Archive | September, 2017

North Korea Says US Declared War, May Take Countermeasures

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  • The DPRK
    The DPRK’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. | Photo: Reuters
teleSUR
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.

The foreign minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has said U.S. President Donald Trump declared war on his country adding that Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures.

RELATED‘The Tougher, the Better’: Trump’s New Anti-Venezuela ‘Travel Ban’ Explained

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.

“We will have every right to take countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country,” he added.

U.S. bombers flew in international airspace east of the DPRK on Saturday, in another provocative move which has included military exercises on the Korean peninsula with South Korea and joint military exercises with Japan.

In his remarks to the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 19, Trump called Pyongyang’s leader, Kim Jong Un, a “rocket man on a suicide mission,” and Sunday included the country, along with Venezuela and Chad on the U.S. travel ban list.

Trump also announced Thursday the widening of U.S. sanctions against the DPRK, banning U.S. companies and institutions from financing and facilitating trade with the country.

Prompted by the U.S., the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth round of sanctions against Pyongyang in early September to counter its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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Germany at a turning point

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Image result for Chancellor Angela Merkel CARTOON
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

The elections to the German Bundestag on Sunday throw up big surprises. Chancellor Angela Merkel will lead the next coalition government, too – her fourth successive win – but in all other respects, the results signify that Germany’s post-World War II politics is at a turning point.

First and foremost, the two mainstream parties that have dominated German politics have now come to represent only 53% of the electorate. The level of fragmentation is stunning for a country that is synonymous with the ‘middle path’. Second, Merkel’s CDU (Christian democrats) has lost support and her coalition partner SPD (social democrats) suffered a humiliating defeat. Third, the right-wing nationalist AfP – reviled as ‘neo-Nazis’ – won over 13% votes and secured 94 seats in the 709-member Bundestag, the first time such a thing is happening in Germany’s post-World War II political history.

Then, there are the sub-plots. The SPD has vowed to sit in the opposition, which means Merkel may have to form the next government with the rightist CSU (Christian socialists) and leftist Green Party as coalition partners, which makes an improbable alliance of convenience. The CDU-led government’s economic policies are likely to be subjected to pulls and counter-pulls from the two coalition partners CSU and Green Party, which are at loggerheads ideologically.

Interestingly, AfP’s main support base happens to be the former communist East Germany and, thus, an ‘East-West’ divide is surfacing after the German unification a quarter century ago.

Again, CDU lost popular support for the wrong reasons. Under the CDU-led government, the German economy did remarkably well. What cost Merkel heavily has been her refugee policies, which have been perceived as appeasement of Muslims opening the door to an influx of Islam in Germany. Merkel eventually took a tougher line on deportations but it was too little, too late. The issues of asylum, integration and deportation and the perceived ‘Islamisation’ of Germany dogged Merkel’s entire election campaign.

The ultra-nationalist AfD framed its campaign on the provocative platform, “Islam does not belong to Germany.” The party’s program calls for a ban on minarets and considers Islam to be incompatible with German culture.

The AfD leader Alexander Gauland has openly called for Germans to reclaim their history: “We have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars.” The outgoing foreign Minister and SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel warned voters ahead of the poll against having “real Nazis in the German Reichstag for the first time since the end of World War Two”. Germany’s Central Council of Jews said its worst fears had come true in Sunday’s election.

The German policies are almost certain to be affected. Merkel will be under pressure to step up deportation of refugees. The AfD has tasted blood and sensing the national mood, it will surely intensify the ultra-nationalist campaign. Surely, the German discourse is poised to become much more homophobic, much more anti-migrant, much more-anti-Muslim. This will cast shadows on Germany’s relations with Turkey.

Again, Merkel’s approach to Russia will be keenly watched. The AfD – like most ultra-nationalists in Europe, is, ironically, “pro-Russia”. If the Russian strategy has been to discredit western democracies and break them into shambles, there ought to be quiet satisfaction in Moscow over what is unfolding in Germany.

At any rate, a weakened Merkel is not a bad thing for Moscow. (President Vladimir Putin and Merkel had an uneasy personal relationship.) Merkel will now be more susceptible from pressures from the German industry, where Russia has influential lobbyists, for normalization of business ties with Moscow.

The biggest impact of the German election will be felt on European integration processes. Merkel has been out on the back foot and she was a flag-carrier EU integration. Germany’s influence within the EU weakens in the period ahead. And, without a strong axis with Germany, France alone cannot lead European integration. In sum, coming on top of Brexit, EU will be rudderless without Germany’s leadership under an assertive Merkel.

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Italy Ramps Up Weapons Supplies to Saudi Arabia in Spite of EU Calls for Embargo

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Image result for Saudi Arabia CARTOON
Sputnik 

European countries such as Italy continue to increase arms exports to Saudi Arabia in spite of European Parliament resolutions calling for an embargo on sales to Riyadh in light of violations of human rights and international law in Yemen.

A recent European Parliament resolution which calls for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia is no deterrent to Italy, which continues to increase its arms sales to the Middle East despite concerns that the flow of weapons is contributing to instability there.

