Archive | December 13th, 2018

Nazi Elite commando unit was interrogated by Hamas for 40 minutes

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IsraeliNationalNews: The commandos that were involved in last month’s botched special forces mission in Gaza were interrogated for 40 minutes by Hamas before the gunfight erupted, Channel 2 reported.

The soldiers were stopped while driving in Gaza by Hamas terrorists, who decided to detain them after finding inconsistencies in their story. The undercover operatives them opened fire in order not to be taken into custody and fled while being pursued by several patrol vehicles manned by Hamas terrorists.

The IDF dispatched several unmanned aircraft which opened fire on the Hamas terrorists pursuing the Israeli agents.

During the pursuit, one of the Israeli vehicles struck a wall, forcing the team members to continue on foot. An IDF helicopter later managed to land inside the Gaza Strip and evacuate the team.

The report also said that the troops had entered Gaza two months earlier and were installing highly advanced surveillance gear inside Gaza, including attempts to tap Hamas’ communications network.

A 41-year-old Israeli lieutenant colonel, identified solely by the initial “M”, was killed in a pitched battle with Hamas terrorists deep inside the Gaza Strip, near the city of Khan Yunis.

Hamas has been intensively investigating last week’s events and has called on the public to supply any information that might help them expose more details about the highly classified unit. Hamas says that it managed to salvage classified equipment the commandos had been carrying in their car despite the vehicle having been bombed by the IDF.

Earlier this week, Hamas claimed that the classified unit was living in Gaza in a safe house under the guise of humanitarian volunteers. The team’s equipment was smuggled into the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave through the Kerem Shalom crossing, where it was picked up by an agent working for Israel inside the Strip. The agent is also said to have secured two cars for the Israeli special forces team

Transcripts of Hamas’ radio chatter during the operation that were released by Hadashotlast month showed that the terror group originally thought it was battling drug smugglers during the shootout with the commandos. Only after IDF drones started strafing Hamas terrorists did the organization realize it was a commando op gone awry.

“Four fighter jets are above me. There was a strike near us. The jets are coming from the north. They attacked one of the (Hamas) cars. Hide. Close in on the Jews. Don’t let them leave Gaza,” one Hamas commander yelled into the radio during the firefight

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Latest Odds of a Shooting War Between NATO and Russia

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Hungarian scholar George Szamuely tells Ann Garrison that he sees a 70 percent chance of combat between NATO and Russia following the incident in the Kerch Strait and that it is being fueled by Russia-gate.

An Interview with George Szamuely

by Ann Garrison
Special to Consortium News 

George Szamuely is a Hungarian-born scholar and Senior Research Fellow at London’s Global Policy Institute. He lives in New York City. I spoke to him about escalating hostilities on Russia’s Ukrainian and Black Sea borders and about Exercise Trident Juncture, NATO’s massive military exercise on Russian borders which ended just as the latest hostilities began.

Ann Garrison: George, the hostilities between Ukraine, NATO, and Russia continue to escalate in the Sea of Azov, the Kerch Strait, and the Black Sea. What do you think the latest odds of a shooting war between NATO and Russia are, if one hasn’t started by the time this is published?

George Szamuely: Several weeks ago, when we first talked about this, I said 60 percent. Now I’d say, maybe 70 percent. The problem is that Trump seems determined to be the anti-Obama. Obama, in Trump’s telling, “allowed” Russia to take Crimea and to “invade” Ukraine. Therefore, it will be up to Trump to reverse this. Just as he, Trump, reversed Obama’s policy on Iran by walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. So expect ever-increasing US involvement in Ukraine.

AG: NATO’s Supreme Commander US General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is reported to have been on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “offering his full support.” Thoughts on that?

GS: There has been a proxy war within Ukraine since 2014, with NATO backing Poroshenko’s Ukrainian government and Russia backing the dissidents and armed separatists who speak Russian and identify as Russian in Ukraine’s southeastern Donbass region. But in the Kerch Strait the hostilities are between Russia and Ukraine, with NATO behind Ukraine.

A shooting war will begin if it escalates to where NATO soldiers shoot and kill Russian soldiers or vice versa. Whoever shoots first, the other side will feel compelled to respond, and then there’ll be a war between Russia and NATO or Russia and a NATO nation.

We don’t know whether NATO would feel compelled to respond as one if Russians fired on soldiers of individual NATO nations—most likely UK soldiers since the UK is sending more of its Special Forces and already has the largest NATO military presence in Ukraine. Russia could defeat the UK, but if the US gets involved, all bets are off.

Szamuely: U.S. ready to fight to last Brit.

AG: It’s hard to imagine that the US would allow Russia to defeat the UK.

GS: It is, but on the other hand, the US is the US and the UK is the UK. The United States might well be ready to fight to the last Brit, much as the United States is definitely ready to fight to the last Ukrainian. There are already 300 US paratroopers in Ukraine training Ukrainians, but the British would be well advised that words of encouragement from Washington don’t necessarily translate into US willingness to go to war.

AG: The US Congress passed a law that US troops can’t serve under any foreign commandso that would require US command.

GS: Yes, and without that, any British military defeat could be blamed on traditional British military incompetence rather than US weakness or foolish braggadocio.

AG: This latest dustup between the Russian and Ukrainian navies took place in the Kerch Strait. I had to study several maps to understand this, but basically neither Russian nor Ukrainian vessels, military or commercial, can get to or from the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea without passing through the Kerch Strait. That doesn’t mean that neither could get to the Black Sea, because both have Black Sea borders, but they couldn’t get from ports in the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea and back.

