under threat as never before from global warming and other human activity, Bolivian President Evo Morales took direct aim at President Donald Trump by saying his decision to withdraw from Paris climate agreement proves the United States is now the “main threat to mother Earth and life itself.”

Addressing the first international Oceans Conference at the UN headquarters in New York City on Monday, Morales charged that by rejecting the scientific consensus and ditching the landmark agreement, the U.S.—the world’s largest driver of greenhouse gas emissions and its “main polluter”—was “denying science, turning [its] backs on multilateralism and attempting to deny a future to upcoming generations.”

“The history of the United States is the exploitation of peoples and natural resources of the [Global] South. Its current wager: to destroy Mother Earth.” —Bolivian President Evo MoralesAt the conference, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed drew on on scientific findings and reporting from around the world to paint a troubling picture of the peril now facing the world’s ocean.

“Globally, the sea level has risen by 20 centimetres since the start of the 20th century,” Mohammed stated, “due mostly to thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of glaciers and ice caps. Some regions are experiencing even greater sea level rise.” Overall warming trends, acidification, coral bleaching, and sea leve rise, she continued “are affecting eco­systems in all regions, threatening fisheries, food chains and the oceans’ ability to act as efficient carbon sinks.”

In his opening remarks to the event, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the oceans—which he called “the lifeblood of our planet”—harmed by warming, pollution, and exploitation by industry are currently “under threat as never before.”

According to Guterres, “Improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail.” He called on the world leaders gathered in New York to set “aside short-term national gain to prevent long-term global catastrophe. Conserving our oceans and using them sustainably is preserving life itself.”

If not addressed with urgency, Mohammed warned, the results this century will be “catastrophic for coastal habitats and economies” and “hundreds of millions of people” are now at risk.

It was for these reasons and others that many have come to share Morales’ dim view of U.S. leadership under Trump and the Republican Party.

Last week, in the immediate wake of Trump’s announcement about Paris, Morales decried the decision while putting it in historical context. “The history of the United States,” he said, “is the exploitation of peoples and natural resources of the [Global] South. Its current wager: to destroy Mother Earth.”

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US-backed militants establish new encampment in southeastern Syria

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__________
Al-Masdar News
US-backed militants establish new encampment in southeastern Syria

Militants of Maghaweir Al-Thawra (Revolutionary guards), an islamist group supported by the U.S., have set up a new camp in Al-Zagiph area in southeastern Syria.

The area is located 70 kilometres northeast of Al-Tanf border crossing to Iraq and approximately 130 kilometres south of Al-Bukamal city in Deir Ezzor province controlled by the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS).

According to the statement issued by the group, the new garrison is intended to intensify struggle against IS.

However, it looks obvious that imposing control over Syrian-Iraqi border bears higher priority for the U.S. and their islamist allies, than just fighting against IS.

Remarkably, establishment of the new camp in southeastern Syria coincided with the recent announcement made by a representative of another US-backed entity, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in which he claimed that SDF “will not allow Shia paramilitary groups to enter Syria from Iraq”.

Therefore, the true long-term goal of U.S. military operations in southeastern Syria may well be linking up with SDF units in northeastern part of the country and hence effectively sealing the entire Syrian-Iraqi border to isolate Syrian government from Iraq.

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Europe’s Terror Blowback: From Charlie Hebdo to London Attacks

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by Naumann Sadiq

In less than three months, three horrific terror attacks have taken place in the United Kingdom: the Westminster plowing and stabbing incident on March 22 by Khalid Masood, the Manchester Arena suicide bombing two months later by Salman Abedi who was known to be a member of Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and was also suspected of having ties with the Islamic State, and now another vehicle-ramming and stabbing atrocity has taken place last night at the London Bridge in which ten people have lost their lives including the attackers and 48 people have been injured.

In order to understand the motive that why the Islamic State is targeting Europe in particular, we need to keep the background of the British and French foreign policy in the Middle East in the recent years in mind. The seven-year-long Sunni-Shi’a conflict in Syria that gave birth to scores of Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State, and after the conflict spilled over across the border into neighboring Iraq in early 2014 has directly been responsible for the recent spate of the Islamic State-inspired terror attacks in Euorpe.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in August 2011 to June 2014 when the Islamic State overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq, an informal pact existed between the Western powers, their regional allies and the Sunni Arab militants of the Middle East against the Shi’a Iranian axis. In accordance with the pact, Sunni Arab militants were trained and armed in the training camps located in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan to battle the Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime.

This arrangement of an informal pact between the Western powers and the Sunni Arab jihadists of the Middle East against the Shi’a Iranian axis worked well up to August 2014 when the Obama Administration made a volte-face on its previous regime change policy in Syria and began conducting air strikes against one group of Sunni militants battling the Syrian regime, the Islamic State, after the latter overstepped its mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq, from where, the US troops had withdrawn only a couple of years ago in December 2011.

After this reversal of policy in Syria by the Western powers and the subsequent Russian military intervention on the side of the Syrian regime in September 2015, the momentum of Sunni Arab militants’ expansion in Syria and Iraq has stalled, and they now feel that their Western patrons have committed a treachery against the Sunni jihadists’ cause, that’s why they are infuriated and once again up in arms to exact revenge for this betrayal.

If we look at the chain of events, the timing of the recent spate of terror attacks against the European targets has been critical: the Islamic State overran Mosul in June 2014, the Obama Administration began conducting air strikes against the Islamic State’s targets in Iraq and Syria in August 2014, and after a lull of almost a decade since the Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005, respectively, the first such incident of terrorism took place on the Western soil at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, and then the Islamic State carried out the audacious November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 2016 Brussels bombings, and now, three horrific terror attacks have taken place in the United Kingdom within a span of less than three months.

