Archive | August 4th, 2018

23 Years Ago the US Backed a Brutal Croatian Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs

 Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

If there was a nation that could safely conclude from its own historical experience that “Crime Pays”, than it must be the newest EU member, Croatia. In the modern history this tiny Catholic nation committed one of the most horrific genocides in WWII over Serbian Orthodox Christian population residing in Croatia and Bosnia, murdering at least one million people; and recently in 1995, Croatia conducted (under US supervision) the biggest and permanent ethnic cleansing “military operation” against its (again) Serbian population, expelling over 200,000 of them in just three days (the real number of ethnically cleansed Serbs from Croatia during the wars in 90ies, is at least twice larger)- unofficially becoming the most ethnic cleanse European state.

If you believe, that Croats “en masse”, would be ashamed of such reputation, then you are dead wrong. Actually most of them are very proud, and for the last 23 years they are celebrating it very loudly, and doing everything in their power to prevent (after being pressured by the international community) the return of hundreds of thousands of Serbs to their ancient land, and to avoid returning of their stolen property, mostly (real estates, farm lands, etc.).

“We could not prevent the slaughter of the Serbs by the Croatians, including elderly people and children…” – UNPROFOR French Lieutenant-General Jean Cot

Elderly Krajina’ resident murdered in his home by Croatian soldiers. His guilt- He was a Serb…

WHEN WESTERN “DEMOCRACIES” ORCHESTRATE ETHNIC CLEANSINGS

Of course, if would be unreasonable, for this evident and well documented war crimes, and crimes against humanity, to blame only Croats. If their hands are soaked in the blood, of innocent Serbian civilians, up to their arms, then the hands of their Western sponsors (namely USA and Germany) are soaked in the blood at least up to their elbows. Simply Croats would never get away with “such perfect crime”, if they were not backed, in every possible way, by their American and German sponsors.

This week will mark 22 years, since on August 4th 1995, Croatia lunched so called military-police operation, named Storm, against Serb’ held and controlled Krajina region. Croats backed by US military-logistic & air support, CIA intelligence drone reconnaissance, and open political support from Washington, completed their “operation” in just three days. On August 7th they declared “victory”.

Their “victory resulted”: in a complete ethnic cleansing of Krajina region, and a murder of at least 2,000 Serbs; vast majority of them were defenseless civilians. Official sources claim that: 1,192 Serbian civilians were killed or missing, and around 200,000 thousands (entire Krajina population) were expelled from their ancient land. Their property was destroyed, looted and stolen, by the Croatian “soldiers” (who performed this “operation” under direct Washington’ supervision, while UNPROFOR peacekeepers assigned for the protection of UN designated “Krajina Safe Zone” just stood by, doing almost nothing to prevent the slaughter).

Croatian “soldiers” in “liberated Krajina”…

IMPERATIVE WAS TO ESTABLISH US MILITARY PRESENCE IN YUGOSLAVIA

To understand this US complicity, and its direct military involvement, in such horrendous atrocity against one ethnic group, in one, of many, civil wars, which erupted, when former Socialist Yugoslavia “fell apart”, again with covert or overt Western support, we have to look here at the wider picture-

When the Clinton’ government, together with their major European allies, decided in 90ies, that the best American interest in the Balkans will be to back armed rebellion of the separatist administrative regions in Western Yugoslavia, and openly support the breakup of, internationally recognized, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while it was still the UN member, they consciously opened the Pandora box.

They openly sided politically & militarily with Slovenian and Croatian Catholics from the Western Yugoslavian Republics, and with Islamic fundamentalists from Bosnia, in their civil and religious wars against Orthodox Christian Serbs living outside, then administrative Republic of Serbia (and later in 1999, US & NATO started another illegal war against Serbia, on behalf of Islamic Albanian separatists from  Kosovo, ultimately  “stealing” this Southern Serbian province).

Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, who simply wanted to remain in their Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and not to be “taken away” by Catholic and Islamic separatists, and not to be stripped of their constitutional rights, under existing Yugoslavian laws, naturally rebelled against such illegal and violent Yugoslavian outcome, and they subsequently declared own autonomy within the Yugoslavian separatist’ regions.

And then all hell broke loose…

The historical roots of such American approach, could be found in the Western (mainly British and American) support of “Anti-Stalin” communist leader of post-WWII Yugoslavia Marshal Josip Broz Tito (who was Croat himself), who provided Western leaders with assurances that he will, not only keep Yugoslavia outside the Soviet bloc, but he would align militarily his country with NATO alliance as well; and later in Reagan’ presidential directive NSDD133, from 1984, which outlined US strategic interest to expand its military presence to Yugoslavia.

Croatian and US military leadership celebrating “joint operation”- the biggest ethnic cleansing in Europe since WWII…

THEY ARE KILLING “LITTLE RUSSIANS” TOO, AREN’T THEY…?

The “only” obstacle to this US (read NATO) expansionist policy in the former Yugoslavia, was Serbian (majority) population, which was, due to its traditional friendship with Russia, considered as “problematic” and had to be decimated, “broken into pieces”, and Republic of Serbia to be disabled  as an independent state, during so called “spontaneous” civil wars in 90s.

I am not trying here to state that in the Western society exist some unexplained hatred against Serbs (in same time, there is a lots of prejudice, and media & Hollywood bias, picturing Serbs primarily as “bad guys”), actually I believe that people and their politicians in the West could not care less about Serbs (Serbians), and most of them have no clue where to find Serbia on the geographic map. But in same time, as we can observe these days in the West, particularly in United States, there is a lot of unfounded and unreasonable hatred for the Russians…

…And if we are familiar with the popular saying among Western diplomats, that “Serbs are Little Russians”, then is not difficult to put two and two together, and understand their desire to “disable” any Russian-friendly nation in the region.

As long as you are a Serb, regardless of your age, for Croats and their US sponsors, you are a “fair game”…

CROATIAN WAR CRIMES AGAINST SERBS WERE SO EVIDENT, AND ON SUCH LARGE SCALE, THAT WESTERN CONTROLLED ICTY HAD NO CHOICE, BUT TO SENTENCE CROATIAN LEADERSHIP…

 Western controlled ICTY (International Crime Tribunal for Yugoslavia) reluctantly brought charges for war crimes and ethnic cleansing, against (war time) ultra-nationalistic Croatian leadership and group of its generals. But in the wake of overwhelming evidence and international outcry, they had little choice.

In 2001 ICTY brought charges for war crimes against Croatian president general Franjo Tudjman (who will be remembered for publically saying “that he was very proud that his wife was neither Jew or Serb”), Croatian defence minister Gojko Susak (prior to war- open Neo-Nazi ideologist), and two other former (renegade) Yugoslav Army generals, (promoted into supreme commanders of Croatian army) Janko Bobetko and Zvonimir Cermenko. Their indictment was actually travesty of justice, because at the time they were charged, all of them (with exception of General Janko Bobetko), were already dead (by natural cause). General Bobetko died one year after indictment, before he could be delivered to ICTY.

