Archive | November 4th, 2017

Turkish Charity IHH Works with Turkish Intelligence MIT to Arm Terrorist Groups

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IHH blankets & equipment were found in almost all schools & hospitals occupied by terrorist factions in East Aleppo, led by Nusra Front. Photo is from Nusra Front occupied Eye Hospital Al Sha’ar in April 2017. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)

“The main supplier of weapons and military equipment to ISIL fighters is Turkey, which is doing so through non-governmental organizations,” Churkin said in a letter dated March 18, referring to the self-declared “Islamic State” (IS) group by another acronym, ISIL. Churkin accused the Besar Foundation, the Iyilikder Foundation and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms (IHH) of shipping “various supplies” on behalf of Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency.” ~ DW report 

The following report is by exiled Turkish journalist, Abdullah Bozkurt, President of the Stockholm Centre for Freedom:

“A new cache of confidential documents from a classified investigation in Turkey shows that controversial charity group the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, or IHH, in Turkish) has been working with the Turkish spy agency, the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), to enable jihadist terror groups.

The documents, copies of which were recently provided to me by a reliable source, clearly show that the head of the IHH, Bülent Yıldırım, has been in bed with the Turkish spy agency in running jihadist networks from Syria to Turkey. They also reveal the extent of his network with the Turkish government at the Cabinet level. It lays bare how the grass roots of the IHH were mobilized by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when the Turkish president needed political cover in the face of public pressure and criticism. They are in line with Russian allegations at the United Nation Security Council that the IHH was running arms to Syrian jihadist groups with cover provided by the Turkish government.

Secret probe revealed how  head Bulent YIldirim has a direct line to spy master Hakan Fidan’s aide.

IHH president Bulent Yildirim talks to intel officer to arrange a meeting for Zahran Alloush, the head of Liwa al-Islam, who was in  pic.twitter.com/BCIBvi0I84

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

The secret investigation included the transcripts of 142 phone wiretaps that were duly authorized by the courts between Jan. 6, 2013 and Dec. 17, 2013 as part of an investigation into radical Islamist groups. They identify a man named Veli Çayır, an intelligence officer who worked as the right-hand man of Hakan Fidan, the head of the Turkish spy agency. It feels like the IHH head has a special hotline to Çayır and calls him whenever he feels he needs to share information on developments in Turkey and abroad where the IHH has operations under the cover of charitable work. In wiretapped evidence dated Feb. 25, 2013, Çayır makes clear to Yıldırım that he was assigned to work with him under specific orders from MIT Undersecretary Fidan and can call him day and night if needed.

IHH president Bulent Yildirim talks to intel officer to arrange a meeting for Zahran Alloush, the head of Liwa al-Islam, who was in pic.twitter.com/BCIBvi0I84

IHH President Bulent Yildirim tells pro-Jihadist guy Adem Özköse that arms or funds to buy arms must be provided for Jihadists in  pic.twitter.com/HVbprKhLd8

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The records show they try to avoid divulging secret information on the phone and prefer to use couriers to send sensitive messages or get together in person in secure locations. At times, Yıldırım appears to have visited the headquarters of MIT in Ankara’s Yenimahalle district. Nevertheless, they inadvertently release much information on the phone as they talk. The information gleaned from the wiretaps is enough to tie the IHH to Turkey’s notorious intelligence agency. Given the fact that the IHH has penetrated many countries abroad including ones in Europe under the guise of charitable and humanitarian work, there are enough reasons to be concerned about Erdoğan’s long arm reaching out to Turkish and Muslim diaspora communities.

On May 4, 2013 Yıldırım talks to Adem Özköse, a journalist who is known to be very close to jihadist groups, and says they should go and fight in Syria. When Özköse asked what exactly they should be doing in Syria, Yıldırım says arms should be sent to Syria or funds must be provided so that jihadists can purchase arms. He says he got fed up with protest meetings as they are futile for getting results. In a wiretap on Nov. 23, 2013, the IHH president brags about how he chided Muslim scholars who criticized the IHH for carrying arms under the guise of humanitarian aid. He says he told them the IHH can only send small arms in aid packages, while others are sending missiles.


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) is seen with Bülent Yıldırım (R), head of the IHH, and Sedat Peker, a pro-government ultranationalist Turkish mafia leader, during a wedding ceremony in İstanbul in 2015.

In fact, the IHH sent weapons to Syria. The al-Qaeda investigation in January 2014 in Turkey’s eastern province of Van revealed how an IHH employee was working with a Turkish al-Qaeda cell and using the charity as a cover to move supplies to militants in Syria. The terrorists used the IHH’s logistics centers in two Turkish provinces, Kilis and Kayseri, to send funds and medical and household supplies to jihadists in Syria. Thanks to monitoring by police intelligence since 2012, a terrorist cell led by İbrahim Şen (37), a convicted al-Qaeda terrorist who was running a recruitment and trafficking drive between Turkey and Syria and using the IHH, among others, was uncovered.

Şen was detained in Pakistan on alleged al-Qaeda links and transferred to Guantanamo where he was kept until 2005, before US officials decided to turn him over to Turkey. According to the investigation file in Turkey, he had been working with Turkey’s MİT since the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011. Apparently due to his political cover from the government and a secret contract with MİT, Şen was saved from legal troubles. He was arrested in January 2014 and indicted in October 2014 but let go at the first hearing of the trial in October 2014.

Investigators believed that Şen used these NGOs when he wanted to conceal illegal shipments to jihadists, and the conclusion was that these NGOs took part in this scheme deliberately, knowing full well what they were getting into. Three people identified by the police as partners of Şen in smuggling goods to Syria are Ömer Faruk Aksebzeci (works out of the IHH Kayseri branch), Recep Çamdalı (a member of the IHH in the Kayseri branch) and İbrahim Halil İlgi (working out of the Kilis IHH branch). The transcripts of wiretaps between Şen and these operatives showed how they planned to use ambulances to transport goods to jihadists when the border governor prohibited pick-up trucks from crossing into Syria.

The IHH was flagged by Russia as the organization that smuggled arms to jihadist groups in Syria, according to intelligence documents submitted to the UN Security Council on Feb. 10, 2016. The document even furnished the license plate numbers of trucks dispatched by the IHH loaded with arms and supplies bound for al-Qaeda-affiliated groups including the Nusra Front.

The new confidential documents that I got my hands on expose how IHH President Yıldırım is intimately involved with rebels in Syria. For example, on May 28, 2013 Yıldırım called his contact at MIT, informing him that the IHH was hosting Zahran Alloush, the head of Liwa al-Islam (later changed its name to Jaysh al-Islam), a Salafist jihadist group active around Damascus, in Turkey and wanted to arrange a meeting between him, his deputy Abu Nour and MIT officials. Alloush was later killed by a Syrian Air Force airstrike on Dec. 25, 2015.

