Archive | October 7th, 2017

President Zigzag


Exclusive: President Trump boasts about his “zigzag” foreign policy as if inconsistency is an attribute in dealing with a fragile world, but his zigzagging endangers backchannel intermediaries handling outreach to North Korea, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

President Trump’s bellicose speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month sparked a crisis for the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that was then reaching out to North Korea and Iran, with Trump’s comments jeopardizing not only the talks but the credibility of the intermediaries, according to a source familiar with those efforts.

President Trump speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2017. (Screenshot from

Trump essentially pulled the rug out from under the intermediaries by insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” threatening to “totally destroy” Kim’s nation of 25 million people, and calling for regime change in Iran. Trump’s bluster on Sept. 19 also deepened internal tensions with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was privately supporting the secret diplomacy.

The next day, when one of the intermediaries complained about the harm that Trump’s speech had caused, the President glibly explained that he liked to “zigzag” in charting his foreign policy, the source said.

The immediate consequences of Trump’s U.N. speech included ratcheting up nuclear-war tensions on the Korean peninsula and torpedoing a possible diplomatic breakthrough with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. A proposed meeting between Rouhani and Trump around the Iranian president’s trip to the U.N. sank under Trump’s barrage of insults, the source said.

Trump’s “zigzag” approach to foreign policy has similarities to President Richard Nixon’s infamous “madman theory,” in which Nixon pretended to be crazy enough to launch a nuclear strike against North Vietnam in a ploy to gain concessions from Hanoi and its allies during the Vietnam War.

In Trump’s depiction of his business negotiating style, he has hailed the value of coming on tough to soften up a rival. But one problem of this approach in foreign policy is that Trump’s zigzagging left the U.S. government’s middlemen in the uncomfortable position of appearing to have misled senior North Korean and Iranian officials regarding what U.S. intentions were. The source said no one was in physical danger but apologies had to be made and the credibility of the initiatives suffered a severe blow.

In the case of North Korea, the backchannel goal had been to tamp down the heated rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang and to persuade the North Koreans to begin talks with South Korea about the possibility of some loosely formed confederation that could then lead to the gradual withdrawal of U.S. military forces and a reduction in overall tensions.

Leaving Intermediaries in the Lurch

However, by using his maiden U.N. speech to personally insult North Korea’s leader and to threaten to annihilate the country, Trump left his intermediaries in the unenviable spot of trying to explain to North Korean officials the chasm between the U.S. administration’s private overtures and the President’s public outburst.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

That was the context behind Secretary of State Tillerson’s public acknowledgement last Saturday that the administration was engaged in direct communications with the North Korean government. In effect, Tillerson was trying to bolster the credibility of the intermediaries by putting the backchannel contacts into the public light.

“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson said. “We ask, ‘Would you like to talk?’ We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we’re not in a dark situation, a blackout.”

Tillerson added, “We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang.” Tillerson even went out of his way to specify that these were American channels, not indirect contacts through China or some other third-party government.

“We can talk to them,” Tillerson said. “We do talk to them.” The Secretary of State then rebuffed a suggestion that he was referring to Chinese intermediaries. Shaking his head, Tillerson said, “Directly. We have our own channels.”

But Trump was not done with his administration’s zigzagging. On Sunday, he belittled the idea of a dialogue with North Korea by tweeting out that “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”

“Save your energy Rex,” Trump added, before slipping in another thinly veiled threat of a military strike: “we’ll do what has to be done!”

However, despite Trump’s truculence, the source said the behind-the-scenes contacts with North Korea have resumed although they remain fragile amid concerns that Trump may again take to Twitter with more threats and insults – and again put the intermediaries in a no-man’s-land facing angry North Koreans leaders doubting the honesty and integrity of individuals supposedly representing the U.S. government.

The source said Trump has been apprised of this danger and supposedly has agreed not to undercut these intermediaries again.

President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Sept. 18, 2017. (Screenshot from

But Trump lacks enough sophistication about international relations to understand the complexities of the global chessboard and the risks involved in his erratic behavior. He is also susceptible to having his head turned by the last person who speaks with him, particularly if that person is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Some people around Trump traced the President’s destructive U.N. speech, in part, to Netanyahu’s insistence that Trump get in line behind the Israeli policy of continued hostility toward Iran and Syria.

When Trump was delivering the address to a mostly stone-faced General Assembly – with many delegates clearly distressed listening to crude threats of war at the podium of an institution created to achieve peace – one of the few visibly happy people in the building was Netanyahu as Trump embraced neoconservative war policies, albeit behind “America First” rhetoric.

Trump has continued to toe Netanyahu’s line in the President’s current threats to refuse certification that Iran is abiding by the 2015 nuclear-weapons accord even though senior administration officials and international inspectors have confirmed that Iran is in compliance.

So, the fate of Tillerson’s backchannel diplomacy may ultimately rest on whether the troublemaking Netanyahu pulls Trump’s chain again or whether President Zigzag wakes up at 3 a.m. with an itchy Twitter finger and a desire to look tough.


Shielding Saudis on Yemen Atrocities by Shireen al-Adeimi

Ignoring Today’s ‘Great Hungers” by Kathy Kelly

America’s Hypocrisy on Democracy by Paul R. Pillar

The Spiraling Crisis of Puerto Rico by Dennis J Bernstein

Political Fig Leaf after Las Vegas Slaughter by JP Sottile

Recalling Japan’s ‘Comfort Women’ Rapes by Dennis J Bernstein


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Maduro Ends Belarus Trip, Deepening Ties

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro meets with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexandr Lukashenko.
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro meets with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexandr Lukashenko. | Photo: Twitter @PresidencialVen.

Maduro inaugurated a monument to Simon Bolivar, in the park that bears the name of the hero of Latin American independence.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with the President of Belarus, Alexandr Lukashenko in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, during which they spoke with the aim of strengthening bilateral ties between their countries and discussing the international situation.

RELATED: Maduro and Putin Agree to Strengthen Cooperation at Talks in Moscow

Maduro affirmed to his Belarusian counterpart that the development of a multi-polar world based on peaceful international relations is at the center of the Bolivarian project, the Presidential Press said on Twitter.

The meeting also reaffirmed that Belarus supports Venezuela politically in the international realm.

The two leaders also discussed ways to improve bilateral economic relations beyond their strong base. By 2011 total bilateral exchange had totaled US$2 billion between the two countries. Projects in development range from housing construction, automobile manufacturing, oil, and gas infrastructure.

View image on Twitter

 Belarús le abre las puertas a Venezuela, Pdte. @NicolasMaduro y su par, Alexander Lukashenko sostienen encuentro

“Belarus opens its doors to Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro and his counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko meet.”

