Archive | May 12th, 2018

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex and “The Parallel Left”

NOVANEWS

A Conversation with Cory Morningstar and Bob Feldman. Global Research News Hour episode 220

“Why do people continue to believe that NGOs such as 350.org/1Sky that are initiated and funded by Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Ford, Gates, etc. would exist to serve the people rather than the entities that create and fund them? Since when do these powerful entities invest in ventures that will negatively impact their ability to maintain power, privilege and wealth? Indeed, the oligarchs play the “environmental movement” and its mostly well-meaning citizens like a game of cards.” – Cory Morningstar [1]

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Planet Earth is beset with multiple crises, including environmental degradationgrowing inequality, military and paramilitary violence, and exploitation of the most vulnerable.

We typically see masses of people mobilizing to confront government or corporate actions that foster environmental and social injustices. Front-line battles may include a march for women, a pipeline protest, a petition drive, or some act of non-violent civil disobedience.

Far from such actions being direction-less and spontaneous, major Non Governmental Organizations funded by philanthropic foundations typically play a pivotal role in the promotion of campaigns, the training and hiring of organizers, and the securing of resources that can make activism viable.

For example, the environmental NGO 350.org/1SKY which was one of the driving forces behind the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the 2014 People’s Climate March was initiated and funded by the Rockefeller and Clinton Foundations, among others. [2]

The Pacifica network of non-commercial alternative radio and news stations, including its daily news broadcast Democracy Now! has received millions in grants from the Ford, Open Society Institute, Carnegie, MacArthur, and J.M Kaplan Fund Foundations. [3]

Then there is AVAAZ. The celebrated online activist platform, which has helped raise awareness and drive petitions behind causes related to human rights, climate change and international conflict, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, and has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as a founding partner. [4]

AVAAZ has partnered with the TckTckTck campaign, launched by one of the world’s largest global advertising and communications firms. Other partners include corporations like EDF Nuclear, Lloyds Bank, MTV, and other multi-nationals with a track record of despoiling our shared environment.[5]

It seems unlikely that wealthy investors and venture capitalists thriving on the status quo would sponsor a movement that might threaten their grip on power. Still, does the acceptance of these philanthropic donations necessarily constitute an unacceptable compromise, even when they come with no obvious strings attached?

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The War on Syria and the Astana Peace Process: Time to Make China Fourth Guarantor State

In January, Russia hosted the Congress of Syrian National Dialogue in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. It has been the most representative forum thus far to discuss the conflict in Syria. Moscow invited Beijing to take part in the event as an observer. The Russian government believes that China is too important to be denied a role in the process of bringing peace to that war-torn country.

Post-war Syria is a scene of devastation. The creation of de-escalation zones has worked well to establish a cease-fire and a pause to catch one’s breath before the work of reconstruction begins. The Western powers are very unlikely to help rebuild Syria as long as Assad’s government, which is backed by Russia and Iran, remains in power. Legislation that has been dubbed the “No Assistance for Assad Act” has passed the US House of Representatives and has been read twice in the Senate. The bill seeks to channel US aid exclusively to the parts of Syria outside the control of the government.

The West’s reluctance to help rebuild Syria makes China a viable alternative. It is ready to contribute, which is a very welcome development. Chinese businessmen are already in Syria, exploring the opportunities for investment. Beijing has announced a plan to build a $2 billion industrial park for 150 Chinese companies. It has launched the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a multi-billion, massive, intercontinental infrastructure development project, which includes Syria as a transit partner. China is for future investments around the world and Syria could be the beneficiary of much of that. It could also be used to assist Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the Astana process guarantor states.

China provides military and other forms of assistance to Syria. It has a vested interest in the settlement of the conflict, because stability in Syria reduces the risk that mercenaries from Xinjiang will return home to mount terrorist attacks. Last year, about 5,000 ethnic Uyghurs from that province traveled to Syria to train and fight for various militant groups. The normalization of the situation would prevent the country from becoming a haven and training ground for China’s Muslim extremists. But no stability is achievable in Syria without improved living standards.

Beijing has been playing a low-key yet active role in the peace process, without military involvement. It has joined Russia to veto several UN proposals put forward by the West that would sanction the Syrian government.

If China became the fourth full-fledged guarantor state for the Astana process, the peace effort could expand to bring in other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including India and Pakistan. These states have never taken sides in Syria’s conflict, and thus could be trusted to act as impartial mediators. Iran is an observer and Turkey is a partner in the dialog. Egypt and Syria have also submitted applications to be granted observer status. Cairo is considering the possibility of sending its forces to Syria. With so many members involved in the conflict, the SCO could launch a comprehensive, international peace initiative based on the Astana process.

If some progress were made, Syria could obtain a status in the group that would be a stepping stone to full-fledged membership. The SCO could speak with one voice at the UN-brokered Geneva talks. The Shanghai Organization could solve the Syrian conflict without the West imposing its own rules of the game. Such a political breakthrough would greatly facilitate the implementation of China’s BRI, with all the major actors participating in the project. The SCO’s clout would grow immensely. Europe would benefit as well, if an SCO-brokered peace halted the flow of refugees.

China and Russia are also members of BRICS, another powerful group with growing prominence on the world stage. Three out of the five BRICS states – Russia, India, and China – are members of the Shanghai group. Brazil and South Africa would boost their global clout by joining in an SCO-BRICS peace effort in Syria. It’s important that the Syrian government view the BRICS coalition as a legitimate player. The participation of BRICS and SCO in the settlement process would transform the international system into a more multilateral configuration. This would also be in line with the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which was adopted by the UN in 2005. Syria is the right place to demonstrate that R2P is more than an empty phrase.

In theory, there may be reservations about bringing China in to act as the fourth guarantor state in the Astana process, but the advantages clearly outweigh any doubts. It would be a good thing for Beijing to play a greater role in the political efforts.

No peace will come if Syria is not rebuilt. The post-war reconstruction is too much for anyone to take on alone. It needs to be a comprehensive, international endeavor. This is a good opportunity for the SCO and BRICS to transform themselves into real international actors tackling urgent problems. Expanding the effort to bring peace to Syria is kind of a chain reaction that could be set in motion by bringing in China. This would be a step in the right direction toward resolving the conflict.

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Ecuador Hints It May Hand Over Julian Assange to Britain and the US

Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.

On March 28, under immense pressure from the governments in the US, Britain and other powers, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 45 days, he has not been heard from.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

If Assange falls into the hands of the British state, he faces being turned over to the US. Last year, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority.” CIA director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks courageously published information leaked by then Private Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning that exposed war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. WikiLeaks also published, in partnership with some of the world’s major newspapers, tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables, exposing the daily anti-democratic intrigues of US imperialism and numerous other governments.

For that, Assange was relentlessly persecuted by the Obama administration. By November 2010, it had convened a secret grand jury and had a warrant issued for his arrest on charges of espionage—charges that can carry the death sentence. The then Labor Party government in Australia headed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard threw Assange, an Australian citizen, to the wolves. It refused to provide him any defence and declared it would work with the US to have him detained and put on trial.

On June 19, 2012, under conditions in which he faced extradition to Sweden to answer questions over fabricated allegations of sexual assault, and the prospect of rendition to the United States, Assange sought asylum in the Ecuador’s embassy in London.

Since that time, for nearly six years, he has been largely confined to a small room with no direct sunlight. He has been prevented from leaving, even to obtain medical treatment, by the British government’s insistence it will arrest him for breaching bail as soon as he sets foot outside the embassy.

Now, for six weeks and three days, he has been denied even the right to communicate.

Jennifer Robinson, the British-based Australian lawyer who has represented Assange since 2010, told the London Times in an interview this month:

“His health situation is terrible. He’s had a problem with his shoulder for a very long time. It requires an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging scan], which cannot be done within the embassy. He’s got dental issues. And then there’s the long-term impact of not being outside, his visual impairment. He wouldn’t be able to see further than from here to the end of this hallway.”