In another call on June 12, 2013, Fidan’s aide Çayır called the IHH chairman, asking him to provide support for the Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq Al-Rahman), an armed opposition group that has a base near the Turkish-Syrian border crossing at Cilvegözü (Bab al-Hawa). He says the group is running low on supplies and asks the IHH to replenish his stocks. On Aug. 16, 2013 Yıldırım let his handler at MIT know that a man was caught in Syria and confessed to important information. His man recorded everything in the video and wanted to send the footage to the intelligence service in Ankara. In a phone conversation that took place on May 13, 2013, Yıldırım tells Çayır about a militant who would come to Turkey to stage an attack on members of the Turkey-backed Syrian National Council (al-Majlis al-Watani), which is based in Istanbul. He says he picked up the intel from a reliable source.

In a phone call on July 11, 2013, Yıldırım talks about an operation that involves a border crossing by a group in Syria and tells Çayır that he has misgivings about the people selected for the operation and underlines that they may fail in their task. He says he would coordinate the action with the intelligence officers on the ground. He also shares that IHH teams identified villagers who possess a highly dangerous chemical substance that is used in refining oil.

In a wiretap dated March 23, 2013 IHH head Yıldırım and MIT official Çayır talk about how to finalize a prisoner swap in Syria where a female officer from the Syrian army was caught by rebels and handed over to the IHH in exchange for the release by the Bashar al-Assad government of a captive opposition fighter. According to the plan, the woman was supposed to be picked up in Aleppo by the IHH and handed over to MIT for transfer to Iran.

It is not just In Syria, by the way, that the IHH is involved in arms trafficking. A document revealed from the authenticated email communications of Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak also implicated the IHH in arming Libyan factions. The secret document tells the tale of how the owner of a bankrupt sea shipping and container company asked for compensation from the Turkish government for damage his ship sustained while transporting arms between Libyan ports at the order of Turkish authorities in 2011. The document revealed all the details of a Turkish government-approved arms shipment to rebels in a ship contracted by the IHH.

All this solid evidence confirms the IHH is not just a charity group but rather a shadowy contractor that does the secret bidding of Turkish intelligence agency MIT under orders from the Islamist government of President Erdogan. Since it has been active around the world including in Europe and Southeast Asia, IHH activities and its operatives must be closely monitored and its initiatives must be thwarted no matter how they innocent they seem to be.

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Ukraine is being gripped by a new Maidan – but the western cameras and cookies are absent

NOVANEWS

The 2013/2014 Maidan was a ‘who’s who’ of the neo-con/liberal elite. Today’s events are like a ‘who’s he?’ of the Ukrainian far-right.

The past several weeks have seen eerily familiar sights return to the infamous Maidan in central Kiev. However, while in the winter of 2013/2014, international camera crews descended on Kiev to video and photograph the violence, today, there are more angry demonstrators and camped out agitators than international journalists.

However, an anonymous journalist working with famed independent journalist Graham Phillips, who most prominently brought intentional audiences front-line footage from the war on Donbass, has filmed the following reportage documenting what can only be called Maidan 2.0.

The phrase, “the more things change–the more they stay the same”, very much comes to mind.

Miadan 2.0 is similar to the events in 2013/2014 in the following ways

1. Meet the new-neo-Nazis…same as the old neo-Nazis

Many if not most Maidanists are perpetually angry members of  far-right and neo-Nazi groups who proudly display the red and black flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a Nazi collaborationist group which committed acts of genocide during the 1940s.

2. Anti-corruption 

New and old Maidanists are protesting a government they view as corrupt and unresponsive to their needs and desires

3. The Maidan camping experience 

Maidanists have set up camp with elaborate tends, food preparation facilities and have come prepared with their own riot shields and other utensils of urban warfare.

4. It’s growing–not shrinking

It does not look like the new Maidanists are prepared to leave, even if asked by the authorities, until various, however vague demands are met.

However, the differences between the 2013/2014 Maidan riots and the events today are more notable for their differences

1. There’s no Yanukovych to blame

In 2013/2014, Maidanists were protesting a government which took an open position towards both the EU and Russia. Far from being ‘pro-Russian’, the government of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych attempted to initiate discussions with the EU about a trade association agreement and visa-free regime, only to put the brakes on at the last moment when he realised that such an agreement was not going to be economically viable.

Viktor Yanukovych is more of a Pontius Pilate character than anything else, a totally uninspiring figure torn between wanting to preserve crucial economic and security ties with Russia, while also wanting to take advantage of alleged opportunities from Brussels. Ironically, disgraced former Trump campaign associate Paul Manafort helped encourage Yanukovych to move closer to Europe, a decision which proved politically fatal.

Ultimately, Yanukovych was ousted in a neo-fascist coup backed by the US and most of the EU. He responded by running away, thus abandoning his country to utter chaos and bloodshed.

2. Disgruntled military and true believers 

In the Poroshenko regime, one might think that on the surface, the far-right and neo-Nazi protesters got what they wanted. Poroshenko has destroyed relations with Russia, he continues to wage a savage war of aggression on the Donbass republics and has signed a visa-free agreement with the EU.

However, Poroshenko has destroyed Ukraine’s economy, crime is up, corruption which was always endemic in Ukraine, is now at levels which are setting world records and the safety situation is rapidly deteriorating in regime controlled areas.

While many of the most extreme Maidanists are upset that Poroshenko isn’t waging an even more aggressive war against the Donbass Republics, many of the new protesters are ex-Ukrainian soldiers who have become distraught at their lack of pay, in spite of having to fight an aggressive war with seemingly no forthcoming resolution.

Morale among Ukrainian troops is at an all time low, with non-battlefield casualties since the fascist regime came to power hitting 10,103. Over 3,000 troops have been killed away from the war-front with mental illness and desperate acts of internal violence fuelled by alcohol and drugs, being primary causes.

Demoralised troops may end up playing a large part in Maidan 2.0, an element that didn’t factor into the initial riots of the 2013/2014 Maidan.

3. Ukraine’s deathbed economy 

Economic realities are also a motivating factor. Many have taken to the Maidan because the idea of a Ukraine that had the living standards of the average EU country, with the added ‘benefit’ of cutting all links with Russia, hasn’t worked out.

Ukraine remains largely dependant on Russian investment and the more the Kiev regime cuts this investment off (which it is indeed doing), the less likely it is that anyone will fill the void. There is increasingly little money to be made in Ukraine and even pro-regime actors in Europe and the wider west, are all too aware of this.

When it comes to the economic angle, the EU and US have largely given up on ‘project Maidan’. These ‘partners’ of the regime are keen to provoke Russia, but apparently less keen on giving the people of Ukraine any real economic opportunities. Many are already venting their frustrations about this on the Maidan.

4. No cookies from the west 

The 2013/2014 Maidan was something of a ‘who’s who’ of the western neo-liberal/neo-con/anti-Russian movement. From John McCain giving rousing speeches against Russia to Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland famously handing out cookies on the Maidan before secretly being recorded saying “fuck the EU”, should Europe try to take a more moderate approach to US regime change, events were something of a neo-con carnival in the midst of a violent freaks-show.

Today’s Maidan is less of a ‘who’s who’ of the neo-con elite than a ‘who’s he?’ of the Ukrainian far-right. If anything, today’s Maidan is more authentic than the first, as the US has no interests in funding and promoting a group of anti-Russian agitators who want to overthrow an equally anti-Russian regime. For the west, it is mission accomplished, all other matters are now largely domestic in nature and therefore, largely irrelevant in Washington and Brussels.