Lukashenko said that Venezuela is among its most important partners in Latin America and that the nations have a strong foundation to build on, however he also noted that due to the “complicated situation in the world” some projects have slowed down in recent years.

“Belarusian technology has been used to start making road construction machines in Venezuela. Latin America’s largest brick factory has been built. Together we have built hundreds of thousands of square meters of housing for low-income families in Venezuela. It is a good foundation for our future relations. We hit the mark when we started it in the past,” Lukashenko said according to Belarus News.

“We are ready to continue this road in Venezuela together,” he continued.

President Nicolas Maduro is scheduled to inaugurate a statue of Simon Bolivar in Minsk later in the day.

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The World Must Stand With Catalonia

  • Esteladas (Catalan separatist flags) are waved as thousands of people gather for a rally on Catalonia
    Esteladas (Catalan separatist flags) are waved as thousands of people gather for a rally on Catalonia’s national day ‘La Diada’ in Barcelona, Spain. | Photo: Reuters.
In the face of Spanish authoritarianism, Catalonia deserves our solidarity and support.

Sunday’s Catalan independence referendum delivered a landslide victory to supporters of Catalonia’s self-determination, with some 90 percent voting in favor of secession from Spain. Having been denied a spurious legitimacy by the Spanish constitutional court, which declared the vote illegal, democracy in Catalonia has instead found validation through the enactment of history by its people.

RELATED: Serbia Accuses EU of Hypocrisy Over Catalan Independence

History, stretching back to the 1930s, also colored the authoritarian response of the right-wing and comically corrupt government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Rubber bullets and batons greeted peaceful civilians who sought to participate in a plebiscite which, Rajoy subsequently claimed, simply never happened.

Spain, a multinational state whose pantomime act as a unitary nation offends many and convinces few, has written its oblique suicide note in the blood of democrats. A government which considers itself the ultimate arbiter of constitutional verity has itself faced judgement from those it sought to disenfranchise. As it lurches from panicked self-preservation to hateful retaliation, the wider world cannot turn away.

In naïve quarters, much shock has been expressed that this is happening in a Western and ostensibly “liberal” democracy, where such ugliness is not meant to transpire. Those nations which have suffered from the historical legacies of European colonialism, from the enforced reality of globalised capitalism, and whose roots lie in the hard-fought achievement of self-determination, are not so sheltered.

Responding to the violence encountered by defiant Catalan democracy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not equivocate: “Mariano Rajoy has chosen blood, sticks, blows, and repression against a noble people. Our hand goes out to the people of Catalonia. Resist, Catalonia! Latin America admires you.”

Given the controversies that have surrounded Venezuela’s efforts towards participatory democracy and constitutional reform, the contrast is striking. In Catalonia, we have seen an authoritarianism fuelled not by any attempted rewriting of the constitution, but in a fanatical adherence to its strictures, regardless of how unjust the consequences. The Spanish Government have sought national unity over moral dignity, and have lost both as a result.

Shamefully, others have been less forthright in their condemnations. Those who qualify reactions to oppression and violence with a disingenuous and unnuanced suspicion of nationalism are as useless as they are willfully deluded. Those features which socialists have historically feared from nationalist movements – irrationality and exceptionalism, conservatism and chauvinism, brutality and blood – were not embodied by those in Catalonia who marched, voted, and stood where others demanded they kneel.

Instead, the ghost of Franco found expression in the actions of a Spanish government that never fully exorcised him or the Falangist instincts he instilled. To watch unarmed civilians beaten by state-sanctioned paramilitary thugs and then argue that both sides share responsibility – that legality, however perverse, trumps justice – is to offer excuses for a fascism resurgent.

It has already become commonplace for hand-wringing commentators, wedded to the status quo and suspicious of change they cannot comprehend, to argue that Spain has reacted in its own worst interests; that instead of imposing a monstrous crackdown upon an as-yet-stateless nation, Spain’s defenders should have made a “positive” case for Catalonia to remain.

RELATED: Catalonia’s President Condemns Spain’s King For ‘Deliberately Ignoring Millions of Catalans’

Yet when the first choice of the Spanish government is a policy of inhumanity, redolent with memories of Catalonia’s historical suffering, who could make such a case in good faith? Who could claim it even exists?

Elsewhere, others have found their own struggles reflected in the Catalan experience, and in consequence possess more informed perspectives. From my home in Edinburgh, I have seen supporters of Scottish independence take up the cause of Catalonia with a passion that been matched by their Irish and Basque counterparts, much to the bafflement of their many enemies.

The opponents of left-wing nationalism, when they have the rare decency to acknowledge that it exists, have no answer for the long-standing solidarity that exists between insurgent nations reaching for liberation in the 21st Century. If nationalist struggles are petty and insular, if they can never provide a vehicle for emancipatory struggle – as their critics would have us believe – from where does this internationalist solidarity originate?

One could argue it begins with a recognition that national sovereignty without international solidarity is untenable; that statehood and self-determination are means towards further political and economic emancipations, their potential limits yet undefined; that goodwill and mutual support between comparable national struggles are the only means by which a counter-hegemonic opposition to globalized capitalism can be built.

Those who doubt the radical potential of a sovereigntist movement should consider that Catalonia is, at the time of writing, conducting a General Strike, the scope and efficacy of which is beyond all but the wildest aspirations of most Western leftists and trade unionists.

Meanwhile, the anti-indepentista milquetoasts of the wider Spanish left plead for a vague federalist solution and reform of a constitution that was, in the words of the Catalan Marxist Pau Llonch, “founded on three pillars: capitalism as a mode of production, the monarchy, and the denial of self–determination.” What guarantees does such a nebulous solution offer the Catalan people that independence does not?

RELATED: Barcelona Mayor: Police Sexually Abused Protesters in Catalan Referendum

The people of Catalonia have already been failed. The shame of that failure extends beyond Spanish borders. The British Government, never especially troubled by expressions of atrocity amongst its allies, stands by Spain, unwilling to disavow the state whose hair-trigger belligerence British unionists have too often employed to intimidate the U.K.’s own troublesome secessionists. The EU, once again retreating from any virtue embodied by the European ideal, have declared that they trust the leadership of Rajoy to negotiate the crisis. They did not elaborate on how, exactly, such trust had been earned.

Bereft of support from such quarters, there can be no underestimating the importance of solidarity to Catalonia, the future of which remains unknown and fraught with dangers. Yet solidarity is only effective if it exists in moments of both victory and darkness. Catalonia has experienced both. It demands an extraordinary response, and that is what must be provided.

On September 16, before a crowd of 32,000, the Catalan singer, composer and parliamentarian Lluis Llach’s famous anti-Francoist song was sung in Bilbao in the defence of the independence referendum. “If I pull hard this way and you pull hard that way,” the crowd sang, “it will surely fall, fall, fall – and we can liberate ourselves.”