Enrico Piovesana, an Italian journalist and director of the Center for Monitoring of Arms Expenditures (MILEX), told Sputnik Italiathat Italy’s exports have risen dramatically.

“According to the most recent data, for 2016, income from arms exports doubled in comparison with the previous year, from €7.9 billion ($9.4 billion) to €14.16 billion. This figure is even more impressive if we compare it with data for 2014: €2.6 billion.”

“This is significant growth, and the Italian foreign ministry considers it a triumph: in its last report, it said that this sector has finally emerged from the [economic] crisis thanks to the flexibility of its supply.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Italy was the world’s eighth largest arms exporter in 2016.

Italy is also third on the global ranking of arms exporters by number of countries to which it exports, Piovesana said.

“Saudi Arabia is the sixth largest client for Italian weapons producers,” he explained.

The non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday is the third call in two years by EU parliamentarians to enforce EU Council rules on the arms export control and impose an embargo on exports to Saudi Arabia.

On September 5, the UN Human Rights Office issued a report recording violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which occurred in the two-and-a-half years since Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners launched a bombing campaign in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi rebels who ousted former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Between March 2015 and 30 August 2017, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured, according to the UN figures. Some 3,233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces, whose airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Giorgio Beretta, an analyst from the Union of Italian Disarmament Associations, told Sputnik that Italian-made bombs are known to have been used in airstrikes on civilians.

“The UN report talks about documentation confirming the use of Italian bombs in civilian areas in Yemen. These are bombs manufactured by the Italian company RWM, which were produced and exported with the permission of the Italian government. Both the Gentiloni government and the previous Renzi government gave permission for the export of these bombs.”

“Some EU countries, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, have suspended the supply of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Other countries, such as Germany, decided to suspend the supply of weapons that could be used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict with Yemen. The UK, France and Italy continue to deliver supplies. In 2016, Italy delivered nearly 20,000 aerial bombs worth more than €411 million, which is the country’s largest supply of bombs since the end of World War II. It is absolutely clear that this is a political decision,” Beretta said.

Saudi Arabia has become the world’s second largest arms importer after India, with an 8.2% share in the market. While Italy has increased its supplies, they are still dwarfed by the US, which exports 52% of Riyadh’s imports, and the UK, which exports 27%, according to the SIPRI.

“It should be noted that that Italy is not the largest supplier to Riyadh. Trump signed a contract to sell $110 billion million of weapons to the Saudis. But nevertheless, supplies from the EU are important since there are European components in many military systems that Saudi Arabia buys.”

Beretta said that the European Parliament’s resolution and the EU Council’s Common Policy on arms exports are rather toothless in the face of lobbying from arms producers.

“International norms, as well as EU norms, don’t provide for sanctions for those who violate the International Arms Trade Treaty, as well as for those who contradict EU position. This is a big mistake, but it’s not surprising [because] these same countries exerted strong pressure to prevent the introduction of sanctions measures. At the international level, the only competent authority that can actually impose or remove sanctions is the UN Security Council. At the EU level, this is the EU Council.”

“However, there is another way: in the case of Riyadh, if one of the member countries violates the embargo, another country may legally refuse to sell arms to them. For example, if the UK violates this possible embargo, Italy could stop supplying arms to London. It can break the vicious circle. But let’s not forget that lobbyists and large arms corporations will exert pressure and try to prevent sanctions measures for violators of the embargo,” Beretta warned.

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Undermining Venezuela’s socialist government nothing new for Canada

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 Image result for Venezuela CARTOON
By Yves Engler 

Alongside Washington and Venezuela’s elite, the Trudeau government is seeking to oust President Nicolás Maduro. While Ottawa’s campaign has recently grown, official Canada has long opposed the pro-poor, pro-working class Bolivarian Revolution, which has won 19 of 21 elections since 1998.

Following a similar move by the Trump Administration, Global Affairs Canada sanctioned 40 Venezuelans on Friday. In a move that probably violates the UN charter, the elected president, vice president and 38 other officials had their assets in Canada frozen and Canadians are barred from having financial relations with these individuals.

In recent months foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has repeatedly criticized Maduro’s government. She accused Caracas of “dictatorial intentions”, imprisoning political opponents and “robbing the Venezuelan people of their fundamental democratic rights”. Since taking office the Liberals have supported efforts to condemn the Maduro government at the Organization of American States (OAS) and promoted an international mediation designed to weaken Venezuela’s leftist government (all the while staying mum about Brazil’s imposed president who has a 5% approval rating and far worse human rights violations in Mexico).

Beyond these public interventions designed to stoke internal unrest, Ottawa has directly aided an often-unsavoury Venezuelan opposition. A specialist in social media and political transition, outgoing Canadian ambassador Ben Rowswell told the Ottawa Citizen in August: “We established quite a significant internet presence inside Venezuela, so that we could then engage tens of thousands of Venezuelan citizens in a conversation on human rights. We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out.” (Can you imagine the hue and cry if a Russian ambassador said something similar about Canada?) Rowswell added that Canada would continue to support the domestic opposition after his departure from Caracas since “Freeland has Venezuela way at the top of her priority list.”