5. The Saakashvili factor

Mikheil Saakashvili, the disgraced former Georgian president who was once appointed the governor of the historically multi-ethnic Russian city of Odessa by Poroshenko, has now been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship and is on a mission to not only get it back, but to lead Ukraine.

Saakashvili is currently doing the rounds with various disgruntled mobs throughout the country, trying to increase support for his bid to oust Poroshenko and take charge.

In 2013/2014, Saakashvili was hardly talked about in Ukraine, but now, because Poroshenko made him a kind of political martyr (by Ukrainian standards), he is in the midst of attempting to cultivate a personality cult and propel himself to power. Again, because if anything Saakashvili is even more connected to western elites than Poroshenko, no one in Washington or Brussels is particularly alarmed nor existed by Saakashvili’s self-proclaimed ‘march on Kiev’. The attitude is essentially: ‘if he takes over, we have a new puppet, if he doesn’t, nothing has changed’.

However, because Saakashvili’s record is more tainted in Georgia than Ukraine, by post-Maidan standards, Saakashvili is something of a ‘last man standing’ who could emerge as a possible successor to Poroshenko, something that seemed unthinkable not so long ago.

CONCLUSION: 

Ataturk infamously stated “they go as they come” and this will likely be the case with the Poroshenko regime, one way or another.

However, this will provide little meaningful change in Ukraine and will do equally little to end the war of aggression on the Donbass republics.

What is needed is a kind of caretaker government to stop the war and allow the Donbass republics to function in the framework of a frozen conflict that ultimately, Russia and other international partners will have to solve. If the circumstances were right, Russia could even work with an increasingly humbled German state to bring about a resolution based perhaps partly on the Minsk agreements which are violated by Kiev on an almost daily basis.

That being said, Donbass is almost certainly never going to give up its independence and the sooner Kiev and the rest of the world, including the Moscow elite realise that, the better it will be. An independent Donbass is the new reality and it will be more productive for the world to accept this rather than trying to ignore or change it.

Such a caretaker government in Kiev would ideally also work with others, including Russia, Belarus and the EU to fix the broken economy.

The problem is that, there are virtually no such candidates in Ukraine. The political landscape is so barren of any common sense, pragmatism or compassion, that the choices are generally between bad and worse.

At some point, it really does not matter who is in charge of Kiev, so long as the hateful, regressive and incompetent attitudes of its political class remain the same.

In this sense, the new Maidan is an expression of continued frustration, but this time without foreign aid, without the false optimism of the last Maidan and without any hope for change. Ukraine is about to hit rock bottom and from where things stand, getting a little bit worse will scarcely be noticeable in the immediate future. This is a reflection of just how bad things have become.

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Spanish court issues European Arrest Warrant for deposed Catalan President Puigdemont

NOVANEWS

Carles Puigdemont now joins Julian Assange as a political victim of the European Arrest Warrant.

A court in Madrid has issued a European Arrest Warrant for deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. In total, 9 deposed officials from the Catalan leadership have been placed under arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and perhaps most peculiarly, embezzlement. All but Puigdemont have now been remanded into custody by Spanish police.

Puigdemont is the most prominent figure  wanted on charges which could carry a prison sentence of 30 years and he is the only one who is still living as a free man.The deposed Catalan President is currently in Belgium where he is likely to formally seek asylum.

Puigdemont now faces legal limbo, as the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has been highly controversial since its introduction in 2004.

Julian Assange’s plight began when Sweden issued an EAW for Assange on charges related to uniquely Swedish offences that would not constituent any violation under English law. Julian Assange tried to fight extradition in English courts, but the power of the EAW prevailed which resulted Julian Assange seeking and receiving asylum in Ecuador. Assange is currently living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as a result of the ordeal.

Assange who has been a vocal supporter of Catalan independence Tweeted the following about the lack of impartiality in Spain’s judiciary.

Spain’s judicial independence is worse than that of China, Kenya and Saudi Arabia according 2017 rankings from the World Economic Forum  http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-index-2017-2018/competitiveness-rankings/#series=EOSQ144 

Puigdemont’s case is now the second most prominent EAW matter with clear political overtones. While Assange was sought be Sweden on non-political charges whose origin is widely believed to be political in nature, with Puigdemont there is no technical ambiguity. Spain seeks Puigdemont’s extradition from Belgium because of his political activities.

This is where matters get more complicated. The EAW is generally a straightforward process where one EU state can simply ask another to handover a person wanted for questioning relating to any proprietorial matter, however small.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions which allows an EU state to refuse a request under the EAW is if the arrest of the suspect is sought in connection with something that a judge could reasonably define as persecution for one’s political beliefs.

It is now likely that Carles Puigdemont will argue this in a Belgian court.

Protesters have taken to the streets of Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, in support of the arrested independence leaders.

Following the imprisonment of the Catalan ministers, protesters are again on the street & asking “Where is Europe.”

Puigdemont has yet to publicly respond to Spain’s issuing of an EAW.

Posted in Spain0 Comments

Brazile snitches on “CANCER” Hillary, admitting Bernie Sanders was cheated out of primary win

NOVANEWS

Donna Brazile turns on Hillary Clinton.

Russiagate, Trump-Russia collusion, Mueller investigation…it all started with Hillary Clinton working with the DNC to steal the Democrat primary from a surging Bernie Sanders.

The former DNC chair who helped Hillary cheat her way to the presidential election, Donna Brazile, has now turned on Hillary Clinton.

Why is Brazile snitching on Hillary? Maybe it is all about selling her new book, out in about a week.

Via The Gateway Pundit….

Former DNC temporary Chairwoman Donna Brazile turned on Hillary Clinton.

The former chair claims Hillary has been controlling the DNC Victory Funds since before she got the nomination. Brazile also said the funding arrangement with HFA and the Victory Fund agreement was unethical and it compromised the party’s integrity.

This is big news considering it was Donna Brazile who leaked debate questions to Hillary Clinton during the Democrat primary.

Donna Brazile is a big rat to jumped ship and snitch on the Clinton mafia.

Via Politico…

Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.

“What?” I screamed. “I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.”

That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.

Posted in USA, Politics0 Comments

Osama: A “hero” turned most wanted

NOVANEWS

Osama Bin Laden’s links to the CIA explored in depth.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on the request of Agency’s director, released 321 gigabytes of images, audio, text, and video gather at Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. There will debates,analyses and commentaries on the data. Last May the 2nd marked the fifth year of Osama Bin Laden’s death. The official Twitter account of the Central Intelligence Agency began “live tweeting” the accounts of the operation on Bin Laden’s compound as they unfolded during the actual raid, reminding the world how United States killed the most wanted fugitive on earth. But was Osama Bin Laden actually what he was portrayed as?

Born to a Yemeni migrant, Mohammaed bin Awad bin Laden, who settled in Saudi Arabia after the world war one and started his construction company in 1930’s. Soon after meeting King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud , Awad bin Laden grew his business empire named as the Saudi Binladin Group ,a gigantic corporation blessed by the Saudi royals themselves due to which the family became the wealthiest non royals in the Kingdom and till date all major governmental projects are handled by the company. Osama was born in immense wealth and enjoyed a princely childhood despite having a large family and studied at King Abdulaziz University, where he earned his degree in business administration while some reports suggest his later degree was in civil engineering.