The decision to launch Operation Storm is not controversial; what is controversial, however, is ‘the successful effort’ of some Croatian officials headed by President Franjo Tudjman to ‘exploit the circumstances’ and implement the plan to drive Serbs out of Krajina.”—ICTY prosecutor Alain Tieger

When the indictment of Croatian generals Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, for their war crimes and ethnic cleansing of Croatian Serbs in Krajina, during “operation” Storm in 1995, was announced in 2008- Serbs who survived US sponsored pogrom and ethnic cleansing, were naively hoping that at last some justice will be served.

Even, with such unprecedented obstruction of ICTY by Croatian government, Catholic Church and wider Croatian society, who concealed and destroyed many war documents, facilitated escape and concealment of indicted Croatian war criminals, and intimidated not only victims and witnesses, but ICTY leadership as well- the trial of those three Croatian generals came to conclusion in 2011, and after the overwhelming evidence (the evidence, Croats were not able to conceal or destroy), Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years, Markac to 18 years, while Cermak was acquitted.

Serbian victims hoped that at the end at least some justice was served- but they were wrong again. There is a Serbian saying: “A crow doesn’t pick out another crow’s eyes.”-

In 2012, ICTY appeal chamber overturned the decision of lower chamber, and unconditionally acquitted Croatian war criminals Gotovina and Markac for all crimes. Entire Croatia and its diaspora erupted in joy and massive celebration.

Their historical experience that Crime Pays have been proven yet again…

Serbian children getting starved to death and slaughtered by knife in a first-ever death camp for children and infants established by Croats in Jastrebarsko, Sisak, Stara Gradiska, Independent State of Croatia in WW2

Even, after the ICTY had proved (from the audio and written transcript of Croatian war leadership meeting in July 1995) – that there was very credible evidence of existence of a joint criminal enterprise, with intent to forcibly remove ethnic Serbs from Croatia, and that civilian areas in Krajina, including the subsequent civilian refugee columns, were indiscriminately shelled by Croatian artillery, and bombed & machine gunned by Croatian air-force – that did not prevent the real ICTY masters to pervert the course of justice.

One would wander who and what was behind such obvious and embarrassing justice travesty, demonstrated in this example. What had forced American controllers of ICTY to change their mind, and influence the tribunal to free of any charges, these obvious and heavy documented, war criminals?

Just remember that at that time, US government offered $5 million reward for the capture of war criminal Ante Gotovina, making him the ICTY most wanted man. He was at that time sheltered by Croatian government, and through the notorious Vatican’ “Rat Channels”, that were used at the end of WWII to facilitate the escape of Nazis, he was hidden (among the other Croatian war criminals) in a Catholic monastery, to be smuggled to Tenerife, where he was eventually captured by the Spanish police, in 2005.

 

Serbian civilians fleeing US/CRO joint operation “Storm” were bombed, machine-gunned, and ran by Croatian tanks, mercilessly- thousands of innocent people just perished…

INTERNATIONAL “POST-MORTEM” RESPONSE…

It is worth to mention accusations and reactions, to such perversion of justice by ICTY, from some highest international bodies and public persons, at that time-

US Security Council, on August 10th 1995 issued “post-mortem” (when ethnic cleansing of Serbs was already completed) resolution #1009, demanding from Croatia to halt military operation, and condemning targeting of UN peacekeepers (during the operation Storm, Croats had killed three UN soldiers) – but UNSC failed to request a withdrawal of the Croatian forces, and de-facto accepted new “ethnically cleanse” reality!?

The only UN official, who was fully aware of the horrific aspect of this US sponsored “operation”, and who was trying to prevent further Croatian atrocities against Serbian population, was, at that time, the Head of UN mission in Yugoslavia, Thorvald Stoltenberg, who urged UN Secretary Yasushi Akashi to request NATO strikes against Croatian army, to prevent further atrocities against civilians.

Of course, that  never happened, especially if we know that Croatian operation Storm, was directly supervised by the retired US generals  (via Pentagon military contractor MPRI), while US Air Force conducted air raids against Serbian Air Defense systems in Krajina, and CIA officers operated surveillance drones, which provided intelligence for advancing Croatian troops, from two Croatian bases in Adriatic.

Even, EU negotiator Carl Bildt, and US ambassador in Croatia Peter Galbraith, publically condemned Croatian atrocities in Krajina- but they too stayed short of requesting some concrete and punitive measures.

It is important that these [Serb] civilians start moving and then the army will follow them, and when the columns start moving, they will have a psychological effect on each other. That means we provide them with an exit, while on the other hand we feign (pretend) to guarantee civilian human rights and the like…”—Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, during War Council meeting in July 1995

The only ones from UN troops who tried to prevent Croatian atrocities, and in couple occasions fought bravely against bloody-thirsty Croatian soldiers, where Canadian peacekeepers from “Patricia Company”, but they too, where upon return to Canada, silenced and their experience never got real media traction. Their testimony simply did not fit with the Western agenda, that Serbs are the only bad guys…

THE REAL ATROCIOUS OUTCOME OF THE BIGGEST ETHNIC CLEANSING IN POST-WWII EUROPE IS MUCH HIGHER, THEN THE OFFICIAL FIGURES STATE…

While ICTY prosecutors accepted the fact that some 200,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed in just couple of days from Krajina region, they “lowered” the number of murdered Serbian civilians to 324. Serbian sources on the ground documented 1,192 dead or missing civilians, while Croatian Helsinki Committee documented 677 killed.

Human Rights Watch documented at least 5,000 Serbian homes razed to the ground by Croatian forces, and HRW accused Croats for summary executions of elderly and disabled Serbs, who stayed behind due to inability or unwillingness to leave their homes. We can only imagine if the entire defenseless  Serbian civilian population stayed behind, and faced bloody-thirsty Croatian soldiers- in that case we would be talking here about a full scale genocide, not “just” the ethnic cleansing!?

To better understand what kind of “Croatian justice” were facing defenseless Serbian civilians, who decided not to leave their homes during operation Storm, here is one excerpt from Wikipedia, describing one of many of Croatian “post-Storm” atrocities against innocent civilians-