The effort to haul Assange before a US court is inseparable from the broader campaign underway by the American state and allied governments to impose sweeping censorship on the Internet. Lurid allegations of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US election and denunciations of “fake news” have been used to demand that Google, Facebook and other conglomerates block users from accessing websites that publish critical commentary and exposures of the ruling class and its agencies—including WikiLeaks and the World Socialist Web Site.

WikiLeaks has been absurdly denounced as “pro-Russia” because it published leaks from the US Democratic Party National Committee that revealed the anti-democratic intrigues the party’s leaders carried out to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary elections. It also published leaked speeches of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that further exposed her intimate relations with Wall Street banks and companies.

As part of the justification for Internet censorship, US intelligence agencies allege, without any evidence, that the information was hacked by Russian operatives and supplied to WikiLeaks to undermine Clinton and assist Trump—whom Moscow purportedly considered the “lesser evil.”

In response to the hysterical allegations, WikiLeaks broke its own tradition of not commenting on its sources. It publicly denied that Russia was the source of the leaks. That has not prevented the campaign from continuing, with Assange even being labelled “the Kremlin’s useful idiot” in pro-Democratic Party circles. WikiLeaks is blamed for Clinton’s defeat, not the reality, that tens of millions of American workers were repulsed by her right-wing, pro-war campaign and refused to vote for her.

Under conditions in which the Ecuadorian government has capitulated to great power pressure and is collaborating with British and US agencies to break Julian Assange, there is an almost universal and reprehensible silence on the part of dozens of organisations and hundreds of individuals who once claimed to defend him and WikiLeaks.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in February 2016 condemned Assange’s persecution as “a form of arbitrary detention” and called for his release, has issued no statement on his current situation.

In Britain, the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn have said nothing on the actions by Ecuador. Nor have they opposed the determination of the Conservative government to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy.

In Australia, the current Liberal-National government and Labor leadership are just as complicit. The Greens, which claimed to oppose the persecution of Assange, have not made any statement in parliament or issued a press release, let alone called for public protests. Hundreds of editors, journalists, academics, artists and lawyers across the country who publicly defended WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011 are now mute.

A parallel situation prevails across Europe and in the US. The so-called parties of the “left” and the trade unions are all tacitly endorsing the vicious drive against Assange.

Around the world, the Stalinist and Pabloite pseudo-left organisations, anxious not to disrupt their sordid relations with the parties of the political establishment and the trade union apparatuses, are likewise silent.

The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International unconditionally defend Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. If the ruling elite can haul him before a court, it will hold him up as an example of what happens to those who speak out against social inequality, militarism, war and police-state measures. His prosecution would be used to try to intimidate and silence all dissent.

If Assange is imprisoned or worse, and WikiLeaks shut down, it will be a serious blow to the democratic rights of the entire international working class.

Workers and young people should join with the WSWS and ICFI in demanding and fighting for the immediate freedom of Julian Assange.

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Hypersonic Weapons: The Perfect Tool for Asymmetrical Warfare

As recently confirmed in a debate at the Brookings Institute by the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, “there are military areas in which the United States maintains a technological advantage [over Russia and China], others in which there is substantial parity, and others in which the United States is lagging behind, revealing a technological gap with its peer competitors”.

The last point applies to weapons systems designed to operate at hypersonic speed. Let us start with the simple and pragmatic definition offered by The National Interest of hypersonic vehicles and weapons:

A hypersonic vehicle is one that moves through the atmosphere at a minimum speed of five times that of sound, or Mach 5. A hypersonic cruise missile travels continuously through the air employing a special high-powered engine. A hypersonic glide vehicle [HGV] is launched into space atop a ballistic missile, after which it maneuvers through the upper reaches of the atmosphere until it dives towards its target. Both vehicle types can carry either conventional or nuclear weapons.

As we can see, we are speaking here about technological developments that require money and scientific structures of the highest level to achieve such significant and complex results. The difficulty of implementing systems of such complexity is very well explained by Defense Review:

One of DR’s primary questions about the Russian and Chinese HAA/HGV [Hypersonic Attack Aircraft/Hypersonic Glide Vehicle] tech is whether or not the vehicles generate a plasma field/shield around it that can effectively camouflage the vehicle and/or disrupt an incoming high-powered laser beam, and thus avoid both detection and destruction during its flight. Russian scientists and military aircraft designers/developers have been experimenting with plasma field generation tech since the late 1970’s, so one would think they’re pretty far along by now. Oh, and let’s not forget China’s recent development of a new ultra-thin, lightweight “tunable” UHF microwave radar-absorbing stealth/cloaking material for both manned and unmanned combat aircraft and warships. The hits just seem to keep on coming. Its enough to drive a military defense analyst to drink.

Another area of complexity concerns the communication between the hypersonic flight carrier and and its land-based components, especially if the re-entry vehicle is to be maneuvered remotely.

The fundamental component in performing a hypersonic flight naturally lies in the engines, used to reach speeds higher than Mach 7. There are ongoing studies by all of these countries concerning scramjet engines, essential for the purposes of producing hypersonic weapons. By employing a scramjet engine, and mixing it with other technologies (jet engine or ramjet), one would enable the aircraft and missiles to reach hypersonic speeds, as Beijing’s Power Machinery Research Institute explains:

The turbo-aided rocket-augmented ram/scramjet engine (TRRE), which uses rocket augmentation to aid the transition into the supersonic and hypersonic flight regimes, could be the world’s first combined cycle engine to fly in 2025, paving the way for hypersonic -space planes and single-stage space launchers.

DARPA also explains the US point of view on this particular area of research:

Advanced Full Range Engine program (AFRE) which is intended as a reusable hypersonic engine that combines an off-the-shelf jet engine with a dual mode ramjet engine.

War Is Boring definitively clarifies the concept using simpler words:

Turbojet? Ramjet? Scramjet? A turbojet spins a lot of blades to compress and heat incoming air. A ramjet moves so fast that the engine is already hot and compressed enough to ignite the fuel. A scramjet – short for “supersonic combustion ramjet”  is just that, a ramjet where the incoming air is moving at supersonic speeds.

The world of hypersonic weapons is divided into four types: hypersonic cruise missiles, which are surface- or air-launched; hypersonic glide vehicles, brought to high altitude by missiles or jets, re-entering the atmosphere at very high speeds while maneuvering, and able to hit targets with conventional or nuclear bombs; hypersonic attack aircraft, which are vehicles that fly at hypersonic speeds and are capable of taking off and landing, and are therefore useful for surveillance purposes but potentially also for attack; and finally, hypersonic anti-ship missiles.

Let’s examine them one by one, listing the current respective stages of research, development and testing of the countries in question.

The first type of hypersonic weapons are the easiest to understand. Simply put, these are cruise missiles with scramjet engines that are capable of accelerating to hypersonic speeds.

Hypersonic cruise Missiles (excluding anti-ship weapons available below) United States (testing phase)

Russia/India (testing phase)

  • BrahMos-II is a hypersonic missile currently under development in India and Russia

The most discussed weapon is the hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). What exactly a HGV is can be explained as follows:

HGVs are unmanned, rocket-launched, maneuverable aircraft that glide and “skip” through the earth’s atmosphere at incredibly fast speeds. Compared to conventional ballistic systems, HGV warheads can be much higher, lower altitudes and less-trackable trajectories. The defense systems approach leaves less time to intercept the warhead before it drops its payload.