His religious inclination was no different from that of the locals who practiced the state induced Wahabbi-ism which is closely associated with the Sunni version of the Islamic religion, hence the sacredness of the Kingdom which houses Islam’s two Holiest sites was precious to him. Osama’s personal views however, did not alone make him the most wanted terrorist in the world. The phrase “One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist goes a long way in the story of Osama Bin Laden.

To understand the rise of Osama Bin Laden, few chapters of mostly ignored world history need to be investigated. While still living his routine life in Saudia Arabia and posing no threat, Bin laden was unaware of that his one voluntary decision would change the course of his life. The tale of this protagonist turned antagonist starts in Afghanistan. After the fall of King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, the tug of power within the tribes started to unsettle the country. The power of governance landed in hands of pro-Soviet Nur Mohammad Taraki in 1978 with aims of modernization the country, which faced a serious backlash from the mostly conservative society and the government lost control in the major parts of the country by 1979. The Afghan government then requested the Soviet government under Leonid Brezhnev to send covert troops for support and advisory role. On 24th of December, 1979 the 40th Army arrived and staged a coup, killed the President and gave power to Babrak Karmal; a rival and a socialist.

The soviets then, clearly underestimated the local tribes who disapproved both the Soviets and their ruler marking the beginning of the Soviet Afghan war which lasted nine years (1979-1989). It is imperative to keep in mind that while the Soviets where in Afghanistan, United States and the Soviets were in a phase of Cold War which was mostly played on foreign soil by both countries in desperate attempts to maintain their world domination. At the time, Pakistan was all in walk” with the United States of America for personal reasons. Operation Cyclone was initially plan by the C.I.A to flush out the Soviets from Afghanistan with the assistance of ISI. Pakistan in return for its support would get an assistance package worth of 3.2 billion dollars of economic aid and military sales.

The relationship which later turned into an abusive one and war on terror was imposed on Pakistan after 9/11 with a clear message” you are either with us or against us”. Locals Afghans ( The Mujahideens) who took up arms against the Soviets and their own army , resulted in intensive war which led many to flee to neighboring Pakistani cities and Iran , many of whom are still hosted by both countries.

Osama’s entry in the play did not emerge until the world , primarily the Muslim countries started to take notice of the issue that Pakistan faced in terms of number of Afghan refugees fleeing their country and the Soviet’s refusal to leave the country. In January of 1980, foreign ministers from 34 Muslim countries gathered for the meeting of Islamic Conference ( now known as the Organization of Islamic Countries ) and adopted a resolution demanding “the immediate, urgent and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops” from Afghanistan, while the UN General Assembly passed a resolution protesting the Soviet intervention by a vote of 104:18. Back at home the Arab countries preached against the Soviets and claimed that their brothers in Islam were under non- Muslim aggression, leading to forming sympathies for the Mujahideens .

To ensure the expulsion of Soviets from Afghanistan, which seemed to suit the interest of many countries including the U.S itself and Pakistan alike, it only deemed fit to arm and fund the local fighters. Hence the process of foreign support and training started off in Pakistan and China, the money and weapons were primarily supplied by Arab countries and the U.S. The young and religiously active Osama Bin Laden was then in his late twenties and skilled in carrying out tasks of operating heavy machinery required for construction purposes.

The call for Jihad made by the Arabs against the Soviets soon reached Osama and due to his closeness to the Saudi Royal family, he offered himself voluntary and asked to be sent to Afghanistan along with his men, money and machinery. This however did not happen overnight and his mission was delayed for a time but later on was given a green signal marking the start of the rise of Osama as a hero. He became active in not only being an on ground agent by the Saudis but also helped in construction of numerous tunnels for protection and in spreading the Saudi version of Islam. As documented by the National Security Archive, “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played a significant role in inserting U.S. influence in Afghanistan by funding military operations designed to frustrate the Soviet invasion of that country. C.I.A covert action worked through Pakistani intelligence services to reach Afghani rebel groups.

By the mid-1980s, the Soviet contingent was increased to 108,800 and fighting increased throughout the country, but the military and diplomatic cost of the war to the USSR was high. By mid-1987, the Soviet Union, now under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, announced it would start withdrawing its forces. The final troop withdrawal started on 15 May 1988, and ended on 15 February 1989. The war was considered part of the Cold War. Due to its length it has sometimes been referred to as the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam War” or the “Bear Trap” by the Western media, and thought to be a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Soviets finally had to pull out from Afghanistan and the rest of the world cared less about the aftermath of them creating armed and super-skilled Mujahideens who learned the art of guerilla warfare. Even at the time of their war with the Soviets, these fighters understood the advantage of fighting in their own backward and the only advantage soviets had was their air power. After the supplies to the Mujadieen or later called Taliban, neither country who assisted them kept a record of “how much and how many” supply was put in to create this organization that timely severed everyone’s purpose. Hence after the withdrawal, Taliban, with its head as Mullah Omar made Kandahar as their headquarters and soon took over most part of the county.

Joining the Taliban in this bid of taking over Afghanistan, a large number of sympathetic Muslim fighters, including some from Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia and African countries, like Somalia, Sudan , Egypt and several others volunteered and joined the Taliban ,they brought with them finances as well as the equipment. Amongst those was included Osama Bin Laden who headed Al Qaida. (A fact that former Afghan President, Hamid Karzai does not agree upon, and states that neither Al Qaida not the Taliban exists). Osama was the strongest ally. At that time, he was also rubbing shoulders with the top U.S government leaders and military leadership as well.

After Osama thought he had given enough of his resources to the Mujahideen (since the term has more religious affiliation) he returned to his homeland by 1990 along with few of his other men, and was welcomed as a hero by locals and the Royal family alike for defeating the Soviets and freeing the Afghani brothers from the aggression of a non-Muslims state. Osama enjoyed this hero like treatment till the Invasion of Kuwait (part of the Gulf war) under former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on August 2nd, 1990. After a two day battle, most of the Kuwait was under the Iraqi military and Saddam announced it as a 19th division of the state of Iraq. This rattled the nerves of the neighboring Gulf countries. This is where Osama offered his services again and requested Late King Fahd and defense minister Prince Sultan who was close to the U.S establishment.

After Osama’s experience in Afghanistan, he requested the Saudi King not to depend on Western Powers for assistance, rather use the Muslim fighters to free Kuwait and protect Makkah and Medina. His request was denied, leaving Osama furious over the decision of letting U.S forces into the Kingdom. Soon after the 82nd U.S Airborne Division landed in Dhahran. Osama was forced to criticize the monarchy over breaching the sacredness of the Holy Land. Speaking against the Saudi Royal family or their decisions is a punishable crime in the Kingdom. At first Osama was asked to stay silent on the matter but he continued his open rant, the government knowing he had a following of many , realized that the person they hailed as a hero could pose a threat in form of an uprising within the country and was a loose end. This led to Osama’s exile from the Kingdom, revoked his nationality as a Saudi and was put on a blacklist.