Catalonia has pulled hard. It is up to the rest of the world to match their efforts.

Sean Bell is a Scots-Irish-Armenian journalist and a reporter for the Scottish grassroots news organisation CommonSpace. His journalism has appeared in the Herald, the Sunday Herald, the National and Jacobin magazine.


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Expert Exposes US Biological Warfare During Korean War

  • The U.S. responded to north Korean military advances with biological warfare.
    The U.S. responded to north Korean military advances with biological warfare. | Photo: YouTube.
TeleSUR spoke with retired Prof. Stephen Endicott about his definitive book on the U.S. use and cover up of biological warfare during the Korean War.

“You may rest assured that I stand by every word of ‘The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets of the Early Cold War and Korea’,” Stephen Endicott told teleSUR about his 1999 book co-authored by the late Edward Hagerman. The book looks in-depth at the U.S. military’s use and coverup of banned biological weapons against the Korean and Chinese people during the Korean War of 1950-53.

RELATED: Putin: Kim Jong-Il Said North Korea Had Nukes In 2001, Pressure Leads to a ‘Dead End’

For Endicott, the United States’ use of germ warfare during its war against Korea is both personal and professional. He told teleSUR his father, James G. Endicott, a Canadian and former missionary in China, “witnessed the American germ war campaign during a return visit to the country in 1952. The Canadian government threatened to try him for treason for his report affirming the charges made by China and North Korea that the U.S. had engaged in biological warfare.” This was the impetus to his academic research on the topic.

Endicott and Hagerman conducted extensive archival research and interviews with Chinese, U.S., Canadian, Japanese, and British officials and civilians. The authors were the firsts to gain access to declassified U.S. records regarding the Korean War, which Endicott says showed the “U.S. engaged in shameful tactics employing many kinds of weapons whose use was banned by international law” by the 1925 Geneva Protocol, and later the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

With the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan and the end of WWII, the U.S. took over Japanese territories in Asia, including redrawing Korea, splitting it into the northern and southern regions at the 38th latitudinal parallel. In the south, the United States occupied and set up a military base, which has remained to this day, while the Soviet Union sent troops to the north.

RELATED: China: A Revolutionary Present

Kim had the Soviet’s support and was well-equipped, quickly taking over all but a small portion of the peninsula’s southeast tip. Left-wing movements were mounting in the region and Endicott says, the “United States was determined to turn back the tide of change and revolution in East Asia.”

The United States sent troops to prop up its Korean allies in the south and China sent troops to support forces under Kim. By late 1951 the Chinese/North Korea alliance was gaining the upper hand. The United States answered by using germ warfare, among other tactics.

In the winter of 1952 Chinese military members in the north reported, “American aircraft were dropping strange objects” including live spiders, flies, bees, snakes, fleas, ticks, dead rats, and mosquitos encased in U.S. military tubes. Even dropping pork, dead crow and chicken feathers.

Endicott told teleSUR the U.S. military created a policy of using “a secret covert channel as well as on overt channel for conducting biological and chemical warfare … whenever it was militarily advantageous and without regard to precedent.”

A follow-up report the authors released in 2016 detailed how 46 Chinese medical experts investigated the creatures and found fleas with bubonic plague, unprecedented in Korean history. Sixteen Chinese troops contracted the disease. Civilians were diagnosed with smallpox and typhus. Korean military documents Endicott and Hagerman uncovered show that 44 Korean troops contracted encephalitis and meningitis and 16 died, while three died of cholera. The U.S. military was crafting these very pathogens at the U.S. Biological Warfare laboratories.

Some 20 military personnel died suddenly of “acute diseases” after the presence of the odd objects and insects in the area. The very presence of such animals, insects and diseases were unheard of during snowy Korean winters. Additionally, several times during the winter of 1952, the U.S. bomb-shelled the Chinese and Korean military forces with “poisonous gas shells” immediately killing several troops in each instance.

RELATED: Washington and Pyongyang React to Trump’s Tillerson Tweet

A book published by the Beijing Academy of Military Science in 1982 found that “384 Chinese soldiers were infected” with a variety of diseases across several northern Korean provinces during the war, while 126 of them died.

Endicott and Hagerman revealed U.S. military documents from August 1953 where U.S. military leaders wanted to continue “the operational use of biological agents, perhaps putting GB (nerve gas) agents into the munitions mix.” What’s more disturbing than the U.S. use of banned warfare is that the military was seemingly disappointed with the results.

The U.S. military told its “Canadian and British partners they were unable to achieve a ‘highly lethal, stable, viable, easily disseminated, low cost” agent. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Arthur Radford lamented that the campaign against the north, “suffered from over-optimism and consequent attempts to get a job done quickly.”

Endicott told teleSUR there have been few revelations since he and Hagerman first published their book almost 20 years ago. However, Endicott noted that “shortly before his death,” retired CIA agent Norman Cournoyer who worked in the Biological Warfare Center in Fort Detrick “broke his oath of secrecy to the government” for a 2002 documentary titled, “Code Name Artichoke,” revealing, “There were people who had biological weapons and they used them. I won’t say anything more than that. They used them.”

Endicott said that despite the evidence, “The United States government continues to make every effort to cover-up, deceive and deny its criminal use of biological weapons in the Korean War,” adding, “One of the defenses of the U.S. was that the Chinese scientists (who investigated the matter in 1952) were poorly trained and not able to properly identify what was happening. In fact, many of the Chinese scientists were highly trained. A number of them had been trained in the West, including the U.S., or studied at the Rockefeller funded Beijing Medical College. They were well qualified to carry out the investigations and draw valid conclusions.”

RELATED: US-North Korea Relations: Experts Weigh in on Future Course

Additionally, Endicott said some “U.S. airmen who carried out the attacks” admitted to using germ warfare after being captured by the Chinese. When they returned home, U.S. military leaders alleged the soldiers “were forced to confess to something that they did not do, but that what actually happened is that when they returned home to the U.S., they were threatened with court martial (including possible death sentences) if they did not repudiate the confessions that they gave to their Chinese captors.”

Despite the official coverup, G. Cameron Hurst, head of the East Asia Department at the University of Pennsylvania called the authors’ expose book “far and away the most authoritative writing on the subject.”

Endicott concluded, “This was a shameful episode in American history.” The U.S. military remains immune and unaccountable for the deaths it caused of Chinese and Korean military as well as civilians during the Korean War, only adding insult to injury by covering up its germ and biological warfare campaign.