Glide Weapon/Hypersonic Glide Vehicle:

United States (experimental phase)

  • For years, the US has worked on missiles that can be used as a Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) weapon, which is a rocket glider that can reach speeds of 20,921 kilometers per hour, or Mach 20, and then uses a scramjet/ramjet engine to perform maneuvers. Currently, the United States is in the research and development phase of experimenting with an Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) known as the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2)

Russia (entering into service in 2019)

  • KH-47M 2 Kinzhal (Dagger). An air-launched, modified Zircon missile launched from a MiG-31.

China (test phase)

  • DF-17/DF-ZF/WU-14 – Hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) medium-range system, with a range of between 1,800 and 2,500 kilometers.

As we can see, Russia is almost ready to start mass production of their HGVs, while the US is still in the early phase of experimentation, and China is already undertaking numerous tests.

The most complicated factor with hypersonic technology concerns the Hypersonic Attack Aircraft (HAA), equipped with scramjet engines and able to attain hypersonic speeds, but with the added benefit of being able to take off and land. They are to be unmanned and can be used for surveillance or attack purposes.

Hypersonic Attack Aircraft

United States (unknown phase)

  • No known projects, much speculation about tests and scientific research. For example, the US military created in 1996 a program called SHAAFT. Now the US Military is working on a number of prototypes:

Russia (testing phase)

China (testing phase)

  • TENGYUN is a hypersonic aircraft powered during the first stage by a turbine rocket combined cycle (TRCC) engine, which then launches a reusable second-stage rocket to reach the stratosphere.

Because scramjet technology, on which HAA systems rely, is still in its early phases of development, this weapon system is unlikely to see the light of day any time soon.

Anti-ship missiles accelerate to hypersonic speed, allowing them to hit naval groups. As described below, this is because of a scramjet motor that gives such missiles their power:

Anti Ship Missiles are believed to be a maneuvering, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating center body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet motor in the second stage accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.

Anti Ship Hypersonic Missiles:

United States (Currently only possesses sub-sonic missiles)

Russia (operational)

China (testing phase)

In the next article I will explain how Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology and why this could be a game changer in future war scenarios.

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Media Debate Best Way to Dominate Iran

NOVANEWS

The debate in the New York Times and Washington Post over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran deal, revolves around which tactics America should use to dominate Iran.

At one end of the spectrum of acceptable opinion is the view that President Trump was correct to withdraw from the deal because it supposedly failed to handcuff Iran to a sufficient degree. At the other is the far more common perspective, which is that Trump should have remained in the deal because it is an effective tool for controlling Iran.

In the New York Times, Bret Stephens (5/8/18) argued that the agreement did not achieve what he thinks should be the goal of US policy towards Iran, namely:

to put Iran’s rulers to a fundamental choice. They can opt to have a functioning economy, free of sanctions and open to investment, at the price of permanently, verifiably and irreversibly forgoing a nuclear option and abandoning their support for terrorists. Or they can pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war.

The New York Times‘ Bret Stephens (5/8/18) is glad Trump canceled the Iran deal because that allows the US to threaten Iran with “economic ruin and possible war.”

Ending American participation in the deal makes sense, according to Stephens, because doing so puts Washington in a better position to threaten to violently destroy Iran in order to make it do want the US government wants. What he means by “support for terrorists” is unclear and evidence-free.

The Washington Post (5/9/18) ran an incoherent piece by US national security advisor John Bolton saying that Trump needed to take the US out of the Iran deal because, since its implementation, Iran has not “focus[ed] on behaving responsibly.” In other words, he opposes the nuclear accord because Iran has proven itself too immature for the freedom from US control that Bolton wrongly suggests it is offered under the JCPOA.

Commentators who differed on Trump’s decision nevertheless shared the premise of those in favor of taking the US out of the deal, which is that Iran belongs under imperial stewardship.

WaPo: The Iran Deal Was Betrayed by Its Own Abysmal Record

John Bolton (Washington Post5/9/18), one of the foremost advocates of the Iraq invasion and for regime change in Libya and Syria, accused Iran of “spreading an arc of death and destruction across the Middle East.”

Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security advisor, defended the Iran nuclear deal in the Times  (5/8/18) on the grounds that it “has served American interests.”

“By withdrawing from the deal,” she writes, “we have weakened our ability to address [America’s] concerns” with Iranian policy.

Roger Cohen of the Times (5/8/18) took the same position, saying,

“The question has always been: Do you change Iran by isolating it or by engaging it step by step? The nuclear deal was a possible starting point in engagement.”

Trump, Cohen continues, “has done a grave disservice to American interests.”

In the Post (5/10/18), furthermore, David Ignatius criticized Trump for transforming Iran from “a manageable problem into a freewheeling, uncontrolled one.”

Iran and Global Empire

While analysts at the Times and the Post sit at different points within the parameters of permissible thinking, they have in common the view that Iran should be a ward of empire because otherwise it will interfere with the US’s global ambitions. Proponents and opponents of the Iran deal therefore debate it on the basis of whether it helps US ruling class efforts to secure global hegemony.

Stephens backed Trump’s move because he says that the agreement eased sanctions on Iran, thereby enabling the country to have more money with which to support its allies in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. He says that “any [US] effort to counter Iran on the ground in these places would mean fighting the very forces we are effectively feeding. Why not just stop the feeding?” His position is that Trump is right to pull out of the deal because it enabled Iran to hinder US goals in the Middle East.

Bolton complained that “Tehran has poured billions of dollars into military adventures abroad, spreading an arc of death and destruction across the Middle East from Yemen to Syria,” ludicrously absolving the US/Saudi/UK coalition of its aggression against Yemen, and incorrectly assigning Iran sole responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria. That he was complaining about Iran’s support for forces that function as barriers to US domination in Syria and Yemen—support that is rather overblown in the Yemeni case—can hardly be seen as a coincidence.

At the other boundary of tolerable debate, Rice criticized Trump’s withdrawal because, she claimed, it meant that “Russia and China’s position in [the Middle East] will be bolstered at our expense.” In her view, Iran should be under US management for the purposes of imperial grand strategy.

The Nonexistent Iranian Nuclear Threat

Advocates of the agreement with Iran also debate detractors in terms of whether the arrangement is effective protection against the Iranian nuclear weapons program, a curious exercise given that no such program exists.

Yet Stephens implied that one does, or that there is reason to suspect that one might, writing that under the JCPOA,

Iran is under looser nuclear strictures than South Korea, and would have been allowed to enrich as much material as it liked once the deal expired. That’s nuts.

Bolton obscurely suggested that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons by saying that the JCPOA is based on the theory that Iran would “trade its nuclear ambitions for economic incentives,” while also writing that the deal has an “abysmal record” and “undermines the security of the American people.” Later he refers to Israeli revelations of a “trove of documentation of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program,” which he then says demonstrates that the US and Israel “are safer together than we are individually.”

NYT: Where's That Better Deal, Mr. Trump?

New York Times illustration (5/8/18) depicts Trump erasing the restraints around an imaginary Iranian warhead.

Yet other writers argue that the US should have remained in the deal because it kept in check the nuclear weapons program that Iran does not have. A New York Times editorial (5/8/18) said:

When it comes to the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, there is no sign Iran or any of the other major powers in the existing and so far successful pact will simply fall in line with Mr. Trump’s notional new plan. More likely, his decision, announced on Tuesday, will allow Iran to resume a robust nuclear program.

The first sentence in this passage implied that Iran is involved in “a nuclear arms race,” or that there is reason to believe it likely will be part of one, even though there isn’t. Saying that Trump pulling out of the deal “will allow Iran to resume a robust nuclear program,” since it follows the phrase “nuclear arms race,” can easily be understood to refer to Iran’s  “robust” nuclear weapons program, which it does not have.

In the Post, likewise, Jennifer Rubin (5/8/18) argued that Iran “now can do what it pleases with its nuclear program—either choose to remain in the deal with the Europeans or proceed again with its nuclear weapons program.”

