Archive | March 5th, 2018

The Pentagon’s “Ides of March”: Best Month to Go to War

NOVANEWS

First published on March 13, 2013, updated March 1, 2018.

Is it a coincidence?

In recent history, from the Vietnam war to the present, the month of March has been chosen by Pentagon and NATO military planners as the “best month” to go to war.

With the exception of the War on Afghanistan (October 2001) and the 1990-91 Gulf War, all major US-NATO and allied led military operations over a period of more than half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated in the month of March.

The Ides of March (Idus Martiae) is a day in the Roman calendar which broadly corresponds to March 15.  The Ides of March is also known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.

Lest we forget, the month of March (in the Roman Calendar) is dedicated to Mars (Martius), the Roman God of War.

For the Romans, the month of March (Martius) marked  “the time to start new military campaigns.”

As in the heyday of the Roman Empire, the US Department of Defense has a mandate to plan and implement a precise “timeline” of military operations.

Does the month of March –identified by the Romans as a “good time” to initiate new military undertakings–, have a bearing on contemporary military doctrine?

Throughout history, seasons including the transition from Winter to Spring have played a strategic role in the timing of military operations.

Do Pentagon military planners favor the month of March?

Do they also –in some mysterious fashion– “idolize” Mars, the Roman God of War?

March 23 (which coincides with the beginning of Spring) was the day “Romans celebrated the start of the military campaign and war fighting season.”

“Homage was paid to Mars the god of war with festivals and feasting. … For the Romans March 23 was a huge celebration known as Tubilustrium”.

Under these festivities which celebrated the Roman god of war,  a large part of the month of March “was dedicated to military celebration and preparedness.”

Timeline of March Military Interventions (1965- 2017)

Recent history confirms that with the exception of Afghanistan (October 2001) and the 1990-91 Gulf War, all major US-NATO led military operations over a period of almost half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated in the month of March.

The Vietnam War

The US Congress adopted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized President Lyndon Johnson to dispatch ground forces to Vietnam on March 8, 1965.

On 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam marking the beginning of “America’s ground war”.

NATO’s War on Yugoslavia

NATO’s war on Yugoslavia was launched on March 24, 1999. 

The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia code-named by the US Operation “Noble Anvil”. started on March 24, 1999 and lasted until June 10, 1999.

The Iraq War

The War on Iraq was launched on March 20, 2003. (Baghdad time)

The US-NATO led invasion of Iraq started on 20 March 2003 on the pretext that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

(The 1991 Gulf War on Iraq began on 17th January. However, after the 28th February ceasefire was agreed and signed – following the Basra Road massacre of withdrawing soldiers and fleeing civilians on 26th/27th February – the US 24th Mechanised Infantry Division slaughtered thousands on 2nd March.“)

The Covert War on Syria

The US-NATO Covert War on Syria was initiated on March 15, 2011 with the incursion of Islamist mercenaries and death squads in the southern city of Daraa on the border with Jordan. The terrorists were involved in acts of arson as well as the killings of civilians. This incursion of terrorists was from the very outset supported covertly by the US, NATO and its Persian Gulf allies: Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

NATO’s “Humanitarian” R2P War on Libya

NATO commenced its bombing of Libya on March 19, 2011.  The United Nations Security Council passed an initial resolution on 26 February 2011 (UNSC Resolution 1970), (adopted unanimously).

A subsequent United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 was adopted on 17 March 2011. It authorized the establishment of “a no-fly zone” over Libya, and the use “all necessary measures” “to protect the lives of civilians”.

Libya was bombed relentlessly by NATO warplanes starting on March 19, 2011 for a period of approximately seven months.

Yemen 

On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the US launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen.

**

March 2018

The US and its NATO allies, not to mention Israel, are on a war footing.

Several military scenarios in March 2018 are on the drawing board of the Pentagon includingLebanon, Syria (military escalation scenario), North Korea and Iran.

Russia is threatened and so is China. 

We cannot speculate, however, regarding US-NATO war plans pertaining to the Ides of March 2018.

A vast media propaganda campaign has been launched to provide legitimacy to the US-led military adventure, upholding acts of war as humanitarian peace-making initiatives.  In the course of the month of March, fake news has reached a new threshold: US mini nukes are heralded as peacemaking bombs.

Here is the latest New York Times (Feb 27) “authoritative” analysis of how North Korea is helping the Syrian government to wage a chemical war against the Syrian people. Nice and not fake, timely (Ides of March) and of course “carefully documented”  by the Newspaper of Record.

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A Message to Washington: Don’t Blow The Third Chance of Peace in the Korean Peninsula!

NOVANEWS

Pyeongchang Olympics might be able to offer the third chance of peace in the Korean peninsula. In fact, there were two chances of peace in the past, one in 1994 and the other in 2005. Both could have led to success but failed because of some unjustifiable reasons. Let us hope that the third chance will succeed.

One of the most memorable events of the Pyeongchang Olympics was the visiting of the North Korean delegation including Kim Young Nam, head of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and, above all, Kim Yo-Jong, sister of Kim Jong-un who came with her brother’s message of peace and a possible inter-Korean summit. Kim Jong-un’s message has given the world a hope of peace.

The world is asking this question:

“What is the chance of ending the nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula after the Pyeongchang Olympics?”

In fact, there were two chances of peace in the past, one in 1994 and the other in 2005.

On October 21, 1994, there was what was called the Framework Agreement by virtue of which North Korea agreed to abandon all nuclear programs in return of peace, construction of two Light Water Reactors (LWR), supply of 500,000 tons of fuel oil and even international assistance for the economic development of North Korea. The second chance of peace in the Korean peninsula came in 2005. On September 19, 2005, at the 4th round of the 6-Party Talks in Beijing, North Korea promised what it had proposed in 1994 in return of peace with Washington and the supply of heavy fuel oil. North Korea also promised to return to NPT and allow the inspections of IAEA.

The international community blew both chances of peace. The 1994 Agreement failed because of mutual mistrust between the U.S. and North Korea, controversy surrounding missile tests and, above all, Washington’s treatment of North Korea as a part of the “axis of evil”.

The chance of peace in 2005 did not succeed largely because of the lack of mutual trust and, in particular, freezing of Pyongyang’s $ 25 million deposited at the Banco Delta Asia in Macao. But, these visible reasons of the failures of peace opportunities were merely circumstantial ones. What were then the fundamental reasons? To answer this question, we have to know the nature of the bilateral relations between the U.S. and North Korea. To be more precise, we have to know what each side expects to get from the bilateral relations.