And neither Ukraine nor Russia can get from the Black Sea to Western European waters without passing through the Bosporous and Dardanelles Straits in Turkey to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, and then further to the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, which is bordered on one side by Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar, and on the other by Morocco and the Spanish territory Ceuta. So there are many geo-strategic choke points where Russian ships, naval or commercial, could be stopped by NATO nations or their allies, and Ukraine has already asked Turkey to stop them from passing through the Bosporus Strait. Thoughts on that?

GS: Well, of course Ukraine can ask for anything it likes. There’s no way in the world Turkey would try to stop Russian ships going through the Bosporus Strait. That would be a violation of the 1936 Montreux Convention and an act of war on the part of Turkey. It isn’t going to happen. As for the Kerch Strait, it is Russian territorial water. Ukraine is free to use it and has been doing so without incident since 2014. The only thing the Russians insist on is that any ship going through the strait use a Russian pilot. During the recent incident, the Ukrainian tug refused to use a Russian pilot. The Russians became suspicious, fearing that the Ukrainians were engaged in a sabotage mission to blow up the newly constructed bridge across the strait. You’ll remember that an American columnist not so long ago urged the Ukrainian authorities to blow up the bridge. That’s why the Russians accuse Kiev of staging a provocation.

AG: There’s a longstanding back channel between the White House and the Kremlin, as satirized in Dr. Strangelove. Anti-Trump fanatics keep claiming this is new and traitorous, but it’s long established. Obama and Putin used it to keep Russian and US soldiers from firing on one another instead of the jihadists both claimed to be fighting in Syria. Kennedy and Khrushchev used it to keep the Bay of Pigs crisis from escalating into a nuclear war. Shouldn’t Trump and Putin be talking on that back channel now, no matter how much it upsets CNN and MSNBC?

GS: Well, of course, they should. The danger is that in this atmosphere of anti-Russian hysteria such channels for dialogue may not be kept open. As a result, crises could escalate beyond the point at which either side could back down without losing face. What’s terrifying is that so many US politicians and press now describe any kind of negotiation, dialogue, or threat-management as treasonous collusion by Donald Trump.

Remember Trump’s first bombing in Syria in April 2017. Before he launched that attack, Trump administration officials gave advance warning to the Russians to enable them to get any Russian aircraft out of harm’s way. This perfectly sensible action on the part of the administration—leave aside the illegality and stupidity of the attack—was greeted by Hillary Clinton and the MSNBC crowd as evidence that the whole operation was cooked up by Trump and Putin to take attention off Russia-gate. It’s nuts.

AG: Most of us have heard Russia and NATO’s conflicting accounts of why the Russian Navy seized several Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov. What’s your interpretation of what happened?

Poroshenko: Provocation with elections near?

GS: As I said, I think the Russians had every right to be suspicious of the intent of the Ukrainian vessels. The Ukrainians know that these are Russian territorial waters. They know that the only way to go through the Kerch Strait is by making use of a Russian pilot. They refused to allow the Russians to pilot the ships through the strait. Whatever the Ukrainians’ ultimate intent was—whether it was to carry out an act of sabotage, to provoke the Russians into overreaction and then to demand help from NATO, or simply to go through the strait without a Russian pilot in order to enable President Poroshenko to proclaim the strait as non-Russian—whatever Kiev’s intent was, the Russians were entitled to respond. The force the Russians used was hardly excessive. In similar circumstances, the US would have destroyed all of the ships and killed everyone on board. Recall, incidentally, Israel has seized Gaza flotilla boats and arrested everyone on board. In 2010, the Israeli Navy shot nine activists dead during a flotilla boat seizure, and wounded one who died after four years in a coma.

AG: Don’t the US, Ukraine, and the UN Security Council refuse to recognize the Kerch Strait as Russian territory, and insist that Russia’s claim to it violates various maritime treaties? I know the UNSC refuses to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, not that that does Syria any good.

GS: According to the 2003 agreement, Russia and Ukraine agreed to consider the strait as well as the Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters. From 2014 on, Russia considered the strait as Russian waters, though it’s made no attempt to hamper Ukrainian shipping. The Azov Sea is still shared by Russia and Ukraine. During the recent incident, the Ukrainian Navy acted provocatively, deliberately challenging the Russians. As for what the UNSC accepts, how would NATO respond if Serbia entered Kosovo on some pretext or other?

AG: OK, now let’s go back to NATO’s Exercise Trident Juncture, a massive military exercise on Russia’s Scandinavian and Arctic borders that concluded on November 24, one day before the Kerch Strait incident. The first phase was deployment, from August to October. The second phase was war games from October 25th to November 7th. The war games were based on the premise that Russia had invaded Scandinavia by ground, air, and sea. They included 50,000 participants from 31 NATO and partner countries, 250 aircraft, 65 naval vessels, and up to 10,000 tanks and other ground vehicles, and I hate to think about how much fossil fuel they burned.

The final phase was a command post exercise to make sure that, should NATO forces ever face a real Russian invasion of Scandinavia, their response could be safely coordinated in Norway and in Italy, far from the war zone.

So George, do Scandinavians have reason to worry that Russia might invade any of their respective nations?

GS: Not at all. This is ridiculous. It was the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War, and why? Why did they do this? Russia isn’t threatening Scandinavia, but it’s more likely that it will if NATO continues conducting war games on its borders. Right now tension between East and West is escalating so fast that a single event could be like a match that triggers an explosion, and then there’ll be a war.

Stranger than Strangelove.

AG: There was a recent Russian exercise, or joint Russian and Chinese exercise, based on the premise that the US had invaded Korea, right?