Regarding the argument that how the British and French Middle Eastern policy of lending indiscriminate support to the Sunni Arab militants against the Shi’a-dominated regime in Syria has been responsible for the recent wave of terror attacks in Europe, remember that Saudi Arabia, which has been vying for power as the leader of Sunni bloc against the Shi’a-dominated Iran in the regional geopolitics, was staunchly against the invasion of Iraq by the Bush Administration in 2003.

The Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein constituted a Sunni Arab bulwark against the Iranian influence in the Arab World. But after Saddam was ousted from power in 2003 and subsequently when elections were held in Iraq which were swept by the Shi’a-dominated parties, Iraq has now been led by a Shi’a-majority government that has become a steadfast regional ally of Iran. Consequently, Iran’s sphere of influence now extends all the way from territorially-contiguous Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and the Mediterranean coast.

The Saudi royal family was resentful of Iranian encroachment on traditional Arab heartland. Therefore, when protests broke out against the Assad regime in Syria in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, the Gulf Arab States along with their regional allies, Turkey and Jordan, and the Western patrons gradually militarized the protests to dismantle the Shi’a Iranian axis comprised of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

More to the point, the dilemma that the Sunni Arab militants and their regional backers are facing in Syria is quite unique: in the wake of the Ghouta chemical weapons attacks in Damascus in August 2013, the stage was all set for yet another no-fly zone and “humanitarian intervention” a la Qaddafi’s Libya; the war hounds were waiting for a finishing blow and then-Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and then-Saudi intelligence chief, Bandar bin Sultan, were shuttling between the Western capitals to lobby for the military intervention. Francois Hollande had already announced his intentions and David Cameron was also onboard.

Here, it should be remembered that even during the Libyan intervention, the Obama Administration’s policy was a bit ambivalent and France under the leadership of Sarkozy had taken the lead role. In Syria’s case, however, the British parliament forced Cameron to seek a vote for military intervention in the House of Commons before committing the British troops and air force to Syria.

Taking cue from the British parliament, the US Congress also compelled Obama to seek approval before another ill-conceived military intervention; and since both the administrations lacked the requisite majority in their respective parliaments and the public opinion was also fiercely against another Middle Eastern war, therefore Obama and Cameron dropped their plans of enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria.

In the end, France was left alone as the only Western power still in the favor of intervention; at this point, however, the seasoned Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, staged a diplomatic coup by announcing that the Syrian regime is willing to ship its chemical weapons stockpiles out of Syria and subsequently the issue was amicably resolved.

Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf Arab states, the main beneficiaries of the Sunni Jihad against the Shi’a-dominated regime in Syria, however, had lost a golden opportunity to deal a fatal blow to their regional rivals.

To add insult to the injury, the Islamic State, one of the numerous Sunni Arab militant outfits fighting in Syria, overstepped its mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in 2014, from where, the US troops had withdrawn only a couple of years ago in December 2011, as I have already described.

Additionally, when the graphic images and videos of Islamic State’s executions surfaced on the internet, the Obama Administration was left with no other choice but to adopt some countermeasures to show that it is still sincere in pursuing its schizophrenic “war on terror” policy; at the same time, however, it assured its Turkish, Jordanian and Gulf Arab allies that despite fighting a war against the maverick jihadist outfit, the Islamic State, the Western policy of training and arming the so-called “moderate” Syrian militants will continue apace and that Bashar al-Assad’s days are numbered, one way or the other.

Moreover, declaring the war against the Islamic State in August 2014 served another purpose too: in order to commit the US Air Force to Syria and Iraq, the Obama Administration needed the approval of the US Congress which was not available, as I have already mentioned, but by declaring a war against the Islamic State, which is a designated terrorist organization, the Obama Administration availed itself of the war on terror provisions in the US laws and thus circumvented the US Congress.

But then Russia threw a spanner in the works of NATO and its Gulf Arab allies in September 2015 by its surreptitious military buildup in Latakia that was executed with an element of surprise unheard of since General Rommel, the Desert Fox. And now Turkey, Jordan, the Gulf Arab states and their Sunni jihadist proxies in Syria find themselves at the receiving end in the Syrian civil war.

Therefore, although the Sunni states of the Middle East and their jihadist proxies still toe the American line in the region publicly, but behind the scenes, there is bitter resentment that the US has betrayed the Sunni cause by making an about-face on the previous regime change policy in Syria and the subsequent declaration of war against one group of Sunni Arab militants in Syria, i.e. the Islamic State.

Posted in France, UKComments Off on Europe’s Terror Blowback: From Charlie Hebdo to London Attacks

London Attack: Mossad-led ISIS Again Targeted the UK

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today

Seven people were killed and 48 persons injured in the terror attack on London Bridge and at the adjacent Borough Market on Saturday (June3, 2017).

According to the British police and media, a van driving at high speed mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before the occupants got out and began stabbing patrons at nearby bars and restaurants at the adjacent Borough Market. Armed officers responded very quickly, confronting three male terrorists who were killed in Borough Market.

The terror attacks came days before a general election and two weeks after 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester. It was the third terrorist attack to strike the Great Britain, this year, after a man drove a car into pedestrian on Westminister Bridge in March.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that authorities were dealing with a “terrible incident” and London’s Metropolitan Police Service said incidents at London Bridge and nearby Borough Market were being treated as terrorism.”