What North Korea wants is to be free from the American attacks. To do so, North Korea claims that it is obliged to have nuclear weapons. This position has been consistently kept for the last several decades. In fact, the dying message of Kim Il-sung to his son, Kim Jong-il was denuclearization of the Korean peninsula; Kim Il-sung did not want nuclear weapons in Korea. Kim Jong-il did not want to have them either; he wanted to respect his father’s wish.

Kim Jong-il told Japanese Prime Minister, Koizumi, at the meeting with the Japanese delegation on May 22, 2004 in Pyongyang, about his deep concerns about possible US attacks; he made it quite clear that North Korea had to develop nuclear weapons solely to defend itself. His message was quite clear:

“Nobody can keep silent, if threatened by someone with a stick. We come to have nuclear weapons for the sake of the right of existence. If our existence is secured, nuclear weapons will be not necessary any more”.

A statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea of October 11, 2006 made the same point. It said:

“The nuclear test was entirely attributable to US nuclear threat, sanctions and pressure. North Korea was compelled to substantially prove its possession of nuclear arms to protect its sovereignty”.

This position has been clearly reiterated in Kim Jong-un’s New Year speeches since he took over the power in 2012.

In other words, in the eyes of North Korea, the fundamental root of the nuclear crisis in the Korean peninsula is American threats to attack the land of Juche. As far as Pyongyang is concerned, the deployment of a large number of American nuclear assets in South Korea during the Cold War era, installation of the American nuclear umbrella protecting Japan and South Korea since 1991, annual U.S.-South Korea joint war games (the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve joint exercises in Spring and Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in Autumn) have been and are real threats to Pyongyang.

North Korea being threatened by the U.S. has been consistently asking for peace with the U.S. Then, why does the U.S. ignore Pyongyang’s plea? There can be three reasons. First, the U.S. might worry about the North Korean dream of reunifying the peninsula under the Red Flag. But, North Korea officially abandoned such dream by virtue of its 1992 Constitution. Besides, the North Korean model of reunification is the regime of Koryo Confederation in which both Koreas would remain sovereign states.

Second, American leaders may not like the ideology of North Korea. It is certain that the North Korean ideology is different from American values. But, the U.S. has friendly relations with many countries having ideologies which are very different from the American way of thinking.

Third, the U.S. claims that North Korea is a threat to the U.S. This begs two questions. Does North Korea have the military capacity to threaten the U.S.? Even if it has such capacity, what benefits can it expect to gain from threatening the super power? Let us be realistic about such possibilities. North Korea is a small country with a population of 23 million people, a GDP of US$40 billion spending each year perhaps less than US$ 5 billion on national defence. How can such a small country threaten the U.S. of 327 million people with a GDP of US$18 trillion spending each year more than US$ 600 billion on national defence?

It is true that North Korea has been making belligerent statements even warning counter attacks. But, this warning has been for self defence, not for offensive purposes. A more important question is about possible benefits which North Korea expects to obtain from engaging a war against the U.S. Nobody would deny what is inevitable; a war with the U.S. would be a certain tragic suicide of Pyongyang’s regime.

On its part, the U.S. argues that its mighty military muscles deployed in South Korea are for the protection of South Korea and the U.S. against North Korean nuclear attacks. But North Korea says that it has no intention of attacking South Korea. At the same time, North Korea says that it will never attack the U.S. unless it is threatened. The trouble is that Washington does not seem to believe what North Korea is saying. Here lies the root of deep mistrust between Washington and Pyongyang.

Under these circumstances, what is the chance of having permanent peace in the Korean peninsula? It goes without saying that the first thing to do is reopening of dialogue between Pyongyang on the one hand, and on the other hand, Washington and Seoul. Fortunately, owing to highly productive diplomatic initiatives of the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, shown during the Pyeongchang Olympics, the dialogue has become a possibility

Obviously the dialogue is a good start, but the dialogue must lead to fruitful negotiations for peace. The success of negotiations depends on a compromise between what the U.S. wants and what North Korea desires. It is likely that Pyongyang will demand peace treaty with the U.S., elimination of joint military exercises, or reduction of their size at least, removal of sanctions, compensation for the loss of economic benefits due to sanctions and resuming of Inter-Korean peaceful interaction and cooperation. In return, Pyongyang might abandon its nuclear program.

On the other hand, The U.S. may satisfy some parts of North Korea’s demand; it may reduce the range of sanctions; it may reduce the size of joint military exercises; it could allow inter-Korean cooperation. But what does Trump really want from the negotiation? It appears that Trump asks no less than a full denuclearization of the land of Kim Jong-un. But if the full denuclearization of North Korea takes place, Tramp will have difficulty in justifying the deployment of American armed forces in South Korea. The world will be anxious to see how far Trump will go in negotiations

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For All Practical Purposes, the American System of Government Is Failing. How and Why?

NOVANEWS
 

“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of a private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd American President (1933-1945), (in ‘Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies’, April 29, 1938)

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), French economist, statesman, and author.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you super add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.” Lord Acton (John E. Dalberg) (1834-1902), English historian, politician, and writer.

The truth is there are very few members [of the U.S. Congress] who I could even name or could think of who didn’t at some level participate in that system [of bribery and corruption in Washington D.C.].” Jack Abramoff, professional lobbyist and onetime power broker for the elite of Washington, D.C. (during a CBS’s 60 Minutes interview, Sunday November 6, 2011)

Now [the United States] is just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and Congress members. … So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors. …The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.” Jimmy Carter (1924- ), 39th U.S. President (1977-1981), (in a radio interview, Tues. July 28, 2015)

*

On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969),34th President of the United States, (1953-1961), and a five-star general, gave a Farewell address that has echoed through the years. He not only warned his fellow citizens about the danger of a “military-industrial complex”, which could “endanger our liberties or democratic processes”, but he also issued a wish in saying that “we want democracy to survive for all generations to come.”

Observers have noticed, however, that since the 1980’s, something big has occurred in the United States: the political system and its processes have fallen into the hands of an unscrupulous money establishment in a way that has left a majority of Americans deprived of the basic services they are entitled to receive from their government.

This can be explained by the workings of a political cycle of corruption, through which big money increasingly corrupts basic political institutions and practices.

Before the 1980s, the U.S. system of government had functioned reasonably well along the lines dictated by the U.S. Constitution and following the democratic principle eloquently summarized by President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) when he said that the U.S. government is the government of the people, by the people, for the people” as dictated by the vote of citizens who elect officials and who favor the adoption of common good policies.