GS: Right. But it wasn’t anywhere near Europe, so it wasn’t threatening the Europeans. It took place in eastern Siberia, so it shouldn’t have caused panic in NATO countries. It shouldn’t have caused panic in the US either, because the Pacific Ocean separates the US and the Korean Peninsula.

What’s striking about Trident Juncture is that it involved Sweden and Finland, both of whom are traditionally neutral. They were neutral during the Cold War, not joining any alliances. Finlandization came to mean a foreign policy that in no way challenged or antagonized the USSR. So now here’s Finland rolling back that policy and joining NATO in this massive military exercise to stop nonexistent Russian aggression.

AG: Has Russia ever attempted to seize territory outside its own borders since the end of the Cold War?

GS: No. Russia never attempted to seize territory outside its own borders. The case cited by the West is Crimea, but that was really an outstanding issue that should have been addressed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin, the drunken, incompetent stooge that the US installed, just neglected it.

The Russian-speaking and Russian-identified people of Crimea were unhappy about Ukraine claiming sovereignty over them. They had been an autonomous republic within the USSR, and after its dissolution, they still retained their constitutional autonomy. That’s what gave them the right to hold a referendum to join the Russia Federation in 2014.

If the West is involved in an uprising, as in Ukraine, it recognizes the “independence” of the government it puts in power. It won’t recognize the constitutional autonomy of Crimea, which predated the 2014 Ukrainian revolution or illegal armed coup, whichever you call it, because it wasn’t part of their plan.

AG: The NATO nations and their allies say that Russia invaded and occupied Crimea, violating Ukrainian sovereignty according to international law. Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman referred to the “illegal annexation” of Crimea at least three times after the Kerch Strait incident. How do you explain the presence of Russian soldiers in Crimea prior to the referendum?

GS: They didn’t invade and occupy Crimea. Their forces were there legally, according to a 25-year lease agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

Crimea had been a part of Russia for more than 200 years. For most of the time, during the USSR era, it was an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. In 1954, Khrushchev transferred some degree of sovereignty over the Crimean Republic to Ukraine. I’m not entirely sure why he did that, but the issue wasn’t that important then because Ukraine, Russia and Crimea were all part of the USSR.

Khrushchev didn’t envisage an independent Ukraine walking off with such a prize piece of real estate. Crimea is not only a huge tourist destination, it is also the site of Russia’s primary naval base on the Black Sea in Sevastopol. Yeltsin failed to address the problem in 1991. Since then, every time Crimeans talked about holding a referendum on their future, Kiev threatened to use force to stop them. Kiev would have used force again in 2014 if the Russians in the Port of Sevastopol had not left their Crimean base and made their presence known.

AG: The US, aka NATO, has an empire of military bases all over the world, and troops right up against Russia’s borders as in Exercise Trident Juncture. Does Russia have anything remotely like it?

NATO practices war with Russia. Exercise Trident Juncture.
(Master-Corporal Jonathan Barrette, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

GS: No. Russia does not have military bases outside its borders, which are now more or less as they were in 1939, when the USSR was surrounded by hostile states that were more than happy to join Hitler. So it’s ridiculous to tell Russia, “Don’t worry about our troops and war games all over your borders because we don’t really mean any harm.” Washington is calling Russia an existential enemy, and the UK is promising to stand shoulder to shoulder with its NATO allies and partners against “Russian aggression,” which is really Russian defense. So now we have an explosive situation on the Ukrainian and Russian borders that could easily turn into a shooting war.

AG: I read some US/NATO complaints that Russia was conducting exercises on its own side of the border. And last week NATO accused the Russian military of jamming its signals during its rehearsal for a war on Russia’s borders.

GS: Yes, that’s what the US considers Russian aggression, even though its troops and bases are all over the world and all over Russia’s borders.

AG: Competition between US and Russian energy corporations is one of the main undercurrents to all this. The US State Department even said that Europe should abandon the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project with Russia because of the Kerch Strait incident, but that received a cool response, particularly from Angela Merkel. What are your thoughts about that?

GS: Well, obviously, the Trump administration is determined to push the Europeans to give up on natural gas from Russia and to opt, instead, for US liquefied natural gas (LNG). The problem is that LNG shipped across the Atlantic is much more expensive than natural gas piped to Europe from Russia. So it’s clearly not in the interests of the Europeans to have a bigger energy bill. Look what’s happening in France. Ordinary people are not making so much money that they can afford to shell out more for energy, particularly when there is no need to do so. Some countries such as Poland are so imbued with hostility toward Russia that they’re willing to pay more for gas just to hurt Russia, but Germany won’t go down this path.

AG: Anything else you’d like to say for now?

GS: Yes, I think it’s amazing that this many years after the Cold War we’ve reached a point where there’s almost no public criticism of a policy that has led to the US abandoning a major arms control agreement, namely the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1987.

There’s almost no public criticism of the US getting involved in an armed confrontation on Russia’s doorstep, in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, or conceivably even Scandinavia. There’s almost no public criticism of roping formerly neutral European powers like Sweden and Finland into NATO military exercises.

Given the fact that the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that went into effect in 2011 will expire in 2021, and given that there’s nothing on the horizon to take its place, this is an extraordinarily perilous point in time.

And much of this has to be blamed on the liberals. The liberals have embraced an anti-Russian agenda. The kind of liberal view that prevailed during the Cold War was that we should at least pursue arms control agreements. We might not like the Communists, but we need treaties to prevent a nuclear war. Now there’s no such caution. Any belligerence towards Russia is now good and justified. There’s next to no pushback against getting into a war with Russia, even though it could go nuclear.

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Ex Nazi intel chief says PM revealed sensitive info to Hezbollah

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Amod Yadlin says Netanyahu should not have revealed that Hezbollah only has dozens of precision missiles.