The CNN disclosed on June 4, 2017, “The ISIS-linked Amaq Agency claimed a “detachment of Islamic State fighters” carried out the attack, but CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank cautions ISIS has provided no evidence to back up its claim. Amaq also claimed ISIS was behind the attack at a resort in Manila last week, despite Filipino authorities asserting it was not terror-related. A US counterterrorism source tells CNN that US intelligence is aware of the London claim. Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner for specialist operations in the Metropolitan Police Service, says that authorities will “release the identities of the three men directly responsible for the attacks…as soon as operationally possible.” Police are searching four properties. As for the 12 arrests made during the Barking raids, one man, 55, has been released without charge.”

The Telegraph said on June 5, 2017 that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the London attacks on June 7. However, it is quite opposite to the report of CNN.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Theresa May warned that Britain is in the grip of a spate of copycat terror attacks in the wake of the London Bridge atrocity. She elaborated that for the second time, this election campaign, Mrs May who had just chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee, said that while the Manchester Ariana attack which killed 22 people, the Westminster attack in March which left four people dead and the London Bridge attack are not directly connected, there is now a “new trend” in the threat the UK faces.

She further remarked, “Terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack…We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change…the recent attacks were all connected by “the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism”.Analysts and sources pointed out that her reference to the public sector meant that schools and other public bodies had to adopt a much stricter approach to extremism, while councils had to make sure they did not create ghettos by housing Muslims in areas where they became concentrated together.

Mrs May also added that the internet provided a “safe space” for extremists to spread their creed and plan attacks, and said it was time to “regulate cyberspace” through the sort of agreements she reached at the G7 summit in Italy last week, when leaders agreed to pile pressure on social media companies to block extremist material.

After the London attack, again, major parties of the Britain, temporarily, suspended the national election campaigning for the general elections which would be held on June 8, this year.

Regarding London attack, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party said that Prime Minister May should resign—three days “before polling day may not seem particularly realistic. Corbyn also said, “The election might be a better way of removing her.”

Again, it is notable that at least 22 people were killed in a terror attack at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, 2017.

British police said that the attack was carried out by a single suicide bomber, who also died. Afterwards, the man who targeted the Ariana Grande gig has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi who was a British national and the child of Libyan refugees.

Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police stated, “Abedi was said to have been known to police and the intelligence agencies. British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Salman Abadi may have been part of a bigger network.”

After the Manchester terror assault, British police had arrested several peoplein connection with the investigation, and some were released without charge.A Libyan pilot was also arrested as part of the investigation into the terror network behind Manchester bomber.

But, a German intelligence official stated that Abedi-the real culprit of the Manchester rampage flew from Istanbul to the UK via Dusseldorf’s international airport. A senior Turkish official disclosed that the Turkish government had already sent a file on Abedi to British authorities, but declined to discuss the details of the communication.

However, following the Manchester carnage, Prime Minister May, the leader of the Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, including Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron had suspended the campaigning for the general election.

On the social media, the ISIS, claimed responsibility for the terror assault at Ariana Grande concert. Other ISIS supporters said online that the attack was revenge for the UK’s involvement in the bombing campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. 

It is mentionable that three days before the first round of France’s presidential elections, held on April 23, 2017, a French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on April 20, 2017 when a gunman wielding a machine gun leapt out of a car and opened fire on the Champs-Elysees, Paris’s most famous boulevard. ISIS claimed that the attack was carried out by “Abu Yousuf al-Baljiki (the Belgian) and he is one of the Islamic State’s fighters.”

After the shooting, the three main candidates canceled campaign events and instead made televised statements in which they competed to talk tough on security and vowed a crackdown on ISIS. The incident brought issues of terrorism, the French Muslims, security and immigration back to the forefront of the campaign. Marine Le Pen demanded the closure of all Islamist mosques, repeating her call for Europe’s partly open borders to be closed. The centrist Emmanuel Macron was elected French president by defeating the ultra-nationalist and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election.

Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old French national who was shot dead by the police was identified as the attacker.

In fact, terror attack at Champs-Elysees-Paris’s boulevard was arranged by the Israeli secret agency Mossad with the assistance of the ISIS to ensure the victory of Macron in the French presidential elections. The pro-Israeli, the then French president-elect Emmanuel Macron who was having connections with Tel Aviv in the past will maintain the US-led status quo in the world and will further advance the Israeli agenda against Russia, China, Syria, Pakistan etc, and the Muslims, while further advancing the international forces of globalization, controlled by the wealthy Jews and the elite class at the cost of small countries and the poor class.

Recall that three days before the general elections in Spain, the train bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which killed more than 200 people turned the election results in favour of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero whose Socialist Party won the elections, as he had said that Spain where the “US war has been deeply unpopular”, would withdraw its troops from Iraq. While, government led by the Prime Minister Jose Maria who staunchly supported the American-led war in Iraq lost the election. The victory of the Socialist Party in Spain was being called by some in Europe and America as a victory of terrorism, a precedent that offers Al-Qaeda or groups like it the notion that they can alter the democratic process with bombs and murder. A former member of the Spanish Parliament, Pedro Schwartz remarked, “Al-Qaeda won the election”.

However, the terror attack in London and suicide attack at the Ariana Grandegig cannot be seen in isolation. Therefore, we need to analyze various related-developments of the recent past and the present ones in the world and inside the UK to reach the conclusion.

In this respect, the agents of Mossad who are in collaboration with the CIA sympathizers, Syrian rebel groups and the ISIL militants arranged terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, San Bernardino, Nice, Munich, London (March 22, 2017), St. Petersburg (Metro train)  in Stockholm, in Manchester and again in London. While, a gunman who went by the nickname Black Jesus was identied—39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, making militant comments on social mediakilled three white men in downtown Fresno, California, on April 18, 2017 and fired at another before he was taken into custody, while shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” as the Fresno police stated.