While not forthcoming with information about the groups they support in Venezuela, Ottawa has long funnelled money to the US-backed opposition. In 2010 the foremost researcher on U.S. funding to the opposition, Eva Golinger, claimed Canadian groups were playing a growing role in Venezuela and according to a 2010 report from Spanish NGO Fride, “Canada is the third most important provider of democracy assistance” to Venezuela after the US and Spain. In “The Revolution Will Not Be Destabilized: Ottawa’s democracy promoters target Venezuela” Anthony Fenton details Canadian funding to anti-government groups. Among other examples, he cites a $94,580 grant to opposition NGO Asociación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia in 2007 and $22,000 to Súmate in 2005Súmate leader Maria Corina Machado, who Foreign Affairs invited to Ottawa in January 2005, backed the “Carmona Decree” during the 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez, which dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court and suspended the elected government, Attorney General, Comptroller General, governors as well as mayors elected during Chavez’s administration. (Machado remains a leading figure in the opposition.)

Most Latin American leaders condemned the short-lived coup against Chavez, but Canadian diplomats were silent. It was particularly hypocritical of Ottawa to accept Chavez’s ouster since a year earlier, during the Summit of the Americas in Québec City, Jean Chrétien’s Liberals made a big show of the OAS’ new “democracy clause” that was supposed to commit the hemisphere to electoral democracy.

For its part, the Harper government repeatedly criticized Chavez. In April 2009 Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded to a question regarding Venezuela by saying, “I don’t take any of these rogue states lightly”. After meeting only with opposition figures during a trip to Venezuela the next year Peter Kent, minister of state for the Americas, said: “Democratic space within Venezuela has been shrinking and in this election year, Canada is very concerned about the rights of all Venezuelans to participate in the democratic process.”

The Bolivarian Revolution has faced a decade and a half of Liberal and Conservative hostility. While the NDP has sometimes challenged the government’s Venezuelan policy, the party’s current foreign critic has echoed Washington’s position. On at least two occasions Hélène Laverdière has demanded Ottawa do more to undermine the Maduro government. In a June 2016 press releaseLaverdière bemoaned “the erosion of democracy” and the need for Ottawa to “defend democracy in Venezuela” while in August the former Foreign Affairs employee told CBC “we would like to see the (Canadian) government be more active in … calling for the release of political prisoners, the holding of elections and respecting the National Assembly.” Conversely, Laverdière staid mum when Donald Trump threatened to invade Venezuela last month and she has yet to criticize the recently announced Canadian sanctions.

NDP members should be appalled at their foreign critic’s position. For Canadians more generally it’s time to challenge our government’s bid to undermine what has been an essentially democratic effort to empower Venezuela’s poor and working class.

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‘Jewish extremists’ condemned for vandalising Jerusalem church

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St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem was vandalised on 21 September 2017 [Richard Hardigan‏/Twitter]
MEMO 

The Council of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem yesterday condemned the attack by “Jewish extremists” on one its houses of worship and called on the Israeli government to do more to curtail the escalating violence against Christians in the holy land.

Wednesday’s attack on St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem resulted in the destruction of glass artwork and statues that depict the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary.

The new patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, speaking to AsiaNews said that the incident “fits in with the pattern of past incidents” and was carried out by “some fanatics” whom he described as most likely being “Jewish extremists”.

In addition to the “huge damage” caused by the destruction of statues and windows, there is the deep pain caused by “the fanaticism of these groups who do not want to accept diversity and the faith of others,” the patriarch said.

The attack took place near a chapel dedicated to St Stephen where a group of nuns and some members of the communities of the monastic family of Bethlehem live.

The Council of Catholic Churches moved swiftly to condemn the attack by releasing the statement calling on the State of Israel to punish those who were responsible for the acts “because” they said “it could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the current tense religious climate.”

Attacks by Jewish extremists on Christian and Muslim sites have been on the rise in recent years.  Earlier this month church leaders united in their condemnation of Israel for its systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City of Jerusalem and weaken its Christian heritage in Palestine.

They appealed to Christians, as well as the heads of governments “and all people of good will” to support them in their efforts to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian Christian community.

Read also:

Patriarch warns of Christian flight from holy land

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Kurdish PKK and YPG’s Hidden Notorious Crimes

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By Sarah Abed | American Herald Tribune 

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian spinoff, the YPG, are cult-like radical movements that intertwine Marxism, feminism, Leninism and Kurdish nationalism into a hodge-podge of ideology, drawing members through the extensive use of propaganda that appeals to these modes of thought.

*(PKK Propaganda. Image Credit)

Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK, took inspiration from American anarchist Murray Bookchin in creating his philosophy, which he calls “Democratic Confederalism.”

The PKK spin-off group YPG represents most of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria. With Western political support, they have gained popularity and garnered an impressive amount of support from anarchists and military veterans in the West, some of whom have left the comfort of their home countries to fight with the group.