IsraeliNationalNews: Former IDF intelligence head and Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin said that Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed sensitive information when he said that Hezbollah only has a few dozen prevision rockets.

Speaking at a Mossad graduation ceremony on Thursday, Netanyahu had said that Hezbollah “was supposed to be equipped with thousands of missiles today, but at this moment they have a few dozen. The reason they have a few dozens is among other things those that are sitting in this room,” added Netanyahu, referring to the Mossad agents present.

Yadlin said that Netanyahu’s revelation was improper and could potentially tip off Hezbollah to Israel’s intelligence gathering capabilities.

“We heard yesterday the prime minister and the defense minister talking about relatively accurate numbers of missiles,” Yadlin told 103FM. “It’s a big mistake because it helps Hezbollah to understand where we know what we know and if we have today. ”

“A certain advantage that we have over Hezbollah – an advantage that did not exist in 2006 – is very good intelligence sources, and it is forbidden to help Hezbollah discover them.”

“The prime minister has to talk about these things in closed forums and not in open statements to the public,” Yadlin added.

The retired Major General also said that Hezbollah’s terror tunnels are not its main offensive weapon against Israel.

“Operation Northern Shield is important, but it should not be inflated beyond what it is. The tunnels are not Hezbollah’s ‘ace. Hezbollah’s ‘ace’ is its firepower,” said Yadlin.

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Rex Tillerson on Reining in Trump’s Criminal Habits

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VT Thanks Rex Tillerson for Not Being Donald Trump

Editor’s note:  When Rex Tillerson says he didn’t share common values with Trump, remember, Tillerson ran a thieving oil company that raped the Middle East under the Bush43 years.  

Reminds me of “things even rats wouldn’t do.”  Did Tillerson refuse to “eat a baby?”

HOUSTON — Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is speaking publicly about what led to his firing in March by President Trump, who Tillerson described as “pretty undisciplined.”

“I think part of it was obviously we are starkly different in our styles. We did not have a common value system,” Tillerson told CBS News political contributor Bob Schieffer on Thursday. “When the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it,’ I’d have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law. It violates a treaty.’ You know, he got really frustrated.”

The former ExxonMobil CEO said he didn’t know how to conduct himself with Mr. Trump except in “a really straightforward fashion.”

“I think he grew tired of me being the guy every day that told him, ‘You can’t do that, and let’s talk about what we can do,’” Tillerson said.

Asked to describe the president, Tillerson said he had never met Mr. Trump until the day he was named secretary of state.

“He acts on his instincts, in some respects it looks like impulsiveness… But… it’s not his intent to act on impulse. I think he really is trying to act on his instincts,” Tillerson said.

“It’s challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil Corporation… to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things. But rather just kind of says, ‘Look, this is what I believe and you can try to convince me otherwise,’ but most of the time you’re not going to do that,” Tillerson said.

 

 

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Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State and Bob Parry Exposed It

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In his efforts to uncover the Iran-Contra plot and the machinations surrounding Russia-gate, Bob Parry was in the forefront of journalists exposing the inner workings of the Deep State, recalls Ray McGovern during our Winter Fund Drive.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

A year ago yesterday, it became fully clear what was behind the feverish attempt by our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media accomplices to emasculate President Donald Trump with the Russia-gate trope.

It turned out that the objective was not only to delegitimize Trump and make it impossible for him to move toward a more decent relationship with Russia.

On December 12, 2017, it became manifestly clear that it was not only the usual suspects — the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex, namely, the Boeings, Lockheeds, and Raytheons profiteering on high tension with Russia; not only greedy members of Congress upon whom defense contractors lavish some of their profits; not only the TV corporations controlled by those same contractors; and not only the Democrats desperately searching for a way to explain how Hillary Clinton could have lost to the buffoon we now have in the White House.

No, it was deeper than that. It turns out a huge part of the motivation behind Russia-gate was to hide how the Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA (affectionately known as the Deep State) — with their co-opted “assets” in the media — interfered in the 2016 election in a gross attempt to make sure Trump did not win.

Russia-gate: Cui Bono?

This would become crystal clear, even to cub reporters, when the text exchanges between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and girlfriend Lisa Page were released exactly a year ago. Typically, readers of The New York Times the following day would altogether miss the importance of the text-exchanges.

Readers of Robert Parry’s article on December 13, 2017, “The Foundering Russia-gate ‘Scandal,” would be gently led to understand the importance of this critical extra dimension explaining the the media-cum-anonymous-intelligence-sources frenzied effort to push the prevailing Russia-gate narrative, and — and how captivated and unprofessional the mainstream media had become.

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Bob Parry did not call me frequently to compare notes, but he did call on Dec. 12, 2017 for a sanity check on the release of the Strzok-Page texts. FBI Agent Peter Strzok interviewed Hillary Clinton on her servers (and led that investigation); he was the hand-picked FBI agent who took part in the Jan 2017 light-weight intelligence “assessment” that blamed Russia for the 2016 election result, and he was on special counsel Robert Mueller’s staff investigating alleged Russian interference. Bob and I agreed on the texts’ significance, and I was tempted to volunteer a draft to appear the next day. But it was clear that Bob wanted to take the lead, and it would turn out to be his last substantive piece. He had already laid the groundwork with three articles earlier that month. (All three are worth reading again. Here are the links.

Robert Parry’s obituaries in the New York Times and Washington Post

Here’s how Bob began his article on the Strzok-Page bombshell. (Not a fragment of it seemed to impact mainstream media.):

“The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling “scandal” into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.

“As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American ‘deep state’ exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.”