“The Varivode massacre was a mass killing that occurred on 28 September 1995 in the village of VarivodeCroatiaduring the Croatian War of Independence. According to United Nations officials, soldiers of the Croatian Army(HV) and Croatian police killed nine Croatian Serbvillagers, all of whom were between the ages of 60 and 85.[4] After the war, six former Croatian soldiers were tried for committing crimes in the village, but were all eventually released due to lack of evidence… On the night of 28 September 1995, Croatian soldiers entered the village of Varivode and killed nine elderly Serb villagers. The civilians that were killed were Jovan Berić, Marko Berić, Milka Berić, Radivoje Berić, Marija Berić, Dušan Dukić, Jovo Berić, Špiro Berić and Mirko Pokrajac. After the executions occurred, the bodies were buried in a cemetery near the village without the knowledge of the families of the victims.[4]… After the massacre, Croatian authorities denied reports of widespread atrocities targeting Serbs and said that they were propaganda. Later, the government blamed the atrocities on uncontrollable elements within the Croatian Army and Croatian police.[25] Christiane Amanpour‘s report from October 1995 said that the “United Nations believes 12 Serb civilians were massacred.”[25] In the first one hundred days following Operation Storm, at least 150 Serb civilians were summarily executed, and many hundreds disappeared as part of a widespread campaign of revenge against Croatia’s Serb minority.[26] The bodies of the killed Serbs were never exhumed, autopsies were never performed and much of the evidence that could have been used against the perpetrators of the crime was discarded.[27] Despite this, six Croatian soldiers were tried for committing crimes in the village. The soldiers were Ivan Jakovljević, Peri Perković, Neđeljko Mijić, Zlatko Ladović, Ivica Petrić and Nikola Rašić. However, in 2002 they were all released due to the lack of evidence against them.[27]… In July 2012, the Supreme Court of Croatia ruled that the Republic of Croatia was responsible for the deaths of the nine Serb villagers who were killed in Varivode. The Supreme Court declared, “two months after the conclusion of Operation Storm, an act of terrorism was committed against the Serb inhabitants of Varivode for the purpose of causing fear, hopelessness and to spread feelings of personal insecurity among the citizens.”[35] –  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varivode_massacre

By 2012, Croatian government received 6,390 reports about committed war crimes against Serbian civilians, during and after operation Storm, but did little or nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice.

To make things worse and more humiliating for surviving Krajina Serbs, Croatian government is still refusing to return (or reimburse) 140,000 Serbian homes, stolen from ethnic Serbs. 795 Serbs, presumed dead, are still missing, 1,604 bodies were retrieved- according to NGO “Veritas”.

Croats were attacking Krajina using the strategy of “Scorched Earth”, with unconditional US support…

DID THE CROATS SUCCESSFULLY BLACKMAIL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTO SUBMISSION, FORCING THEM TO OVERTURN THE INITIAL ICTY RULING!?

Defense ministers celebrating the joint outcome of the biggest ethnic cleansing in Europe since WWII- Left: US William Perry, Right: CRO Gojkos Susak…

The initial ICTY ruling in 2011, which sentenced Croatian generals Gotovina and Markac to long term imprisonment, was expected, and very well supported by the “conclusive evidence”. Even, according to many international experts, this sentencing was not enough tough, and did not cover the full scale of war crimes and atrocities, committed by Croatian political and military leadership, during and in the aftermath of operation Storm. Still, many Serbian victims were satisfied that they finally achieved at least some justice…

…So, when in November 2012 ICTY appeal chamber ruled that Croatian generals are innocent of all charges and free to go, the news came to many as a complete shock, and reaffirmed them in a belief that ICTY tribunal is just another NATO war tool, in their efforts to punish and humiliate, not only the Serbian government, but the numerous Serbian victims of civil wars in 90ies, whose executors were never (and probably never will be) brought to justice.

The ruling was very controversial, not only because it ignored all the hard evidence, including the forensics and the testimony of the international observers, but because the formal excuse for the liberating judgment was – that in the prosecutor documents were missing the Croatian artillery log books, that according to the Appeal chamber, were the only document that would prove the Croatian intent to drive Serbian population from Krajina. The same books were previously repeatedly requested by the ICTY prosecutors, and Croatia did not even deny its existence, but simply refused to cooperate with ICTY and hand them over. Finally, when in 2008 Croatia was warned by European leaders that non-cooperation with ICTY might affect the prospect of its EU membership – somebody from the Croatian leadership simply destroyed these books, and they informed Hague tribunal that Artillery logs no longer exist. Even such provocative and blunt obstruction of the international justice by the Croatian government, did not result in any repercussions for them, and practically they were forgiven for their deeds. Crime pays – doesn’t it?

Anyway, ICTY tribunal had plenty of other evidence, proving the intentional destruction of Serbian civilian infrastructure was very well documented by the international observers, and in April 2011 ICTY had no choice but to sentence general Gotovina to 24 years, and general Markac to 18 years.

Another fact that indicates that Appeal chamber’ ruling was the political one, and result of some external interference was its split decision – the chamber ruled by the majority decision 3 – 2, implying that there were serious doubts and disagreements, by at least two of the Appeal chamber judges.

“American concern is that if General Gotovina is arrested he may carry out a threat to disclose previously unknown extent of US covert involvement in the Krajina offensive…” – London Times, June 14th, 2003.

Gotovina was arrested, but only shortly, until Croatian blackmail convinced their US masters, to pull strings in ICTY, and free him unconditionally…

CROATIAN OFFICIALS PROVIDED A PLENTY OF EVIDENCE THAT U.S. GOVERNMENT WAS INVOLVED IN “STORM” MILITARILY, AND HAD A FULL CONTROL OVER WAR (CRIMES) ACTIVITIES THAT TOOK PLACE ON THE GROUND

As soon the ICTY indictments against Croatian leaders were announced in 2001, the Croatian government, NGOs, public, and very well organized and connected diaspora, displayed anger and disagreement, promising that they will do everything in their power to obstruct ICTY investigations and prevent trials against their “national heroes”. When in 2011, the first instance judgment by ICTY was issued and Croatian generals were sentenced to long term imprisonment, the Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and President Ivo Josipovic publicly expressed their shock and rejection of the ruling, promising to help to overturn the judgment, on appeal!?

And they started their campaign – of obstruction of justice, of abetting the accused war criminals, of the intimidation, and finally, of the blackmail, of ICTY and US officials –

 On July 4th, 2002, NGO associated with Croatian government “Croatian World Congress- CWC” filed complaint with ICTY citing what proofs, about US direct involvement in ethnic cleansing of Krajina, they have:

US officials aided General Gotovina and the Croatian army in operation Storm by violating UN arms embargo and allowing Croatia to obtain weapons… US officials established a CIA base inside General Gotovina’ military base, which provided the US officials with real-time video footage of events transpiring on the ground during Operation Storm (and thus imputing to them knowledge of events on the ground), but also from which they could provide such intelligence data to General Gotovina to assist him in conducting Operation Storm. If General Gotovina carried out pre-planed campaign to deport 150,000 to 200,000 Croatian Serbian civilians, the CIA base was not only used to provide knowledge to US officials of such plan and course of conduct on the part of General Gotovina, but was also used to assist General Gotovina in achieving the goals of his alleged planThe US official gave the green light for the Operation and provided diplomatic and political support for it. The US officials at all times had the ability to halt the military operations. Accordingly, the US officials named in the complaint should be indicted for having aided and abetted General Gotovina.

Ethnic cleansing in Krajina was the joint US/CRO criminal enterprise… History will be the judge…

If you read carefully through this CWC statement (threat), they are not even trying to deny Gotovina’ war crimes, they are just implying bluntly, that if their lovely General was sentenced, they would gladly provide ICTY with the evidence of Croatian-American “Joint criminal enterprise to forcibly remove the Serb population from Croatia…”, as it states the ICTY indictment from 2001, of course omitting the US participation (which was the very secret deal, at least until Croatian officials started “mouthing” their “American friends”).

