Archive | September 17th, 2019

U.S. and Russia Battle It Out over this Huge Iraqi Gas Field

By Simon Watkins

Global Research,

With the U.S, Russia, and China all jostling for position in Iraq’s oil and gas industry both north and south, Iraq’s oil ministry last week reiterated its desire to have one or more foreign partners in the Mansuriya gas field. Situated in Diyala province, close to the Iran border, Mansuriya is estimated to hold around 4.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with plateau production projected at about 325 million standard cubic feet per day.

For the U.S., encouraging Iraq to optimise its gas flows so that it reduces its dependency for power from Iran is the key consideration. For Russia, Rosneft essentially bought control of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq in November 2017, so power in southern Iraq figuratively will complete the set.

Securing oil and gas contracts across all of Iraq will allow Russia to establish an unassailable political sway across the entire Shia crescent of power in the Middle East, stretching from Syria through Lebanon (by dint of Iran), Jordan, Iraq (also helped by Iran), Iran itself, and Yemen (via Iran). From this base, it can effectively challenge the U.S.’s vital oil, gas, and political ally in the region – Saudi Arabia. China, in the meantime, is operating to its own agenda in South Pars Phase 11 and its West Karoun holdings.

Iraq, like Turkey, is still – nominally at least – not committing to either the Russia or the U.S., preferring to play each off against the other for whatever they can get, and the same applies in microcosm to the field of Mansuriya. Turkey itself was a key player in this gas field through its national oil company Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi (TPAO) until the middle of last year – holding a 37.5 per cent stake – along with the Oil Exploration Company (25 per cent), Kuwait Energy (22.5 per cent), and South Korea’s KOGAS (15 per cent).

TPAO had signed the original development deal for Mansuriya back in 2011, promising Iraq’s oil ministry that it could be trusted to reach plateau production within 10 years at most,Is the Iran Nukes Deal Aimed at Crushing Putin?

a senior figure in the ministry told last week. This was not an unreasonable schedule, for which TPAO would be remunerated US$7.00-7.50 per barrel of oil equivalent, a relatively generous amount compared to many of the previous awards from the ministry. TPAO agreed that the first phase would mean production of at least 100 million cubic feet a day within 12 months from the signing date.

Unsurprisingly, given the rise of Islamic State at the time, TPAO suspended all operations on Mansuriya in 2014, but more surprisingly was that it refused to resume development work in September 2017 when asked to do so by then-oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi. There were many subsequent requests from the ministry to TPAO to resume work before the ministry rescinded the contract last July.

As it stands, Iraq’s oil ministry has made it clear that it needs Mansuriya to be properly up and running and gradually increasing production towards the 325 million standard cubic feet per day figure so that it can be used as a feedstock for the country’s calamitous power sector. Peak summer power demand every year exceeds domestic generation capacity, frequently leading to up to 20 hours per day of blackouts in many areas. Without Mansuriya and similar gas fields coming online, this will get worse, as Iraq’s population is growing at a rate of over one million per year, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

This supply-demand imbalance has resulted in Iraq’s being dependent on neighbouring Iran for a considerable amount of gas and electricity imports – around one third of its total energy supplies, in fact. Specifically, Iraq pipes in up to 28 million cubic metres of Iranian gas a day for power generation and also directly imports up to 1,300 megawatts of Iranian electricity. Even the U.S. has been forced to grant waivers for Iraq to continue to do this, given the absence of other options currently.

Playing the game of pitting one side against the other for optimal gain, the Secretary General of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber, Seyed Hamid Hosseini, stated recently that Iran’s gas and electricity exports to Iraq are expected to reach US$5 billion by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, ending on 21 March 2020. This comment was made at the same time as a U.S. consortium led by Honeywell signed a memorandum of understanding for a deal that would reduce the country’s current level of gas flaring by nearly 20%. Part of this deal included processing associated gas at the Siba gas field, the original deal for which was also done in 2011 and also with TPAO.

In the running at the time for both fields was Russia. So interested is it in securing gas sites in north and south Iraq, which it will eventually be able to move via its vast pipeline capabilities and networks, that even before the latest announcement on Mansuriya’s availability was made public, Gazprom Neft (the oil arm of Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom) communicated to Iraq’s current oil minister, Thamir Ghadhban, that it was ‘very interested’ in taking a role in the Mansuriya field.

“Gazprom Neft often acts as the point man for Gazprom in initial conversations, as it is a slick, well-run, Western-style company, whereas Gazprom is a bit more old-style Soviet,” said the Iraq source. “It [Gazprom Neft] also made it clear that it would be interested in other sites, such as Siba,” he added. “It should be remembered that Gazprom was in the prime position to develop the other key gas fields of North Pars, Kish, and Farzad A and B before the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] last year,” he concluded.