Osama’s next stop was Sudan (1992) , where he used his construction skills and humanitarian assistance to win over people and the government , he also worked on increasing his militants who later attacked a U.S carrier ship off the cost of Aden , although the attacked was meant to take place in international waters ; it was a clear message of Osama’s animosity towards the U.S.

The U.S learned Osama was active in Sudan and began pressurizing the Sudanese government via Saudis to expel or hand over Osama. A failed assassination attempt on Osama’s life by the C.I.A made him flee Sudan and to his final operational round –Afghanistan where he met Mullah Omar and began a series of attacks against U.S and those who shut him out (including Saudis) , which soon made him the most wanted man with a price worth of billion dollars on his head. After 9/11, Pakistan faced the heat of the blast all the way , Musharaf was made to side with U.S on its war on terror while U.S troop landed in Afghanistan to hunt down the culprits and Osama. Little was learned by the U.S from the Soviet’s mistake of invading Afghanistan, where now militants were trained enough to beat the U.S troops. Pakistan on the other hand was asked to negotiate with the Taliban to hand over Osama but in return Pakistan witnessed a spike in terror attacks, causing the country to tremble. Drone attacks within the Pakistani airspace caused loss of human life and an uproar against the U.S and its dual polices. U.S recently passed a bill accusing the Saudis for 9/ 11 bombing – to which the Saudis have responded by threat to pull out 750 billion worth of assets in U.S. Making the Kingdom, second country Pakistan responsible for assistance to terrorists.

U.S spent billions of their tax payer money in hunting down Osama but was in vein in initial years. So, did the U.S kill the very agent it assisted in creating or yet alone has his killing made the world a safer place? The Bush administration made various claims about their achievements against war on terror, but also blamed Pakistan and the intelligence services of harboring terrorist in the northern tribal areas. Many militants mostly of Arab nationalities did not return back to their perspective countries after Osama left for the Kingdom, hence under Benazir’s regime, she ordered arrest and exile of such militants, forging them back to Afghanistan. As for Osama, less claim that he stayed in Pakistan and died after being injured in the bombing of Tora Bora, where a network of tunnels was traced by the U.S military or in 2005 but not in Pakistan .C.I.A hunt for Bin Laden within Pakistan damaged the “polio drive” to a massive extent and till take health workers are targeted for being foreign agents collecting DNA samples. U.S’ vow to fight terrorism and to make the world a facer place has done less good and more harm (current example ISIS ).

Since no hard evidence or even a trace of Osama was found, the U.S staged the Abbottabad raid, causing the then Air chief of Pakistan air force to resign in protest. After pressuring Zardari’s government and clearly violating all international laws and treaties , a team of U.S navy seals perfectly acted to kill Osama in few minutes time. Since then many theories have been afloat regarding the incident but the damage done to Pakistan’s repute alone has not been eared back again. Pakistan carried out Zarb-e-Azab to clear its backyard of a now a rouge organization.

Osama, now is a dead man with a thousand tales but in its obsession to act as the world’s watchdog, U.S has more often created elements and agents like Osama for timely use. The splinters of which come back to haunt the U.S again. As for Pakistan, history should serve some serious lessons and under no circumstances participate in covert operations that can become a long time headache for the country. Osama’s death, however remains a conspiracy within itself but certainly the world did not get any safer.

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Will North Korea test a nuclear weapon while Trump is in Asia?

NOVANEWS

The big question looms over Trump’s first Presidential visit to Asia.

While the substance of Donald Trump’s first Presidential trip to Asia will be largely predictable, one issue surrounding the trip carries an element of surprise: Sill North Korea test a nuclear weapon or ballistic missile while Trump is in the region?

The DPRK has a history of conducting powerful weapons tests during, after or just before prominent regional events. Most recently, this came to fruition when Pyongyang successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb hours before the BRICS summit commenced in Xiamen, China.

With the US once again flying nuclear capable B-1B Lancers near North Korea in what can only be described as a simulated bomb drop exercise, shortly before Donald Trump takes off for his trip to Asia which includes a visit to South Korea, it is fair to say that provocation is in the air.

North Korea already authored a kind of “greeting card” for Trump, which said that the US President is a “nuclear war maniac” who is “incurably mentally deranged”.

The question now is, will North Korea do for Trump’s visit what it did for the BRICS summit? The following items must be considered when speculating on such an event:

1. China’s anger 

It is no secret that ever since Kim Jong-un assumed power after the death of his father, China’s relations with the DPRK have plummeted. While unlike the US, China continues to respect North Korea’s sovereignty, China incrasingly considers the DPRK to be a regional headache, at a time when regional stability is Beijing’s paramount consideration, not least to insure the smooth construction of the One Belt–One Road trading and infrastructure mega-project.

At the same time, China is deeply offended by the Trump administration’s patronising rhetoric which not so subtly indicates that the DPRK is a uniquely Chinese responsibility, something which is objectively untrue, especially in 2017 when the DPRK continues to become increasingly self-sufficient and with China less and less interested in good relations with the government in Pyongyang.

Nevertheless, were North Korea to test a weapon or missile during or surrounding Trump’s visit to the region, China would be angered by the DPRK’s breaking of the regional equanimity that China has invested a great deal of political capital in. Such a weapons test would equally inure Chinese wrath for feeding the mythical narrative from the Trump White House that China is some how impotent when it comes to “controlling” the DPRK.

From Pyongyang’s perspective, there are pros and cons to angering China. The obvious cons involve further alienating a powerful neighbour and a possible vital partner, one which could be an economic lifeline should the economic situation in the DPRK deteriorate.

Geopolitical expert Andrew Korbyko describes this mentality in the following way:

“North Korea acutely understands this state of affairs, hence why it assumed that it could do whatever it wanted in terms of weapons tests and the like while taking the aforesaid Chinese aid for granted, but that appears to be changing now because of just how much he’s embarrassed China, which admittedly seems to have been on purpose.

It can never be known with any certain degree of accuracy what Kim Jong-Un or his junta backers are thinking, but observations about North Korea’s behavior suggest that it’s intentionally trying to irk China a bit because it might have gotten too paranoid about the prospects of Beijing cutting a deal with Washington against Pyongyang. Ironically, however, North Korea appears to be making this fear a self-fulfilling prophecy through its short-term actions of always trying to upstage China in the international arena.

Instead of resulting in more aid, which for all intents and purposes serves the role of bribes for the North Korean “deep state” (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies), Kim Jong-Un risks forcing China to downscale the said assistance in order to save face in front of the international community and consequently endanger the stability of his country”.

Because of this, Pyongyang will likely factor these considerations into its wider “cost benefit analysis” over a weapons test during the Trump visit.

2. The Russia Factor 

In many ways, the Soviet Union was a far closer ally to the DPRK during the Cold War than China was, both during the Mao era or the reformist Deng era.

Russia maintains better contacts with Pyongyang than most international powers and unlike China, is less offended when the DPRK does something to disturb the would be placidity of East Asia.

Unlike China, Russia, including its President Vladimir Putin, has been very frank about the fact that North Korea has legitimate fears from a US regime which toppled countries that did not have nuclear weapons. In this sense, while Russia condemns all of North Korea’s nuclear and missile testes with the same sincerity as China, Russia also accepts that the DPRK has a legitimate need for a deterrent.