Parry’s Cri de Coeur

Fast forwarding just two weeks, Bob had a stroke on Christmas Eve, which seriously affected his eyesight. By New Year’s Eve 2017, though, he was able to “apologize” (typical Bob) to Consortium News readers for not filing for two weeks.

In January, he had additional strokes. When I visited him in the hospital, he was not himself. What is indelible in my memory, though, is the way he kept repeating from his hospital bed: “It’s too much; it’s just too much, too much.”

What was too much?

Since Bob told me how hard he had to struggle, with impaired vision, to put together his Dec. 31 piece, and since what he wrote throws such light on Bob and the prostitution of the profession he loved so much, I include a few excerpts below. (Forgive me, but I cannot, for the life of me, pare them down further.)

These paragraphs from Bob are required reading for those who want to have a some clue as to what has been going on in Washington, and the Faustian bargain Strzok — sorry, I mean struck — between the media and the Deep State. Here’s what Bob, clear-eyed, despite fuzzy eyesight, wrote:

“On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that ‘every day’s a work day’ had something to do with this.

“Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. …

“More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result –and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media. This perversion of principles –twisting information to fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the journalistic principles of skepticism and
evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues … Everything became ‘information warfare.’ …

“The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? … The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the ‘other side of the story.’ Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a ‘Putin apologist’ or ‘Kremlin stooge.’

“Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many ‘liberals’ who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith. …

“The hatred of Trump and Putin was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump ‘Resistance.’ The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster. Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.

“Other people, including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions. Anti-Trump ‘progressives’ were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“Hatred of Trump had become like some invasion of the body snatchers –or perhaps many of my journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me, journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the ‘facts’ to ‘get’ some ‘bad’ political leader or ‘guide’ the public
in some desired direction.”

Robert Parry, who exposed Deep State skullduggery in the Iran-Contra affair, died on January 27, 2018. Our corrupt media, though, live on in infamy. Strokes and pancreatic cancer were the cause. But I think Bob was also a casualty of the stress caused by the Faustian media/Deep State bargain. It was just “too much.”

 

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Venezuela: The ”displacement” of the tens of millions of Latin Americans

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To The Guardian:

After the publication on Monday, 19 November of the article " ´Cages are more
dignified´: Colombia brings cold comfort for Venezuelans", written from Bogotá
by Joe Parkin Daniels, this Embassy calls on the editorial heads of the newspaper,
since this article, along with others about Venezuelan emigration also published in
recent days, presents biased considerations and notable simplifications and
omissions, not providing readers with an objective idea of events in Venezuela.
The other two articles are: "Venezuelan migrants live in shadows on Caribbean´s
sunshine islands" (13 November, by Bram Ebus) and "US navy hospital ship
stokes tensions by giving Venezuelan refugees free care" (18 November, also by
Joe Parkin Daniels); this last article, with a PR outlook, ends with a laudatory
declaration about the visit to Colombia of a US military hospital ship that attends
"Venezuelan refugees".

The texts respond to a same editorial, ideological and even editorial logic, coinciding
in the phrases and categories that they use when dealing with the subject of the
internal situation of the country and that of Venezuelan migration, both presented in
a distorted way. Thus, the complex and multidimensional reality of Venezuela is
simplified with repetitive phrases, such as "political repression" and "political turmoil";
"violent crime"; "economic collapse" and "economic turmoil".
From this repetition of clichés arises a big mistake in all three articles: one of using
the terms "migrants" and "refugees" indiscriminately, as if they were the same thing.
A minimal research shows that the United Nations defines refugees as those who
are outside their country of origin out of fear of persecution, conflict, widespread
violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disrupted public order and, as a
result, require international protection; none of these assumptions fits the
Venezuelan reality. It is therefore incorrect the qualification of "refugees" that The
Guardian repeatedly attributes to Venezuelan migrants.

The three articles also speak of "exodus". In the first of these, it is indicated that "the
extreme situation (in Venezuela) has caused an exodus of Venezuelans, possibly
the largest mass migration in the history of Latin America." Interestingly, the article,
by Bram Ebus, repeats again the mantra of the "unprecedented exodus in Latin
America."

These statements are a distortion of the phenomenon of Venezuelan migration,
which is not by far the greatest occurrence in our region. Making this statement
demonstrates a huge and intentional ignorance of the history of Latin America. The
displacement of the tens of millions of Latin Americans, which has been happening
for decades because of the poverty and structural inequalities suffered by the
Peoples of the region, did not receive any of the current international media
attention, including that of The Guardian, that´s been paid to the Venezuelan
migrants.

Only in Venezuela there are approximately 5 million 600 thousand immigrants and /
or Colombian refugees; part of a vast diaspora spread throughout Latin America,
product of the bloody internal conflict suffered for decades by the sister Republic of
Colombia. Additionally, in Venezuela there are about 400 thousand and 500
thousand Ecuadorian and Peruvian migrants respectively, as well as tens of
thousands of migrants from Central America and the Caribbean. All, absolutely all
have been received with warmth, dignity and full respect to their Human Rights.
As an exodus can also be described the huge Central American diaspora, which has
for decades migrated in waves to the United States, and continues to do so, as
evidenced by the so-called Migrant Caravan, increasingly bigger as it approaches
the US border. But none of these real exodus receive that kind of label from The
Guardian, because the purpose seems to be setting into public opinion the idea that
Venezuelan migration is an "exodus" without precedents.