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Johns Hopkins Professor on Child Transgender Trend: ‘Many Will Regret this’

Argues that doctors are doing treatment without evidence

By Maria Lencki

Global Research,

A psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University has slammed the medical and psychiatric industries for what he says is reckless and irresponsible treatment of patients who claim to be transgender.

Paul McHugh, a renowned psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University, told The College Fix he believes transgender people are being experimented on because the doctors treating transgender patients with hormones “don’t have evidence that (the treatment) will be the right one.” He also criticized the manner of treatment given to many children who claim to be transgender.

“Many people are doing what amounts to an experiment on these young people without telling them it’s an experiment,” he told The Fix via phone.

“You need evidence for that and this is a very serious treatment. It is comparable to doing frontal lobotomies.”

Vast majority of gender minorities report mental health issues

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 80 percent of gender minority students report having mental health problems, nearly double the rate of “cisgender” students. McHugh believes that in many cases the patient’s gender dysphoria is precipitated by mental illness.

“I think their mental problems, often depression, discouragement are the things that need treatment,” not gender dysphoria, he argued.

“I’m not positive about this. It’s a hypothesis, but it is a very plausible hypothesis, and it would explain why many of the people who go on to have treatment of their body discover they are just as depressed, discouraged and live just as problematic lives as they did before because they did not address the primary problem,” he added.

Possible ‘contagion effect’

“I believe that these gender confusions are mostly being driven by psychological and psychosocial problems these people have. That explains the rapid onset gender dysphoria Lisa Littman has spelled out,” McHugh said.

The Lisa Littman to whom the professor referred is a researcher at Brown University, who last year published a bombshell report suggesting that some transgender-identified children might suffer from “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” a phenomenon in which “one, multiple, or even all of the friends [in a group] have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe.”

There was significant backlash following Littman’s publication of the study, after which Brown censored the report. The study was eventually validated with its results unchanged.

Long-term effects of child transgender treatment

Asked about the possible long-term consequences of the growing practice of helping children develop transgender identities, including with hormones, McHugh expressed pessimism.

“They’re going to be in the hands of doctors for the rest of their lives, many of them are going to be sterilized not able to have their own children, and many will regret this,” McHugh said.

“Can you imagine having a life where you need to seek doctors all the time, for everything, just to live? Getting your hormones checked, getting everything checked. That is something doctors should like to spare people of,” he added.

McHugh thinks that eventually our society will look back on this craze as something of an historical shame.

“I believe it will be something like how we think of eugenics now. We will come to regret it when we discover how many of the young people that were injured regret it themselves,” he told The Fix.

The doctor stressed that medical professionals should stick to a higher standard of evidence when considering treatment for individuals who claim a transgender identity.

“You can think whatever you want without proof. Be my guest. You can think anything you want, if you like it that way. But don’t ask me as a doctor to prescribe hormones or operate on you when I try to do things which are for your benefit,” he said.

“My aim isn’t to stop people. It’s when they draw medical people in. That’s when I insist on evidence and what makes more sense.”

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Brazil’s Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

By Benjamin R. EvansPanayiota KotsakioziAndre Luis Costa-da-Silva, and et al.

Global Research,

According to an incisive report by Deutsche Welle, “genetically modified mosquitoes are currently breeding in Brazil”. 

Under the  researchers’ original plan, “all released mosquitoes and their offspring should have died.” But that did not happen.

” An attempt to contain the populations of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti in Brazil may have failed. It appears that gene mutations have been transferred to the local population.” 

The British company Oxitec had released about 450,000 male mosquitoes every week in the city of Jacobina in the Bahia region with official permission over a period of 27 weeks. The experiment was designed to control the infectious diseases dengue, zika and yellow fever.

The gene modification called OX513A in the mosquitoes was designed in such a way that the first descendant generation of the mosquitoes, known as F1, would not reach the adult stage and thus not be able to reproduce.

The gene modification of the released mosquitoes also produced a fluorescent protein that made it possible to distinguish the first F1 generation from other mosquitoes.

Researchers at Yale University have examined the mosquitoes found in the region for their genetic alterations one year after the release, as well as 27 to 30 months after the release.

They came to the conclusion that parts of the gene alteration had unexpectedly migrated into the target population of local mosquitoes.  Deutsche Welle

Was it “unexpected”?

The gene modification was in theory intended to contain the yellow fever Aedes aegypti mosquito as well as the transmission of dengue, yellow fever and zika.

In some regards it had exactly the opposite results. The process of gene modification was passed on to the broader aegypti target mosquito population.

Below are excerpts from the study  published in Nature: Scientific Reports on September 10.