There is an interrelationship of the terror attacks in the US, Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Philippines etc., and elsewhere in the world, which were false flag terror attacks, conducted by Mossad in connivance with the agents of Indian secret agency RAW and those of the vulnerable CIA operatives.

Through all these false flag terror operations, the US and Israel wanted to obtain their covert aims against Russia and the Muslims. Mossad had also provided the US President Donald Trump with an opportunity to manipulate various terror assaults of Europe and America to win the US presidential election and to reunite America and Europe, as a rift was created between America and its Western allies, especially Europe on a number of issues, including NATO. And, President Donald Trump had left no stone unturned in implementing anti-Muslim policies, while speaking openly against the Muslims and Syrian immigrants.

It is worth-mentioning that since September 2015, Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, the Syrian army-the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been achieving successes in Syria and Iraq by retaking several regions from the occupation of the CIA-Mossad led rebel groups and ISIS militants after their failure to topple the Assad government—proving links of Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and ISIS with America and Israel, Mossad with the cooperation of some CIA agents started terrorism-related attacks in the US and Europe. Meanwhile, the CIA-Plan B for partition of Syria also failed. Moscow also exposed smuggling of oil supply by the ISIL-controlled areas to Europe and silence of their governments in this connection. In this regard, Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin’s successful diplomacy surprised the Israel-led America and some European countries who still want to oust the Assad regime to obtain the greater interests of Israel.

In response, taking note of various developments and some other ones such as reluctance of NATO countries to support America’s fake global war on terror,  acceptance of Syrian refuges by the European countries, especially Germany, criticism of the controversial Turkish-EU refugee deal by a number of human rights groups, the EU rule to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), after the referendum (Brexit) on June 24, 2016, prospects of Scotland and some other countries for separation from the EU, and the divide between the elite class which run multinational companies with the direct or indirect control of the Jews and the general masses who are suffering from multiple problems in wake of differences on the refugee crisis, Syrian war, Greece’s weak economy, violent protests against the labour laws in France etc.—the chances of European Union’s disintegration and a rift among the NATO countries, as noted in the recent past by the “Stop NATO protests in Europe were quite opposite to the Israeli secret interests. Hence, Israeli Mossad which was in collaboration with the vulnerable CIA operatives organized terror assaults in the US and Europe. As part of the double game, these terror attacks were conducted by these secret agencies, particularly Mossad with the assistance of the ISIS terrorists who used the home-grown terrorists of these countries.

Owing to the irresponsible approach of the Western leaders and their media, far right-wing parties and “Stop Islam” movement in the West, especially in Europe has been becoming popular by largely attracting their people. Right-wing parties in a growing number of European countries have made electoral gains. The right-wing parties range across a wide policy spectrum, from populist and nationalist to far-right neofascist.

Other aims of Tel Aviv was to muster the support of America’s Western allies against Russia in relation to the Syrian war, as US-led countries like France, UK also started airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, under the cover of targeting ISIL.

When American President Trump’s extremist policies were strongly criticized inside America and around the world, including particularly her Western allies, his advisers, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, neoconservatives and Israeli-backed officials directed him to implement dual strategy of Bush and Obama, with the aim to keep America and Western allies, particularly Europe united against Syria, Russia, China, Pakistan etc., while covertly continuing anti-Muslim rhetoric so as to safeguard the interests of Tel Aviv.

 Nevertheless, Israel succeeded in its sinister designs. Notably, backing out from his earlier statements, American President Trump has changed his policy regarding Europe and NATO. In this context, he stated on April 13, 2017 that US relations with Russia may be at “an all-time low” and declared a new-found faith in NATO, suggesting the alliance was “no longer obsolete”. Besides, US President Donald Trump attended a summit of NATO nations, held on May 25, 2017 in Brussels. He also met leaders of NATO and those of EU. His trip to the European countries came in wake of the deadly attack in Manchester. Talking to the Belgium prime minister, Trump said that countries would work together to defeat various problems and “no one is terrorism.”

Here, it is noteworthy that Machiavelli advises the rulers to have a lion-like image outwardly, and act upon the traits of goat inwardly. He also suggests them foreign adventures and the use of terror to obtain their goals. In his sense, a good ruler should be a good opportunist and hypocrite. While echoing Machiavelli, Morgenthau points out that sometimes, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud, falsehood and even murder to fulfill their selfish aims.

Now, Trump has begun acting upon the discarded theory of the past in the modern era. It could be judged from the recent trip of Trump to the Middle East. Backing out from his earlier statements—banning the Muslims from entering the United States, vetting of the Muslims—blocking visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—strict conditions for the citizens from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, in Saudi Arabia, in his addressat a regional summit in Riyadh, on May 22, 2017, President Donald Trumpcalled for “Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism…a battle between good and evil…U.S. wants a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism…This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it,” as he elaborated.

Like Bush and Obama, Trump described Islam as “a religion of peace” and did not use the contentious phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” as he frequently has in US speeches. Instead, he called on the Muslim leaders to honestly confront “the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups.”

Setting aside the Israeli-led US state terrorism and CIA-backed terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and other vulnerable Islamic countries, Trump singled out Iran, accusing Tehran of contributing to instability in the region. He supposedly said, “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.” Keeping Israeli hidden agenda in his mind, Trump also stated that all the Muslim nations should boycott Iran, and also pledged to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for peace of the region.

Trump’s address was a mixture of calls for Israeli-Arab peace and a defense of Israel from threats in the region, including from the groups allied with the Palestinian cause.

On May 21, 2017, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Trump signed a defence deal of nearly $110 billion agreement to bolster the military capabilities of Saudi Arabia. The defense deal, effective immediately, was one of the series agreements the two countries signed to enhance their military and economic partnerships, including a second defense pact with options valued up to $350 billion over the next 10 years. In fact, by keeping the Iranian phobia, the major purpose of Trump’s visit was to sell America arms to Saudi Arabia.