It is therefore obvious the selective nature of these news, which show the intention to
stigmatise the Venezuelan Government and, thereby, to legitimise the aggression
that is underway against the Venezuelan People through sanctions imposed by the
US and its partners on both sides of the Atlantic. We will not see in The Guardian an
article either on the terrible impacts that the sanctions are having on Venezuela, or
on the severe economic and financial blockade that the US has imposed on
Venezuela since March 2015, that hinders the purchase of medicines and food,
pursues Venezuela's financial operations, and threatens to confiscate Venezuelan oil
assets abroad.

Nor does The Guardian inform readers about the economic warfare that is being
waged by the most reactionary part of Venezuelan business sector, identical to the
one applied against the government of Salvador Allende in Chile of 1973,
characterized by the induced shortage of products, manipulation of the exchange
rate and hyperinflation.

We regret that these very serious attacks against a People and a country,
catalogued by the UN expert, Alfred de Zayas, as a Crime against Humanity,
violating the Charter of the United Nations and International Humanitarian Law, do
not find space in The Guardian.

We also regret that these biased view point prevents the newspaper from seeing the
seriousness of this silent and cruel war, whose purpose is to overthrow the legitimate
Government of Venezuela, and seize the enormous resources of our country, carried
out, with calculated coldness, by the US Government and its regional partners.
The newspaper neither mentions, nor dwells on the ultimate causes of the social and
economic situation, nor on how these have been used to speak of a nonexistent
humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and thus pave the way for an intervention on behalf
of "humanitarian reasons."

None of the articles mentions the Return to the Homeland Plan launched by the
Venezuelan Government, an active airlift throughout Latin America that makes it
possible for any Venezuelan migrant wishing to return to the country to do so at no
cost. This Plan, in force for two months and without a deadline, has repatriated up to
now 9,263 Venezuelans who voluntarily decided to return. No international media,
including The Guardian, will mention the importance of this initiative, unprecedented
until now in the entire region, nor the long and generous Venezuelan culture of
reception, which for decades has received immigrants from all over the world,
without asking for international help and using only its own resources.

For future articles, the Embassy suggests that the newspaper include information on
the $ 25 million per month that Venezuela allocates to food subsidies for one million
migrant families residing in the country, or on the 438 thousand social housing
granted to these families, within the 2,3 million social housing units built in
Venezuela in the last six years. Can the governments of other countries in the region
say the same about the benefits they give to Venezuelan migrants? Can any other
country in the world do it?

For all the above explained, and because of respect for truth, the Embassy requests
The Guardian the full publication of this reply, while we encourage you to abandon
the development of media campaigns that pave the way for imperialist interventions
against sovereign nations.

AMBASSADOR ROCIO MANEIRO,
On behalf of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
in the United Kingdom

Posted in UK, VenezuelaComments Off on Venezuela: The ”displacement” of the tens of millions of Latin Americans

Trump’s Attorney General nominee Barr a drug dealing assassin?

NOVANEWS

By Kevin Barrett

Anybody who thinks Trump is out to drain the swamp and bust the Deep State just got a dose of reality medicine, in the form of Trump’s nomination of swamp monster William Barr as our next Attorney General.

According to former Bush-CIA black ops specialist Chip Tatum, Barr was part of Operation 40, an Agency-linked criminal gang that moved huge quantities of drugs and was involved in many high-level political assassinations, including those of the Kennedies, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, and dozens of others. Ironically, Trump—who tossed a few rhetorical punches at the Bush Crime Family during the 2016 Republican primaries—has just nominated a man who represented the Bush CIA drug cartel, both within the CIA itself (1973-1977) and later when he served as “Opium Poppy” Bush’s Attorney General.

David “DC Dave” Martin sends the following snippet of Tatum’s conversation with FBI investigator Ted Gunderson:

* * *

Chip Tatum: Several of the members that I flew to this meeting in El Ocatal – here are the people who were there: it was General NoriegaMike Harari, who was a retired Mossad agent assigned to Gen. Noriega, Felix RodriguezJoe Fernandez, who was the CIA station-chief in Costa Rica, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez, who was the U.S. – or the Honduran Army chief of staff, and a guy named William Barr, who represented the assets of this enterprise.

Gunderson: Now, wait a moment. William Barr used to be attorney general of the United States.

Tatum: He later became, under his boss George Bush, the attorney general of the United States, that’s correct.

Gunderson: That’s right. He replaced Thornburgh, wasn’t it?

Tatum: Yes, I believe so.

Gunderson: Well, isn’t that interesting? …so we have Vice President Bush, we have Ollie North, we have William Barr involved in the drug-operation. It’s that simple, isn’t it?

Yes, it is.

* * *

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So why would Trump fire Jeff Sessions and appoint a depraved denizen of the Deep State to replace him? Because Trump is the slimiest, scaliest reptile from the deepest darkest part of the Deep State swamp. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you aren’t paying attention.

Note that Trump has been slyly boasting of his swamp creature status for years. Watch him rapturously identifying with the title character in his favorite poem, “The Snake.” [is_not_paid]

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump’s Attorney General nominee Barr a drug dealing assassin?

Could the Macron class war revolt spread to Europe?

NOVANEWS

by John Wight, …via Russia Today, Moscow

[ Editor’s Note: John Wight brings us a delightful recap of Macron’s implosion as the leader of France who may be a dead man walking and following the last failed French leader.

After postponing the new fuel “green” taxes, which went over like a lead balloon, they have been cancelled by the Prime Minister. But Macron threw a match into a public anger tinder box and the diverse array of protester demands have grown into a class warfare struggle which had been long simmering.

France is now in a no man’s land situation, facing a political foe with no head to chop off, no one to arrest as the key organizer, because there isn’t one. Nor do we see Muslim radicals in the streets, but a representative slice of the French population, especially the young who see a very limited future for themselves.