One of their most productive marketing tools has been to use young, attractive female fighters as the face of the guerrillas. During their fight against Daesh, the PKK has saturated the media with images of these young female “freedom fighters,” using them as a marketing tool to take their cause from obscurity to fame. These female fighters in the YPJ are fighting alongside their male counterparts under the direction of the U.S in the SDF.

Stephen Gowans writes more about this topic in his superb article titled: The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence.  Here is an excerpt:

In Syria, the PKK’s goal “is to establish a self-ruled region in northern Syria,” [8] an area with a significant Arab population.

When PKK fighters cross the border into Turkey, they become ‘terrorists’, according to the United States and European Union, but when they cross back into Syria they are miraculously transformed into ‘guerrilla” fighters waging a war for democracy as the principal component of the Syrian Democratic Force. The reality is, however, that whether on the Turkish or Syrian side of the border, the PKK uses the same methods, pursues the same goals, and relies largely on the same personnel. The YPG is the PKK.

Child Soldiers forced recruitment, kidnapping, and murder by the PKK and YPG

*(Young YPJ Kurdish fighter. Image Credit)

Within the past few years Kurds have gone from almost total obscurity to front page news. What doesn’t get reported however is how these terrorist groups under the guise of being a revolutionary movement for independence have carried out numerous atrocities including kidnappings and murder – not to mention their involvement in trafficking narcotics.

Kurdish families are demanding that the PKK stop kidnapping minors. It started on April 23, the day Turkey marked its 91st National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. While children celebrated the holiday in western Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) kidnapped 25 students between the ages of 14 and 16 on the east side of the country, in the Lice district of Diyarbakir.

Although the PKK has kidnapped more than 330 minors in the last six months, the Bockum family was the first in the region who put up a tent near their home to start a sit-in protest, challenging the PKK and demanding that it return their son. Sinan was returned to the family on May 4. Al-Monitor reported this incident from the beginning in great detail.

As Bebyin Somuk reported in her article, the PKK and PYD still kidnap children in Turkey and Syria. She states: “As I previously wrote for Kebab and Camel, the PKK commits war crimes by recruiting children as soldiers. Some of the PKK militants that surrendered yesterday were also the PKK’s child soldiers. The photos clearly show that these children are not more than sixteen years old. The Turkish army released video of the 25 PKK militants surrendering in Nusaybin.”

Thousands of children are serving as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. In 1989, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 38, proclaimed: “State parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.” Since then, UNICEF and the UN Security Council took steps to end the recruitment of children in conflict and war.

(Young Kurdish fighters. Image Credit)

The PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. , E.U. , and Turkey

The PKK often recruits children. In the past, the PKK even recruited children as young as 7-12 years. In 2010, a Danish national daily newspaper, Berlingske Tidende, published a story about the PKK’s child soldiers. According to that report, there were around 3,000 young militants in the PKK’s training camps. The youngest child at the PKK training camps was eight or nine years old. They were taught Abdullah Öcalan’s life story (the jailed leader of the PKK) and how to use weapons and explosives.

*(Martyrdom notice for a PYD/YPG child soldier Image Credit)

Despite the Deed of Commitment, the PKK continues to recruit minors. 

After that story was published, the PKK encountered strong reactions from human rights organizations worldwide. The same year, UNICEF released a statement voicing its “profound concern” about the PKK’s recruitment of child soldiers. In October 2013, the PKK, represented by HPG (the PKK’s military wing) commander Ms. Delal Amed, signed the Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict. This document, drawn up by the Geneva Call NGO, is dedicated to promoting respect by armed non-state actors for international humanitarian norms in armed conflict. Despite this commitment, the PKK continued to recruit minors.

The People’s Defence Forces is the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Image Credit

The PKK abducted children while the peace process was continuing

On March 21, 2013, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan called for a cease-fire that included the PKK’s withdrawal from Turkish soil and an eventual end to armed struggle. The PKK announced that they would obey, stating that 2013 would be the year of conclusion, either through war or through peace. But that did not happen. Instead, the PKK abducted 2,052 children aged between 12 and 17 while the peace process was still going on, according to Turkish security records. The PKK took these children and trained them. After that, because those childrenwere not involved in any criminal activities, when they were captured by, or surrendered to, Turkish security forces, Turkish courts did not prosecute them, so most of them were released. It was the Turkish state’s goodwill gesture for the sake of the peace process.

However, once released, most of these children joined the YDG-H, the PKK’s new youth wing, and began to perpetrate illegal and/or violent events in Kurdish populated cities and towns. The YDG-H began to emerge in early 2013 and spread rapidly after the peace process’ beginning. Then, after the 7 June 2015 election, the YDG-H began to attack security forces and civilians in cities and towns such as Cizre, or in Diyarbakır’s Sur neighborhood, with heavy weapons, and to dig trenches and erect barricades in side streets.

*(YDG H. Image Credit)

A growing number of Kurdish families in Turkey are calling for the return of their children, who they say have been abducted by the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK. The PKK denies the claim, but with the Turkish prime minister stepping in, the issue is putting pressure on an already stalled peace process. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.