Inadmissible Thinking

Rarely allowed into the debate is the notion that Iranians have the right to chart their own course free of US interference, or any accounting of the harm US sanctions inflict on the people of Iran–views that exist on the far fringes of respectable analysis, appearing in limited ways just once in each paper amid the deluge of opinion pieces written about the nuclear deal in recent days, and drowned out by the chorus calling for Iran to be held beneath the American boot.

That the US and its Israeli partner should cease their efforts to dominate the Middle East, or that America and Israel’s nonfictional nuclear weapons need to be abolished, are evidently inadmissible into public discourse.

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Chemical Attack Accusations ‘Fake’: Bashar Al-Assad Interview

In an exclusive interview with Kathimerini, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons against civilians, while taking aim at both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.

Saying that Syria gave up its chemical arsenal in 2013, Assad said the

“Western narrative started after the victory of the Syrian Army, not before.”

He accused Erdogan of being “affiliated” with the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement and called Turkish troops “terrorists” over their intervention in Afrin.

As for Trump, who has called Assad an “animal,” the Syrian leader said it did not bother him “because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president.”

Alexis Papachelas: There have been accusations from the US and the Europeans about the use of chemical weapons, and there was an attack after that. What is your response to that? Was there a chemical attack? Were you responsible for it?

President Bashar al-Assad: First of all, we don’t have a chemical arsenal since we gave it up in 2013, and the international agency for chemical weapons conducted investigations about this, and it’s clear or documented that we don’t have any. Second, even if we did have, we wouldn’t use them, for many different reasons. But let’s put these two points aside, let’s presume that this army has chemical weapons and it’s in the middle of the war; where should it be used? At the end of the battle? They should use it somewhere in the middle, or where the terrorists made an advancement, not where the army finished the battle and the terrorists gave up and said, “We are ready to leave the area,” and the army is fully in control of that area. So the Western narrative started after the victory of the Syrian Army, not before. When we finished the war, they said, “They used chemical weapons.”

Second, the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in a crammed area with a population like Douma – the supposed area, it’s called Douma and they talk about 45 victims – when you use WMD in such an area, you should have hundreds or maybe thousands of victims. Third, why do all the chemical weapons – the presumed or supposed chemical weapons – only kill children and women? They don’t kill militants. If you look at the videos, it’s completely fake. I mean, when you have chemical weapons, how could the doctors and nurses be safe, dealing with the chemical atmosphere without any protective clothes, without anything, just throwing water at the victims, and the victims become OK just because you washed them with water. So, it’s a farce, it’s a play, it’s a very primitive play, just to attack the Syrian Army, because… Why? That’s the most important part: When the terrorists lost, the US, France, the UK and their other allies who want to destabilize Syria lost one of their main cards, and that’s why they had to attack the Syrian Army, just to raise the morale of the terrorists and to prevent the Syrian Army from liberating more areas in Syria.

AP: Are you saying that there was a chemical attack and someone else is responsible, or that there was nothing there?

PBA: That’s the question, because the side who said – allegedly – that there was a chemical attack, had to prove that there was an attack. We have two scenarios: Either the terrorists had chemical weapons and they used them intentionally, or maybe there were explosions or something, or there was no attack at all, because in all the investigations in Douma, people said, “We didn’t have any chemical attack, we didn’t see any chemical gas or smell any,” and so on. So, we don’t have any indications about what happened. The Western narrative is about that, so that question should be directed at the Western officials who said there was an attack. We should ask them: Where is your concrete evidence about what happened? They only talk about reports. Reports could be allegations. Videos by the White Helmets – the White Helmets are funded by the British Foreign Office – and so on.

AP: In a tweet, US President Donald Trump described you as “animal Assad.” What is your response?

PBA: Actually, when you are president of a country, you have first of all to represent the morals of your people before representing your own morals. You are representing your country. Does this language represent the American culture? That is the question. This is very bad, and I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s a community in the world that has such language. Second, the good thing about Trump is that he expresses himself in a very transparent way, which is very good in that regard. Personally, I don’t care, because I deal with the situation as a politician, as a president. It doesn’t matter for me personally; what matters is whether something would affect me, would affect my country, our war, the terrorists, and the atmosphere that we are living in.

AP: He said “mission accomplished in Syria.” How do you feel about that?

PBA: I think maybe the only mission accomplished was when they helped ISIS escape from Raqqa, when they helped them, and it was proven by video, and under their cover. The leaders of ISIS escaped Raqqa, going toward Deir ez-Zor just to fight the Syrian Army. The other mission accomplished was when they attacked the Syrian Army at the end of 2016 in the area of Deir ez-Zor when ISIS was surrounding Deir ez-Zor, and the only force was the Syrian Army. The only force to defend that city from ISIS was the Syrian Army, and because of the Americans’ – and of course their allies’ – attack, Deir ez-Zor was on the brink of falling into the hands of ISIS. So, this is the only mission that was accomplished. If he’s talking about destroying Syria, of course that’s another mission accomplished. While if you talk about fighting terrorism, we all know very clearly that the only mission the United States has been carrying out in Syria is supporting the terrorists, regardless of their names, or the names of their factions.

AP: He also used such language with the North Korean leader, and now they’re going to meet. Could you potentially see yourself meeting with Trump? What would you tell him if you saw him face to face?

PBA: The first question you should ask is: What can you achieve? The other: What can we achieve with someone who says something before the campaign, and does the opposite after the campaign, who says something today, and does the opposite tomorrow, or maybe in the same day? So, it’s about consistency. Do they have the same frequency every day, or the same algorithm? So, I don’t think that in the meantime we can achieve anything with such an administration. A further reason is that we don’t think the president of that regime is in control. We all believe that the deep state, the real state, is in control, or is in control of every president, and that is nothing new. It has always been so in the United States, at least during the last 40 years, at least since Nixon, maybe before, but it’s becoming starker and starker, and the starkest case is Trump.

AP: When will you accomplish your mission, given the situation here in Syria now?

PBA: I have always said, without any interference, it will take less than a year to regain stability in Syria; I have no doubt about that. The other factor is how much support the terrorists receive, which is something I cannot tell you, because I cannot predict the future. But as long as it continues, time is not the main factor. The main factor is that someday, we’re going to end this conflict and we’re going to reunify Syria under the control of the government. When? I cannot say. I hope it’s going to be soon.

AP: There has been some criticism lately, because you apparently have a law that says that anybody who doesn’t claim their property within a month cannot come back. Is that a way to exclude some of the people who disagree with you?

PBA: No, we cannot dispossess anyone of their property by any law, because the constitution is very clear about the ownership of any Syrian citizen. This could be about the procedure. It’s not the first time we have had such a law just to replan the destroyed and the illegal areas, because you’re dealing with a mixture of destroyed and illegal suburbs in different parts of Syria. So, this law is not about dispossessing anyone. You cannot, I mean even if he’s a terrorist. Let’s say, if you want to dispossess someone, you need a verdict by the judicial system – you cannot make it happen by law. So, there’s either misinterpretation of that law, or an intention, let’s say, to create a new narrative about the Syrian government in order to rekindle the fire of public opinion in the West against the Syrian government. But about the law, even if you want a procedure, it’s about the local administration, it’s about the elected body in different areas, to implement that law, not the government.

AP: It is clear that your biggest allies in this fight are Russia and Iran. Are you worried they might play too important a role in the future of the country after this war is over?

PBA: If you talk about my allies as a president, they are the Syrian people. If you talk about Syria’s allies, of course they’re the Iranians and the Russians. They are our strongest allies, and of course China that supported us politically in the Security Council. As for them playing an important role in the future of the country, these countries respect Syria’s sovereignty and national decision making and provide support to insure them. Iran and Russia are the countries which respect Syria’s sovereignty the most.