Croatian complaint to ICTY specifically named the highest US officials, alleging that they, along General Gotovina, committed too war crimes against Serbian population:

“On behalf of the Croatian World Congress, a non-governmental organization that is a member of the United Nations with advisory status, you are hereby notified pursuant to Article 18(1) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of the existence of information concerning serious violations of international humanitarian law (hereinafter “IHL”), namely that officials of the United States of America, including but not limited to William Jefferson ClintonAnthony LakeSamuel BergerRichard Holbrooke,  Peter Galbraith and/or George J. Tenet (hereinafter collectively referred to as “U.S. officials”), aided and abetted Croatian General Ante Gotovina, who was indicted by your office on 8 June 2001.”

War Criminals at work together- Croatian general Kresimir Cosic and US supreme commander general Wesley Clark…

We are not going here to present detailed evidence of US crimes, committed during the operation Storm. Of course, the Croatian war crimes on the ground were very brutal, systematic and savage, they did “the physical work”, but from the evidence provided by numerous Croatian officials and their organizations, it is very obvious, that operation Storm would never happen, or if happened never would be successful, without US military support and direct supervision, or without US approval.

Just to give you “a taste” what kind of American support Croats were enjoying during their atrocious operation against innocent Serbian civilians, will present you with some documented facts:

The Green Light for the operation came a couple days prior the assault- President Clinton passed the order directly to US military attaché in Zagreb Colonel Richard Herrick; Herrick passed order to Croatian head of military intelligence Markica Rebic (the others involved directly were defense minister Gojko Susak, Miro Tudjman and Miro Medimurac, heads of Secret Service and Intelligence Service). US masters were so pleased with Rebic’ service, that they rewarded him with Meritorious Service Medal, delivered to him by Ambassador Galbraith in 1996. The other people from USG involved in this joint criminal enterprise with Croats, in addition to Clinton, were Anthony Lake and William Perry. US masters imposed the time limit on operation Storm- it had to be completed in 5 days.

Long before the Storm, in 1992 USG with Croatian approval established CIA reconnaissance base on island of Brac, from where CIA operators were flying unmanned aircraft spying on Serbian positions in Krajina, Bosnia and part of Serbia itself. USG requested that this cooperation to be held a top secret, so outsiders don’t find that US is taking sides in the Balkans’ civil wars. But it did not stay for too long the top secret. On January 1st, 1994, Croatian state security apprehended a spy on the base perimeter. They delivered him right away to General Gotovina, to find out it was their German ally, precisely it was German military attaché Hans Schwan.

This incident alerted USG, which wanted to conceal any covert activities on behalf of CG, so they promptly removed CIA base to new secret location, in Sepurina, near city of Zadar. This new location was covered by three security layers, to ensure the full secrecy. From new base CIA started immediately collecting photographic and video evidence of Serbian activities in Krajina and Bosnia, and passing them to Croats, and to Pentagon. There was 24 hours, 6 member intelligence crew, present on site- consisting of three CIA and three Croatian military officers.

Croatian military base Sepurine, near Zadar, from which CIA operated drones, aiding operation Storm, and providing live video feed of “military activities” on the ground to Pentagon…

“STORM” WASN’T THE FIRST ETHNIC CLEANSING, UNDERTAKEN BY CROATIA AND US, AS A JOINT CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE:

It is interesting that disgruntled (by ICTY indictment) Croatian Officials and Croatian World Congress body, in their complaint to ICTY, are providing the evidence about USG intelligence and logistical support for another Croatian genocidal operation, named Flash, that took place in Western Slavonia, between May 1st and 3rd, 1995, which resulted in another complete ethnic cleansing of Serbian population- prior to the operation this area was populated by 29,000 Serbs, after Flash, only 1,500 remained.

The number of killed civilians is unknown because Croats prevented UNPROFOR troops from accessing the area, until they did “the sanitation” (read: removing the evidence of their crimes, because entire Serbian refugee columns were massacred and overran by Croatian tanks).  Estimates of killed civilians rage between one hundred to couple thousands. Another example of “the successful US-CRO joint criminal enterprise” ?

The interesting details, revealed here by Croatian sources, is-  that US military attaché Herrick was attached to the Croatian mobile military command, during the genocidal operation Flash, supervising it directly- and the head of CIA branch in Zagreb Marc Kelton was directly coordinating expulsion of Slavonia’ Serbs, with Croatian president Tudjman son Miro.

In the eve of the attack on Krajina, on August 4th 1995, between midnight and 4 a.m. Croatian forces were ordered to turn off all telecommunication devices, to unable US air force to electronically disable all Serbian communications.

The outcome of Joint US/CRO “justice”…

According to NATO spokesman Jim Mitchell in Aviano, Italy, two US military planes EA-6B Prowlers were dispatched to Krajina air space. USAF planes, on the top of jamming Serbian telecommunications, destroyed the airport Udbine, and Radar and Serbian Air Defense near Knin, in order to prevent any Serbian air support or defence, against invading Croatian forces.

Here, US military attaché Herrick was replaced by the Colonel John Sadler, who was embedded with Gotovina command unit, directly supervising operation Storm. Pentagon was also directly monitoring the operation via live video feed.

Shortly after the biggest joint (US/CRO) ethnic cleansing in Europe was completed, US head of DIA General Colonel Patrick Hughes visited Croatia to coordinate further military actions against Serbs in Bosnia and if necessary in Republic of Serbia…

Crime pays, doesn’t

Posted in Croatia, SerbiaComments Off on 23 Years Ago the US Backed a Brutal Croatian Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs

Russia Speaks out on Why It Dumped Its Entire Stock of US Bonds

It figured it was risky and didn’t make sense to hold assets of a country which keeps passing financial sanctions on Russia

As we detailed here first, during the months of April and May, as the Yuan-denominated oil futures were launched, trade war threats escalated, and sanctions were unleashed, Russia liquidated almost 90% of its US Treasury holdings.

The question most had was simple – why?

Speculation ran the gamut from this action being a dress-rehearsal – carefully coordinated with Beijing to field test what would happen if/when China also starts to liquidate its own Treasury holdings; to forced sales to cover liquidity needs on sanctioned Russian entities.

But now we have an “insider’s” view on why Putin was puking his T-Bonds.

Andrei Kostin, chairman of Russia’s second-largest bank VTB, told RIA Novosti that there are three reasons behind Russia’s decision to dump its bonds…

“Look, the latest sanctions, which have already been touched upon by our leading enterprises such as Rusal, Renova, undoubtedly shows us that we need to be more cautious. I think that the Central Bank reacts to this too, because the Central Bank the bank is often criticized for keeping money abroad, I think that it’s partly correct, everyone does it, but, of course, it’s necessary to somehow minimize risks, reduce these risks

… because today the US represents the largest threat… from the point of view of imposing sanctions of any kind is greater than all others.”

“I think that this, too, probably the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance take into account in its policy,”

The head of VTB also recalled that the bank had prepared proposals aimed at de-dollarization and de-orphanization of the Russian economy.

“I recently met with the president, I told him the proposals of our bank to reduce the dollar in the calculations, in general, in the economy of our country.”