The HDP assaulted the mothers demanding their children

In May 2014, mothers from across Turkey whose children had been recruited by the PKK held a sit-in protest in front of the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality building and called on the PKK to release their children. Their children were mostly 14-15 years old at that time. Some families claimed that their sons and daughters were kidnapped by the PKK against their will. The Diyarbakır Municipality, administered by the HDP, used water cannon to disperse the mothers. HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş even claimed that these mothers were hired by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization. Despite the resistance coming from the PKK and the HDP, the families continued their protest, and some families’ children were released by the PKK.

The PKK established a child-wing called YPS-Zarok

Another photo from the Yüksekova district shows the child-wing recently established by the PKK called YPS-Zarok (Child) with the headline “YPS-Zarok announcement from the children of the resistance.” The PYD, the PKK’s Syria branch, is also known for its recruitment of child soldiers.

*(YPS. Image Credit)

U.S.’s “reliable partner” the YPG also recruits children

A Human Rights Watch report, “Syria: Kurdish Forces Violating Child Soldier Ban” provides a list of 59 children, ten of them under the age of fifteen, recruited for YPG or YPJ forces since July 2014. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court classify the recruitment of under-15-year-olds as a war crime. While the Obama Administration does not recognize the YPG as a terrorist organization, and supports them as a local partner in the region, the YPG continues to recruit child soldiers.

It’s clear that the U.S. sees the PYD as a “reliable partner” in the fight against ISIS. However, the Obama Administration should notice the fact that the PYD is not an independent organization. It is linked to the PKK and recruiting minors under 18. The decision to found the PYD was made in 2002 during a PKK congress in Qandil. The PYD also has a bylaw stating that “Abdullah Öcalan is the leader of the PYD.”US Special Forces Delta Force, training PYD (Image Credit)

In summary, the YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, and recruits children just like the PKK. Regardless of what acronym they go by, whether it be the YPG, PKK, PYD, YPJ or any of the other alphabet soup combinations, they commit crimes against civilians in both Syria and Turkey all with the arms, funds, and training received from the United States.

Female PKK Killing Turkish Soldiers

SouthFront reported on female PKK fighters who have killed Turkish soldiers. “The women fighters command of the Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) have released a statement, claiming PKK female fighters killed 160 Turkish military servicemen in 2016. According to the statement, the women fighters command of the PKK carried out 115 operations against Turkish government forces in 2016. The group also vowed to ‘proceed the struggle during the new year for a life of freedom and until victory is achieved.’”

*(Hundreds of people protest against the PKK in Istanbul on 7 September after the PKK killed 16 soldiers and wounded six others in Daglica, Turkey. Image Credit)

The PKK is also killing Kurds under the guise of protecting their rights

“Senior PKK leader Cemil Bayık, in an interview with the Fırat News Agency (ANF) on Aug. 8, said, ‘Our war will not be confined to the mountains like it was before. It will be spread everywhere without making a distinction between mountains, plains or cities. It will spread to the metropolises.’ Terrorist Bayık’s statement signaled that the PKK would take increasing aim against civilians, targeting civilian areas more than ever. And it is happening.

 Since July 15, the day when the Gülenist terror cult, FETÖ, launched its failed military coup attempt to topple the democratically-elected government, the PKK perpetrated dozens of terrorist attacks, killing 21 civilians and injuring 319 others – most of them Kurdish citizens.”

According to The Washington Institute:

On November 18, FBI Director Robert Mueller met with senior Turkish officials to address U.S.-Turkish efforts targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel. A press release from the U.S. embassy in Ankara following the meeting stressed that U.S. officials ‘strongly support Turkey’s efforts against the PKK terrorist organization’ and highlighted the two countries’ long history of working together in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.

The PKK: Terrorist Organization and Foreign Narcotics Trafficker 

These discussions are timely. Despite Ankara’s recent bid to alleviate the Kurdish issue — a bid referred to as the ‘democratic opening’ — the PKK is one of a growing number of terrorist organizations with significant stakes in the international drug trade.

In October, the U.S. Treasury Department added three PKK/Kongra-Gel senior leaders to its list of foreign narcotics traffickers. The PKK, along with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is one of only a few organizations worldwide designated by the U.S. government as both a terrorist organization and a significant foreign narcotics trafficker.” Drug smuggling is reported to be the main financial source of PKK terrorism, according to the organization International Strategic Research, whose detailed report can be seen here.

Western Veterans Blindly Supporting Kurdish Independence 

Their exaggerated triumphs against Daesh have helped them evolve from a radical militia to an alleged regional power player. Have they been successful in fighting against Daesh in Syria? Yes – but while the Syrian Arab Army has been more effective, it does not receive a fraction of the praise or recognition that the PKK does.

Pato Rincon, a U.S. military veteran, recently wrote about his experience training with the YPG in Syria.

Although initially interested in their desire for autonomy, he soon got to know a different side of the group.