The U.S. Constitution is one of the oldest

The United States is an old democracy. Its Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world. It was approved on September 17, 1787, after three months of debate, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and it became effective on March 4, 1789.

It is a federal constitution, which created a strong federal government, but according to the principle of separation of powers. At the federal level, it establishes an intricate system of checks and balances between an executive branch headed by a President, a legislative branch with two houses forming the U.S. Congress and a judicial branch consisting of a U.S. Supreme Court and other courts. The purpose was to prevent tyranny. The fifty American states delegated certain powers to the federal government, but undelegated powers are reserved to the states.

This founding document guarantees constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, as spelled out in twenty-seven amendments. The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and they were ratified and adopted in 1791, while the other seventeen amendments have been adopted over time, between 1795 and 1992.

Basically, the U.S. Constitution was a compromise between the political ideas of Alexander Hamilton (New York) and Thomas Jefferson (Virginia). Hamilton and the Federalists favored a centralized federalism, and were supported by merchants and manufacturers. Jefferson and the anti-federalists rather favored the principle of a decentralized federal system; they supported states’ rights and agriculture. Over time, economic and technological developments and various court decisions tipped the balance in favor of Hamilton’s espousal of a strong, even aristocratic, central U.S. government.

The electoral reforms enacted by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt

Since the 1980s, there has been a fundamental change in the way political institutions function in the United States. And this is not only a matter of change in the governance approach to providing public services, as some have pointed out. It is a profound change in the way ordinary citizens choose their elected representatives and in the way they convey to public officials their demands, wishes and needs. Their influence has greatly diminished over the years.

For most of the twentieth century, a century during which the American standard of living rose substantially, there existed in the United States a system of laws and practices that protected the sanctity of the voting system as an expression of the choices of the citizenry. Legal entities, such as corporations, banks or other organizations were prevented from using their huge access to money to subjugate the voice of the electorate and debase democracy.

President Theodore Roosevelt

In 1905, for example, President Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919), a Republican, in his annual address to Congress spelled out the democratic principle that “all contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.” In 1906, Roosevelt was even more explicit, saying: “I again recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party… Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly. ”On January 26, 1907, President Roosevelt signed the Tillman Act of 1907, which was the first legislation in the United States prohibiting monetary contribution to national political campaigns by corporations.

How the U.S. Supreme Court has subverted the American electoral system

However, on January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president. The more than century-old Roosevelt principle which had prevailed until then according to which “no corporation shall be considered to be a person who is permitted to raise or spend money on federal, state, or local elections of any kind was crudely abolished and thrown into the trash.

Indeed with their judgment in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Chief Justice John Roberts and four other justices created a major revolution in the American electoral system. They rejected historic precedents and judicial restraint in order to put a radical pro-corporate spin on the First Amendment, which protects free speech. They declared that “corporations” and other legal organizations are indeed “persons”, entitled to the same human rights as living, breathing persons, and that they can spend unlimited sums of money during electoral campaigns.

Consequently, since the 2010 decision of the U.S. Court, the Preambule of the U.S. Constitution that says “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…” should more appropriately be changed now for “We, the business corporations of America…etc.”, in order to fully reflect the new political philosophy of the five-member majority of the Roberts Court. Indeed, with the decision of Jan. 21, 2010, the type of government the majority of the Roberts Supreme Court wished to establish is essentially ‘a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations’.

Nowadays, the U.S. Government is more centralized and more corrupt than ever

Indeed, over the last quarter century, there has been a quiet political coup in the United States, with far right money interests taking over the American system of government, and this not only includes the U.S. Congress; it includes also the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court. Billionaire oligarchs have taken control in the United States and they pretty much do what they want with the government, irrespective of what the people think or want. This is a throwback to the later part of the 19th Century when Robber Barons could buy out politicians, pile up the public debt and plunder the public purse at will, while unscrupulously rigging markets and abusing consumers.

People want peace, but the oligarchs—and that includes Donald Trump—want war, permanent war, and they want to be free to line their pockets with the war industry profits all over the world.

People want social services and want to reduce poverty, but the oligarchs want to reduce the influence of government, cut taxes and keep politicians corrupted.

People want their children to be secure, safe and not the target of guns when they go to school, but the oligarchs, manufacturers and extremist organizations want to be able to sell military-style assault weapons to everybody who can afford to buy them. Indeed, cowardly American politicians refuse to ban military-style assault weapons, as they are controlled in most countries.

People want to live in a clean environment, but the oligarchs want to be free to pollute and pursue their own private interests.

Most people stand for the rule of law and for democracy, but the oligarchs prefer a system closer to plutocracy, in which their money can call the shots, etc.

The potentially corrupting influence of money has become more and more dominant in U.S. politics, and it has been openly encouraged by numerous decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, especially, as we have seen, by the Roberts U.S. Supreme Courtin favor of the wealthy, the powerful and private interest groups, and against the common good.

As a consequence, popular trust in the U.S. government has declined steadily over the last half century. According to the Pew Research Center, while 73% of Americans were said to have trust in the federal government in Washington D.C., in 1958, that percentage had fallen to a mere 18%, in 2017. This represents a huge erosion of public trust in government in a bit less than sixty years. This is a generational shift of great magnitude and the sign of a profound disgust.

What are the consequences of that shift toward less democracy?

  • Americans are the least likely to exercise their right to vote: in the 2016 election, only 55.7% of eligible voters bothered to vote, as compared to an average of 75% in other OECD countries.
  • In the U.S., politics has become a rich man’s game: In practice and in most cases, no American citizen who is not rich can expect to be elected in the current American political system, unless he or she is willing to become a political prostitute to big money interests. Moreover, ordinary citizens cannot entertain any hope, on their own, of being able to redress the situation.
  • More importantly perhaps,it has become harder and harder to encourage government to pass legislation to enhance the common good and to promote the general welfare of ordinary citizens. Wealthy lobbies, corporations and mega banks, supported by a very concentrated and partisan media, hold the upper hand in anything the government does. These powerful lobbies push the United States to spend more on its military sector than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined.
  • Not surprisingly,income and wealth disparities in the United States are indecent and growing. The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality has ranked the United States dead last among the 10 richest countries on that score. Half of the U.S. population lives presently in poverty or is low-income, according to U.S. Census data, while the American middle class is losing ground, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center. To compare income and wealth inequality that prevails in the U.S. today, it is necessary to go back 100 years, just before the Great Depression. Presently, there is less social mobility in the United States and the social fabric is increasingly disorganized.

Social cohesion is threatened in a country when income and wealth inequalities become exceptionally wide. This has been a big problem in South America for many years. Now it has become a growing social and economic problem in the United States.