In this sense, a DPRK weapons test during a Trump visit would expose the limitations of US treats as well as the limitations of Chinese economic carrots and stick tactics. This would have the effect of enhancing Russia’s role as a preferred mediator in any future agreement, such as the tripartite economic cooperation scheme between Moscow, Pyongyang and Seoul, that President Putin presented during September’s Eastern Economic Forum, an event attended by a North Korean delegation and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

In this sense, North Korea may determine that angering China and exposing the weakness behind US threats to the DPRK, may pay off in the medium term as Russia’s stoicism in the face of such things appears to be more enduring than that of any other nation.

Russia itself would prefer the DPRK not to conduct any tests, but even if they do, Russia will not respond vengefully nor hysterically, something which works in the favour of all concerned regional players, including the DPRK.

3. The Trump Factor 

If one is to take Donald Trump’s ‘reality tv’ style threats against North Korea at face value, there is nothing more that Trump would love, than to launch a cowboy crazy attack on North Korea, ordered while he is in Asia.

The issue here is that for all of Trump’s bluster and threats, he has yet to make good on them outside of the area on continued sanctions. Furthermore, Trump’s embattled but still standing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is careful to counter Trump and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s hysterical threats with a far more measured and generally anti-war approach. It is also widely believed that Generals Kelly, Mattis and McMaster who are thought to hold the real power in the Trump White House, are ultimately less trigger happy than their Dr. Stranglove stereotypes would suggest.

With China stating that it will not allow a US attack on North Korea, unless North Korea strikes first (a nucleartest is not considered a strike in this scenario), Trump’s Asia visit could actually ignite a wider war in the region.

Because of the unpredictability of the Trump administration, there is an element of a ‘game of chicken’ to this scenario. Ultimately however, while Trump would scream and shout if North Korea did test a weapon during or surrounding his visit, conventional wisdom still dictates that the US would bark but not bite as a result.

Conclusion: 

The state of US relations with Asia have become so lacklustre and so predictable, that it is something of an irony that the most ‘exciting’ thing about Donald Trump’s first visit to Asia is playing the guessing game about North Korea’s possible nuclear or missile tests. This is a comment both on the state of America’s increased irrelevance in Asia, as well as the fact that for all the rhetoric and bluster on all sides, North Korea is capable of deterring military action from major superpowers.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

Afghanistan Inspector General Ready to Criticize War “The First Day I’m Out of This Job”

Inspector General John F. Sopko testifies before Congress on April 10, 2013. (Photo: Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction)

Inspector General John F. Sopko testifies before Congress on April 10, 2013. (Photo: Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction)

As the most prominent official overseeing the War in Afghanistan, John Sopko has made some enemies among hawks on Capitol Hill.

At a House Oversight Committee panel on Wednesday, Sopko had a warning for them.

“The first day I’m out of this job — because it’s not my job to talk policy — I’m happy to publicly tell you what I really think about our mission in Afghanistan,” he said.

The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was responding to a question from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).

A lawmaker since 1995, Jones has been a critic of US military intervention since the middle of last decade, after the War in Iraq. He isn’t even on the Oversight Committee, but was allowed to participate in Wednesday’s proceedings by Ron DeSantis (R-Fla), chair of the Subcommittee on National Security.

“I know there are people who don’t appreciate you and your staff and what you do because many of them are in Congress,” Jones said, referring to media reports last year.

In May 2016, Politico ran a lengthy article calling Sopko’s work into disrepute, entitled “The Donald Trump of inspectors general.” The piece featured claims that Sopko’s analyses are flimsy, and that he’s mostly interested in media attention.

The article centered on unattributed quotes from national security mandarins, and previously public criticism of Sopko, from John McCain (R-Ariz) and Jack Reed (D-RI), leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sopko has served as SIGAR since 2012.

“Y’all are the truth tellers,” Jones added on Wednesday. “The problem is Congress continues to pass, to waste money over there, and we can’t even get a debate.”

In July, House Republican leaders unilaterally stopped legislation that would have put an eight month sunset on the broadvague post-9/11 law authorizing the War on Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror. It had been passed through committee overwhelmingly, without a recorded vote, and was proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) — the only lawmaker in both houses of Congress to vote against the so-called 2001 AUMF.

While there wasn’t much criticism of Sopko at Wednesday’s hearing, the subcommittee wasn’t without harsh words for the watchdog.

“The more that we feed this narrative that our nation does not have the will and the resolve to get things done is part of the problem,” Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) said.

A veteran of Afghanistan, Russell, at one point, seemed to question the very idea of civilian oversight of ongoing military operations.

“What is hard for me as a warrior — for most of my adult life — it’s always people sitting here talking to people sitting there, pointing bony fingers with red faces saying: ‘why is this a failure?’ Why did this go wrong? We should quit. We should pull out,” he said.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan0 Comments

There Is a New Urgency to the Threat of Nuclear Annihilation

NOVANEWS

By Helen Caldicott

In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korea's Hyunmoo II ballistic missile is fired during an exercise at an undisclosed location in South Korea, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Photo: South Korea Defense Ministry via NUR)

A Hyunmoo II ballistic missile is fired during an exercise in South Korea on September 4, 2017. South Korea’s military says it conducted a live-fire exercise simulating an attack on North Korea’s nuclear test site, in response to the latter nation’s latest nuclear test. (Photo: South Korea Defense Ministry via NUR)

In the following excerpt from her introduction to Sleepwalking to Armageddon, pioneering anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott explains why nuclear catastrophe is still a very real and pressing danger to humanity.

Despite Donald Trump’s vows to seal the US border and eradicate ISIS, the real terrorists of the world today are the United States and Russia. They possess 94 percent of the nuclear weapons on the planet, and they hold the rest of the world hostage to their provocative and self-serving foreign policies and misadventures. As a result, we are closer to nuclear war now, at the start of the twenty-first century, than we’ve ever been before, even during the height of the Cold War.

While we must be concerned about global warming — the other existential threat to the planet — it is imperative that we do not take our eyes off the nuclear threat. To do so is to risk sleepwalking to Armageddon. Nine countries around the globe are known to have nuclear weapons, many of them on hair-trigger alert. In at least five separate locations in the world, two or more nuclear-armed countries are in actual or proxy wars or standoffs that could escalate at any time. And the United States has elected to the presidency a man who seems to feel that, because they exist, nuclear weapons ought to be used. Donald Trump has implied that he feels tactical nuclear weapons can be effectively employed in battle and seemed to imply in comments about Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia that he had few concerns about proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries.

Tony Schwartz, the co-writer of Trump’s bestselling book Trump: The Art of the Deal, who spent eighteen months “camping out in [Trump’s] office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate,” listening in on Trump’s business meetings and phone conversations, told Jane Mayer of the New Yorker that if he were titling Trump’s book today, instead of The Art of the Deal, Schwartz would call it The Sociopath. Schwartz has tweeted, “Trump is totally willing to blow up the world to protect his fragile sense of self. Please God don’t give this man the nuclear codes.” And Mayer reports that Schwartz said, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

During the Cold War, there were restraints on either side between Russia and America. Now, for the first time since the Cold War ended, Russia and America are confronting each other militarily with seemingly no restraints. During the political debate preceding the 2016 American presidential election, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton were overtly discussing the notion of bombing such countries as Syria, Iran, Yemen, and others. And all of them have discussed the use of nuclear weapons.