This is a measure that, in my opinion, has two sides: on the one hand, it is good for developing its own market: if we will create our derivatives and we will hedge the risks on the whole instrument within the Russian market, it will be very good, as well as calculations.

“On the other hand, life makes us,” Kostin said.

Additionally, Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Bank of Russia, said in June, responding to a question from Duma deputies about the sale of almost half of the US debt by the regulator in April, explained that the Central Bank is pursuing a policy of diversifying international reserves and taking into account all risks, including financial, economic and geopolitical decisions.

So to sum it all up, Russia liquidated its US Treasury holdings:

  • The rise of the mulipolar world – to send a geopolitical message to the world over US sanctions bullying;
  • Dedollarisation – to enable the redistribution of reserves in favor of gold; and
  • Preparation for a global reset – due to “the feeling of impending trouble in the world economy.”

Do those sound like the kind of events that you should be acting on too? Is it any wonder that Putin is public enemy no.1 given the possibility that these risks may translate into actions by the worlds’ investors?

Remember, it wa  just last week that Putin officially warned his “American partners” that:

“…the restrictions they impose involving the dollar… are a major strategic mistake because they’re undermining confidence in the dollar as a reserve currency.”

“We will continue to use the US dollar unless the United States prevents us from doing so.”

And given the volume of noise coming from Washington’s establishment, that could be sooner than many – aside from the Russians themselves – may be thinking.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Russia Speaks out on Why It Dumped Its Entire Stock of US Bonds

Venezuela: Maduro blames ‘ultra-right’ & Colombia

NOVANEWS

In post-attack speech, Venezuela’s Maduro blames ‘ultra-right’ & Colombia

In post-attack speech, Venezuela's Maduro blames 'ultra-right' & Colombia
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, speaking shortly after an attempted attack during his Saturday public address, has said some of the perpetrators have already been captured.

Maduro, without any sign of injury, delivered a televised address about two hours after his public speech at a military event was interrupted by loud explosions. Venezuelan officials said explosive drones were detonated near the president in a failed assassination attempt.

Describing the incident, Maduro said a flying object exploded in front of him.

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Venezuelan soldiers scatter after attempted drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela © Venezuelan state TV

“I thought it was a pyrotechnic fire, in a matter of micro seconds there was a second explosion to my right. You could see people running because they felt the shockwave,” he said.

An investigation into the incident has been launched and some of the suspected perpetrators apprehended, according to Maduro. The president accused far-right opposition and external actors.

“I have no doubt that everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right, and the name of [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack,” he said.

Maduro also claimed that the first results of the investigation show that several of those who paid for the attack reside in Florida, US.

The Venezuelan president said the attack has made him even more determined to continue on his course of “recovery, growth and prosperity,” which would help “turn around” the country’s ailing economy.

Colombia’s ministry of foreign affairs has rejected the allegations it has anything to do with the reported assault.

WATCH: VIDEOS show Maduro’s speech cut midway by explosion, panic ensues

Venezuela’s economy is in dire straits, with hyperinflation heading for a dismal 1,000,000 percent by end of year. The US has been pressuring the country with sanctions and leveraging its allies to do the same, claiming Maduro is a dictator who came to power illegitimately and is starving his people. US President Donald Trump has openly considered a military option against Venezuela, and calls for a coup have made it to the headlines of US mainstream media.

There have been violent opposition protests in Venezuela, which Maduro believes are being instigated from abroad.

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Sweden’s ‘Freedom’ Vessel Under Attack as It Carries Medical Supplies to Gaza

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Freedom Flotilla Coalition Statement 4 August, 2018 00:05am CEST

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At 20:06 (CEST) we lost contact with the sailing vessel Freedom, sailing under a Swedish flag, which is on a mission to break the illegal Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza. We have reason to presume that the Israeli Occupation Forces has now begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in International Waters. The latest reported position was approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Based on what happened on Sunday, we anticipate that the Israeli Occupation Forces has now cut all communications with Freedom, so it can begin an undocumented attack.

Freedom is a gift for the Palestinian fishers of Gaza and is carrying a cargo of medical supplies, including #Gauze4Gaza. On board are 10 participants and two journalists from five countries. Details of all of the participants are here.  The last news that we had from Freedom was that she was maintaining her course towards Gaza and the ‘conscience of humanity’.

The Israeli Occupation Forces claims that our civilian boats – including our 100% wind-powered boat – are breaking international law and threatens that they will use ‘any measures necessary’ to stop us. We assert the right of ‘innocent passage’ guaranteed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 and call upon international authorities to protect our small yacht. The only ‘necessary measures’ are to end the illegal blockade of Gaza and to restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians.

Last Sunday, the Israeli Occupation Forces cut all communications and then violently attacked our lead boat (‘Al Awda) in international waters, pulled down its Norwegian flag and trampled upon it. According to many testimonies that we have, including Yonatan Shapira, a former Israeli Air Force officer who was a participant aboard ‘Al Awda’, they then beat up and tasered several people and stole most of the participants’ property.

Four boats left Scandinavia in mid-May and have since stopped in 28 ports building support for a ‘Just Future for Palestine’. We demand that Israel ends its ongoing breaches of international law, including the collective punishment of a twelve-year blockade of Gaza, thereby enabling the only closed port in the Mediterranean to open and that people have their universal right to freedom of movement.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Swedish Government, the national governments of those aboard Freedom, other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately.” said Dror Feiler of Ship to Gaza Sweden, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “We demand that the Israeli Occupation Forces not interfere with our unarmed yacht, as we continue our voyage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies”.

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US Senate “Sanctions Bill From Hell” Targeting Russia and Putin

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Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, teamed up with Foreign Relations ranking Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey in leading the latest legislative push

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A bipartisan Senate contingent has introduced what Republican Lindsey Graham has called the “sanctions bill from hell,” targeting Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The legislation, which was introduced just as senators were departing for a shortened August recess on Wednesday, targets Russian oligarchs and Putin family members for additional sanctions, and it would seek to require a two-thirds vote of the Senate for any attempt by the U.S. to abandon NATO.

“We must confront this challenge — not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Because ultimately, Putin’s true aim is to undermine all of us — our country, our freedom, and all that America stands for,” said Armed Services Chairman John McCain of Arizona, who has joined in the Graham-led legislation.

Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, teamed up with Foreign Relations ranking Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey in leading the latest legislative push.

Menendez noted in his statement that President Donald Trump and his  administration has not used all of the tools at its disposal to counter Russian efforts to interfere in American democracy.

“The Kremlin continues to attack our democracy, support a war criminal in Syria and violate Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Menendez said. “With the passage of this legislation, Congress will once again act to establish a clear U.S. policy to hold Russia accountable with one clear message: Kremlin aggression will be met with consequences that will shake Putin’s regime to its foundation.”

The introduction of the bill, which was previewed last week, comes after disclosures by Facebook that the social media company, which also owns Instagram, had removed numerous pages of memes and events that were fraudulent in nature. The phony accounts are widely believed to be connected to Russian intelligence.

The Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on Wednesday with outside experts on the covert use of social media platforms by the Russians, highlighting the ongoing concern about efforts to increase divisions in the U.S., both between and within political parties.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado also signed on to the bill. He has been pushing a separate effort to require the State Department to determine whether Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terror. That provision has now been included in the Graham-Menendez legislation.

“Unless Russia fundamentally changes its behavior, we must not repeat the mistakes of past administrations of trying to normalize relations with a nation that continues to pose a serious threat to the United States and our allies,” Gardner said in a statement.

Despite the level of fervor among senators about Russia’s use of active measures and the introduction of several pieces of legislation (also including a proposal from Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that’s supposed to provide for deterrence and retaliation), the Senate left for recess without passing any specific bills on the subject.

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Afghanistan: The Taliban Have Fought the U.S. to the Negotiating Table

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“Attempting to control rural areas in Afghanistan always eventually ends up boiling down to personal survival.” – Evan McAllister, former Marine staff sergeant, New York Times, July 28, 2018

It genuinely doesn’t matter how the security boffins within the Pentagon frame it: the Taliban have fought the United States, through sheer will of force and mania, to the negotiating table – at least in a fashion.  Ever since a vengeful US took to the field in Afghanistan in an effort to redraw the political landscape in its favour, the country has been true to its historical record: drawing, draining and dispersing the manpower and material of an empire.

Washington’s longest war has taken the lives of 2,400 Americans and 30,000 Afghan civilians, a bloody sore that never dries. The US has 14,000 troops stationed in an effort to bolster a flabby, unconvincing Afghan military which is suffering weekly losses at a horrendous rate. The bloodletting has had its necessary demoralising effect, with the number of Afghan soldiers, police, pilots and security personnel dropping by five percent (18,000 fewer individuals) since last year.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has become a regular font for bad news, at least for those punters backing the regime in Kabul.  The Taliban and various other insurgent groups have been industriously committed, making gains exceeding those of January 2016.

Within Afghanistan lie 407 districts, with the government holding or influencing 229. The Taliban have a seemingly modest 59.  What is significant is where the rest fall: the so-called “contested” category.

The strategy adopted against a thriving Taliban force is a tried and failed one.  Even since the Soviet Union discovered that it could never genuinely control the rural areas with any conviction, let alone purpose, peppering areas of low population density with beleaguered military outposts, retreat to the urban areas has become the norm.

The current push from US planners is strikingly unvaried in imitation, insisting that Afghan troops do the same.  First came the redux Soviet strategy adopted by the Bush administration: guarding outposts intent on re-establishing control and taking the battle to the Taliban in rural areas.  By 2009, the focus had shifted: remote areas would no longer feature; the focus was, as a Pentagon document went, “protecting and developing the major population centres” in eastern Afghanistan.

Retired two-star Army General Paul Eaton, whose previous brief was to train Iraqi forces following the calamitous 2003 invasion of that country, has more than let the cat out of the bag: the US has run out of military solutions amidst the “significant loss of life, and blood and treasure.”  It is “time to say that we need a political outcome.”

The basis of such a political outcome will involve encouraging the Afghan military to leave unpopulated areas with a focus on more heavily populated ones, seen by Eaton as “a rational approach to secure the cities, and provide the Afghanistan government the political opportunity to work with the Taliban.” Again, this is reminiscent of the prodding by the Obama administration in 2015 to convince Afghan commanders that various remote checkpoints were simply not worth defending, let alone reclaiming and holding.

The denials that this is the case have been forthcoming.  Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, is well versed enough in spin to suggest that the approach has nothing to do with conceding ground to the enterprising Taliban and surrendering rural areas to their control; the focus, rather, is to secure urban areas with a future aim on re-engaging rural communities.

This treacly deception ignores the point that a retreat from remote Afghanistan is a de facto defeat for the Afghan and US forces. The police forces left in place will become fodder for Taliban attacks; in some instances, negotiations are taking place between the local police and the Taliban.  Survival is the aim.

True to erratic form, the Trump administration is attempting to adjust old and stubborn positions.  The President had preferred a swift withdrawal and termination of the conflict but Defence Secretary Jim Mattis got to his ear, preferring a more conventional topping up of forces – an additional 4,000 troops in a last hurrah for a victory that never came.

Instead, new talks with the Taliban are being proposed.  A few preliminary ones have already taken place in Qatar.  In their aftermath, State Department spokeswoman Stephanie R. Newman preferred a modest assessment.

“Any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be between the Taliban and the Afghan government.”

The giant is being humbled.

The Taliban remain an indigenous force, nigh impossible to dislodge.  Its unsavoury brand of Islam will not fly in cosmopolitan circles, but that hardly matters. In the game of crude politics, they have survived and become a reality impossible to ignore, let alone defeat.  Swords may, in time, be sheathed, and guns holstered – if only temporarily.

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U.S. Foments Regime Change in Nicaragua

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The US has targeted Nicaragua for regime change. Some former supporters of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista party echo the US talking points: Ortega’s “entire government has been, in essence, neoliberal. Then it becomes authoritarian, repressive.”

One would think that a neoliberal regime, especially if it were authoritarian and repressive, would be just the ticket to curry favour with Washington.

‘Threat of a Good Example’

In Noam Chomsky’s words, Nicaragua poses a threat of a good example to the US empire. Since Ortega’s return election victory in 2006, Nicaragua had achieved the following, according to NSCAG, despite being the second poorest country in the hemisphere:

  • Second highest economic growth rates and most stable economy in Central America.
  • Only country in the region producing 90% of the food it consumes.
  • Poverty and extreme poverty halved; country with the greatest reduction of extreme poverty.
  • Reaching the UN Millennium Development Goal of cutting malnutrition by half.
  • Free basic healthcare and education.
  • Illiteracy virtually eliminated, down from 36% in 2006.
  • Average economic growth of 5.2% for the past 5 years (IMF and the World Bank).
  • Safest country in Central America (UN Development Program) with one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America.
  • Highest level of gender equality in the Americas (World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017).
  • Did not contribute to the migrant exodus to the US, unlike neighbouring Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
  • Unlike its neighbours, kept out the drug cartels and pioneered community policing.

The World Bank, IMF, and EU countries have certified Nicaragua for its effective use of international loans and grants. Funds were spent for the purposes they were given, not syphoned off into corruption.

Before April 18, Nicaragua was among the most peaceful and stable countries in the region. The otherwise inexplicable violence that has suddenly engulfed Nicaragua should be understood in the context of it being targeted by the US for regime change.

Nicaragua has provoked the ire of the US for the good things it’s done, not the bad.

Besides being a “threat” of a good example, Nicaragua is in the anti-imperialist ALBA alliance with Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and others. The attack on Nicaragua is part of a larger strategy by the US to tear apart regional alliances of resistance to the empire.

Nicaragua regularly votes against the US in international forums such as challenging retrograde US policies on climate change. An inter-ocean canal through Nicaragua is being considered, which would contend with the Panama Canal. Russia and China invest in Nicaragua, competing with US capital.