  • The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Cuba, El Salvador, Turkmenistan, the Russian Federation and Thailand. Its rate is almost 5 times higher than the OECD average.
  • An ominous sign:Life expectancy at birth in the United States fell for the second consecutive year in 2016, due to a dizzying 21% increase in the death rate from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, this is the first time since 1962 and 1963, two years in which the flu caused an unprecedented number of deaths, that the United States experienced two consecutive years of declining life expectancy.

Conclusion

Since the 1980s, a vicious cycle of political corruption in the United States has become more and more powerful and has had negative social consequences. It is a cycle of corruption that has allowed the money establishment to tighten its grip on the major American institutions of the Presidency, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a cycle of political corruption is self-reinforcing, and as it becomes more and more comprehensive and entrenched, it also becomes very difficult to break up and reverse.

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Here’s How Syrian “Rebels” Manipulate Information From East Ghouta

NOVANEWS

In the Eastern Ghouta in Syria, a war is fought every day without the exclusion of blows: it is the war of information and propaganda, which is consumed by tweets and photographic material on social networks. Objective: to bring public opinion to its own side, at any cost and by any means. The sources that much of the Western information has used to describe what has been happening in recent weeks are the same as those of the 2016 Battle of Aleppo: the Syrian Human Rights Observatory guided by the dissident Rami Abdel Rahman based in London, the controversial White Helmets, the notorious humanitarian NGO founded by James Le Mesurier and, above all, a dense network of “activists” and “reporter” who declare themselves independent. 

What we have undertaken is a journey into this conflict, where children become an extraordinary propaganda tool, able to leverage the emotional side: after all, with the advent of the internet and the new social media, indignation has become a formidable tool and to be effective it must be channeled in a precise and well-determined direction – in this case aimed at demonstrating that “Assad bombards and kills his own people” and to discredit the allies Russia and Iran.

That the war is terrible and brutal there is no doubt but the truth that we want to tell you is another thing, and it is much more complex and sophisticated. To tell you about it, we wore the role of a “rebel” activist, entering the wide and widespread social network that fights against the Syrian government of Assad with photos, movies and hashtags.

Among the first we spoke with is Alaa Al-Ahmad, quoted by the Guardian on 7 February. In his biography on Twitter he describes himself as “a Syrian journalist” of the Eastern Ghouta and contributor to the Damascus Media Center, “an information platform that covers social, military and political events in Syria fairly”. To our precise question, however, he himself confirms the presence of three Islamist groups widely financed from abroad in Eastern Ghouta: al-Rahman Corps, Army of Islam (or Jaysh al-Islam) and Ahrar al-Sham, three organizations Salafis who aim to create a Caliphate in Syria in which to apply the Islamic Shari’a law.

We are talking about the same Islamist organizations that, as Matteo Carnieletto and Gian Micalessin told on “Gli Occhi della Guerra!, have bombed the Syrian capital, leaving many dead, including many children.

Al-Ahmad shares the statements of Arhar-al Sham on social media and turns to Europe for military intervention against Assad:

“My message goes to France to whom I want to remember that we are human and we are not just figures. We have the right to choose who governs Syria. This killer Bashar al-Assad kills us before the eyes of the international community and kills us with internationally forbidden weapons,” he tells us.

No answer when we ask him what his real relations are with the three Salafist groups he mentioned. Here’s how Syrian rebels manipulate information in East Ghouta.

Just like in Aleppo and with the same modalities of Bana al-Abed, also in the information war of Ghouta a children’s role plays a fundamental role as a propaganda weapon in order to convey information in a single direction and in support of the narration of Islamist rebels. They have launched the hashtag #SaveGhouta, they are very young and document the horrors of the war every day with videos and videos. They are the little ones Noor and Alaa and Muhammad Najem. Accounts created only a few months but have already reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Including numerous clearly false profiles.

To manage these accounts are followed by family members or activists close to the Islamist opposition. As reported by Middle East Eye, in fact, “children are helped by family members and opposition activists”. Shams Alkhateeb is an English teacher and is the mother of Noor and Ala. Also according to Middle East Eye, it is she who manages her son’s account, documenting daily what is happening in the suburbs of Damascus. He claims to have decided to open a Twitter account “to show the world what is happening inside the Eastern Ghouta: nothing in the world can prevent us from publishing and we hope to document our suffering on Twitter”.

On the identity of Shams Alkhateeb, however, there are no news or certainties, and the family’s connection with the three jihadist groups present in the rebel enclave is not known. Among the profiles followed by Noor and Ala there are numerous journalists, members of the Syrian opposition, the White Helmets and Lina Shamy, the reporter-activist close to Al-Qaeda who documented the battle of Aleppo Est from the sacks controlled by the rebels.

Who really manages the profile of 10 thousand followers of 15-year-old Muhammad Najem, who has been on Twitter since last December, is not aware of it, since he never answered our questions. Alaa Al-Ahmad confirms, however, that

“Muhammad Najem is fine, he is my friend but now he is in the shelter and has no internet”.

We know he’s lying to us, because the young Syrian’s tweets are very frequent and daily. What strikes us about the mysterious Najem is his special interest in the events of international politics and the internal facts of the United States, quite peculiar for a Syrian boy who lives under the bombs and in a bunker without internet, water and food.

On February 17, for example, Muhammad Najem’s profile put a “like” on a New York Times article on the 13 Russians indicted in the Russiagate investigation; February 13 showed another appreciation for a Political article titled “Here’s how the white nationalists fooled the media on the Florida shooting”. Who is behind Muhammed Najem? To date, it remains a mystery. What is certain is that in the war of propaganda nothing is as it seems and the truth is hidden in depth.

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War on Lebanon?

NOVANEWS

War on Lebanon? The Geopolitical Battlefield. Mounting Tensions with Israel

Should It be Devil, Deep Blue Sea… or Russia?

Lebanon, as so often in the past, is facing mortal danger.

Saudi Arabia is putting great pressure on the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, a powerful but controversial figure who holds dual nationality – Saudi and Lebanese. Riyadh expects Lebanon to play by its own rules, sidelining Hezbollah, ending Iranian influence in the country, and promoting Saudi business and political interests… or else. It is a clear that foreign aid from the Gulf is increasingly conditional.

Tension with Israel is also mounting. A military conflict could erupt at any moment, with devastating consequences. Between 1978 and 2006, Israel attacked its northern neighbor on five occasions. The last time Israel invaded Lebanon, during the so-called Lebanon War in 2006, at least 1,300 Lebanese people were killed and 1 million displaced.