WATCH: Global Empire – State Of The World

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Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Slams Kurdish Referendum

  • In the mid 1960s and 70s, Mossad planned and funded a Kurdish Army to fight Iraqi troops in northern Iraq, and other Israel enemies in the Middle East.
    In the mid 1960s and 70s, Mossad planned and funded a Kurdish Army to fight Iraqi troops in northern Iraq, and other Israel enemies in the Middle East. | Photo: Reuters.
teleSUR speaks to Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi about the controversial referendum.

On Sept. 25, 92 percent of the total of 8.4 million Iraqi Kurdish population voted “yes” to independence in a referendum on whether to secede from Iraq.

RELATED: Iran and Turkey Warn Against Iraqi Kurd Secession

That was a symbolic step for the ethnic group composed of by more than 30 million people spread across five countries. They decided to settle in lands of their own in northern Iraq, where Iraqi Kurdistan is made up of three provinces run by an autonomous regional government and protected by their own security services.

Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi pointed out that “the referendum was a severe violation to the Iraqi Constitution, that represents the social contract between all Iraqi components, ratified by the Kurdish people in a way exceeded other Iraqi provinces: Erbil 99.36 percent, Dohuk 99.13 percent and Sulaimania 98.96 percent votes.”

Noting that the people who are claiming to secede from Iraq are genuine participants in the Federal Government since 2003, the Iraqi official said that the Kurds cannot justify a secession. “The Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on foreign states to stop cooperating with Iraq’s autonomous and oil-rich Kurdistan on issues in the oil sector, and also demanded that all border posts with Turkey, Syria and Iran be placed under Baghdad’s supervision, closing airports. Turkey also responded aggressively, threatening military action and sanctions in order to force the Kurds to “give up on this adventure that can only have a dark end.”

As the Kurdish leadership is claiming that Baghdad is punishing the Kurdish people by closing borders and airports for trying to express their rights, Haidar has observed that the Iraqi Federal Government has full rights to control the airports in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, subject all border crossings to federal authorities and close all non-official ports.

“As the Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people, the governmental procedures are basically addressed to deter the Kurdish government for fragmenting Iraq’s unity and preserve its regional position,” he said.

“Oil exporting, foreign trade, investments, bank transactions and the diplomatic and consulate representations are subjected to the federal government authority,” added the Iraqi diplomat to Russia.

The international community and regional neighbors have opposed the referendum, but there is only one government all over the world which has openly supported it: the State of Israel, which has been condemned by several international organizations for crimes against humanity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An Iraqi senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that “Tel Aviv is only interested on weaken Iraq.” Haidar added that “the Kurdish people are part of the Iraqi people, and the governmental procedures are basically addressed to deter the Kurdish government from fragmenting Iraq’s unity, and preserve its regional position.”

RELATED: Why Does Israel Support an Independent Iraqi Kurdistan?

As Lebanese journalist and political commentator Osama al-Sharif wrote in the Jordan Times, “Netanyahu and his far right allies know very well that a unilateral Kurdish decision to cede from Iraq in the absence of an agreement over a number of contentious issues, least of which is the future of oil-rich Kirkuk province, would trigger a civil war that is likely to spill over.”

In the mid 1960s and 70s, Mossad planned and funded a Kurdish Army to fight Iraqi troops in northern Iraq, and other Israeli enemies in the Middle East: Syria and Egypt. One of the Zionists’ partners then was Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani’s father, currently the (illegal) President of Kurdistan, and Nechirvan Idris Barzani’s grandfather, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a nephew of Masoud Barzani, who rules the region without any legal basis since 2015. In 2013, he concluded his eight-year term in the Kurdish Presidency, extended by two years by the local Parliament but, since the mandate totally expired, Barzani has prevented the members of Parliament from setting up new elections.

As observed the website The Moon of Alabama, Barzani’s corrupted power has also been propelled by the United States oil interests in the region.

“The Kurds pumped and sold oil without the consent of Baghdad. Corruption rules in Kurdistan and the regional government had to rob local banks to find fresh money. That still wasn’t enough to pay salaries. The Barzani family mafia has robbed the region blind. To keep going, the local government needs to annex more riches and widen its business base.”

In August 24, 2015, The Jerusalem Post reported that a majority of Israeli oil imported is from Kurdistan.

“Importing crude from Erbil (capital of the KRG) could be geopolitically, economically favorable for Jerusalem. Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan (KRG) in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11,” the publication wrote.

“During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi (KRG) exports, shipped through Turkey’s Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion.”

On Sept. 26, an official within Iran’s Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, said before the vote that the existence of a secessionist Kurdish state in Iraq would only benefit the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel, both of whom seek to “colonize and dominate” the Middle East.

RELATED: Baghdad Rejects ‘Second Israel’, US and Australia Rejects Kurd Referendum

Asked about the Kurdish claim that the vote acknowledges their contribution in confronting Islamic State group after it overwhelmed the Iraqi Army in 2014, Haidar said that the Kurdish referendum undermines international efforts to combat terrorism, especially the battle against Daesh. “It’s considered a danger on the security of the region. Not just Kurdistan fought ISIS. All Iraqis fought hand in hand and sacrificed their lives in order to win the war against ISIS.”

“Since 2003, our Kurdish brothers were an important part of the Iraqi political process we together, as Iraqis, worked closely to convince the U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq after signing a strategic agree with the United States,” added the Iraqi Ambassador.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said before the vote that Kurds will not declare independence, but “will engage in serious negotiations with Baghdad.” Haidar observed that from the beginning, Kurds wanted their own independent state. “I would strongly disagree with what Prime Minister of Kurdistan said.”

“The Federal Government in Baghdad refuses any negotiation with the Kurdish leadership, unless they admit the referendum results are void, and the referendum itself is a violation of the Constitution,” remarked the Iraqi diplomat to Moscow.

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Iran and Turkey Warn Against Iraqi Kurd Secession

  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is seen with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 4, 2017.
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is seen with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 4, 2017. | Photo: Reuters
“The only beneficiaries are the Zionist regime and the U.S.,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Warning against alleged foreign plots, the leaders of Turkey and Iran said harsh measures would be taken against Iraqi Kurdistan to maintain Iraq’s territorial integrity from attempts to secede from Baghdad following an independence referendum.

RELATED: Last Flight Departs as Iraq Imposes Ban for Kurdish Independence Vote

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking in a televised press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on Kurdish leaders to reverse their decisions or else Iran and Turkey would have no choice but to impose harsh and necessary measures.

“Some foreigners plan to split the area to increase ethnic and sectarian discrimination. Both countries do not accept such acts of discrimination,” Rouhani said. “As far as we are concerned, Iraq is one single country. We do not accept any geographical changes. ”

“But the people of Iraqi Kurdistan are our good neighbors, are our dear brothers. We do not want them to experience any pressure, we do not wish to exert this pressure,” Rouhani added, noting that Kurdish officials’ decision to proceed with the referendum lies at the root of the regional dispute.