An Exclusive Eyewitness Account of an American who Trained with the Kurdish Syrian Rebels

Getting retired from the United States Marine Corps at age 23 with zero deployments under my belt was a huge blow to what I figured to be my destiny on this planet. That “retirement” came in 2010 after three years on convalescent leave, recovering from a traumatic brain injury sustained stateside. I got my chance to vindicate myself in 2015 by volunteering to fight in Syria with the Kurdish Yeni Parastina Gel (YPG), or the “People’s Protection Units” in Kurmanji (Northern Kurdish language).

The YPG is the military apparatus of the Partiya Yekitiya Democrat (PYD), the Democratic Union Party, and one of the main forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS and Bashar al-Assad’s regime. While they are a direct ideological descendant of the Soviet Union, their take on Marxism has a much more nationalistic bent than that of their internationalist forebears. At their training camp that I attended, they constantly spoke of their right to a free and autonomous homeland–which I could support. On the other hand, they ludicrously claimed that all surrounding cultures from Arab to Turk to Persian descended from Kurdish culture. One should find this odd, considering that the Kurds have never had such autonomy as that which they struggle for. All of this puffed up nationalism masquerading as internationalism was easy to see through.

The Westerners were treated with respect by the “commanders” (they eschewed proper rank and billet, how bourgeoise!), but the rank and file YPGniks were more interested in what we could do for them and what they could steal from us (luckily, my luggage was still in storage at the Sulaymaniyah International Airport in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq). By “steal from us,” I mean they would walk up to a Westerner/American and grab their cap, glasses, scarf and whatever else they wanted and ask “Hevalti?” which is Kurmanji for “Comraderie?” and if you “agreed” or stalled (a non-verbal agreement) then they would take your gear and clothing. “Do not get your shit hevalti-ed,” the saying went.

Not only was their idea of Marxism fatuous, their version of feminism was even worse. We had to take mandatory “Female World History” classes in which some putrid fourth or even fifth wave feminist propaganda was espoused. Early on in my brief stay with this “military unit”, I was told not to ever brush my teeth in front of a woman as that might “sexualize” her… … something to do with preparing one’s self for sex or something.

They insisted that we chicken-wing our elbows while sighting in on targets–the same targets that were fired on by everybody in the class, thus making an assessment of individual strengths and weaknesses rather impossible. This was on the ONE day that we went to the range–one day with the AK-47 out of about a month of training. Another day was Some of these guys were straight from civilian life, with only their blood composition to act as a reason for them to be there. Little boys and little girls as young as 13 or 14 were there–reason enough for me to leave.

During one long “Female World History” class, we were taught that if a man had a Dragonov (sniper rifle) and he was elevated from his female comrade’s position and she had a Bixie, they the male in the scenario should not cover his female comrade, but instead should find something else to do lest she lose self esteem, not feeling capable of carrying out the task by herself.

When a student from Kentucky asked, “What if the situation is reversed–can a woman cover a man?” the female instructor smiled and said, “Yes, that’s okay.” I didn’t end up firing a shot in combat for the YPG. After seeing their half-baked ideology, poor level of training, and the child soldiers, I had had enough. They were nice enough to arrange for me to go back to Iraq where I could catch a ride to Turkey.

*(Pat Rincon with YPG fighters in Syria. Image Credit)

Accounts such as this will certainly not make it to mainstream media, as they do not fit the narrative that the Kurds and their sponsors promote.

In another example of Western support for the YPG, Joe Robinson, an ex-soldier and UK national, recently returned to the UK after spending five months in Syria fighting with the group. He was detained and arrested by Greater Manchester Police officers on suspicion of terrorism offenses as soon as he returned. He joined the British military when he was 18 and toured Afghanistan with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in 2012.

*(Joseph A. R. (right) in a military outfit with flag patches of Kurdistan and the UK, while men who appear to be Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces are seen in the background in this undated social media picture. Picture Credit).

He left the UK when an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court. Robinson is pictured here in Syria with YPG fighters.

Robinson, at left, holding his weapon while fellow YPG comrades hold Daesh flag.  The writing on the wall speaks volumes about the relationship between Israel, the Kurds and the US.

During a trip to Turkey Joe Robinson was arrested for having been part of the YPG.

*(Turkish police arrested Joesph A.R. (center) along with two Bulgarian women in the city of Aydin, July 28, 2017. Photo Credit)

“I received arms training from the YPG [People’s Protection Units] for three months but never engaged in combat,” said the foreign fighter during an interrogation.

The information contained in this article serves the purpose of balancing all of the propaganda and romanticization that these Kurdish terrorist groups have received in mainstream media. The bottom line is they are armed, dangerous, and committing crimes with international support.  Support for these terrorist groups needs to end immediately before further division, chaos and death spreads in the region.

Posted in IraqComments Off on Kurdish PKK and YPG’s Hidden Notorious Crimes

A Risky Referendum for Kurdistan Underway in Iraq

NOVANEWS
Image result for Kurdistan CARTOON
By Barbara Nimri Aziz | CounterPunch 

At least the combative and haughty Israeli prime minister was forthright: he supports a free and independent Kurdistan. Tomorrow’s vote by Iraqi Kurdish parties to secede from Iraq may well push the country into another war, a civil war. (Doubtless nothing would please Israel more.) The referendum is opposed by neighboring powers, but most significantly by the central government in Baghdad.