The Israeli air force is lately, unceremoniously, violating Lebanese air space, flying over its territory on the way to Syria, where it is bombing selected targets, grossly violating various international laws.

To make things worse, Israel has begun building an ugly concrete wall right at the border line, an act which Lebanon views almost as a declaration of war. The Lebanese military received orders to confront Israeli bulldozers and construction crews, if the building of the frontier barrier continues. Both sides are now using intermediaries to communicate, but a confrontation may take place at any moment.

There is also a maritime dispute between the two countries, over an oil and gas rich area, which both countries are claiming as their own. This quarrel is also threatening the fragile ‘peace’ between Israel and Lebanon. Although some would say, what peace, really, if both nations are still technically at war?

Reported by AP, on February 8, 2018:

“Israel has in recent days escalated its threats against Lebanon over Lebanon’s invitation for offshore gas exploration bids on the countries’ maritime border.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described Lebanon’s exploration tender as “very provocative” and suggested that Lebanon had put out invitations for bids from international groups for a gas field ,”which is by all accounts ours.”

His comments drew sharp condemnation from the militant Hezbollah group and Lebanese officials, including Hariri, a Western ally, who described Lieberman’s comments as a “blatant provocation that Lebanon rejects.”

Abi Assi quoted Hariri as saying Thursday that area in the water that Israel is claiming, “is owned by Lebanon.”

A day after the above report appeared, Lebanon’s energy minister said, “the dispute with Israel would not stop Lebanon benefiting from potential undersea reserves in the contentious Block 9.”

An international consortium consisting of three giant oil companies – Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek – is standing by, ready to begin drilling, although Total is increasingly reluctant to participate in the project amidst the Israeli threats.

*

Many in Lebanon feel that their country is literally caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

For years, war in neighboring Syria has been sending hundreds of thousands of refugees across the border into tiny Lebanon, greatly straining its fragile and inadequate infrastructure. Refugee slums have mushroomed, in the Bekaa Valley, as well as in all the major cities.

Terrorist groups supported by the West and its allies, have spilled over the border, and are operating in the frontier region, while also infiltrating the capital.

In 2017, the Lebanese military, together with Syrian forces and Hezbollah, managed to confront and greatly weaken both al Nusra and ISIS cells.

Hezbollah is the only truly powerful social force in Lebanon, providing assistance to all needy citizens and refugees, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. It is also fighting, determinedly, all terrorist implants operating in the Lebanese territory.

Lebanese territory on the left, Israeli on the right

Thanks to the help from both Russia and Hezbollah, the Syrian armed forces managed to regain most of the territory of their country and to come very close to winning the war. The country is now rebuilding and hundreds of thousands of refugees are returning home, including those who have temporarily been seeking refuge in Lebanon.

Sidelining Hezbollah would definitely have a devastating impact on both Lebanon and Syria.

And sidelining, intimidating and antagonizing Hezbollah is precisely what the United States is doing again.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Beirut, and on February 15th, addressed reporters at a press conference:

“It is impossible to talk about stability, sovereignty and security in Lebanon without addressing Hezbollah. The US has considered Hezbollah a terrorist organization for more than two decades now …It is unacceptable for a militia like Hezbollah to operate outside the authority of the Lebanese government. The only legitimate defender of the Lebanese state is the Lebanese armed forces.”

Mr. Tillerson made some reconciliatory noises regarding Hezbollah, just a few days earlier, but was loudly criticized by both his regime apparatchiks and by the mainstream media. Promptly, he ‘regained his senses’ and stopped rocking the boat.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, indeed, treat pro-Iranian Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Israel continuously intimidates Lebanon, claiming that it will not tolerate any Iranian influence in its vicinity. The fact that Lebanon is an independent country, is somehow overlooked. It is expected to ‘behave’, to accept foreign dictates, even if it means going against its own interests.

After all, Lebanon is in the Middle East, which in turn is just the playground of the West and its allies.

*

Most of the Lebanese citizens are indignant. The Israeli air force flying over their country’s territory, attacking Syria, is to them, naturally, something absolutely unacceptable. Being bullied over disputed resources-rich sea territory, as well as the construction of border barriers, is causing great outrage. However, until now, the Lebanese people felt that there was very little they could do, faced with the overwhelming military might of Israel, a country which is determinedly backed by the United States and most of the Western countries.

All this has suddenly changed.

Unexpectedly, although logically, the ‘Russian alternative’ has emerged.

As reported by the Middle East Monitor on the February 8, 2018:

“Russian media sources revealed that on Tuesday Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to begin talks with its Lebanese counterpart to sign a military cooperation agreement between Russia and Lebanon.

The draft agreement to be signed between the parties included the opening of Lebanese ports in front of Russian military vessels and fleets, in addition to making Lebanese airports a transit station for Russian aircrafts and fighters, and the dispatch of Russian military experts to train and strengthen the capabilities of members of the Lebanese army, according to the Russian agency Sputnik.”

This is just a logical continuation of Russian approach towards the Middle East in general, and Lebanon in particular. According to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement, made public in November 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared:

“Russia invariably supports the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon. We are interested in ensuring that Lebanon is safe, effectively functioning with the participation of all branches of government and with all state structures.”

Lavrov’s remarks came during a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil in Moscow.”

Russia is becoming increasingly active in those countries that have been destroyed or at least crippled by the Western interventions, such as Syria, Libya, now Lebanon and soon, hopefully, Afghanistan. Russian involvement is ranging from diplomatic and economic, to, as has been the case in Syria, military.

A Lebanese intellectual, anonymously, declared for this essay:

“If Russian military comes to Lebanon, then Israeli air force would certainly stop flying over our territory. We would also be able to retain our organizations and movements: particularly those that helped our country to stay united and to survive. Most of the Lebanese people have no bad experience with Russia. We tried many things, many alliances and they failed: we are still vulnerable, exposed. There is no harm in attempting to work with the Russians.”

The West, particularly the United States, is well aware of the mood on the streets of Lebanon. That is why Mr. Tillerson came on an official visit. But he offered nothing new, and what he offered, was rejected. It is clear that his mission was to simply preserve the status quo.

While it is increasingly obvious that the Lebanese people are hoping for something much more dramatic and ‘radical’ – they want their country to be respected, taken seriously. They want their borders to be protected. They want to have their independent foreign policy. They want to decide who is their ally and who is their foe.

Lebanon is tired of being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. And now it is discovering that it actually has other options!

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, LebanonComments Off on War on Lebanon?