Not only Macron but France’s entire political structure is on thin ice here. A misstep, especially an over reaction, could see the unions sitting on the sidelines until now, joining those already in the streets with strikes.

Protestors seemed to sense that Macron is wounded and they would get a much better deal with a new government than one whose poll ratings have been in the toilet for some time. Everyone is keeping their heads low to avoid drawing cross hairs.

But that will change if Macron’s political opposition steps forward to scoop up the protester support, or some leadership emerges from the street which seems unlikely from the collage of passionate groups involved, including the anarchists who always want to tear everything down just for the fun of it.

The security organs will pray that the lack of organization leadership will implode the protest. Social media has been the leader up until now, and there has never been a ballot box to check off with that name on it.

And lastly, the match lit here in France could spread to other EU States, and you can be sure they are monitoring closely what is going on in Paris, and doing some planning if similar protests emerge in their own countries.

Fortunately, the year end holidays and winter is not the time of choice for most revolutions, but many have happened with the timing being organic, meaning it just happened when it was ready to. I can smell the fear in air in France, all the way from Michigan… Jim W. Dean ]

[table id=DonateDean /]

– First published … December 05, 2018 –

Though the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement in France may appear to have erupted from nowhere, its arrival has been a long time coming.

“Men make their own history,” Karl Marx reminds us, “but not of their own free will; not under circumstances they themselves have chosen but under the given and inherited circumstances with which they are directly confronted.”

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And confronting the thousands of Yellow Vest protesters who’ve been laying siege to central Paris these past few weeks – along with millions of ordinary working people across France – have been and are the deepening consequences of a broken and defunct neoliberal economic model, compounded by the refusal of its prime movers, chief among them French President Emmanuel Macron, to wake up to the deepening dystopia fashioned in its name.

The French government’s decision to suspend the proposed levy on fuel was a victory for the French people, whose tradition of fighting and struggling for the right to a quality of life consistent with human dignity is centuries old.

In forcing Macron – whose disregard for those at the sharp end of the neoliberal god he worships has been inordinate – to back down, the Yellow Vest movement has rendered working people throughout the EU a great and significant service, reminding them that passivity in the face of injustice only succeeds in inviting more injustice.

Macron’s initial ‘let them eat cake’ refusal to countenance backing down (before, that is, he did back down), proclaiming with the bombast of the mouse to the cat that “People complaining about rising fuel prices are the same ones who complain about pollution and how their children suffer,” will follow him all the way to his resignation or the next French presidential election, whichever comes first.

Clearly and obviously the fact (remember those?) that just 100 of the world’s leading companies and corporations are responsible for 71 percent of emissions is not something that overly intrudes on the consciousness of the current occupant of the Elysee Palace.

It is those very companies whose interests and whims Macron with his recent raft of tax cuts for employers and the wealthy and cuts to pensions and welfare benefits for those at the bottom of the income scale, serves so avidly.

Moreover, said companies and corporations are the recipients of mammoth sums of institutional largess, courtesy of the world’s leading banks and financial institutions; the very banks that brought us the 2008 global financial crash and worldwide recession. This, in turn, was met by the unleashing of an economic war against ordinary people, who were not responsible for the crash, in the form of austerity.

Only in joining the aforementioned dots are we are able to cut through the fog of neoliberal propaganda relentlessly spewed out by an establishment media that long lost the right to be considered anything other than part of the problem; its primary role not to hold the rich and powerful to account but instead to throw dust in the workers’ faces.

Straddling the world stage like a colossus in his own mind, but a low rent Napoleon in everyone else’s, with his talk of a European army, Macron is the epitome of the confected politician to which neoliberalism has given birth over the years.

Even before the current crisis his approval rating was so low it was drilling its way through the floor; yet as with other leaders who are cut from the same expensive cloth, being impervious to the real world is deemed compatible with strong leadership.

It really does beg the question of when, if ever, those who inhabit this cloistered Western neoliberal establishment will finally wake up to the consequences of their ruinous economic dictatorship?

In the UK we have the unedifying sight of Tony Blair being wheeled out as the de facto leader of the ‘reverse Brexit’ movement.

That there is anyone who actually believes that the man who took petrol and matches to the Middle East, and who carries about as much weight in the country’s Brexit heartlands as a fly’s wing, is capable of directing anything except his chauffeur from one of his gilded mansions to a TV studio and back again, is remarkable.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the lid of Hillary Clinton’s political coffin has been pried open by an out of touch Washington liberal establishment – one that left planet earth after Trump’s election in 2016 and has been floating around somewhere in outer space since.

Embedded video

RT

@RT_COM

#YELLOWVESTS VOW MORE INSURRECTION IN #FRANCE DESPITE GOVT CAVE-IN FUEL HTTPS://ON.RT.COM/9JTR 

The catastrophic refusal of liberal America to confront the truth that Trump is the political child of what Clinton and Obama served up to the American people over too many years, rather than an unpleasant interruption to business as usual, is one of the strongest arguments yet in opposition to the legalization of cannabis across freedom’s land.

Returning to the sage of Trier, Karl Marx, the following from his classic 19th century work, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’, delineates in Technicolor detail the reality of governments that genuflect at the altar of capital in the 21st century:

“Bonaparte [Macron] would like to appear as the patriarchal benefactor of all classes. But he cannot give to one class without taking from another. “

The Yellow Vests have made it known that the days of the French working class being the class that is taken from are over.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the country in Europe where the austerity has wrought most carnage – i.e. the UK – the absence of anything approaching a Yellow Vest movement hitting the streets in response lends truth to the old saw that whereas in France the elites are frightened of the people, in Britain the people are frightened of the elites.