AP: It’s been a few years since you visited Greece. Your father had a very close relation with some of the Greek political leaders. How have the relations been between Greece and Syria these days, and what kind of message would you like to send to the Greek people?

PBA: At the moment, there are no formal relations between Syria and Greece; the embassies are closed, so there are no relations. At the same time, Greece wasn’t aggressive towards what happened in Syria. It always supported a political solution, it never supported war or attacks against Syria. You didn’t play any role to support the terrorists, but at the same time, as a member – and an important member – of the EU, you couldn’t play any role, let’s say, in refraining the other countries from supporting the terrorists, violating the international law by attacking and besieging a sovereign country without any reason, without any mandate by the Security Council. So, we appreciate that Greece wasn’t aggressive, but at the same time, I think Greece has to play that role, because it’s part of our region. It is part of the EU geographically, but it’s a bridge between our region and the rest of Europe, and it’s going to be affected, and it has been affected by the refugee situation, and terrorism now has been affecting Europe for the last few years, and Greece is part of that continent. So, I think it’s normal for Greece to start to play its role in the EU in order to solve the problem in Syria and protect the international law.

AP: How about Turkey? Turkey invaded part of your country. You used to have a pretty good relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. How is that relationship now after the Turkish invasion?

PBA: First of all, this is an aggression, this is an occupation. Any single Turkish soldier on Syrian soil represents occupation. That doesn’t mean the Turkish people are our enemies. Only a few days ago, a political delegation visited from Turkey. We have to distinguish between the Turks in general and Erdogan. Erdogan is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Maybe he’s not organized, but his affiliation is toward that ideology, I call it this dark ideology. And for him, because, like the West, when the terrorists lost control of different areas, and actually they couldn’t implement the agenda of Turkey or the West or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, somebody had to interfere. This is where the West interfered through the recent attacks on Syria, and this is where Erdogan was assigned by the West, mainly the United States, to interfere, to make the situation complicated, again because without this interference, the situation would have been resolved much faster. So, it’s not about personal relations. The core issue of the Muslim Brotherhood anywhere in the world is to use Islam in order to take control of the government in your country, and to create multiple governments with this kind of relationship, like a network of Muslim Brotherhoods, around the world.

AP: At an election campaign rally this week, he said that he’s going to order another incursion into Syria. How are you going to respond to that if it happens?

PBA: Actually, Erdogan has supported the terrorists since the very beginning of the war, but at that time, he could hide behind words like “protecting the Syrian people,” “supporting the Syrian people,” “supporting the refugees,” “we are against the killing,” and so on. He was able to appear as a humanitarian president, let’s say. Now, because of these circumstances, he has to take off the mask and show himself as the aggressor, and this is the good thing. So, there is no big difference between the head of the Turkish regime sending his troops to Syria and supporting the terrorists; this is his proxy. So, we’ve been fighting his army for seven years. The difference between now and then is the appearance; the core is the same. At that time, we couldn’t talk about occupation – we could talk about supporting terrorists – but this time we can talk about occupation, which is the announcement of Erdogan that he’s now violating the international law, and this could be the good part of him announcing this.

AP: But how can you respond to that?

PBA: First of all, we are fighting the terrorists, and as I said, the terrorists for us are his army, they are the American army, the Saudi army. Forget about the different factions and who is going to finance those factions; at the end of the day, they work for one agenda, and those different players obey one master: the American master. Erdogan is not implementing his own agenda; he’s only implementing the American agenda, and the same goes for the other countries in this war. So, first of all, you have to fight the terrorists. Second, when you take control of more areas, you have to fight any aggressor, any army. The Turkish, French, whoever, they are all enemies; as long as they came to Syria illegally, they are our enemies.

AP: Are you worried about a third world war starting here in Syria? I mean, you have the Israelis hitting the Iranians here in your own country. You have the Russians, you have the Americans. Are you concerned about that possibility?

PBA: No, for one reason: Because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict. Since Trump’s campaign, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on. And we’re still in the same process under different titles or by different means. Because of the wisdom of the Russians, we can avoid this. Maybe it’s not a full-blown third world war, but it is a world war, maybe in a different way, not like the second and the first, maybe it’s not nuclear, but it’s definitely not a cold war; it’s something more than a cold war, less than a full-blown war. And I hope we don’t see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because that is where things are going to get out of control for the rest of the world.

AP: Now, there’s a very important question about whether Syria can be a unified, fully sovereign country again. Is that really possible after all that has happened?

PBA: It depends on what the criteria of being unified or not is. The main factor to have a unified country is to have unification in the minds of the people, and vice versa. When those people look at each other as foreigners, they cannot live with each other, and that is where you’re going to have division. Now, let’s talk about facts and reality – not my opinion, I can tell you no, it’s not going to be divided, and of course we’re not going to accept that, but it’s not about my will or about my rhetoric, to say we’re going to be unified; it’s about the reality.

The reality, now, if you look at Syria during the crisis, not only today, since the very beginning, you see all the different spectrums of the Syrian society living with each other, and better than before. These relationships are better than before, maybe because of the effect of the war. If you look at the areas under the control of the terrorists, this is where you can see one color of the Syrian society, which is a very, very, very narrow color. If you want to talk about division, you have to see the line, the separation line between either ethnicities or sects or religions, something you don’t see. So, in reality, there’s no division till this moment; you only have areas under the control of the terrorists. But what led to that speculation? Because the United States is doing its utmost to give that control, especially now in the eastern part of Syria, to those terrorists in order to give the impression that Syria cannot be unified again. But it’s going to be unified; I don’t have any doubt about that.

AP: But why would the US do that if you’re fighting the same enemy: Islamic terrorism?

PBA: Because the US usually has an agenda and it has goals. If it cannot achieve its goals, it resorts to something different, which is to create chaos. Create chaos until the whole atmosphere changes, maybe because the different parties will give up, and they will give in to their goals, and this is where they can implement their goals again, or maybe they change their goals, but if they cannot achieve it, it’s better to weaken every party and create conflict, and this is not unique to Syria. This has been their policy for decades now in every area of this world.

AP: Looking back, do you feel you’ve made any mistakes in dealing with this crisis and the civil war, when it started?

PBA: If I don’t make mistakes, I’m not human; maybe on a daily basis sometimes. The more you work, the more complicate the situation, the more mistakes you are likely to make. But how do you protect yourself as much as possible from committing mistakes? First of all, you consult the largest proportion of the people, not only the institutions, including the parliament, syndicates, and so on, but also the largest number of people, or the largest part of society, to participate in every decision.

While if you talk about the way I behaved toward, or the way I led, let’s say, the government or the state during the war, the main pillars of the state’s policy were to fight terrorism – and I don’t think that fighting terrorism was wrong, to respond to the political initiatives from different parties externally and internally regardless of their intentions, to make a dialogue with everyone – including the militants, and finally to make reconciliation. So, about the pillars of our policy, I think the reality has proven that we were right. As for the details, of course, you always have mistakes.

AP: How much is it going to cost to reconstruct this country, and who is going to pay for that?

PBA: Hundreds of billions, the minimum is 200 billion, and according to some estimates it’s about 400 billion dollars. Why is it not precise? Because some areas are still under the control of the terrorists, so we couldn’t estimate precisely what the figure is. So, this is plus or minus, let’s say.

AP: There has been a lot of speculation. For example, people say in order for a political solution to be viable, you might have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the country. Is that something that has crossed your mind?