Syria: U.S. Media War Propaganda

NOVANEWS

War Propaganda. U.S. Media Portrays Pyongyang as Assisting Damascus in Waging a Chemical Attack against Syrian Civilians

A global US-NATO military agenda is unfolding supported by extensive media propaganda

While US sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria acting on behalf of US NATO are provided with money, weapons and training, Washington is now pointing its finger at North Korea’s role in supporting the government of Bashar Al Assad with a view to killing their own people.

Here is a recent New York Times (Feb 27) “authoritative” analysis on how North Korea is helping the Syrian government to wage a chemical war against the Syrian people. Nice and not fake, timely and of course “carefully documented”  by the Newspaper of Record.

Screenshot, NYT, Feb 27, 2018

The underlying thrust of these reports is to convey the illusion that there is somehow an alliance of “rogue enemies” against the West, with North Korea playing a strategic role in channelling weapons to “rogue governments” with the object of killing civilians. (Lest we forget, barely reported by the MSM North Korea lost 30% of its population as a result of US-led bombings during the Korea War, 1950-53).

Another NYT report dated March 3, 2018  with front page coverage, titled Missiles sent from Pyongyang sold in Cairo. Conveniently the report is adjacent to a front page cover image entitled Numbingly familiar. Fleeing another airstrike in Syria, which tacitly conveys the message to readers of the right column article on North Korean missiles that Pyongyang is (indirectly) contributing to civilian deaths in Syria. The fact of the matter, amply documented, is that Damascus is waging a counter-terrorism campaign against US-NATO-Israel sponsored mercenaries including ISIS-Daesh and Al Qaeda. These mercenaries are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance.

The online title of the above article is Need a North Korean Missile, Call the Embassy in Cairo. The underlying propaganda thrust is that North Korea is supplying the Assad government via the DPRK’s embassy in Egypt with weapons as well as supporting Damascus in its alleged chemical weapons program.

Shielded by diplomatic cover and front companies, North Korean officials have traveled to Sudan, which was then subject to an international trade embargo, to sell satellite-guided missiles, according to records obtained by the United Nations. Others flew to Syria, where North Korea has supplied items that could be used in the production of chemical weapons.

Inside the embassy, arms dealing goes right to the top. In November 2016, the United States and the United Nations sanctioned the ambassador, Pak Chun-il, describing him as an agent of North Korea’s largest arms company, the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation. (NYT, March 3, 2018, emphasis added)

Posted in USA, Media, North Korea, SyriaComments Off on Syria: U.S. Media War Propaganda

Liberating East Ghouta, Syria’s Last US-Supported Terrorist Enclave

NOVANEWS
 

 

On February 25, Syrian forces began their offensive to liberate the last major US-supported terrorist enclave in the country.

Impressive progress was made after nine days of fighting, around one-third of East Ghouta liberated, supported by Russian airpower, care taken to minimize civilian casualties.

According to AMN news, Syrian forces nearly split East Ghouta in half, the same strategy used to liberate East Aleppo in 2016.

US-supported terrorists in the enclave are being systematically defeated. Reinforced Syrian forces are heading for the heart of territory they control.

East Ghouta’s liberation is just a matter of time. Washington is frantic, a White House statement saying:

“The United States condemns the ongoing military offensive that (Assad), backed by Russia and Iran, is perpetrating against the people of Eastern Ghouta,” adding:

Russian forces are “kill(ing) innocent civilians under the false auspices of counterterrorism operations” – a bald-faced lie.

Separately, a White House readout of Trump’s March 2 calls to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

“called on Russia to stop bombing East Ghouta, to compel (Assad) to halt offensive operations against civilian areas, and to hold Syria accountable for the deteriorating human rights conditions in East Ghouta, caused in part by (Assad’s) continued use of chemical weapons, attacks on civilians, and blocking of humanitarian aid.”

Fact: Unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution 2401 permits continued military operations against ISIS, Al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and elements connected them during a 30-day ceasefire through late March.

Fact: US-supported terrorists in East Ghouta are killing and brutalizing civilians held captive as human shields. Syria’s campaign aims to liberate them, along with ending their ability to shell Damascus, a noble operation deserving high praise, not condemnation.

Fact: US-supported terrorists alone used CWs numerous times throughout the war, not Syria.

Fact: These elements are preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need – not Syria or Russia.

The White House statement turned truth on its head – ignoring US-led high crimes against Syria and its people!

East Ghouta could be liberated in weeks or sooner. As always, the wild card is what Washington may do.

Will US forces intervene to prevent East Ghouta’s liberation? Will Israeli terror-bombing try to halt the advance of Syrian troops?

On Sunday, Netanyahu arrived in Washington for a five-day US visit. He’ll meet with Trump and other administration officials on Monday before addressing the annual AIPAC conference.

Last week, the White House put Russia “on notice,” regarding its East Ghouta campaign with Syria.

It’ll continue until the enclave is liberated. It’s unclear what the Trump administration intends next.

If US and/or Israeli warplanes attack Syrian forces in East Ghouta, will Russia defend them or do nothing?

Separately on Sunday, Russian reconciliation center in Syria spokesman General Yuri Zolotukhinsaid terrorists in East Ghouta announced a curfew for civilians during daily five-hour humanitarian pauses – threatening to punish anyone violating them.

Rallies and other forms of resistance were also prohibited – these actions taken to prevent anyone fleeing for safety to government-controlled areas.

Only two children managed to escape captivity so far. On Sunday, Assad issued a statement saying:

“We will continue to fight terrorism…(T)he Ghouta operation is a continuation of the fight against terrorism. There is no contradiction between a truce and combat operations.”

“The progress achieved yesterday and the day before in Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army was made during this truce.”

“Therefore we must continue with the operation in parallel with opening the way for civilians to leave. (They) from (freedom) terrorists’ hands.”

He accused Washington and its rogue allies of operating as an air force for ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorists in the country – on the phony pretext of combating them.

Meeting on Sunday with Iranian Foreign Ministry special assistant for political affairs Hussein Jabri Ansari and his delegation, Assad said Syrians alone will decide their political future, free from foreign interference, adding:

“We have not started from Ghouta. We have started since the first day in combating terrorism in every place.”

“We have started in Aleppo, Homs and Deir Ezzor. The operation in Ghouta is a continuation of combating terrorism in different places.”

It’ll proceed until US-supported terrorists are eliminated and Syrians are again free from their scourge.

Posted in USAComments Off on Liberating East Ghouta, Syria’s Last US-Supported Terrorist Enclave

Hollywood Honors Anti-Russia Propaganda Film

NOVANEWS

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

On geopolitical issues, Hollywood operates as a virtual arm of US policymakers, supporting their imperial agenda.