Erdogan, for his part, said that measures have already been taken against Iraqi Kurdistan, but even stronger ones would be imposed.

“What is the referendum organized by northern Iraq’s regional administration for? No country in the world apart from Israel recognizes it. A decision made at the table with Mossad (the Israeli spy agency) is not legitimate, it is illegitimate,” the Turkish president said.

RELATED: Why Does Israel Support an Independent Iraqi Kurdistan?

Speaking at a joint presser following the meeting between the two presidents, Rouhani asserted that “Iran and Turkey as the two Muslim, friendly, and powerful countries of the region are the anchors of stability in the Middle East.”

Both Tehran and Ankara have rejected the referendum held in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25 and have taken several economic and security measures to back the federal government in Baghdad, including large-scale military exercises.

During a subsequent meeting with Erdogan, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the United States and Israel were behind the referendum.

“The United States and foreign powers are unreliable and seek to create a ‘new Israel’ in the region,” Khamenei said. “This is a threat to the future of the region.”

“The US and the European administrations’ attitude toward the issue is different from Iran and Turkey’s,” he added. “The US intends to have a tricky agent against Iran and Turkey, so the stance of the Americans and the Europeans should not be trusted at all … As you mentioned the only beneficiaries of the recent developments are the Zionist regime and the U.S., respectively.”

On Wednesday, Erdogan arrived in Tehran on a visit aimed at bolstering bilateral relations with Iran, as well as the common stance on Iraqi Kurdistan.

The visit’s main agenda item is economic cooperation, but the Kurdistan referendum was also included in the discussion.

The Turkish president supported the goal of raising Turkish-Iranian trade volume to $US30 billion.

Erdogan and Rouhani agreed to expand bilateral cooperation and protect the unity of Iraq.

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Putin: Kim Jong-Il Said North Korea Had Nukes In 2001, Pressure Leads to a ‘Dead End’

  • Late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in 2001.
    Late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in 2001. | Photo: Reuters.
Kim Jong-Il made the admission before North Korea was dubbed part of the “axis of evil” and five years before its first nuclear test.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has admitted that he learned about North Korea possessing a nuclear bomb as early as the early 2000s, five years before it conducted its first nuclear test. Putin made the revelation during a plenary session of the first Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow.

RELATED: Washington and Pyongyang React to Trump’s Tillerson Tweet

“In 2001, when I was on my way to pay a visit to Japan, I made a stop in North Korea, where I had a meeting with the father of the country’s current leader (Kim Jong-Un),” Putin said. “It was back then when he told me that they had a nuclear bomb. Moreover, Seoul was within the hitting range of their standard artillery systems at that time.”

“When was that? In 2001!” Putin continued, lambasting attempts to pressure the North into complying with U.S. demands. “It is 2017 already, the country has been living under permanent sanctions and instead of a nuclear bomb they have now a hydrogen bomb.”

“However, it was decided literally a week later to block the accounts of North Korean banks, because someone felt the obligations assumed by North Korea are not enough, that it can and should do more. But that was precisely what they agreed on,” the Russian leader added.

While North Korea signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1985, it refused to allow inspectors into its nuclear waste storage sites in 1993, raising suspicions of a clandestine nuclear program. In 1994, Pyongyang agreed with Washington to freeze its nuclear weapons program as a condition for moving toward the full normalization of bilateral political and economic ties. The North also agreed to mothball its graphite nuclear reactors and buy new light-water reactors while submitting to full inspections under the NPT.

By the early 2000s, the so-called “Sunshine Policy” of South Korea’s then-President Kim Dae-Jung was in full swing. Introduced in 1998, it called for a slow process of confederated reunification and resulted in a blossoming of North-South relations, including large shipments of food aid to the North and a lifting of restrictions on joint business ventures. The South Korean leader, who eventually earned a Nobel Peace Prize, even urged the U.S. to lift its embargo on the North. Pyongyang had, for the first time, established official ties with various European states while holding talks with the U.S. and Japan.

By 2002, the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush named North Korea a member of the “axis of evil” alongside Iran and Iraq, alleging that Pyongyang had been “seeking weapons of mass destruction” and secretly developing nuclear weapons in violation of the 1994 agreement.

“What was the reason for provoking them? They immediately withdrew from all agreements and began developing their nuclear program. Now we have what we have,” Putin said.

In early 2003, North Korea withdrew from the NPT before declaring it had nuclear weapons. The country conducted its first nuclear bomb test in 2006.

RELATED: Putin: North Koreans Remember What Happened to Iraq

Despite that, the two sides held their first-ever summit in 2007, when Kim Dae-Jung’s predecessor and fellow Sunshine Policy advocate Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il announced an October 4 agreement in which the two sides pledged to work together to reduce tensions and end military confrontations.

“North Korea should respect all existing agreements between the South and the North, and come forward to a path advancing peace on the Korean Peninsula,” a South Korean unification ministry official told reporters in comments marking the 10-year anniversary of the agreement.

The Russian president noted that he believes he doesn’t have the right to assess the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump toward the DPRK, but he urged all sides to tone down “belligerent” rhetoric and seek dialogue to resolve the ongoing crisis.

In recent weeks, Trump has taken to Twitter to mock Kim Jong-Un as the “Little Rocket Man” and threaten war while Kim has responded by calling the U.S. leader a “dotard.” On Sunday, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency published a statement shredding Trump, “the old psychopath of America,” for having “twitted such rubbish” against the country.

“Whatever it is, this is not my business to determine and assess the policy of the president of the United States but publicly I can repeat, and I already spoke about this, all the sides should tone down their belligerent rhetoric and ways must be found for a direct dialogue between the United States and North Korea, between North Korea and the countries of the region,” Putin said.

Last month at the Far Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Putin raised the possibility of involving North Korea and South Korea in joint projects including the construction of new rail links and energy projects. Responding, South Korean President Moon Jae-In – a longtime advocate of reunification under a Sunshine Policy model – expressed his appreciation of Russia’s support for the cause of building “a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and improved relations between the two Korean states.”

Earlier this week, a Russian internet service provider began routing North Korean internet traffic, giving Pyongyang a crucial second connection to the world wide web beside through a China-based company. Bilateral trade also more than doubled to $US31.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, due mainly to what Moscow said was higher oil product exports. Russia has also been accused of resisting U.S. pressure for it to repatriate tens of thousands of North Korean workers whose remittances are a lifeline for the East Asian country.

Concluding, Putin noted the possibility and necessity to seek a balanced solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue. Other policies, he added, are “dangerous and dead-end.”