Transgenic Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes Transfer Genes into a Natural Population


In an attempt to control the mosquito-borne diseases yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika fevers, a strain of transgenically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes containing a dominant lethal gene has been developed by a commercial company, Oxitec Ltd.

If lethality is complete, releasing this strain should only reduce population size and not affect the genetics of the target populations.

Approximately 450 thousand males of this strain were released each week for 27 months in Jacobina, Bahia, Brazil.

We genotyped the release strain and the target Jacobina population before releases began for >21,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genetic sampling from the target population six, 12, and 27–30 months after releases commenced provides clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population.

Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature. The release strain was developed using a strain originally from Cuba, then outcrossed to a Mexican population.

Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors. These results highlight the importance of having in place a genetic monitoring program during such releases to detect un-anticipated outcomes.Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released in Brazil in 2015 Linked to the Current Zika Epidemic?


Mosquito-borne diseases take a tremendous toll on human health and economies especially in Third World countries. Effective vaccines and drugs are available for only a few so the major means of controlling these diseases is to control the mosquitoes that transmit them. As traditional methods of control, such as insecticides, have become less effective and acceptable, alternative methods have been sought1. Methods based on genetic manipulations are among the most appealing and actively pursued2. One such genetic-based program has involved releasing a strain of Aedes aegypti (OX513A) that was transgenically modified to be homozygous for a conditional dominant lethal3,4.

This strain also carries a fluorescent protein gene that allows detection of OX513A X wild type F1offspring. Release of this strain in large numbers has been effective in reducing populations of Ae. aegypti by up to 85%5. The largest such releases to date have been carried out in the city of Jacobina in Bahia, Brazil6. We monitored the Jacobina Ae. aegypti population to determine if the releases have affected the genetics of the natural population by transferring genes, introgressing.

If lethality is complete, such releases should result only in population reduction and not affect the genetics of the target population. However, it is known that, under laboratory conditions, 3–4% of the offspring from matings of OX513A with wild type do survive to adulthood although they are weak and it is not known if they are fertile4.

Read the full report here.

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Shocking Video Simulation Shows the Devastation Nuclear War Would Cause

By Joshua CoupeCharles G. BardeenAlan RobockOwen B. ToonAdam Brookes, and Dagny Taggart

Global Research,

The United States and Russia have quite the bumpy relationship. Talk of war between the two powerful countries isn’t anything new, and anyone who is paying attention knows that such a war would be devastating for much of the world.

Two recent research projects show just how bad things would be if the US and Russia unleashed their nuclear arsenals on each other.

A war between the US and Russia would cause a global nuclear winter.

Several months ago, researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research ran a simulation to see what a nuclear war between the US and Russia would do, and the findings were not pretty: Such a war would plunge the planet into a nuclear winter, with clouds of soot and smoke covering the planet. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheresfound that the nuclear detonations would inject about 147 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. That soot would then spread around the stratosphere, blanketing the Earth in darkness:

Current nuclear arsenals used in a war between the United States and Russia could inject 150 Tg of soot from fires ignited by nuclear explosions into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. We simulate the climate response using the Community Earth System Model‐Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 4 (WACCM4), run at 2° horizontal resolution with 66 layers from the surface to 140 km, with full stratospheric chemistry and with aerosols from the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres allowing for particle growth.

We compare the results to an older simulation conducted in 2007 with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE run at 4° × 5° horizontal resolution with 23 levels up to 80 km and constant specified aerosol properties and ozone. These are the only two comprehensive climate model simulations of this scenario. Despite having different features and capabilities, both models produce similar results. Nuclear winter, with below freezing temperatures over much of the Northern Hemisphere during summer, occurs because of a reduction of surface solar radiation due to smoke lofted into the stratosphere. WACCM4’s more sophisticated aerosol representation removes smoke more quickly, but the magnitude of the climate response is not reduced. In fact, the higher‐resolution WACCM4 simulates larger temperature and precipitation reductions than ModelE in the first few years following a 150‐Tg soot injection. A strengthening of the northern polar vortex occurs during winter in both simulations in the first year, contributing to above normal, but still below freezing, temperatures in the Arctic and northern Eurasia.

Read full article from Wiley Online Library here.

Not only would explosions, fires, and radiation exposure kill millions in targeted cities, but the resulting nuclear winter – which could last many years- would drastically alter the Earth’s climate. The growing season would be slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas, and death by famine would threaten nearly all of the Earth’s 7.7 billion people.Turning a Blind Eye Towards Armageddon — U.S. Leaders Reject Nuclear Winter Studies

According to the model, the soot would not visibly clear for around seven years. Temperatures would drop by an average of 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit) across the globe, the researchers wrote, and it would take around three years for surface light to return to 40 percent of its pre-attack level.

More than 90 million immediate casualties would result.