It was evident Sunday evening during Oscar awards, annual exercises in self-adulation. Movie moguls value profit-making over filmmaking the way it should be. Hollywood-style history is reinvented, not the real thing.

Last year, an al-Qaeda-linked White Helmets propaganda film was honored as the year’s best documentary short. Hollywood disgracefully honored terrorism.

In 2013, the 1979/1980 Iranian hostage crisis was reinvented – Argo propaganda awarded the Academy’s best film of the year.

Last evening, politicized Olympism won top documentary film honors.

The propaganda film Icarus portrayed director/amateur bike racer Bryan Fogel’s sought help from fugitive former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory/World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informant Grigory Rodchenkov to use banned substances for an amateur cycling race.

In Moscow, he was indicted in absentia on charges of illegally trafficking potent substances.

He accused at least 15 Russian Olympic winners of using performance-enhancing drugs.

Moscow refuted his state-sponsored doping charge, admitting involvement of some of its athletes in using banned substances. The same practice occurs elsewhere, including in professional sports.

Rodchenkov fled to America, given refuge under the federal witness protection program, his whereabouts unknown.

Yet he appeared in Icarus, claiming Russian agents used sample-swapping tactics to help the nation’s athletes win 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics medals by using performance-enhancing drugs.

Banning Russia’s entire track and field team from the 2016 Rio summer games followed.

The International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee. It banned Russian athletes from participating under their nation’s flag – disgraceful politicized actions.

The IOC acted despite no credible evidence of Russian state-sponsored doping. Individual athletes representing many countries use banned substances.

Should entire nations and their Olympians be punished for the abuses of some team members?

Should entire US baseball, football and other sports teams be banned from league competition because some of their players used these drugs?

Actions against Russia and its athletes are politicized. Icarus was honored for Russia bashing.

It’s unworthy documentary filmmaking, warranting condemnation for serving US interests.

Fogel called his film “a wakeup call…about Russia,” dedicating Icarus to Rodchenkov, a fugitive from justice, protected by Washington to use against Moscow.

Separately, the Academy chose the Chilean film “A Fantastic Woman” as best foreign language movie of the year over highly acclaimed Russian director Andrey Zvagintsev’s film “Loveless.”

It won last year’s BFI London Film Festival top honors. The Cannes Film Festival awarded it the Jury Prize, second only in importance to its Palme d’Or.

Washington disgracefully considers Russia its leading threat.

Hollywood is complicit with US policymakers, producing propaganda, not truth-telling, in films about its officials, policies and athletes.

Posted in USA, Media, RussiaComments Off on Hollywood Honors Anti-Russia Propaganda Film

US Seeks to Intentionally Prolong Syrian Bloodshed

NOVANEWS
 

A 2012 US policy paper admittedly sought to “bleed” the Syrian government, and with it the Syrian people. Today in Syria, the consequences of America’s depraved foreign policy is being blamed by Western special interests on the very victims it targeted. 

From the beginning of Syria’s conflict the United States presented to the world its unyielding ultimatum that the government in Damascus be deposed and replaced by a government headed by the armed militants the US cultivated before the conflict and has armed and funded throughout its now seven year course.

US demands of regime change in Syria were not exclusive to the current conflict. Syria was upon US President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” announced after the attacks on September 11, 2001 despite Syria playing no role in the attacks and in fact being one of the principal nations waging war on Al Qaeda and its many affiliates – including its predecessor the Muslim Brotherhood – stretching back to the 1980s when the US itself was arming and funding the terrorist organization’s members in Afghanistan.

US Intentionally Fuels Syria’s Conflict

Today, regions in Syria under government control now enjoy peace and security unseen since the conflict broke out in 2011. This includes Syria’s largest city of Aleppo which was invaded by Al Qaeda-linked militant groups crossing over Syria’s border from NATO member Turkey beginning in 2012.

Construction vehicles are replacing tanks in Aleppo. After years of occupation by terrorist groups, Aleppo was finally liberated, with reconstruction now underway. Peace and security was restored to Aleppo not through any initiative led by the United Nations, or Western states like the US, UK, or other NATO members, but instead by joint Syrian-Russian-Iranian military operations conducted in direct defiance of Western demands terrorist enclaves remain intact.

Reflecting the security Syria’s government still is able to offer the Syrian people versus regions still ravaged  by Western-backed militants is the fact that the vast majority of displaced Syrians reside in government-held territory.
This is revealed in a 2017 UN report titled, “UNHCR seeing significant returns of internally displaced amid Syria’s continuing conflict,” which states (emphasis added):

Aid agencies estimate that more than 440,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes in Syria during the first six months of this year. In parallel, UNHCR has monitored over 31,000 Syrian refugees returning from neighbouring countries so far in 2017. Since 2015, some 260,000 refugees have spontaneously returned to Syria, primarily from Turkey into northern Syria.  

The main factors influencing decisions for refugees to return self-assisted mostly to Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus and to other governorates are primarily linked to seeking out family members, checking on property, and, in some cases, a real or perceived improvement in security conditions in parts of the country.

It should be noted that Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Damascus all fall under the control of the current Syrian government. Regions still occupied by terrorists – particularly Idlib in northern Syria – are omitted from the report.

It’s clear that if the United States’ agenda in Syria was a humanitarian one, it would be assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to improve security conditions across the country. Instead, the US actively works to undermine such efforts – intentionally creating and perpetuating conditions to jeopardize security and induce continued human suffering.

A map of Syria’s current conflict reveals that violence continues solely in areas the West and its regional partners remain committed in. This includes NATO-member Turkey whose ongoing invasion and destruction of Syria’s northern countryside aimed at Afrin goes unmentioned in UN proceedings. It also includes America’s continued, uninvited occupation of eastern Syria.

While the US has claimed its purpose for occupying eastern Syria was to “defeat” the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Washington’s own Defense Intelligence Agency revealed in a leaked memo in 2012 that ISIS’ initial creation was specifically desired by the US and its allies as a means of isolating the Syrian government.

The 2012 memo (PDF) would state specifically that:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran). 

The DIA memo would also explain who these “supporting powers” are:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

With ISIS now mostly defeated in both Syria and Iraq, the US has used multiple and increasingly strained narratives to explain why it not only remains in Syria illegally, but why it is seeking to even expand its presence there. This includes claims it must “provide a bulwark against Iranian influence,” according to the Guardian. Such pretexts stand at face value as contradictory, with Iranian influence having played a central role in America’s desire to create ISIS in the first place, and ISIS’ defeat at the hands of a Syrian-Russian-Iranian coalition.