Posted in North Korea, RussiaComments Off on Putin: Kim Jong-Il Said North Korea Had Nukes In 2001, Pressure Leads to a ‘Dead End’

Correa: Lenin Moreno is a ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ who was ‘With the Opposition

  • Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.
    Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. | Photo: EFE
Ecuador’s former president defended Vice President Jorge Glas, who faces corruption accusations, and blasted President Moreno as a “traitor.”

Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, denounced his Alianza Pais successor Lenin Moreno as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and expressed support for the current Vice President who is accused of alleged corruption.

RELATED: Ecuador VP Jorge Glas Sentenced to Pretrial Detention

In an interview with CNN Español following President Moreno’s decision to place Vice President Jorge Glas in pre-trial detention to face corruption accusations, Correa called the charges against Glas “a vulgar political persecution” that is the same thing “they used in Brazil against Dilma,” referring to the ousting of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff on the basis of corruption charges in a move many called an “institutional coup.”

He defended the Vice President, saying that the accusations are without evidence. “Glas is a person that does not steal or allow theft, but for this one makes enemies,” he said.

As for President Moreno, Correa said that the current President had deceived him for ten years as a close political ally, who served in his government only to turn on him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” once assuming power himself.

The founding leader of Ecuador’s Citizen’s Revolution argues that Moreno and his allies “were never with us, but were with the opposition.”

“Moreno cheated me for ten years. He is a person that was with the opposition,” Correa said.

Moreno had previously served as Correa’s Vice President from 2007 to 2013.

Underscoring the abrupt shift that Moreno took after assuming office, Correa said “I went from being the ‘eternal president’ to the ‘corrupt,’” referring to Lenin’s praising words at the inauguration dubbing Correa Ecuador’s “eternal president.”

RELATED: Ecuador Names Maria Alejandra Vicuna Acting Vice President

Correa also criticized Moreno’s upcoming consultation, which he said had the ultimate aim of preventing Correa from returning to power by eliminating indefinite presidential reelections through constitutional changes.

With Glas relieved of his duties, it was announced on Wednesday that former Housing Minister Maria Alejandra Vicuna would be taking on the role as acting Vice President.

The prosecuted Vice President, Jorge Glas, is a close supporter of Correa, and has said that the charges against him are simply a “retaliation” for criticizing the direction Moreno was taking the country.

Moreno has promoted a policy of “dialogue” with the country’s right-wing opposition,” and announced on Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund would be visiting the country to asses the economic situation. The decision marks a departure from Correa’s policies, which largely rejected the influence of international organizations in Ecuador’s economy in favor of independence.

“A wide range of measures” need to be taken, Moreno said about the upcoming IMF visit.

Posted in EcuadorComments Off on Correa: Lenin Moreno is a ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ who was ‘With the Opposition

Has the Jewish Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?


Has the Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?

The Israel Lobby has shown its power over Americans’ perceptions and ability to exercise free speech via its influence in media, entertainment and ability to block university tenure appointments, such as those of Norman Finkelstein and Steven Salaita. Indeed, the power of the Israel Lobby is today so widely recognized and feared that editors, producers, and tenure committees anticipate the lobby’s objections in advance and avoid writers, subjects, and professors judged unacceptable to the lobby.

The latest example is The American Conservative’s firing of former CIA case officer Philip Giraldi.  Giraldi wrote an article for the Unz Review about Israel’s influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East.  The article didn’t say anything that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz hadn’t said already. The editor of The American Conservative, where Giraldi had been a contributor for a decade and a half, was terrified that the magazine was associated with a critic of Israel and quickly terminated the relationship. Such abject cowardice as the editor of The American Conservative showed is a true measure of the power of the Israel Lobby.

Many seasoned experts believe that without the influence of the Israel Lobby, particularly as exerted by the Jewish Neoconservatives, the United States would not have been at war in the Middle East and North Africa for the last 16 years. These wars have done nothing for the US but harm, and they have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars and caused extensive death and destruction in seven countries and a massive refugee flow into Europe.

For a superpower such as the United States not to be in control of its own foreign policy is a serious matter. Giraldi is correct and patriotic to raise this concern. Giraldi makes sensible recommendations for correcting Washington’s lack of control over its own policy. But instead of analysis and debate the result is Giraldi’s punishment by an editor of a conservative publication anticipating the Israel Lobby’s wishes.

Americans should think about the fact that Israel is the only country on earth that it is impermissible to criticize. Anyone who criticizes Israeli policy, especially toward the Palestinians, or remarks on Israel’s influence, is branded an “anti-Semite.” Even mild critics who are trying to steer Israel away from making mistakes, such as former President Jimmy Carter, are branded “anti-Semites.”  

The Israel Lobby’s purpose in labeling a critic an “anti-Semite” is to discredit the criticism as an expression of dislike or hatred of Jews. In other words, the criticism is presented as merely an expression of the person’s aversion to Jewishness. A persistent critic is likely to be charged with trying to incite a new holocaust.  

It is possible to criticize the policy of Germany, France, Spain, UK, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China, Iran, the US, indeed, every other country without being called anti-German, Anti-French, Anti-British, Anti-American, etc., although US policy in the Middle East is so closely aligned with Israel’s that the Israel Lobby regards critics of US Middle East policy as hostile to Israel. Despite the failures of US policy, it is getting more and more difficult to criticize it without the risk of being branded “unpatriotic,” and possibly even a “Muslim sympathizer” and “anti-Semite.”

Screengrab: Trump speaks before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Source: The American Conservative)

The power of the Israel Lobby is seen in many places. For example, the US Congress demands that RT, a news service, register as a Russian agent, but AIPAC, before whom every year the US Congress pays its homage and submission, does not have to register as an Israeli agent.

The many anomalies in the Israel Lobby’s power pass unremarked. For example, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) defines criticism of Israeli policies as defamation and brands critics “anti-Semites.” In other words, the ADL itself is set up in the business of defamation or name-calling. The incongruity of an organization created to oppose defamation engaging in defamation as its sole purpose passes unremarked.

Israel is very proud of its power over the United States. Israeli political leaders have a history of bragging about their power over America. But if an American complains about it, he is a Jew-hater. The only safe way for an American to call attention to the power Israel has over the US is to brag about it. It is OK to acknowledge Israel’s power if you put it in a good light, but not if you complain about it.

So, let me put it this way: Israel’s unique ability to discredit all criticism of its policies as a mere expression of anti-Jewish sentiment is the greatest public relations success in the history of PR. The stupidity of the goy is easily overcome by the more capable Jew. Hats off to Israel for outwitting the dumbshit Americans and taking over their foreign policy. Perhaps Israel should take over US domestic policy as well. Or have they already? It has been 30 years since the Federal Reserve has had a non-Jewish Chairman, and for the past three years Stanley Fischer, the former chairman of the Central Bank of Israel, has been Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Since the Clinton regime, the Treasury Secretaries have been predominately Jewish. We can say that their financial talent makes them natural candidates for these positions, but it is disingenuous to deny the influence of this small minority in American life. This influence becomes a problem when it is used to silence free speech.?