The NICA Act, passed by the US House of Representatives and now before the Senate, would initiate economic warfare designed to attack living conditions in Nicaragua through economic sanctions, as well as intensify US intelligence intervention. The ultimate purpose is to depose the democratically-elected Ortega government.

Meanwhile, USAID announced an additional $1.5 million “to support freedom and democracy in Nicaragua” through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to overthrow the government and “make this truly a hemisphere of freedom.” That is, freedom for the US empire.

Alternatives to Ortega Would Be Worse

Those on the left who also call for Ortega’s removal need to accept responsibility for what comes after. Here the lesson of Libya is instructive, where the replacement of Gadaffi has resulted in a far worse situation for the Libyan people.

Any replacement of Ortega would be more, not less, neoliberal, oppressive, and authoritarian. When the Nicaraguan people, held hostage to the US-backed Contra war, first voted Ortega out of office in 1990, the incoming US-backed Violeta Chamorro government brought neoliberal structural adjustment and a moribund economy.

“Dictators don’t win fair elections by growing margins,” notes longtime solidarity activist Chuck Kaufman, citing Ortega’s 2006 comeback win with a 38% plurality, followed in 2011 with 63%, and 72.5% in 2016. The Organization of American States officially accompanied and certified the votes.

The dissident Sandinistas who splintered off from the official party after the party’s election defeat and formed the MRS (Sandinista Renovation Movement) are not a progressive alternative. They are now comfortably ensconced in US-funded NGOs, regularly making junkets to Washington to pay homage to the likes of Representative Iliana Ros-Lehtinen and Senator Marco Rubio to lobby in favour of the NICA Act. Nor do they represent a popular force, garnering less than 2% in national elections.

When the MRS left the Sandinista party, they took with them almost all those who were better educated, came from more privileged backgrounds, and who spoke English. These formerly left dissidents now turned to the right in their hatred of Ortega, have many ties with North American activists, which explains some of the confusion today over Nicaragua.

Most Progressive Country in Central America

The world, not just Ortega, has changed since the 1980s when the Soviet Union and its allies served as a countervailing force to US bullying. What was possible then is not the same in today’s more constrained international arena.

Nicaragua is the most progressive country in Central America with no close rival. There is a disconnect between urging Nicaraguans to replace Ortega with new elections and advocacy against US imperialist depredations. Unconstitutional elections in Nicaragua would further destabilize a profoundly destabilized situation. Given the unpopularity and disunity of the opposition and the unity and organizational strength of the Sandinistas, Ortega would likely win.

Most important, the key role of Northern American solidarity activists is to end US interference in Nicaragua so that the Nicaraguans can solve their own problems.

The rightwing violence since April in Nicaragua should be understood as a coup attempt. A significant portion of the Nicaraguan people has rallied around their elected government as seen in the massive demonstrations commemorating the Sandinista revolution on July 19.

For now, the rightwing tranques (blockades) have been dismantled and citizens can again freely circulate without being shaken down and threatened. In the aftermath, though, Nicaragua has suffered unacceptable human deaths, massive public property damage, and a wounded economy with the debilitating NICA Act threatening to pass the US Senate.

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Nazi Policies in Gaza Are Genocidal

Israel’s Policies in Gaza Are Genocidal

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Featured image: Razan al-Najjar, the 21 year old Gaza medic killed by an Israeli sniper on June 1, treating an injured man, undated photo from Palestine Live on twitter.

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.” No matter whether this happens at a fast rate, or in “slow motion.” That is what has been done to Gaza since the imposition of the blockade by Israel, and the subsequent massacres which led to the death of more than 4000 Palestinians in three successive genocidal wars.

Palestinians of Gaza live an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege that has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide”. In 2009, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report, for example, concludes that Israel’s war on Gaza was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

The same scenario was repeated in 2012, and a worse one in 2014 only because Israel feels that it can carry on its war crimes with full impunity. And last week Israel has decided to tighten the siege by closing the only commercial crossing, even to increase its attacks by targeting peaceful protesters demanding the implementation of UN resolutions, and an end to this deadly, hermetic siege.

In her visit to Gaza, Professor Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as “a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally…” Professor Roy concludes that

“[T]he decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy–consciously planned, implemented and enforced… And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.”

In addition to Israel’s daily attacks and air strikes, Gazans also suffer from the contamination of water, air and soil, since the sewage system is unable to function due to power cuts necessitated by lack of fuel to the main generators of the Gaza power grid. Medical conditions due to injuries from internationally prohibited butterfly bullets and other illegal Israeli weapons as well as from water contamination cannot be treated because of the siege. In addition to the ban on building materials, Israel also prevents many other necessities from being imported: lights bulbs, candles, matches, books, refrigerators, shoes, clothing, mattresses, sheets, blankets, tea, coffee, sausages, flour, cows, pasta, cigarettes, fuel, pencils, pens, paper… etc. In Gaza, people are wondering whether the current Israeli government, the most fascist in the county’s history, might even discuss a ban on Oxygen! Add to this the punitive measure taken by the PA, and the drastic cuts endorsed by UNRWA, not to mention the constant closure of the Rafah crossing–the only exit Gaza has to the external world– leading to one of the highest unemployment rates and poverty on the face of earth.

In fact, the conclusion Gazans have reached is that Israel is intent on destroying Gaza because world official bodies and leaders choose to say and do absolutely nothing. The brazen refusal of Israel to cooperate with the decision of the International Community to re-construct Gaza, for which several billions of dollars were pledged in Sharm El-Sheikh, should not be tolerated. Israel’s attacks have damaged or completely destroyed many public buildings and have according to the UN’s own Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports severely damaged or completely destroyed some thousands of family dwellings, schools, universities and factories. Many other Palestinians who have spent the past several winters and summers in tents and caravans have also been promised the means to rebuild homes and schools, though to date nothing has been done to alleviate their suffering.

The practice of wanton willful killing of civilians exemplified in the extra-judicial sniping of non-violent protesters at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip is not an isolated incident. It is part and parcel of an ongoing, comprehensive policy targeting the civilian Palestinians of the Gaza strip and systematically denying them their rights to movement, work, medical care, study, livelihood and increasingly life itself. But it is also a reflection of the nature of the state of Israel.i. e., a settler-colony. Israel’s leading, anti-Zionist historian, Ilan Pappe,  sheds light  on the driving ideology behind this genocidal policy:

Zionism is, in essence, a settler colonial movement, which was interested in having as much of the land of Palestine with as few Palestinians on it as possible. As the late scholar of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, has put it; the encounter between the settlers and the indigenous population triggered ‘the logic of the elimination of the native’. In some places, such as North America, annihilation was literally a genocide of the native; in Palestine it was a different kind of elimination, obtained through segregation, ethnic cleansing and enclavement

In spite of Israel’s alleged unilateral withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, it still maintains a permanent military presence in Gaza’s territorial waters and controls the movement of people and goods onto the strip by land and water in addition to movement within the strip through targeting anyone entering the “no go” zone designated by the Israeli military. Israel also continues to control Gaza’s population registry. Yet, Israel claims that it is no longer the occupying power in the Gaza strip and uses this excuse, in addition to the results of 2006 democratic elections, to intensify its policy of siege and lethal attacks on Gaza’s civilians.