PBA: The main part of my future, as a politician, is two things: my will and the will of the Syrian people. Of course, the will of the Syrian people is more important than my will, my desire to be in that position or to help my country or to play a political role, because if I have that desire and will and I don’t have the public support, I can do nothing. After seven years of me being in that position, if I don’t have the majority of the Syrian people’s support, how could I hold it for more than seven years now, with all this animosity from the strongest and the richest countries? Who supports me? If the Syrian people are against me, how can I stay? So, when I feel that the Syrian people do not want me to stay anymore, of course I have to leave without any hesitation.

AP: A lot of blood has been spilt. Can you see yourself sitting across from the opposition and sharing power in some way?

PBA: When you talk about blood, you have to talk about who spilt that blood. I was president before the war for 10 years. Had I been killing the Syrian people for 10 years? No, definitely not. So, the conflict started because somebody, first of all part of the West, supported those terrorists, and they bear the responsibility for this war. So first of all the West, who provided military and financial support and political cover, and who stood against the Syrian people, who impoverished the Syrian people and created a better atmosphere for the terrorists to kill more Syrian people. So, part of the West, mainly France, UK, and US, and also Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey are responsible for this part. Of course blood has been spilt – it’s a war – but who’s responsible? Those who are responsible should be held accountable.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Chemical Attack Accusations ‘Fake’: Bashar Al-Assad Interview

Putin-Naziyahu Summit in Moscow. Russia Is “Urging” Syria to “Compromise”, Now!

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Putin-Netanyahu Summit in Moscow. Russia Is “Urging” Syria to “Compromise”, Now!

The Putin-Netanyahu Summit on Victory Day really did change everything, and Russia is no longer shy about showing the world its desire to “balance” “Israel” and Iran in Syria. 

It couldn’t get any clearer – Russia is without a doubt “urging” Syria to “compromise” on a so-called “political solution” to its long-running crisis, and to do so as soon as possible in order to avoid a larger Mideast war. The groundbreaking Putin-Netanyahu Summit that took place a couple of days ago in Moscow on Victory Day was bookended by two back-to-back “Israeli” bombings of Syria within a 24 hour period, all of which was followed by Russia reportedly declining to sell S-300s to Syria.

There’s no other way to analyze this than to see it for what it truly is, which is Russia utilizing various means to “urge” Syria to “compromise” on its hitherto recalcitrant position in refusing to make tangible progress in adapting the 2017 Russian-written “draft constitution” for “decentralization” (and possibly even “federalization”) and “complying” with Moscow and others’ “request” that it initiate the “phased withdrawal” of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their Hezbollah allies from the Arab Republic.

Sudden Flip-Flopping Or Scenario Fulfillment?

The suddenness with which Russia moved may have caught many Alt-Media observers by surprise, but that’s only because many of them were brainwashed by the community’s dogma that Russia is “against” “Israel” and supposedly on some kind of “anti-Zionist crusade”, which it definitely isn’t. Instead, Russia and “Israel” are veritably allies and the events of the past couple of days prove it. That said, just because Russian foreign policy seems (key word) to be “pro-‘Israeli’” doesn’t in and of itself make it “anti-Iranian”, at least not how Moscow conceives of it. Rather, Moscow believes that it’s fulfilling its grand geostrategic ambition to become the supreme “balancing” force in 21st-century Eurasia, to which end it’s playing the globally irreplaceable role of preventing the current “Israeli”-Iranian proxy war in Syria from evolving into a full-fledged conventional one all throughout the Mideast. This concept is a lot for some people to digest, so it’s requested that they reference the following background texts in order to catch up to the present state of affairs:

The gist of all of this is that Russia’s excellent relations with “Israel” are part of its envisioned hemispheric “balancing” act in deterring its many diverse and in some cases rivalling partners (such as “Israel” and Iran) from resorting to military means to settle their disputes and to instead rely on Russian-mediated diplomatic efforts to broker a “political solution”, whether openly or clandestinely through “gentlemen’s agreements”. In the Syrian context – whether one thinks it’s “morally/ethically” right, wrong, or feels indifferent towards it – Russia has determined that the “Israeli”-Iranian proxy war will continue to escalate so long as Damascus allows the IRGC and Hezbollah to retain their military presence in the Arab Republic after the defeat of Daesh, the latter event of which should have served as the trigger for allowing those two a “dignified” and “phased” withdrawal from the country but ultimately didn’t because of Damascus’ desire to play off Tehran and Moscow in a bid to reap strategic benefits from both.

Walking The Tightrope Between Tel Aviv And Tehran

In addition, there are also very serious matters of national pride when it comes to Syria’s relationship with its Iranian and Hezbollah Resistance allies, both of whom proved themselves as the country’s most loyal partners in the military and ideological senses. It’s all but politically impossible for President Assad to “comply” with what is quickly becoming the “international community’s” informal “request” for him to ‘compromise” on his country’s ties with these two because his domestic base might be tempted to perceive this (whether rightly or wrongly) as “selling out” and having fought this war “for nothing” since these terms were present from the very beginning of the conflict. The Syrian government refused to remove both of them from the country over seven years ago as a “compromise” for preempting what has since turned out to be one of the worst wars of this century so far, so it’s unlikely that it will do so now no matter how much “pressure” is put upon it, including from its Russian partners.

The contradiction between Syria’s “maximalist” approach in wanting to liberate “every inch” of its territory (which is its sovereign and legal right) and Russia’s “pragmatic” one in recognizing the impossibility of this reality and declining to get militarily involved in advancing these plans (which would correspondingly include forcibly removing NATO members Turkey and the US from the Arab Republic) have led to a “strategic dilemma” between the two partners whereby Damascus is intent on dragging its feet and procrastinating in order to avoid the political (“new constitution”)and military (“phased withdrawal” of the IRGC and Hezbollah) “compromises” that Moscow’s “solution” entails. Russia respects that Syria has informally made the choice to avoid committing to either of these two interlinked prospective means for resolving the crisis, but it nevertheless won’t stop trying to “convince” Damascus that the options presented before it are what Moscow believes to be the “best” ones that will ever be offered from this point forward.

In pursuit of its peacemaking objective to get Syria to “compromise” on the terms that Russia has presumably presented it with in order to avoid escalating the “Israeli”-Iranian proxy war inside the country to the point where it becomes a conventional one all throughout the region, Moscow has apparently decided to send very strong symbolic messages to Damascus to let it know just how serious it is about this. The most powerful signals that sent shockwaves through the Alt-Media and likely also the global diplomatic communities came from the Putin-Netanyahu Summit and Russia’s passive “acceptance” of “Israel’s” latest bombing run against what Tel Aviv claimed were Iranian units in southern Syria. Furthermore, Russia’s reported reconsideration of possible S-300 sales to Syria also stands out in the starkest terms as an informal statement declaring Moscow’s unwillingness to contribute to anything that would “compromise” “Israel’s” ability to bomb suspected Iranian and Hezbollah targets at will.

Concluding Thoughts

Referring back to the title of this analysis, it couldn’t be any clearer that Russia is “urging” Syria to “compromise” as soon as possible, though it’s uncertain whether Moscow’s latest messages will get Damascus to “comply” or if it will continue digging in its heels to resist all international “pressure” to do so. Time is running out, however, because “Israel” has signaled that it’s run out of patience with this “game” and will utilize all means at its disposal to remove Iran and Hezbollah from Syria once and for all, counting as it will on open US and Gulf backing alongside Russia’s implicit support. Moscow’s passive involvement in these “containment” measures is a real game-changer and dramatically alters the strategic dynamics of the “Israeli”-Iranian proxy war in Syria, making it more likely than not that the odds will decisively shift in Tel Aviv’s favor with time unless Damascus “cuts a deal” and freezes the state of affairs before it gets any worse than it already is.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Russia, SyriaComments Off on Putin-Naziyahu Summit in Moscow. Russia Is “Urging” Syria to “Compromise”, Now!