Here is Giraldi:

How I Got Fired

October 03, 2017 “The Unz Review” – 

Two weeks ago, I wrote for an article entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” It sought to make several points concerning the consequences of Jewish political power vis-à-vis some aspects of U.S. foreign policy. It noted that some individual American Jews and organizations with close ties to Israel, whom I named and identified, are greatly disproportionately represented in the government, media, foundations, think tanks and lobbying that is part and parcel of the deliberations that lead to formulation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Inevitably, those policies are skewed to represent Israeli interests and do serious damage to genuine American equities in the region. This tilt should not necessarily surprise anyone who has been paying attention and was noted by Nathan Glazer, among others, as long ago as 1976.

The end result of Israel centric policymaking in Washington is to produce negotiators like Dennis Ross, who consistently supported Israeli positions in peace talks, so much so that he was referred to as “Israel’s lawyer.” It also can result in wars, which is of particular concern given the current level of hostility being generated by these same individuals and organizations relating to Iran. This group of Israel advocates is as responsible as any other body in the United States for the deaths of thousands of Americans and literally millions of mostly Muslim foreigners in unnecessary wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has also turned the U.S. into an active accomplice in the brutal suppression of the Palestinians. That they have never expressed any remorse or regret and the fact that the deaths and suffering don’t seem to matter to them are clear indictments of the sheer inhumanity of the positions they embrace.

The claims that America’s Middle Eastern wars have been fought for Israel are not an anti-Semitic delusion. Some observers, including former high government official Philip Zelikow, believe that Iraq was attacked by the U.S. in 2003 to protect Israel. On April 3rd, just as the war was starting, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz headlined “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.” It then went on to describe how “In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in [Washington]: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another.”

And the deference to a Jewish proprietary interest in Middle Eastern policy produces U.S. Ambassadors to Israel who are more comfortable explaining Israeli positions than in supporting American interests. David Friedman, the current Ambassador, spoke last week defending illegal Israeli settlements, which are contrary to official U.S. policy, arguing that they represented only 2% of the West Bank. He did not mention that the land controlled by Israel, to include a security zone, actually represents 60% of the total area.

My suggestion for countering the overrepresentation of a special interest in policy formulation was to avoid putting Jewish government officials in that position by, insofar as possible, not giving them assignments relating to policy in the Middle East. As I noted in my article, that was, in fact, the norm regarding Ambassadors and senior foreign service assignments to Israel prior to 1995, when Bill Clinton broke precedent by appointing Australian citizen Martin Indyk to the position. I think, on balance, it is eminently sensible to avoid putting people in jobs where they will likely have conflicts of interest.

Another solution that I suggested for American Jews who are strongly attached to Israel and find themselves in a position that considers policy for that country and its neighbors would be to recuse themselves from the deliberations, just as a judge who finds himself personally involved in a judicial proceeding might withdraw. It would seem to me that, depending on the official’s actual relationship with Israel, it would be a clear conflict of interest to do otherwise.

The argument that such an individual could protect American interests while also having a high level of concern for a foreign nation with contrary interests is at best questionable. As George Washington observed in his farewell address, “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification…”

My article proved to be quite popular, particularly after former CIA officer Valerie Plame tweeted her approval of it and was viciously and repeatedly attacked, resulting in a string of abject apologies on her part. As a reasonably well-known public figure, Plame attracted a torrent of negative press, in which I, as the author of the piece being tweeted, was also identified and excoriated. In every corner of the mainstream media I was called “a well-known anti-Semite,” “a long time anti-Israel fanatic,” and, ironically, “a somewhat obscure character.”

The widespread criticism actually proved to be excellent in terms of generating real interest in my article. Many people apparently wanted to read it even though some of the attacks against me and Plame deliberately did not provide a link to it to discourage such activity. As of this writing, it has been opened and viewed 130,000 times and commented on 1,250 times. Most of the comments were favorable. Some of my older pieces, including The Dancing Israelis and Why I Still Dislike Israel have also found a new and significant readership as a result of the furor.

One of the implications of my original article was that Jewish advocacy groups in the United States are disproportionately powerful, capable of using easy access to the media and to compliant politicians to shape policies that are driven by tribal considerations and not necessarily by the interests of most of the American people. Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, in their groundbreaking book “The Israel Lobby”, observed how the billions of dollars given to Israel annually “cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds… {and] is due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.”

Those same powerful interests are systematically protected from criticism or reprisal by constantly renewed claims of historic and seemingly perpetual victimhood. But within the Jewish community and media, that same Jewish power is frequently exalted. It manifests itself in boasting about the many Jews who have obtained high office or who have achieved notoriety in the professions and in business. In a recent speech, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz put it this way, “People say Jews are too powerful, too strong, too rich, we control the media, we’ve too much this, too much that and we often apologetically deny our strength and our power. Don’t do that! We have earned the right to influence public debate, we have earned the right to be heard, we have contributed disproportionately to success of this country.” He has also discussed punishing critics of Israel, “Anyone that does [that] has to be treated with economic consequences. We have to hit them in the pocketbook. Don’t ever, ever be embarrassed about using Jewish power. Jewish power, whether it be intellectual, academic, economic, political– in the interest of justice is the right thing to do.”

My article, in fact, began with an explanation of that one aspect of Jewish power, its ability to promote Israeli interests freely and even openly while simultaneously silencing critics. I described how any individual or “any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again.”

With that in mind, I should have expected that there would be a move made to “silence” me. It came three days after my article appeared. The Editor of The American Conservative (TAC) magazine and website, where I have been a regular and highly rated contributor for nearly 15 years, called me and abruptly announced that even though my article had appeared on another site, it had been deemed unacceptable and TAC would have to sever its relationship with me. I called him a coward and he replied that he was not.

I do not know exactly who on the TAC board decided to go after me. Several board members who are good friends apparently were not even informed about what was going on when firing me was under consideration. I do not know whether someone coming from outside the board applied pressure in any way, but there is certainly a long history of friends of Israel being able to remove individuals who have offended against the established narrative, recently exemplified by the hounding of now-ex-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who had the temerity to state that “the Jewish lobby intimidates lots of people” in Washington. As Gilad Atzmon has observed one of the most notable features of Jewish power is the ability to stifle any discussion of Jewish power by gentiles.