President Trump also encouraged NATO-like alliance of Saudi Arabia, which includes the Sunni countries against Shia states, especially Iran and Yemen. It was formed on the instructions of Washington. As after the US-led invasion of the Afghanistan, Iraq, airstrikes on Libya and promotion of war in Syria have been clearly exposed, therefore, America revived the old global war on terror to secure the illegitimate interests of Tel Aviv, whose major aim was to deceive the Muslims.

President Donald Trump pledged on May 23, 2017 at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem that he would work for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, while protecting the region from Iran and other threats. He stated, “Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence…Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities…The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon…America’s security partnership with Israel is stronger than ever.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump and his wife, daughter and son-in-law for visiting the Western Wall before saying Israel must always be able to defend itself against any threat.

Trump met earlier in the day with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, and came back to Jerusalem insisting that a peace deal is possible.

All this reminds that before attacking Iraq in 2013, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the US President Bush had announced the Road Map to the Middle East so as to please the Islamic World that Palestinian-Israeli issue would be settled. But no progress took place in that respect.

Despite the revival of the phony global war on terror, some developments disappointed the Israelis. In this regard, Russia-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan where America and its NATO allies have entangled in the prolonged war of history, which has, rapidly, increased the cost of war, bringing about multiple internal crises, affecting the ordinary Americans and Western citizens, particularly those of Europe might be cited as example. Besides, differences between the Britain and the US about Manchester terror attack—probe of Trump that the US intelligence agencies already knew it, Trump’s criticism of Germany regarding trade, conduction of missile-test by North Korea, failure of Thump’s war-like diplomacy against the latter and waning of Russia and China to America in this regard also depressed the Israelis.

Moreover, US intelligence agencies, especially FBI has continued the so-called investigation that Russia and President Putin authorized the hacking in the November 8 US presidential election aimed to help Donald Trump to win it. Both Putin and Trump have denied the charges. In this connection, differences between CIA and FBI also frustrated Tel Aviv.

Especially, Tel Aviv wants to intensify the new Cold War between the US-led West and Russia so as to avoid the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, as some European countries have been emphasizing on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the expansion of West Bank settlements and restart a negotiation process for the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in wake of the debate between the Zionists and non-Zionist Jews in relation to the two-state solution of the issue.

Earlier, on January 15, 2016, France who is staunch supporter of the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue conducted a summit in Paris which was attended by 70 nations. In a statement, delegates at the summit also restated their commitment to the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and emphasized on them to restart negotiations. Palestinians welcomed the conference, but Israel called it “rigged”.

In his speech to open the meeting, former President of France Francois Hollande said, “The international community had to be reminded of its obligations to build peace…the much-needed reconciliation between Israel and its neighbours can go forward”.

It is of particular attention that by pursuing the double standards of America in its worst form, Trump also intends to favour India, while opposing the nuclear weapons of Pakistan.. However, like Obama, Trump has brushed aside the ground realities that Indian Prime Minister Modi led by the ruling fundamentalist party BJP has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda, while encouraging Hindutva (Hindu nationalism).

As part of the double game, based in Afghanistan, operatives of CIA, RAW and  Mossad which have well-established their collective secret network there, and are well-penetrated in the terrorist outfits like ISIS, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their affiliated Taliban groups are using their terrorists to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan by arranging the subversive activities. In this context, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is their special target. Recent acts of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan are part of the same scheme.

Although Mossad was behind terror attacks in Madrid and at Champs-Elysees, boulevard to affect the election results, as already mentioned, yet the case of the latest terror assaults in London and at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester are little bit different, though having similar purposes of Tel Aviv.

According to a report of Telegraph, “Landmark study shows number of children under five being brought up as Muslim rose 80 per cent in a decade while three quarters of Muslims in UK identify themselves solely as British…The number of children…in what experts have described as an “unprecedented” shift in Britain’s social make-up. One in 12 schoolchildren in England and Wales are now officially classed as Muslim after a decade which saw the number of followers of Islam surge by just over 1.1 million, according to the most detailed study of its kind ever published. The report, presented to Parliament, concludes that Muslims could play a decisive role in the coming general election…making up a significant share of voters in some of the most marginal seats in the country. Significantly, Muslims make up more than a fifth of the population in 26 parliamentary constituencies and around 50 per cent in some areas. There are also 70 council wards with a Muslim population of 40 per cent or more…This statistic highlights the diversity in modern Britain and the need that this is reflected in all spheres of life, from top management opportunities to political representation.”

It is mentionable that last year, success of first Muslim Pakistan’s origin Sadiq Khan as mayor of London by defeating the Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith-a wealthy Jew who was supported by the former British Prime Minister David Cameron also depressed the Israelis. In the May, 2015, the number of Muslim MPs in Britain has increased from eight to 13.

Unlike the other European countries, Britain has strongly favoured American policies. By bypassing the UN Security Council, Anglo-American invasion of Iraq might be cited as instance.

Therefore, either it is Conservative Party or Labour Party, which could win the coming election, does not matter, as both the parties are pro-American. Interestingly, both are trying to win the support of the Muslim voters.

Through the terror attacks in London and Manchestor before the general election, the major aim of Mossad was to affect the election-campaign. While, like other European countries, especially France, Mossad wanted to accelerate persecution of Muslims, hate-crime against them and also to compel the Britain to make discriminatory laws against them. So, besides other terror attacks in the UK, the latest one is part of the same policy of Israel, implemented by Mossad.