It is a far more serious move than the well publicized Catalonian vote in Spain scheduled for October 1st, also more perilous than Middle East watchers let on. Why the Iraqi referendum is receiving so little scrutiny, I don’t know.

Our revered English language “fake-news” establishment (e.g. The New York Times and The Guardian, among them) is underplaying the significance of a Kurdistan secession, also denying American and British endorsement for it. In reality the US and UK are totally with Israel in promoting and supporting north Iraq’s independence.

Iran’s and Turkey’s opposition is well known; Syria would also be in that camp although no one publicly listens to Syria these days. (Remember that US troops are closely collaborating with Syrian Kurdish forces in opposition to Damascus.)

Reading the buried articles on Iraqi Kurdish national aspirations, one would gather it’s a scheme conceived after the 2003 US invasion, and advanced only by Kurdish leaders.

This is nonsense.

Although the British divided the large, strategic area occupied mainly by Kurdish-speaking people among Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey with their Sykes-Picot “Agreement” during World War I (part of the dissolution of the Turkish Empire), more recent plans by the imperial powers and Israel involve reconfiguring the modern Middle East into smaller and smaller pieces, starting with Iraqi Kurdistan. (Talk of Iraq’s division into three parts arose in 1991; similar scenarios are applied to Syria today.)

Public discussion of an independent Kurdistan has been ongoing since the launch of the US-led war on Iraq. Yes, Washington’s war on Iraq began not with the 2003 invasion but in 1991, with what’s called the Persian Gulf War (as if it was confined to that area). The ongoing assault included the murderous, destabilizing and destructive embargo war that continued from 1990 to 2003).

As for the Kurds, readers will recall images of tens of thousands of besieged families fleeing into the mountains ostensibly pursued by Saddam’s army. Without delay, humanitarian-motivated (sic) western powers rushed to the Kurds’ aid, using the opportunity of diversionary assaults in pursuit of Saddam and the Baathists, to essentially occupy the three Kurdish governates on behalf of that besieged minority. With Kurdish leaders’ wholehearted complicity, occupation was easily secured by a band of CIA agents, a low profile US military contingent working with an Israeli team, protected by the insipid northern “no-fly zone” (blessed, I believe, by the United Nations Security Council). The Kurdish region has remained semi-autonomous since then, sanctioned by a clause in the US-framed Iraqi constitution granting Kurds a degree of autonomy. Day by day, year by year, those three Kurdish governates have enjoyed protection, economic development, including a thriving tourist industry, freedom from any sanctions, and freedom to sell oil from its territory directly to foreign companies, all unquestioned thanks to its benevolent international image in Human Rights reports and the press.

During these 26 years, tensions between the central government and the KRG (Kurdish regional government) in Erbil have steadily heightened. Neither US occupiers nor other influential forces in Iraq have done anything to lessen the crisis. American Kurdish experts led by the intrepid former US diplomat Peter Galbraith have consistently argued for an independent Kurdistan.

Then there is Kirkuk: Iraq’s major city in the area lies outside that semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Until 1991 Kirkuk was overwhelmingly inhabited by Iraqi Turkmen people. Kirkuk and smaller nearby cities (e.g. Tel Afar) have been Turkmen’s homeland for centuries, an area profoundly and unquestionably Iraqi in loyalty.

You’d never know this from western press accounts which characterize Kirkuk simply as a center of oil deposits. I say Kirkuk was a largely Turkmen city because that has changed; since 1991 Iraqi Kurds have been steadfastly engaged driving Turkmen from their towns while repopulating them with Kurdish families. Although no mass killings of Turkmen have occurred as far as I am aware, there has been a major ethnic cleansing underway, turning Kirkuk from a major Turkmen society into a Kurdish one. All this has been in preparation for the inclusion of Kirkuk into the anticipated autonomous Kurdistan, a process known and condoned by US, Israel and the UK policy makers.

With the coming referendum, although the three regions (minus Kirkuk) enjoyed a marked degree of independence, despite successive Baghdad government attempts to limit this, Kirkuk has now become the additional prize and a noted target in the coming referendum.

Baghdad opposes the referendum as strongly as Madrid rejects Catalonia’s independence vote. In recent weeks Madrid has taken startlingly firm action to thwart the regional vote. Baghdad’s position is as uncompromising; a federal court has declared the referendum illegal according to the Iraqi constitution, and Baghdad declared its readiness to use military action, at least to hold Kirkuk.

Don’t believe news reports that the US and its allies oppose this referendum. Note the absence of any diplomatic effort by Washington to help reach a compromise and avoid another period of strife there.

All Iraqis must be feeling very nervous tonight.

Posted in IraqComments Off on A Risky Referendum for Kurdistan Underway in Iraq

Majority of Brits think UK should recognise Palestine as a state

NOVANEWS

MEMO 

A majority of the British public believe the UK should recognise Palestine as a state, according to the results of a new YouGov poll published Monday.