To understand what drives America’s frighteningly militaristic stance and warmongering, follow the money. After the Cold War ended, US negotiators promised Mikhail Gorbachev that America would not enlarge NATO, and the world enjoyed a period of relative peace. But the United States reneged on its promise a few short years later: “No war” was bad for business! In 1997 Norman Augustine, the head of Lockheed Martin, traveled to Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the other newly liberated Eastern European countries and asked: Do you want to join NATO and be a democracy? (Joining NATO doesn’t make you a democracy.) But in order to join NATO, these small countries had to spend billions of dollars to buy weapons.

That’s the dynamic that instigated NATO’s expansion from the end of the Cold War to the present time — right up to the border of Russia. Imagine if Russia expanded its territory to the border of Canada with the United States. Remember what America did when Russia placed nuclear weapons in Cuba? We were minutes from nuclear war.

More recently, Hillary Clinton has been a recipient of huge amounts of money from the military-industrial complex. So are most members of the US Congress and Senate, with the top donors including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Airbus in Western Europe. America now wants to enlarge NATO forces and equipment to the tune of $3.4 billion. America also plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years, replacing every single hydrogen bomb, submarine, ship missile, and airplane. In order for Barack Obama to persuade the US Senate to ratify the START III treaty in 2010, he had to promise Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a leading conservative on military issues, that he would replace every single nuclear weapon and delivery system. In the context of these provocations, Vladimir Putin’s speeches are actually very restrained.

During the Obama administration, conservatives in the US State Department, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and her husband Robert Kagan, founder of the Project for a New American Century, as well as Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, and others, have adopted a policy to prod and provoke Putin, and have overtly stated that they want “regime change” in Russia. Predictably, Russia is renewing its nuclear weapons in response, and so is China. Yes, the United States always sets the trend. Donald Trump, perhaps for nefarious reasons, has seemed more inclined to court Putin, which, in a small silver lining for his election as president, may actually defuse the situation in Ukraine and elsewhere.

But we also face proliferation of nuclear weapons in other countries, which could destabilize the balance of terror between Russia and the United States. India and Pakistan each have over a hundred nuclear weapons, because they were sold nuclear power plants which provided them with plutonium fuel that they turned into weapons. India’s reactors were constructed with the help of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia, while Pakistan’s reactors were sourced with help from Canada and China. Neither of these countries is a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), nor is Israel, which is armed with up to two hundred H-bombs. And North Korea, which signed the NPT but withdrew in 2003, might have one or several bombs capable of blowing up a city or two.

But only Russia and America can destroy evolution, and the creation, which makes them the real terrorists of the world. Why don’t the European countries stand up to America? Where is their courage? Do they need the American nuclear umbrella, with its potential to exterminate them all?

The global population doesn’t realize just how little time exists for our leaders to make a decision about whether or not to use nuclear weapons even today. Former nuclear launch missile officer Bruce Blair wrote, “Russia has shortened the launch time from what it was during the Cold War. Top military command posts in [the] Moscow area can bypass the entire human chain of command, and directly fire by remote control, rockets in silos and on trucks, as far away as Siberia, in 20 minutes….”

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Cyberwarfare has made the situation worse. People are hacking into the early warning system in the Pentagon, and also in Russia. There are over one thousand verified attempted hacks into the Pentagon system per day. It’s not clear if they are all separate people.

It is within the realm of possibility that sixteen-year-old boys — very smart, minimal frontal lobe development, with little moral awareness — might think it a good thing and a bit of fun to blow up the world. Indeed, in 1974 a sixteen-year-old from Britain hacked into the Pentagon network and into Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, in California.

Apparently an order to launch weapons in US missile silos is the length of a tweet. One hundred and forty characters! Missile crews then in turn transmit a short string of computer signals that immediately ignite the rocket engines of hundreds of land-based missiles. There are 440 land-based missiles in America, each armed with one or two hydrogen bombs, each many times larger than the Hiroshima bomb. It takes one minute to ignite the rocket engines — sixty seconds. As Bruce Blair writes, “I practiced it a hundred times. We were called Minutemen. US submarine crews in Trident submarines, they can fire their missiles within 12 minutes.” One minute? Twelve minutes? For humans to destroy evolution?

Posted in USA, Europe0 Comments

Trump Exploits New York Attacks to Promote Guantánamo and Perpetual War

NOVANEWS

By Adam Hudson

Donald Trump speaks while meeting with members of his cabinet November 1, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Donald Trump speaks while meeting with members of his cabinet November 1, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Adding to the litany of mass acts of violence that have become increasingly normal, on Tuesday, October 31, an Uber driver used a Home Depot truck to mow down a group of innocent cyclists and pedestrians in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. He killed eight people and injured 11. He then jumped out of the truck with a pellet gun and a paintball gun, at which point police shot and injured him. He survived.

The suspect is Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan who came to the United States in 2010. He worked as a truck driver in Ohio and Florida before moving to New Jersey and becoming a driver for Uber. A handwritten note was found in the truck Saipov was driving, in which he declared his allegiance to ISIS (also known as Daesh). President Donald Trump then immediately manipulated the event for militaristic purposes: He said he’d consider sending Saipov to Guantánamo. As is typical of governments, Trump is exploiting the impact of this horrific tragedy to further his administration’s agenda of perpetual war and keeping Guantánamo open.

First off, sending Saipov to Guantánamo would likely be illegal, since he is a legal resident arrested on US soil. University of Texas law professor Stephen I. Vladeck points out, “Saipov was lawfully present in the United States at the time of his arrest and is therefore entitled to a full suite of constitutional protections — especially those provided by the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.” It’d be difficult for Trump to make the case, in court, for detaining a legal resident arrested on US soil at a military detention facility in Cuba.

The call to send Saipov to Guantánamo is especially curious when compared with Trump’s reaction to another recent vehicular act of violence in the US: the racist attack in Charlottesville.

The call to send Saipov to Guantánamo is especially curious when compared with Trump’s reaction to another recent vehicular act of violence in the US: the racist attack in Charlottesville by a white supremacist who ran over a group of antifascist protesters and killed a woman named Heather Heyer. Both attacks were ideologically motivated. But there were no calls for detaining the white supremacist killer at Guantánamo. Instead, Trump blamed antifascists (even though they killed no one) and said there were some “fine people” on the neo-Nazi side. Of course, by Trump logic, this reaction makes perfect sense: White supremacists are Trump’s base. Since Saipov is an Uzbek Muslim, this attack can be easily manipulated to push for “war on terror” policies like keeping Guantánamo open and perpetual war in the Muslim World.