Up and down the UK, in communities gutted and garroted by the country’s neoliberal establishment since the Tory’s came to power in 2010, the only sound emitted in response up to now has been the rumbling stomachs of hungry children – of which in 2018 there are over 4 million.

But, then, even the most slumberous lion has to awake sometime. And when it does?

Posted in FranceComments Off on Could the Macron class war revolt spread to Europe?

Naziyahu Threatens Lebanon With Invasion. Syrian, Russian Forces Rescue Civilians In Euphrates Valley

NOVANEWS
Netanyahu Threatens Lebanon With Invasion. Syrian, Russian Forces Rescue Civilians In Euphrates Valley

…from SouthFront

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that there is a “reasonable possibility” that the Israeli military may have to conduct operations inside Lebanon territory. This move will go in the framework of the ongoing Operation Northern Shield, which is aimed at discovering and neutralizing Hezbollah cross-border tunnels.

Netanyahu also revealed that Israel will call for a U.N. Security Council meeting soon to demand a condemnation of the alleged Hezbollah actions.

“Israel expects an unequivocal condemnation of Hezbollah, the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran, a condemnation from the Lebanese government and a demand that it stops giving its approval for the use of its territory for these attacks against Israel,” Netanyahu said.

So far, Operation Northern Shield has been carried out on the Israeli side of the contact line only. However, Hezbollah already put its forces on high alert and warned Israel that it’s ready to respond to any aggression.

Meanwhile, in Syria, the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance continued its efforts to restore stability in the government-held part of the country.

In the region of Western Ghouta, government troops discovered a large number of weapons and equipment abandoned by militants. The weapons included a Soviet-made RPG-29 anti-tank weapon, several rounds of the US-made SMAW shoulder-launched rocket weapon, a Yugoslav-made M79 Osa anti-tank weapon with several rounds, assault rifles, heavy machine guns and loads of ammunition of different calibers.

In the province of Quneitra, local reconciliation committees handed over a number of US and Israeli-supplied medical equipment and other supplies to government forces. Most of these supplies had been provided by Tel Aviv and Washington to the White Helmets organization, members of which fled the area after its liberation from terrorists.

In the Euphrates Valley, Syrian and Russian forces evacuated hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, from the ISIS-held pocket of Hajin where US-backed forces are conducting their own operation against ISIS. The humanitarian operation was reportedly carried out through the al-Salihiyah crossing on the Euphrates River.

Posted in Lebanon, Russia, SyriaComments Off on Naziyahu Threatens Lebanon With Invasion. Syrian, Russian Forces Rescue Civilians In Euphrates Valley

Jamal Khashoggi and 9/11

NOVANEWS

Is it good for American business to sanction the extreme violence of a religious establishment that helped facilitate 9/11 but wrong to seek justice for slain journalist who risked life to challenge those who perpetrated the worst crime in U.S. history?

by George Cassidy Payne

President Trump steadfastly denies that there is a smoking gun in the Khashoggi murder, and he refuses to listen to the recording of him being tortured.

But even if the president were confronted with incontrovertible evidence implicating the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, he has stated that he will not abandon the U.S.’s partnership with The House of Saud. “America first,” he has declared, as if doing business with Saudi Arabia is equivalent to eating apple pie at a baseball game on the fourth of July.

Recent history, however, demonstrates the immorality of this position. How is doing business with a country that favored and sponsored Khaled Sheikh Mohammed good for the United States? The architect of the 9/11 attacks may have earned a bachelor’s degree at North Carolina A&T in 1986, but it was his rise to prominence as an associate of the Afghan warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf that led him to the Saudi Osama bin Laden, who he presented his master plan for attacking the U.S.

And how is it good for America to do business with a country that produced, educated, financed, and gave sanctuary to so many culprits of September 11? The names may no longer register with most Americans today, but these individuals with Saudi ties did everything in their power to kill Americans. A cursory list would surely include infamous names such as Nawaf al-Hazmi, Abu Jandal, Jamal Khalifa, Khallad, and Mohammed Qutb.

Regarding the Saudi connection to September 11, I encourage readers to attain a copy of Lawrence Wright’s gripping book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Readers will come away with a clearer understanding about the relationship between the modern Kingdom and the radical Islamist movement. Needless to say, it is not a simple relationship; nor is it one that can be deciphered apart from American foreign policy decisions.

For instance, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This funding was largely responsible for creating the Taliban when the Soviets withdrew from that conflict.

After nearly 20 years of fighting the Taliban since 9/11; after billions of dollars squandered; and thousands of U.S. troops injured or killed, I do not grasp how this relationship has been good for America. I don’t care how many jets and bombs we sell to the royal family. How can an American president put a price tag on the lives lost in the ruins of the World Trade Center?

Furthermore, who exactly was Jamal Khashoggi? According to Wright, “he was a longtime Saudi journalist and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who covered Arab Afghans in the Jihad against the Soviet occupation…

After 9/11, he distinguished himself by being one of the few Saudis to acknowledge the cultural responsibility that led to the tragedy; later, he was appointed editor of Al-Watan, the Kingdom’s largest daily, but was fired after publishing articles and cartoons that criticized the religious establishment for supporting violence.”

In other words, he was a brave journalist who stood up to the same religious zealotry we as a nation spilled so much blood to eradicate from the world.

Again I ask: is it good for American business to sanction the extreme violence of a religious establishment that helped facilitate 9/11, but wrong to seek justice for a slain journalist who risked his life to openly challenge those who perpetrated the worst crime in U.S. history? If so, there is something profoundly messed up about that.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Jamal Khashoggi and 9/11


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