Haspel Nomination: Torture? Let’s Also Not Forget the CIA’s Core Program of Assassination

The nomination of CIA operative Gina Haspel to be CIA director has, fortunately, given rise to powerful arguments against the U.S. government’s participation in torture, a practice that is common to tyrannical regimes. The critics of Haspel’s nomination are right: The United States should never be engaged in evil conduct, and the torture of a human being is without any doubt whatsoever evil conduct. That’s why torture is inevitably associated with such regimes as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea. It has no place in a country whose very own founding document, the Constitution, expressly prohibits the federal government from inflicting “cruel and unusual punishments” on people.

Unfortunately, though, hardly anyone is talking about assassination, which is another core program of Haspel’s CIA, one that involves murdering people. One might be tempted to say that assassination is “legalized murder” but actually that wouldn’t be correct. It’s not that assassination is legal, it’s that there is no one who is willing to prosecute anyone for it, especially given the overwhelming power that both the CIA and the Pentagon have long wielded within America’s federal governmental structure.

Keep in mind that when the Constitution called the federal government into existence, it enumerated the powers that the federal government could lawfully wield. The idea was that if a power wasn’t enumerated, it couldn’t lawfully be exercised.

When one closely examines the powers that the Constitution delegated to the federal government, one thing is clear: Assassination, like torture, wasn’t among them. The Framers had decided not to give federal officials the power to assassinate or the power to torture people.

Even that wasn’t good enough for the American people, however. They remained convinced of the danger that federal officials would begin torturing and murdering people because that’s what the British government, which had been their government only a few years before, had done when it owned and controlled its New World colonies.

That’s what caused the American people to demand the passage of the Bill of Rights as a condition for agreeing to approve the Constitution. They wanted to make certain that federal officials got the message: No cruel and unusual punishments and no murder. They were concerned that without the express prohibitions found in the Bill of Rights, federal officials would inevitably start torturing and killing people.

Here is how our American ancestors phrased the restriction on murder committed by federal officials: “No person shall be … deprived of life … without due process of law.”

Proponents of assassination assert that since the CIA and the Pentagon are assassinating foreigners, that particular restriction doesn’t apply. They say that the Constitution applies only here in the continental United States.

But that’s not what the restriction itself states. The restriction states “No person.” The framers of the Fifth Amendment obviously had a mastery over the English language. If they had wanted the restriction on murder to apply only to American citizens, they would have written, “No person except foreign citizens shall be deprived of life without due process of law.” Their intent clearly was to prohibit the federal government from murdering anyone.

What is “due process of law”? No, it’s not a room full of CIA officials, Pentagon officials, and members of the National Security Agency getting together, reviewing the evidence, and voting on who is going to be assassinated. Instead, due process of law means a formal accusation, such as a grand-jury indictment, and a judicial trial before an independent judge and the right of trial by jury, where evidence has to be produced showing that the person to be killed has, in fact, committed a crime and, if  convicted, is deserving of the death penalty.

There is no due process of law when it comes to the CIA’s and Pentagon’s assassination program. They decide among themselves who is going to be assassinated. No indictment. No judge. No jury. No testimony. No due process of law.

What is the justification for these state-sponsored murders? The CIA and the Pentagon say that the victims are evil or that they are involved in “terrorism” or both. But who made the CIA and the Pentagon the arbiters of evil? Moreover, what the CIA and Pentagon describe as “terrorism” is oftentimes nothing more than resistance to U.S. imperialist and interventionist activities in foreign lands, much like people under the yoke of the Soviet and British empires resisted them (and were labeled as “terrorists” as well). Or the victim is simply aligned with a group that is acting contrary to a foreign regime that is being run as a loyal puppet regime of the U.S. Empire, much like Eastern European countries were governed under the Soviet Empire.

It’s probably worth noting that the Pentagon’s and CIA’s power to assassinate people now also extends to Americans, notwithstanding the restriction on assassination in the Fifth Amendment. That’s what the Anwar al-Awlaki case was all about. Following their long-time deference to the supreme authority of the national-security branch of the federal government, the federal judiciary confirmed that it would not step in and interfere with the assassination of any American at the hands of the national-security establishment. For that matter, they held the same thing with respect to the CIA’s and Pentagon’s power to torture Americans, which was what the Jose Padilla case was all about.

One thing is indisputable: If our American ancestors had known that they were calling into existence a federal government with the power to torture and murder people, they would never in a million years have approved the Constitution, the document that called the federal government into existence in the first place.

Posted in USA, C.I.AComments Off on Haspel Nomination: Torture? Let’s Also Not Forget the CIA’s Core Program of Assassination

Nazi regime Baits the Hook. Will Syria Bite?

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Israel Baits the Hook. Will Syria Bite?

Israel has repeatedly struck Syria with missiles and rockets – the most recent exchange taking place after Israel claims “Iranian rockets” struck positions the Israeli military is illegally occupying in Syria’s Golan Heights.

Headlines like the UK’s Independent’s, “Israel and Iran on brink of war after unprecedented Syria bombardment in response to alleged Golan Heights attack,” attempt to portray the Israeli aggression as self-defense. The Independent, however, failed to produce any evidence confirming Israeli claims.

At face value, for Iran to inexplicably launch missiles at Israel, unprovoked and achieving no conceivable tactical, strategic, or political gain strains the credibility of Israel’s narrative even further.

But it is perhaps published US policy designating Israel as a hostile provocateur tasked with expanding Washington’s proxy war against Damascus that fully reveals the deadly and deceptive game Israel and the Western media are now playing.

For years, US policymakers admitted in their papers that the US desired regime change in Iran and sought to provoke a war to achieve it.

Israel Baits the Hook 

The corporate-funded Brookings Institution – whose sponsors include weapon manufacturers, oil corporations, banks, and defense contractors – published a 2009 paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran,” and would not only spell out the US desire for regime change in Iran but devise a number of options to achieve it.

These included sponsoring street protests in tandem with known terrorist organizations to wage a proxy war against Iran as was done to Libya and Syria. It also included provoking Iran to war – a war Brookings policymakers repeatedly admitted Iran seeks to avoid.

In regards to provoking a war with Iran based on a number of contrived cases, the paper would admit (emphasis added):

The truth is that these all would be challenging cases to make. For that reason, it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.)

The Brookings paper even admits that Iran may not retaliate even to the most overt provocations, including US or Israeli air raids and missiles attacks. The papers notes:

…because many Iranian leaders would likely be looking to emerge from the fighting in as advantageous a strategic position as possible, and because they would likely calculate that playing the victim would be their best route to that goal, they might well refrain from such retaliatory missiles attacks.

Brookings also admits that even massive airstrikes on Iran would not achieve US objectives, including regime change and that airstrikes would have to be part of a wider strategy including either a proxy war or a full-scale war led by the US.

More recent Brookings papers, like the 2012 “Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution,” would admit that Israel’s role – particularly from its occupation of the Golan Heights – is to provide constant pressure on Syria to aid in regime change there.

The paper notes (emphasis added): 

Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.

We can assume that the 2012 objective of taking pressure off “the opposition” has failed – since US-NATO-Gulf sponsored terrorists have been all but defeated everywhere inside Syria, save for border regions and territory occupied by US forces to the east.

Instead, Israel’s role now has switched – both from pressuring Syria, and from attempting to provoke Iran with attacks on Iranian territory – to provoking a wider war with Syria and its allies – including Iran – by launching provocations against Syria as described in the 2009 Brookings paper, “Which Path to Persia?” 

Despite Israel’s serial provocations going unanswered for years by Syria, each attack is depicted by the Western media as defensive in nature. At the beginning of May when Syrian forces finally did retaliate, the Western media attempted to depict it as an unprovoked attack, citing Israeli military officials who claimed “Iranian missiles” were fired at the Golan Heights – rather than on-the-ground sources – both Israeli and Syrian who said otherwise.