Nevertheless, like Trump, Israeli rulers have also been confused due to the above mentioned developments which do not favour Israel like the past, while, still some CIA agents, Indian RAW and particularly Mossad want to divide the world on religious lines. Like Tel Aviv, India also wants to keep its control on the Occupied Kashmir through state terrorism and to avoid its solution.

Although overtly President Trump has softened his external policy regarding Muslims and Islamic countries, yet covertly, he is acting upon the conspiracy of Mossad and RAW, which is, intentionally or intentionally, being followed by America’s Western partners against the Muslims. If not checked in time by the peace-loving Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Buddhists, these policies of the President Donald Trump who is particularly completing the extremist agenda of Israel are likely to result into more recruitment in the militant outfits, especially in the ISIS group, inspiring the extremist Muslims for more terrorism-related attacks. Israel, who will never accept the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, will prefer to seek the final revenge by bringing about a major war between the Muslim and the Christian worlds or to cause a major war between Russia and the US-led some Western countries, which will convert the entire world into holocaust.

Nonetheless, we may conclude that although agents of RAW and CIA are in collaboration which arranged terrorism-related assaults in the US and Europe and elsewhere in the world, yet Mossad is, especially, behind terror attacks in America and Europe. So, undoubtedly, Mossad led by ISIS again targeted the UK.

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Posted in UKComments Off on London Attack: Mossad-led ISIS Again Targeted the UK

Manchester atrocity: UK government must come clean about its relationship with Libyan Islamists

NOVANEWS

By Mohamed El-Doufani

The suicide attack on a concert hall in Manchester in which 22 people were killed and another 166 wounded throws light on Britain’s ill-conceived and dysfunctional policy towards Libya, past and present. While Muammar Gaddafi was in power, this policy drove the UK to welcome Islamists as potential tools to destabilise his regime, and since his ouster in 2011 it has seen it, along with the United States and the United Nations, push for dialogue with Islamists of the same ilk as those behind the Manchester atrocity

The perpetrator of the Manchester atrocity, British-born Libyan Salman al-Abedi, 22, was not your bog-standard, homegrown terrorist: the prodigy of Muslim immigrants who failed to adjust to British culture or who had fallen under the wrong influence online or elsewhere. No, he is largely the outcome of the policy pursued by successive British governments – Conservative and Labour – towards Libya.

Haven for Islamists

Salman al-Abedi did not hail from a typical family that had immigrated to Britain in search of a decent life. His father, Ramadan Belgasem al-Abedi, also known as Abu Ismail, had come with intent. His choice of country was quite deliberate. As a Libyan Islamist escaping from the Gaddafi regime, the UK welcomed him, and many like him, with open arms and gave him political asylum. He settled in Manchester, where about 10,000 Libyans, many of them Islamists, now reside.

Ramadan al-Abedi

Ramadan al-Abedi

In 1994, just two years after arriving in Britain, Al-Abedi senior joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an affiliate of Al-Qaeda that is listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation. He quickly rose up in the organisation’s ranks, as shown by this document from Gaddafi’s intelligence service which puts him at number five in the LIFG.

Al-Abdei - No. 5 in LIFG

In addition, Mr Al-Abedi senior, like many of his Islamist compatriots in Manchester, was naturally drawn to the Muslim Brotherhood. Together with his sons, he frequented the Didsbury mosque where he worked as muezzin, or prayer caller, and where his other son, Ismail – the Manchester bomber’s older brother – was a tutor at the mosque’s Qur’an school.

According to an independent group called Muslims In Britain, the Didsbury mosque is of a Salafi-Ikhwan, or fundamentalist-Muslim Brotherhood, orientation. The Brotherhood likes to portray itself to Westerners as a peaceful, democratic and law-abiding organisation. Suffice to say that one of its slogans includes the phrases “Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of God is our highest hope.”

The Didsbury mosque is also linked to organisations founded by Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who not only endorses suicide bombings, but also argues that apostates from Islam and those who defy Islamic culture should be immediately put to death. Among the mosque’s publications is a document entitled The special problems of females, which says that “God made boundaries for a man that he should have four wives” and that there is a ban on wives taking any form of employment.

At the Didsbury mosque, Al-Abedi senior became an associate of Sohail al-Ghariani, son of notorious Libyan cleric Sadiq al-Ghariani, spiritual leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood who subsequently acted as cheerleader of the violent takeover of Tripoli by Islamist militias in 2014. Al-Abedi senior, the BBC reports, also supported the extremist Islamist cleric, Abu Qatada, and used to meet him in London.

Tools of foreign policy

So, it should have been obvious to anyone who wanted to see that Mr Al-Abedi senior was an unsavoury character who should never have been given a safe haven in Britain. But the British state welcomed him, and numerous other Libyans like him, with open arms, even though it knew who these people were and what they stood for. The reason was as cynical as it was shortsighted and counter-productive: Mr Al-Abedi and his comrades in the LIFG and the Muslim Brotherhood were potentially useful tools to deploy against the Gaddafi regime, even though they belonged to organisations that were a million times worse than anything Gaddafi represented.

With the father a member of Al-Qaeda throughout his children’s lives, and with Salman and his two brothers, Ismail and Hashim, immersed in the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadism, it is little wonder that all three of Al-Abedi senior’s sons grew up to be terrorists. And it was not long before the British state was able to deploy them – or shall we say facilitate their deployment – and many other Libyan Islamists for the purpose for which they had been given a safe haven in the first place: as weapons against Gaddafi.