53 percent of respondents said they agree with such a step, as opposed to just 14 percent who disagreed (33 percent said they were ‘neutral’).

Responding to the poll, Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said public opinion has been shifting. “I have been here for 11 years and have noticed dramatic changes in the British public’s views on Palestine”, he said.

“That only 14 percent say they wouldn’t want the Palestinian state to receive recognition is an indication of the Palestinian cause worldwide being accepted”, he added.

The poll also addressed views amongst the British public towards the Balfour Declaration, whose centenary will be marked in November.

According to the poll, opinion is deeply divided over the Balfour Declaration: 32 percent of Brits think it is something to be proud of, while 27 percent consider it “something to be regretted” (and 41 percent selected ‘Neither’).

The poll also revealed a partisan divide, with a striking plurality (32 percent) of those who voted Labour in the last election viewing the Balfour Declaration as something to be regretted. Among Conservative voters, on the other hand, 40 percent view the historical document with pride, and only 21 percent with regret.

The poll also asked whether, “given Britain’s historic role”, the country has “a particular responsibility to help sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now”, to which 55 percent responded ‘No’, and 45 percent answered ‘Yes’.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, UKComments Off on Majority of Brits think UK should recognise Palestine as a state

The Source of America’s wars, Neocons Zionists ‘VIDEO’

NOVANEWS
Image result for Neocons Zionists CARTOON
Rys2sense 

Whose interest are we spending trillions of dollars on wars and bankrupting America for? Certainly not America’s interests.

It’s not a blame Israel chorus (Alex) or some abstract group. It’s facts. The pre-war hype that led to war with Iraq was not generic corporatism. The lies specifically came from a zionist cabal in the DOD.

It wasn’t oil companies faking Niger documents it was Ledeen and Franklin. It wasn’t weapons companies lying about witnessing a transfer of anthrax in a meeting that didn’t even happen, it was Woolsey Barns and Schmit.

It wasn’t security companies lying about WMDs or spying on the US it was AIPAC It was the god damn Israeli moles Perle, Kristol, Fieth, Frum, Abrams, Libby, Wolfowitz, Kagan, Goldberg, and Grossman.

This is not some vague blame game. We have very specific facts as to who did what and it WAS the Israelis and this IS Israel’s war.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Source of America’s wars, Neocons Zionists ‘VIDEO’

Ukraine’s Chief Military Psychiatrist Fired After Uncovering Horrifying Secret

NOVANEWS
Image result for Ukraine’s Chief Military CARTOON
Sputnik 

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has sacked chief military psychiatrist Oleh Druz, who told lawmakers that 93% of veterans from the conflict in the country’s east need treatment for mental health issues. Radio Sputnik contributor Vladimir Filippov says Druz’s remarks, and Kiev’s reaction, are a testament to the senselessness of the country’s civil war.

Last week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak dismissed Colonel Oleh Druz, the head of the psychiatry clinic of the Main Military Clinical Hospital “in connection with the unsatisfactory fulfillment of his official duties.” The dismissal followed remarks by the top military psychiatrist at a round table of parliamentary committees, where Druz revealed that over 90% of the veterans of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass require mental help and pose a potential danger to society.

Commenting on the scandal, Radio Sputnik contributor Vladimir Filippov said that Druz’s real problem was that he decided to tell the truth.

The journalist recalled that according to Kiev’s own official statistics, “nine out of ten participants of the fighting in the Donbass have medical and social problems, while a third are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Experts say a state-run program of support for vets is needed, but for now this is something done mainly on a voluntary basis.”

In his remarks before lawmakers, Druz warned that veterans’ disorders include heightened levels of aggression, decreased ability to return to civilian work, the development and exacerbation of chronic diseases, growing rates of alcoholism and drug addiction, shortened life expectancy, and increased suicide rates. Statistics reveal that 63 veterans took their own lives in 2016 alone.

In light of these horrifying figures, Filippov suggested that Kiev’s reaction was highly “original.”

“They simply dismissed the chief psychiatrist. Why? Probably because he said too much. Someone might think that among the [Donbass vets] are completely mentally unstable people. In fact, to shoot one’s fellow citizens is already beyond the realm of a normal worldview. And if one kills unarmed civilians, children and the elderly, what kinds of mental state can one speak of?”

According to the analyst, the hard truth is that Ukraine’s authorities couldn’t care less about its vets, with the government allocating precious little money for them, most of its defense funds either stolen outright or allocated to weapons purchases.

Filippov suggested that as far as Kiev is concerned, the only problem posed by the vets is the political danger they pose to the government – “to their soft chairs and their wealth. They have no plans to share with the veterans, hence the need to drive their problems deep out of sight and out of mind. No one needs them. They are cannon fodder, spent material.”

“That’s why Poltorak got so anxious,” the analyst stressed. “Because the 93% figure is a military secret – top-secret information! Capable of undermining the military capability of the regime,” Filippov concluded.

Posted in UkraineComments Off on Ukraine’s Chief Military Psychiatrist Fired After Uncovering Horrifying Secret

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