And now, Israel has decided to become openly an apartheid state by legalizing racial discrimination. I have tried very hard to find out whether there are constitutions or laws in the world similar to Israel’s “new” Nation-State Basic Law which aims to establish a legal basis for Jewish supremacy and racism against indigenous Palestinians, including those living in what has become the largest open-air prison on earth; only South Africa under apartheid and America in the eras of slavery and segregation.

So, what to do?!

In a piece published in MEE, Gideon Levy asks

“Israel, where is your outrage at the legislation of Apartheid?”

Actually, we are not expecting a settler-colonial community to act against its own racism. The outside world has to intervene. Hence our call for #BDS. But, in Palestine, we are in urgent need of serious discussions about a program of radical political transformation, what with the disastrous failure of the existing programs, right and left, a program that divorces itself from the racist two-state solution, one that endorses a more inclusive program that guarantees the rights of all segments of the Palestinian people.

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Syrian Army’s Operation in Southern Syria in Numbers ‘Video’

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On August 2, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that warplanes of the Israeli Air Force had bombed several fighters of the ISIS-affiliated Khalid ibn al-Walid Army near the occupied Golan Heights. Seven militants were killed in the strikes according to the Israeli media.

This was the second attack by the IDF on the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army during the last two weeks. On July 26, Israeli warplanes destroyed a rocket launcher allegedly belonging to the group in southwestern Syria.

An official of the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) announced that members of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army are attempting to cross the border from Syria. According to him, the JAF’s 10th Border Guard Battalion clashed with the terrorists in the Yarmouk Valley killing a number of them.

According to Syrian sources, some number of terrorist group members are still hiding near the Golan Heights and at the border between Syria and Jordan. They are attempting to flee the area in order to hide from the ongoing security operation by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

During the operation in southwestern Syria, the SAA and its allies liberated 3,332km2 and 146 settlements, the head of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said during a press briefing. 50 of them were liberated by peaceful means after negotiations.

Militants in the area surrendered over 650 pieces of military equipment, including 39 battle tanks, 28 infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, 10 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, 35 anti-aircraft guns, 17 multiple launch rocket systems, 60 machine guns and 23 anti-tank missile launchers. A total of 4,927 members of militant groups and 5,355 their supporters left the area towards the province of Idlib via an open corridor in the framework of the reached surrender agreement.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) conducted its first patrol along the separation line between Syrian and Israeli forces. The Russian Military Police established eight observation posts in front of the UNDOF in order to prevent provocations in the area.

As soon as the situation in southwestern Syria is stabilized, the SAA will be able to re-deploy most of its forces to other frontlines and to start another round of combating terrorism in the country.

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Americans Live in a World of Economic Lies

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The US government and the presstitutes that serve it continue to lie to us about everything. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that the unemployment rate was 3.9%.  How can this be when the BLS also reports that the labor force participation rate has declined for a decade throughout the length of the alleged economic recovery and there is no upward pressure on wages from full employment.  When jobs are plentiful, people enter the labor force to take advantage of the work opportunities. This raises the labor force participation rate. When employment is full—which is what a 3.9% unempoyment rate means—wages are bid up as employers compete for scarce labor.  Full employment with no wage pressure and no rise in the labor force participation rate is impossible.  

The 3.9% unemployment rate is not due to employment. It results from not counting discouraged workers who have ceased to search for jobs because there are no jobs to be had.  If an unemployed person is not actively searching for a job, he is not counted as being in the labor force. The way the unemployment rate is measured makes it a hoax.

The government tells us that there is essentially no inflation despite the fact that prices have been rising strongly—the price of food, the price of home repairs, the price of drugs, the price of almost everything.  Two years ago the American Association of Retired People’s Public Policy Institute reported that the average retail drug price has been increasing at a worrying pace of 10 percent a year, and about 20 drugs have astoundingly had their prices quadruple since just December. Sixty drugs doubled over the same period. Turing Pharmaceuticals, headed by Martin Shkreli, is one of the most pronounced examples of this kind of behavior. The company bought a lifesaving cancer medication only to increase its price from $13.50 to $750 per pill. (See this

Incomes, of course, have not doubled.  In real terms incomes have declined.  Moreover, expenditures on medicines are a huge percentage of the budgets of the elderly and those on Medicare. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual cost of prescription medicines for the elderly accounts for three-fourths of the average Social Security pension and for about half of the median income of peope who receive Medicare benefits. (See this

Real jobs have also declined. The jobs that the financial presstitutes  report to be unfilled are not jobs that provide a living. The BLS reported that the number of Americans working multiple jobs rose in July by 453,000, bringing the number of Americans who hold multiple part-time jobs to 8,072,000. 

Looking at July’s payroll jobs report again we see the Third World complexion of the US work force.  The alleged new jobs are concentrated in lowly paid domestic services:  temporary help services, health care and social assistance, waitresses and bartenders.  

There is scant sign of a vibrant economy, but high debt is everywhere.  Debt is growing faster than the income needed to support it. The US government is on course for another $1 trillion annual budget deficit. The federal, state, and local tax base has been decimated by the global corporatons’ export of high productivity high value-added manufacturing and professional skill jobs.  In the name of “free trade” the tax base for Social Security, Medicare, and public pensions has been given away to China and other Asian countries where labor costs are low.  The US global corporations make higher profits by shrinking the US tax base.  Neoliberal economists defend this absurdity as “free trade” that benefits Americans.

The millions of Americans whose jobs were given away to foreigners know full well that they have not benefited. They know the story told by neoliberal economists and financial presstitutes is a lie.  

The lies, of course, go far beyond the economic ones.  Russiagate, which has dominated the print and TV media and NPR since the last presidential campaign is a massive lie that continues day after day.  On August 3 the NPR presstitutes, for example, were smacking their lips over the prospect that Paul Manafort was on trial and might give special Russiagate prosecutor Robert Mueller a conviction that could lead to Trump’s removal from the White House. The presstitutes speculated that a convicted Manafort would tell on Trump in exchange for a lighter sentence. 

The NPR presstitutes did not reveal that Manafort was not on trial for anything related in any way to Russiagate.  Manafort is being tried on income tax evasion charges dating from a decade ago when he was a consultant to Ukrainian politicians.  There is no doubt but that these are false charges whose purpose is to coerce Manafort into protecting himself by making false charges against Trump.  If Manafort is convicted it will not be on the basis of any evidence.  Manafort will be convicted by the presstitute media which will convince jurors that Manafort is “one of those rich who don’t pay taxes.”

That President Trump permits this witch-hunt to continue, a witch-hunt that far oversteps Mueller’s Russiagate mandate for which not a shred of evidence has been found, shows how the presstitutes working hand-in-hand with the military/security complex and DNC have disempowered the President of the United States.  While Americans sit there sucking their thumbs, the coup against the President proceeds before their eyes.

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