Ismail al-Abedi, the Manchester bomber's older brother, posing with a gun

Ismail al-Abedi, the Manchester bomber’s older brother, posing with a gun

Hashim al-Abedi, the younger brother of the Manchester, bomber holding a gun

According to Middle East Eye, Britain “facilitated the travel of Libyan exiles and British-Libyan residents and citizens keen to fight against Gaddafi, including some who it deemed to pose a potential security threat”. It cited the case of one British citizen of Libyan descent who had been placed on a control order, or house arrest, because of fears that he would join terrorist groups in Iraq but was nonetheless allowed to travel to Libya in 2011 to participate in the insurrection against the Gaddafi regime.

“I was allowed to go, no questions asked,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous.

He said he had met several other British-Libyans in London who also had control orders lifted in 2011 as the war against Gaddafi intensified, with the UK, France and the US carrying out air strikes and deploying special forces soldiers in support of the rebels.

“They didn’t have passports, they were looking for fakes or a way to smuggle themselves across,” said the source.

But within days of their control orders being lifted, British authorities returned their passports, he said.

“These were old school LIFG guys, they [the British authorities] knew what they were doing,” he said…

Another Libyan Islamist cited by Middle East Eye, Belal Younis, described how he was virtually encouraged by the British to help bring down the Gaddafi regime. He said he was asked by an intelligence officer from Britain’s domestic security agency, MI5, whether he was “willing to go into battle?” He was told, he said, that the British government had “no problem with people fighting against Gaddafi”.

According to BBC correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse, during the anti-Gaddafi insurrection the Manchester bomber and his father fought with the Tripoli Military Council, which was headed by Abdelhakim Belhadj, the LIFG founder. Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight TV programme, he said three different sources had told him that the Manchester bomber had travelled to Libya during the summer holidays while he was still at school. “Like many at the time, they went in their school holidays in the summer. They finished school, they broke up, they went out to Libya,” Gatehouse said.

Links to the UN-backed “government”

Sometime after the ouster of the Gaddafi regime Al-Abedi senior returned to Libya and, following the takeover of Tripoli by an alliance of Muslim Brotherhood, LIFG and organised crime militias in 2014, was appointed to security positions. According to The Independent, on the eve of his son’s atrocity in Manchester Al-Abedi senior worked as administrative manager of the so-called “Central Security force” in Tripoli, which is nominally under the control of the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) but in reality is run by a mishmash of Islamist and organised crime militias on which the GNA completely relies. Other reports say that, incredibly, he was head of Libya’s Interpol liaison bureau in the Libyan capital.

As news of the Manchester bomber’s identity reached Libya, Al-Abedi senior and his two sons, Ismail and Hashim, were reported to have been “arrested” in Tripoli by the so-called “Special Deterrence Force” – often referred to as Rada, Arabic for deterrence. This is a Salafist-leaning militia and is one of the main armed groups supporting the UN-backed “government”.

Rada leader Abdul Raouf Kara

Rada leader Abdul Raouf Kara, “a hardline Islamist with a fearful reputation and a Salafist vision for Libya’s future”.

According to the risk consultancy SecDev, “the militia hardliners are mainly Madkhali Salafists, an Islamist ideology that refers to followers of the Saudi cleric Rabia bin Hadi al-Madkhali, who promotes a doctrine of obedience to a sitting political authority (wali al-amr)”. It is led by Abdul Raouf Kara who, SecDev says, is “a hardline Islamist with a fearful reputation and a Salafist vision for Libya’s future”. According to SecDev, Rada has been “accused of acting as a form of ‘moral police’ enforcing conservative dress and behaviour on Tripoli’s civilians and using brutal intimidation rather than focusing on tracking terrorist groups”. So, one can reasonably surmise that, rather than being arrested, the Manchester bomber’s father and two brothers had been taken into protective custody.

Inexplicable policy

From a realpolitik point of view, one can see the logic, albeit cynical and shortsighted, behind the British policy of using potential terrorists to destabilise the regime of a longstanding foe-cum-distrusted friend, even though it is not quite clear how an Islamist regime could be better, in terms of Britain’s purported values, than that of Gaddafi, notwithstanding the brutality, arbitrariness and unpredictability of his regime. What is difficult to understand is Britain’s support for Islamist militias that ousted Libya’s elected government in 2014 and its present support for the UN-brokered outfit in Tripoli which is completely reliant on Islamist and organised crime militias, including Al-Qaeda.

Two years ago Jospeh Walker-Cousins, a former British official who was based in Benghazi during 2011-14, wrote in an article in The Guardian entitled Islamists are leading Libya to annihilation – and the West is letting them”,

Despite the remark by Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, that “there is no authority in Libya to engage with”, the Libyan parliament remains resolute in tribally secure Tobruk. The army and police, with whom we share security and commercial interests, are (albeit only just) containing the extremists in Benghazi. And the administration, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, occupying Tripoli – with whom we have nothing in common – has been called out on its covert relationships with extremists.

The bottom line is: we can’t do business with the militias occupying Tripoli.

That was in March 2015. Since then a new player has entered the scene, the UN-backed “government”, which exists in Tripoli courtesy of the Islamist and criminal militias blighting the Libyan capital and is riddled with jihadist, including those of Al-Qaeda. Yet Britain recognises it as the “government” of Libya.

The paradox was summed up by the prime minister of the elected government of Libya, Abdullah Thinni. In a statement condemning the Manchester atrocity, reported by Libya Herald, he said that the atrocity stemmed from the presence for decades of terrorist groups in the UK, including the LIFG, “which has been recruiting Libyan and Muslim youth in the UK and Europe and sending them to Libya and other countries to deliver terrorism and death”. This, Thinni’s statement said, had been done with the knowledge and consent of the British government, which had provided a safe haven for the “father” of these terrorists who was now in Tripoli – possibly a reference to the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Sadiq al-Ghariani, or LIFG founder Abdelhakim Belhadj. However, despite continuous warnings from the Libyan authorities, the statement concluded, successive British governments and ambassadors had “insisted that we share power in Libya with these terrorist organisations and their militias, the LIFG and the Muslim Brotherhood”.