As we dig deeper into the connections between Saipov’s attack and policies like sending people to Guantánamo, we have to acknowledge an often-ignored reality: The Iraq war created ISIS. The radicalization of prisoners at the US military prison Camp Bucca, torture at Abu Ghraib, and the dissolution of Iraq’s military during the war provided the fertile ground from which ISIS would emerge. When the United States bombs Muslims countries and tortures people from those areas, it generates hostility toward the US and more recruits for militant groups like ISIS. Sending Saipov to Guantánamo would make him look like a warrior, further strengthening ISIS. Even from a strategic standpoint, it’d be foolish.

In fact, Uzbekistan was part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. Under this program, the CIA kidnapped individuals suspected of terrorism ties and sent them to harsh foreign governments where the United States knew they would be tortured. According to Open Society Foundations, 54 countries participated in the program, including Uzbekistan. The CIA reportedly sent terrorism suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation. In addition, Uzbekistan allowed the CIA to use its airspace and airports for extraordinary rendition operations.

A day before Saipov’s attack, Mattis and Tillerson told a Senate hearing that there should be no geographic or time limits on the war on terror.

Extraordinary rendition was just one part of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 torture program. The CIA tortured nearly 120 people suspected of terrorism ties in its network of secret prisons around the world. Meanwhile, the US military tortured war-on-terror detainees at Guantánamo, the vast majority of whom were wrongfully detained. The US military and the CIA used a myriad of torture techniques, such as beatings, stress positions, water-boarding and extreme temperatures. Moreover, what also made Guantánamo despicable was the policy of indefinite detention, which continues to this day. Currently, 41 detainees remain at Guantánamo. Torture violates the UN Convention Against Torture, while indefinite detention violatesinternational human rights law.

A day before Saipov’s attack, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a Senate hearing that there should be no geographic or time limits on the war on terror. Meanwhile, US drone strikes continue. This year, so far, the US launched 115 air and drone strikes in Yemen, which is nearly quadruple from 2016.

President Donald Trump promised to keep Guantánamo open, and Republicans are on his side. Sen. Mitch McConnell agreed in 2016 that it should stay open. Sen. John McCain supports Trump’s call to put Saipov in Guantánamo. We cannot count on so-called “reasonable” Republicans to rein Trump in.

Governments manipulate tragedies like the one in New York City to push for draconian policies and more war. Trump is no different. This means the public must be vigilant and challenge these policies at every turn.

Posted in USA0 Comments

US representatives question State Dept policy in Iraq favoring Iran over Kurds

NOVANEWS
US Congressional representatives and others gather in front of the Capitol to support Kurds in Iraq.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several US congressmen including war veterans gathered in front of the Capitol to slam the presence of Iran-backed militias within the Iraqi Interior Ministry and call for more US State Department and White House support for Kurds.”A picture is worth 1,000 words. There’s the M1 Abrams tank with a Hezbollah flag. I don’t care what the State Department says, they can’t argue with this. At the best, the State Department has been derelict in its duties,” US Congressman Duncan Hunter, while holding up a photo of what he believes were Shiite militias on a US tank. “At worse they’ve been complicit.”Many of congressmen and advisors who took turns talking on Wednesday emphasized that the State Department policy does not match how they see the facts on the ground.

“We are equipping and training the wrong people. It’s time we rose above what the State Department has screwed up over and over. Iraq was a military victory lost by politics in the State Department… The State Department is going to lose us Iraq again in one of the worst ways,” added Duncan.

Duncan cautioned that the decision to ignore Iranian influence in Iraq is ignoring a larger regional problem that would be a military corridor from Tehran to Damascus and “on Israel’s doorstep.”

“It’s time that we as Americans choose a side,” said Duncan. “And that side is freedom, and allies, and the Kurds.”

Duncan claimed that US President Donald Trump isn’t being informed by the top levels of Iran’s influence, while pointing to the photos of Hezbollah flags on US-made weapons in Iraq.

“I don’t think Secretary [James] Mattis has seen this picture of a Hezbollah flag on his M1 Abrams tank,” said Duncan.

Rep. Trent Franks asked the administration of President Donald Trump to re-evaluate Iran’s “malicious influence” in Iraq.

“This president has had a tremendously effective instinct in making sure that we did not re-certify the Iranian nuclear deal and I hope now that he listens to his own instincts rather than the D.C.’s establishment when it comes to recognizing the insinuation of the Iranian influence in Iraq,”said Franks, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee chairs the Missile Defense Caucus.

There has been speculation that the United States is backing Abadi because it prefers him to hold the prime minister post over other Shiite Alliance leaders like the previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

“[Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-] Abadi promised that we would not attack the Kurds weeks ago,” said Franks. “For him to break his word to the whole world does not speak well of his leadership.”

Others, including Rep. Lee Zeldin, noted that there are people in Iraq’s government who are influenced by Iran.

“It’s important for Abadi to take more leadership over his own government to reject this Iranian influence. The Iranians can’t help themselves, but to meddle all over the Middle East?” questioned Zeldin.

“Whether it’s the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’] activities, Qassam Soleimani is specifically leading that effort. It’s to support Assad in Syria or Hezbollah.”

Michael P. Pregent, who is foreign policy analyst and Hudson Institute fellow, supported that view going so far to say as Abadi has no control of the Iran-backed militias.

“That’s because they don’t answer to him [And Hadi al-] Amiri says it better than anybody else. He said that ‘The Hashd al-Shaabi do not answer to PM Abadi, they answer to me, and I answer to Qassam Soleimani, ‘” said Pregent, referring to Quds Force commander Soleimani The biggest problem I have as a veteran of this war and as former intel, is that these militias are actually under the ministry of interior.”

At the height of the war with ISIS, the Iraqi government voted last December to formally bring the paramilitary forces – including the Hashd – formally under the umbrella of the Iraqi government.

Congressmen Franks and others paid their appreciation for the Kurdish-American partnership in the invasion and in the ISIS war.

“The Kurds were the one group that did stand up. They stood up and they protected the Yezidis, they protected the Christians, and they did it without the Obama administration’s help,” said Franks, referring to when ISIS threatened to overrun all of Iraq. “Now this administration needs to stand by them and do what we can to maintain our commitment to that kind of courage.”

The Iraqi central government’s incursions into disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by Baghdad and Erbil but under the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government began about three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a referendum to gauge support on independence from Iraq.

Nearly 93 percent of ballots indicated ‘Yes’ for independence.

Since then, the Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga have had deadly clashes. The Iraqis have pushed the Kurds back to the 1992 line and aim to impose federal authority over the Kurdistan Region, which the KRG maintains is not constitutional under the 2005 Iraqi constitution.

The Kurdish government has since agreed to freeze the outcome of the vote and engage in dialogue with Baghdad within the framework of the 2005 constitution.

Masoud Barzani, who has been criticized for overreaching with the referendum, agreed not to extend his presidential tenure past Nov. 1.

“Tragically the only mistake Barzani has really made is unfortunately overestimating the American commitment to Kurds,” said Franks. “And that’s our fault, not his.”

As the war with ISIS wraps up, leaders have warned of what comes next in a region where power vacuums have bred extremism since the 2003 US invasion.

A former assistant to Trump, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, expressed that “Shiite terrorism” is the next threat in the Middle East after “Sunni terrorism” is defeated.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran0 Comments

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