Syria Isn’t Biting 

Retaliation by Syria, however, has been proportional and reluctant.

A cynical reality remains as to why. Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006, conducted with extensive airpower – failed to achieve any of Israel’s objectives. An abortive ground invasion into southern Lebanon resulted in a humiliating defeat for Israeli forces. While extensive damage was delivered to Lebanon’s infrastructure, the nation and in particular, Hezbollah, has rebounded stronger than ever.

Likewise in Syria, Israeli airstrikes and missile attacks will do nothing on their own to defeat Syria or change the West’s failing fortunes toward achieving regime change. They serve only as a means of provoking a retaliation sufficient enough for the the West to cite as casus belli for a much wider operation that might effect regime change.

Attempts to place wedges among the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance have been ongoing. Claims that Russia’s refusal to retaliate after US-Israeli attacks or its refusal to provide Syria with more modern air defenses attempt to depict Russia as weak and disinterested in Syria’s well-being.

The fact remains that a Russian retaliation would open the door to a possibly catastrophic conflict Russia may not be able to win. The delivery of more modern air defense systems to Syria will not change the fact that US-Israeli attacks will fail to achieve any tangible objectives with or without such defenses. Their delivery will – however – help further increase tensions in the region, not manage or eliminate them.

Because Syria Already Won 

Syria and its allies have eliminated the extensive proxy forces the US and its allies armed and funded to overthrow the Syrian government beginning in 2011. The remnants of this proxy force cling to Syria’s borders and in regions the US and its allies are tentatively occupying.

Should the conflict’s status quo be maintained and Russia’s presence maintained in the region, these proxy forces will be unable to regroup or regain the territory they have lost. In essence, Syria has won the conflict.

Indeed, sections of Syria are now under the control of occupying foreign armies. Turkey controls sections in northern Syria and the United States is occupying territory east of the Euphrates River. While Syria’s territorial integrity is essential – Syria will be better positioned to retake this territory years from now, than it is at the moment. Maintaining the status quo and preventing the conflict from escalating is the primary concern.

Over the next several years – within this status quo – the global balance of power will only further shift further away from America’s favor. As that happens, Syria will have a much better opportunity to reclaim its occupied territory.

While it is only human for people to become infuriated by unprovoked attacks – these attacks by the US and Israel are designed specifically to provoke a response. Long-term patience is just as important to winning a war as immediate fury.

Sun Tzu stated in the timeless strategic treatise, “The Art of War,” that:

A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to existence, and the dead cannot be restored to life.

The US and its allies seek to provoke Syria and its allies into a war now while the US believes it still hold military primacy. Avoiding this until a time when US military primacy no longer exists is the true key to finally and completely winning the Syrian war.

The most perfect of all “retaliations” will be winning the Syrian war – confounding and defeating the US, NATO, the Persian Gulf states, and Israel finally and completely – not launching symbolic missile attacks the US eagerly seeks to use to provoke a wider war they may be able to win while the current global balance of power still favors them.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Nazi regime Baits the Hook. Will Syria Bite?

UK Has Sold $1 Billion of Weapons to Turkey Since Coup Attempt

NOVANEWS

Figures revealed on eve of Turkish president’s visit to London, and amid criticism of Ankara’s crackdown on alleged coup plotters and war in Syria

Theresa May is set to roll out the red carpet for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this weekend, as new figures reveal that Britain has sold more than $1bn of weapons to Ankara since the failed 2016 coup and subsequent crackdown under emergency powers, Middle East Eye can reveal.

Turkey remains a “priority market” for British weapons, despite concerns from human rights groups and EU officials over the erosion of the country’s rule of law.

Turkey is a fellow member of NATO and has cooperated with the EU in tackling the refugee crisis, but critics say that Erdogan’s government has arrested or sacked more than 100,000 state workers and members of the military in the wake of the coup attempt.

Unlike many other Western allies, London spoke out quickly after the coup, in which fighter jets bombed the Turkish parliament and troops opened fire on civilians.

But the UK has remained largely silent as Turkey targeted not only the alleged plotters but also political dissidents, journalists and members of pro-Kurdish parties for “supporting terrorism”.

Brexit push

Erdogan will meet the Queen and the prime minister during his three-day visit to the UK, starting on Sunday. It comes as the UK is making a Brexit push to boost trade with Ankara, but also in the middle of a snap Turkish parliamentary and presidential campaigns conducted under a state of emergency.

UK weapons sales since the attempted coup include a $667m deal for military electronic data, armoured vehicles, small arms, ammunition, missiles, drones, aircraft and helicopters.

It also includes a $135m deal for BAE Systems to fulfil Erdogan’s plan to build a Turkish-made fighter jet.

The jet deal was signed by May in January 2017 under an “open licence” to ease the transfer of military technology, and UK officials now reportedly wish to expand the deal by pushing for Rolls-Royce to win the engine contract.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP who recently travelled to northern Syria, where Turkey is involved in operations against the Kurdish YPG militia, told MEE:

“The government has been increasing arms sales to Turkey as it has fallen into authoritarianism at home and warmongering abroad.

“The government should be finding ways to protect our allies from Erdogan’s aggression but it instead rewards Turkey with new arms contracts. The government is putting private profit over both human rights and global security.

He added:

“10 Downing Street under Theresa May has become a revolving door for the world’s biggest tyrants, who are also our biggest arms customers.”

Turkey says the aim of its intervention in Afrin, a Kurdish canton in Syria’s northern Aleppo province, is to counter the YPG, which it considers a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for more than 30 years.

Russell-Moyle claimed there was evidence that UK-made arms had been used by Turkey in northern Syria. The British government has said it cannot categorically state that UK weapons are not in use in Turkish military operations in Afrin.

Erdogan as a global statesman?

Andrew Smith, a director of Campaign Against Arms Trade, which compiled the figures on weapons sales, added that Erdogan is using the visit to London to “project an image of himself as a global statesman, rather than the tyrant he is”.

Smith told MEE:

“By arming and supporting Turkish forces, the government is making itself complicit in the abuses that are being carried out.

“The last thing Theresa May and the Queen should be doing is giving him the legitimacy and endorsement of such a high-profile visit.”

UK diplomats say they regularly raise human rights issues with Turkey, and that Ankara is a key partner in countering terrorism, as well as on refugee issues, given its strategic border with Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, called for a more forceful approach on Turkey’s policies.

“This visit is an opportunity for Theresa May to show the president that human rights and a thriving civil society in Turkey are a priority of the UK,” she said.

According to Amnesty’s latest report, a nationwide crackdown in Turkey has resulted in mass arrests and the “near-destruction” of Turkey’s legal system.

It also noted that the post-coup attempt state of emergency had been renewed on seven occasions, and that more than 100,000 public sector workers have been arbitrarily dismissed.

The report noted that journalists, academics, human rights activists and others have been arrested, prosecuted and handed prison sentences.

The European Commission, meanwhile, has recommended that Turkish accession to the EU should remain on hold because of concerns about human rights abuses.

May’s close relationship with Erdogan is at sharp odds with the tone of the Brexit campaign, when prominent anti-EU campaigners accused Brussels of “appeasement” towards Turkey, and warned that “democratic development had been put into reverse under Erdogan”.

In 2016, her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, won a free speech competition in the Spectator for a poem which derided the Turkish leader for his efforts to prosecute a German comedian for an offensive poem.

Kurdish groups are expected to plan protests throughout Erdogan’s visit to London.

A spokesman for the Department for International Trade, the government department which oversees arms exports, told MEE:

“The UK government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, with risks around human rights abuses being a key part of that process.

“A licence will not be issued if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Licensing Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

Posted in Turkey, UKComments Off on UK Has Sold $1 Billion of Weapons to Turkey Since Coup Attempt


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