With so many innocent Britons murdered in Manchester, and reports that one of the terrorists who murdered seven innocent people in London on 3 June, Rasheed Radwan, was Libyan, it is time the British government come clean about its deathly embrace of Islamists. That is the least it can do in memory of those murdered in Manchester and London, and the countless Libyans who have lost their lives at the hands of LIFG, Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist militias since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.

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The UK Labour Party has regained its principles and offers hope to millions 

NOVANEWS
Theresa May vs Jeremy Corbyn

By Graham Peebles

After 20-plus years of being lost in the muddy centre ground of British politics, the Labour Party now stands tall again as the party of social democracy, rooted in values of social justice, participation and unity. Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is offering a positive message of hope at the coming UK election and presents a real alternative to the Conservatives.

Despite the unrelenting assault on Corbyn by the media and the Conservatives, Labour’s message for change is gaining traction. To his great credit, Corbyn has not sunk to the level of exchanging insults, has shown great dignity when attacked and has focused on criticising policies, not individuals.

The latest polls estimate Labour has reduced the Tories’ lead from 22 per cent to 5 per cent or even 3 per cent, depending on which pollster one reads. If this is accurate and reflects the final vote, it would result in a hung parliament, which would be a tremendous achievement for Labour. A hung parliament describes a parliament in which no single party has an absolute majority of seats. Interestingly, such a state of affairs is also known as a balanced parliament.

The Labour manifesto is… designed to repair the severe damage caused by a brutal Conservative government that is literally destroying the country piece by piece.

The more people hear about Labour’s policies and see Corbyn, the more support for Labour grows. And why wouldn’t it: Labour has designed a set of rational proposals that, if made manifest, would transform Britain from a nation suffocating under a blanket of austerity and injustice, to a fairer country in which public services – including schools and hospitals – are properly funded and where everyone is valued. Conversely as more details emerge about Theresa May – who is by all accounts a narrow-minded control freak – the less appealing, she and her fanatical cohorts become.

The Labour manifesto is filled with light and energy. All areas of responsibility are dealt with, from early-years education and the environment to foreign policy, health care and, of course, the economy. It is a manifesto designed to repair the severe damage caused by a brutal Conservative government that is literally destroying the country piece by piece. It is a manifesto and a Labour leadership many of us have been waiting years for. The party and its policies are more or less in tune with the worldwide movement for change, and is a positive development, not just for Britain, but for the world.

  • “We will measure our economic success not by the number of billionaires, but by the ability of our people to live richer lives.”
  • Income tax would increase for some, but “no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year and no increases in personal national insurance contributions or the rate of VAT.”
  • Major investment in infrastructure and essential public services – devastated under the Conservatives’ crushing and needless austerity programme.
  • A National Transformation Fund, similar to Germany’s and the Nordic countries’, would be set up to “invest £250 billion over 10 years in upgrading our economy”.
  • Energy systems would be transformed with investment in “state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production”, and, encouragingly, they plan to “ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030”.
  • Fracking – the source of a major greenhouse gas – would be banned.
  • Corbyn, a life-long peace activist and founding member of Stop the War, would appoint a Peace Minister.

Common-sense proposals include, bringing private rail companies (many of which are owned by foreign governments) back into public ownership, renationalising Royal Mail and gradually forming a publicly owned, decentralised energy system. University tuition fees, which have gone from £3,000 a year to £9,000 under the Conservatives, would be scrapped, a hand of friendship extended to refugees and migrant workers. A unified National Education Service (NES) for England would be set up, “to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use,” and “free, lifelong education in further education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to up-skill or retrain at any point in life”. Unions would be welcomed back into the workplace, the minimum wage increased to £10 per hour, zero hours contracts and unpaid internships banned, and a maximum pay ratio between workers and directors/chief executive oficers of 20-1 introduced (currently the gap can by 10 times this or more).

The rental housing market, which is currently completely out of control, will be regulated so people have security in their home and rents they can afford. There are plans for a National Care Service, wide-ranging mental health provision, increased funding for the police and fire services (the Conservatives have cut 10,000 fire-fighter jobs and closed dozens of fire stations throughout the country), support for the NHS, and changes to Legal Aid. No additional prisons will be privatised (it’s scandalous that any have been), 3,000 new prison officers will be recruited, art education in schools encouraged and funded, and a new national culture fund established.

In the midst of the rise of right-wing politics, worldwide turmoil and uncertainty, the policies articulated offer real hope and stand out as a chance for renewal and social justice in a world where these democratic ideals are in short supply.

Vitality and the language of optimism, cooperation and fairness, wash through every section. In the midst of the rise of right-wing politics, worldwide turmoil and uncertainty, the policies articulated offer real hope and stand out as a chance for renewal and social justice in a world where these democratic ideals are in short supply.

Apathy says “politicians are all the same, nothing ever changes”. Well, this is nonsense and always has been; it’s a weak excuse for democratic irresponsibility. In this upcoming election the differences between the Conservatives and Labour are defined and stark; its importance cannot be overstated, the magnitude of the choice is immense, the responsibility on us all, great. Everyone must vote, particularly those under 30 years of age, who routinely don’t bother. If, as the polls suggest, we end up with a hung parliament, Conservative extremism would be held in check, debate and cooperation encouraged. If, and it’s a big if, Labour takes it, the atmosphere and direction of the country would be changed immeasurably for the good, and the world would have taken a small, but enormously significant step in the right direction.

Posted in UKComments Off on The UK Labour Party has regained its principles and offers hope to millions 

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