Eastern Ghouta, located east of Damascus, also remains as a pocket of enduring violence owed solely to US efforts to impede Syrian efforts to liberate the area from terrorist occupation and restore the same order the rest of Damascus enjoys. Observers of the Syrian conflict can draw identical parallels between US propaganda aimed at impeding Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 and current efforts to prolong violence in Eastern Ghouta.

US Policy in Syria: Bleed It 

Concluding that Washington’s policy in Syria is to intentionally prolong human suffering for as long as possible is not merely a matter of superficially assessing its current actions – it is stated as US policy throughout policy papers for the last several years.

As early as 2012 when speedy US-backed regime change had clearly failed and a more protracted conflict had begun, prominent US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, would publish a policy paper titled, “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change.”

The paper would state (emphasis added):

The United States might still arm the opposition even knowing they will probably never have sufficient power, on their own, to dislodge the Asad network. Washington might choose to do so simply in the belief that at least providing an oppressed people with some ability to resist their oppressors is better than doing nothing at all, even if the support provided has little chance of turning defeat into victory. 

Alternatively, the United States might calculate that it is still worthwhile to pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.

The paper not only openly admits US intervention in Syria has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns but rather “keeping a regional adversary weak,” it specifically recommends prolonging the conditions under which a humanitarian crisis will only expand, and for as long as possible.

The US intentionally backing an “opposition” that has no chance of overturning the Syrian government equates to intentionally and maliciously prolonging a deadly conflict and all the horrors that accompany it. The Brookings paper specifically suggesting the US “bleed” the Syrian government is done with full knowledge of the cost in human suffering that “bleeding” would undoubtedly incur.

With this poorly hidden reality underpinning America’s true intentions in Syria in mind, the US’ ongoing charade within the halls of the UN posturing as a champion for human dignity amid a catastrophe of its own intentional, premeditated design reveals both US special interests and the “international order” they preside over as a genuine and unparalleled rogue state.

In essence, US policymakers intend to hold the world hostage by threatening enduring bloodshed until their political demands are met – in Syria’s case – the removal of Syria’s government and its replacement by suitable US proxies. By very definition this is terrorism – and terrorism that should come as no surprise considering the US’ predominant role in funding the terrorist organizations currently ravaging Syria.

While the US leads efforts to isolate and undermine a growing list of nations opposing the increasingly depraved nature of American hegemony, it is incumbent upon the rest of the world to isolate and undermine the special interests driving American hegemony. The notion that the current “international order” is predicated upon the rule of law lacks credibility when Washington can openly create a humanitarian catastrophe like that unfolding in Syria, hold the world hostage to it if its demands are not met, all while posing as a champion for the multiple laws and human values it is blatantly violating in the process.


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Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US Seeks to Intentionally Prolong Syrian Bloodshed

Judge OKs Waiving Environmental Laws to Build U.S.-Mexico Border Wall

NOVANEWS
 

Featured image: Border wall stretches for miles into the rolling landscape on the outskirts of Nogales, Arizona. This kind of fencing is impassable to most wingless wildlife. Photo by Rebecca Kessler for Mongabay.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in California ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not abuse its authority in waiving dozens of environmental laws to build sections of wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The ruling frees the department to waive laws for future border wall construction projects.

In August and September the department waived more than 30 laws, including key environmental laws, to expedite construction of three border wall projects in California. The projects include the construction of eight wall prototypes, now completed, and the replacement of two sections of existing border fencing.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel consolidated three separate lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security that were initially filed by the state of California, a consortium of NGOs (Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund), and the NGO Center for Biological Diversity. The suits contend that the department exceeded the authority Congress granted it, via legislation dating back to 1996, to waive laws for border infrastructure construction, and that it violated environmental laws and the constitution in the process. Judge Curiel’s 101-page ruling on the consolidated cases threw out those arguments, finding that the department’s actions are valid.

Trump border wall prototypes being built in October, 2017, near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. A judge ruled that the U.S. government acted legally in waiving environmental laws to build the prototypes and other wall segments. Photo by Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr.

Trump border wall prototypes being built in October, 2017, near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. A judge ruled that the U.S. government acted legally in waiving environmental laws to build the prototypes and other wall segments. Photo by Mani Albrecht/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr.

Currently about one-third of the roughly 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border has fencing. President Trump has pushed to fortify the remainder, saying it is necessary to prevent the flow of drugs and undocumented immigrants over the border. But he has since indicated that he might accept a less complete structure.

Trump responded to the ruling on Twitter on Tuesday:

“Big legal win today. U.S. judge sided with the Trump Administration and rejected the attempt to stop the government from building a great Border Wall on the Southern Border. Now this important project can go forward!”

But the next day he declared that he would delay further wall construction in California until the entire project gains approval. It remains uncertain whether Congress will fund the president’s border wall project. The issue was wrapped up in heated negotiations over broad immigration reforms last month, but the discussions have stalled out after a looming deadline evaporated. Congress now appears to have moved on to other topics.

Brian Segee, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the case decided this week, said the group plans to appeal the ruling, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall,” Segee told the paper. “They’re giving unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of spectacular borderlands. This is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”

The President’s border wall proposal has been intensely controversial, with the Mexican government and numerous local governments and civil society groups opposing the wall on practical, humanitarian, and environmental grounds.

Conservationists say the existing border infrastructure, most of it erected under former U.S. President George W. Bushhas disrupted ecosystem connectivity and harmed borderland wildlife populations that rely on habitats in both countries. Low barriers that most species can cross well enough traverse about 300 miles of the border. But tall walls that stop all but the smallest non-flying animals in their tracks run along another 405 miles.

Conservationists have issued dire warnings about the potential impact of a wall traversing the entire border. Numerous species would be negatively affected, including bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bears, foxes, salamanders, and even certain bird species, they say.

“President Trump insists on constructing a wall along the entire border: if he achieves making this a reality this barrier will rewrite the biological history of North America. A history that for millennia allowed animals to travel along the grasslands and forests from Mexico to Canada,” Rurik List, an ecologist at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Lerma in Mexico, wrote in an issue of Jornada Ecologica this summer. “The future of the bison and many other species that the two countries share is at stake at the border.”

The current case drew widespread attention because Trump targeted Curiel in 2016, claiming the Indiana-born judge could not preside fairly over a lawsuit against Trump University because he was “Mexican.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Judge OKs Waiving Environmental Laws to Build U.S.-Mexico Border Wall


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