But the defenestration by TAC, which I will survive, also contains a certain irony. The magazine was co-founded in 2002 by Pat Buchanan and the article by him that effectively launched the publication in the following year was something called “Whose War?” Buchanan’s initial paragraphs tell the tale:

“The War Party may have gotten its war. But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: ‘Can you assure American viewers … that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?’ Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group. People who claim to be writing the foreign policy of the world superpower, one would think, would be a little more manly in the schoolyard of politics. Not so. Former Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot kicked off the campaign. When these ‘Buchananites toss around neoconservative—and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen—it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is ‘Jewish conservative.’ Yet Boot readily concedes that a passionate attachment to Israel is a ‘key tenet of neoconservatism.’ He also claims that the National Security Strategy of President Bush ‘sounds as if it could have come straight out from the pages of Commentary magazine, the neocon bible.’ (For the uninitiated, Commentary, the bible in which Boot seeks divine guidance, is the monthly of the American Jewish Committee.)”

Pat is right on the money. He was pretty much describing the same group that I have written about and raising the same concern, i.e. that the process had led to an unnecessary war and will lead to more unless it is stopped by exposing and marginalizing those behind it. Pat was, like me, called an anti-Semite and even worse for his candor. And guess what? The group that started the war that has since been deemed the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history is still around and they are singing the same old song.

And TAC has not always been so sensitive to certain apparently unacceptable viewpoints, even in my case. I write frequently about Israel because I believe it and its supporters to be a malign influence on the United States and a threat to national security. In June 2008, I wrote a piece called “The Spy Who Loves Us” about Israeli espionage against the U.S. It was featured on the cover of the magazine and it included a comment about the tribal instincts of some American Jews: “In 1996, ten years after the agreement that concluded the [Jonathan] Pollard [Israeli spying] affair, the Pentagon’s Defense Investigative Service warned defense contractors that Israel had ‘espionage intentions and capabilities’ here and was aggressively trying to steal military and intelligence secrets. It also cited a security threat posed by individuals who have ‘strong ethnic ties’ to Israel, stating that ‘Placing Israeli nationals in key industries is a technique utilized with great success.’”

Three days later, another shoe dropped. I was supposed to speak at a panel discussion critical of Saudi Arabia on October 2nd. The organizer, the Frontiers of Freedom foundation, emailed me to say my services would no longer be required because “the conference will not be a success if we get sidetracked into debating, discussing, or defending the substance of your writings on Israel.”

Last Saturday morning, Facebook blocked access to my article for a time because it “contained a banned word.” I can safely assume that such blockages will continue and that invitations to speak at anti-war or foreign policy events will be in short supply from now on as fearful organizers avoid any possible confrontation with Israel’s many friends.

Would I do something different if I were to write my article again today? Yes. I would have made clearer that I was not writing about all or most American Jews, many of whom are active in the peace movement and, like my good friend Jeff Blankfort and Glenn Greenwald, even figure among the leading critics of Israel. My target was the individuals and Jewish “establishment” groups I specifically named, that I consider to be the activists for war. And I refer to them as “Jews” rather than neoconservatives or Zionists as some of them don’t identify by those political labels while to blame developments on Zios or neocons is a bit of an evasion in any event. Writing “neoconservatives” suggests some kind of fringe or marginal group, but we are actually talking about nearly all major Jewish organizations and many community leaders.

Many, possibly even most, Jewish organizations in the United States openly state that they represent the interests of the state of Israel. The crowd stoking fears of Iran is largely Jewish and is, without exception, responsive to the frequently expressed desires of the self-defined Jewish state to have the United States initiate hostilities. This often means supporting the false claim that Tehran poses a serious threat against the U.S. as a pretext for armed conflict. Shouldn’t that “Jewish” reality be on the table for consideration when one is discussing the issue of war versus peace in America?

When all is said and done the punishment that has been meted out to me and Valerie Plame proves my point. The friends of Israel rule by coercion, intimidation and through fear. If we suffer through a catastrophic war with Iran fought to placate Benjamin Netanyahu many people might begin to ask “Why?” But identifying the real cause would involve criticism of what some American Jews have been doing, which is not only fraught with consequences, but is something that also will possibly become illegal thanks to Congressional attempts to criminalize such activity. We Americans will stand by mutely as we begin to wonder what has happened to our country. And some who are more perceptive will even begin to ask why a tiny client state has been allowed to manipulate and bring ruin on the world’s only super power. Unfortunately, at that point, it will be too late to do anything about it.

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Trump Expected to Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal



A previous article suggested decertification is coming before the October 15 recertification deadline.

If he acts as expected, it’ll automatically trigger a 60-day window for Congress to decide whether to reimpose harsh sanctions on Iran – an effort by Republicans to try undermining the deal altogether if this action is taken.

Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “no one will trust America” again if Trump rescinds or otherwise sabotages the agreement.

In Rome for the International Cooperation for Enhancing Nuclear Safety, Security, Safeguards and Non-Proliferation conference next week, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehisaid

“(w)e have emphasized repeatedly that the JCPOA (nuclear deal) is not renegotiable.”

“If the US leaves the JCPOA, and other countries follow suit, the JCPOA will definitely fall apart, but if only the US walks away, our monitoring committee on the JCPOA should make a decision in this regard.”

Reports by US media indicate Trump intends decertifying the deal against the advice of his top foreign policy and national security advisors.

On October 12, he’s tentatively scheduled to deliver a national address on the issue, announcing his decision.

With the IAEA repeatedly affirming Iran’s full compliance with its obligations, he’s got a tough sell. Undemocratic Dems oppose decertification, perhaps enough Republicans not wanting tough new sanctions reimposed on Iran, what other P5+1 countries oppose, along with not wanting the deal undermined.

Israel supports decertification. So does AIPAC, calling the JCPOA “fatally flawed…leaving Iran with no legal bar to constructing an industrial-scale nuclear program (post-2021) and becoming a nuclear weapons threshold state – able to break out rapidly to a bomb at a time of its choosing.”

The argument is phony. Iran deplores nuclear weapons, wants the region free from them, Israel the only Middle East state with a WMD arsenal, posing an enormous global threat.

Iran poses none. It doesn’t support terrorism as falsely claimed. It combats it effectively. It’s not a human rights abuser like America and Israel, the world’s leading rogue states.

It hasn’t attacked another country in centuries. America does it repeatedly. Israel is at war with Palestinians, holding them hostage under occupation harshness, besieged Gazans harmed most of all.

Israel threatens neighboring countries, attacked Syrian scores of times during the ongoing war and earlier.

On Thursday, Trump lied claiming Iran “supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East.”

“That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.”

His disturbing hostility toward Iran makes it vulnerable to attack. Longstanding US plans call for regime change, wars and color revolutions its favored strategies.

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Trump Expected to Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal

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