Researchers at Princeton University created a simulation to see just how bad a nuclear war between the US and Russia would be for humanity, and the picture they paint is terrifying. The team used the Pentagon’s own plans (which were recently leaked) to “highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans,”

The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years as the United States and Russia have abandoned long-standing nuclear arms control treaties, started to develop new kinds of nuclear weapons and expanded the circumstances in which they might use nuclear weapons. (source)

Researchers at Princeton’s Science and Global Security Lab created this video, which shows just how widespread the devastation from a nuclear war would be.

Does that simulation remind anyone else of the 1983 movie War Games? In that film, a young hacker accidentally accesses a US military supercomputer system called War Operation Plan Response (WOPR). Believing it is a video game, the hacker gets WOPR to run a nuclear war simulation – and the computer nearly starts World War III.

At the end of the movie, the computer tells Professor Falken, who is attempting to stop the WOPR from launching war, that nuclear war is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.”

How many nuclear weapons are there?

Nine countries together possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons. The US and Russia have the most (6185 and 6500, respectively).

According to ICAN, “The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.”

If all of the nuclear weapons in the world were detonated at once, what would happen? The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell attempts to demonstrate the aftermath in this video.

Is nuclear war between the US and Russia inevitable?

Such a war would be suicide for both countries, so why either would resort to such a thing baffles the mind. Earlier today, CNBC reported that Russia is conducting massive military drills with China, India, and Pakistan, in what experts say could be Moscow “sending a powerful message to the West.” Some sourcesreport that tensions between the US and Russia are escalating to “new Cold War” levels. Others believe that the ousting of war hawk John Bolton might be a sign of the potential for a Russia-China-US alliance.

Posted in USA, Europe, NATOComments Off on Shocking Video Simulation Shows the Devastation Nuclear War Would Cause

Syria: Terrorist Attacks, More NATO Weapons and War Crimes

By Miri Wood

Global Research,

As NATO media are currently mourning the departure of  Neocon, John Bolton, and incited support for US bombing of Iran because Yemeni patriots engaged in a retaliatory bombing of an oil refinery in Saudi occupied Arabia, no attention is given to ongoing war crimes by the Trump and Erdogan regimes, against Syria, nor of the continuing terror attacks, including the bombing of a real hospital.

On 15 September, illicit US forces brought a convoy of dozens of military vehicles from Iraq into Syria, turning them over to the SDF separatist terrorists to strengthen them in al-Jazira, northeast of the country near Qamishli. The SDF terrorists continue to engage in attempted ethnic cleansing of Syrians, murdering, kidnapping boys for war criminal military training camps, blocking roads, stealing or destroying homes.

Two brothers, aged 12 and 13, were injured by landmines left behind by terrorists in Mrat Village, Deir Ezzor countryside, on 15 September. They were rushed to the al-Assad Hospital, where one was reported in serious condition.Syrian Security Confiscates Armored Vehicles, Weapons, Captagon, Drugs

Also on Sunday, terrorists attempted to blow up the al Rahi Hospital, in northeastern Aleppo countryside, by remote detonation of a nearby parked truck, filled with explosives. The savages succeeded in destroying part of the facility, and in martyring an undisclosed number of Syrian civilians, in addition to wounding others.

Sunday was a busy day for the NATO-armed terrorists, as they also fired rockets into al-Rassif village in northwest Hama countryside. One young girl was injured, and several homes and businesses damaged.

Deadly infighting among various terrorist gangs in Idlib did not stop al-Nusra Front armed terrorists from blocking the Abu al Duhour corridor in southeastern Idlib countryside, which was prepared to receive civilians wishing to leave takfiri-occupied areas of the governate.

Syrian authorities found another huge depot of weapons and telecommunications devices left behind by the criminally insane gangs in the liberated area of Daraa.

On 17 September, three civilians were injured and a father and son martyred in al-Bowaida village, northern Hama countryside, in yet another mine blast. The deranged human garbage, armed and funded by NATO and their Gulfies underlings, continue to bury landmines and other explosive devices in agricultural fields to maximize the most brutality in liberated areas. Despite the signing of an MoU between the Syrian government and the UN Mine Action Service in mid-2018, the United Nations group has done little to assist in clearing the destructive weapons provided by many of its member states.

The injured were rushed to the Hama National Hospital for treatment.

Posted in USA, Europe, NATO, SyriaComments Off on Syria: Terrorist Attacks, More NATO Weapons and War Crimes

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and The Taliban

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and The Taliban. Russia’s “Balancing Act” in South Asia and Afghanistan

Russia’s flagship international media outlet RT recently aired exclusive interviews with the Pakistani Prime Minster and the Taliban

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

For as close as Russia has once again become to India following its support of the latter’s “Israeli”-like unilateral moves in Kashmir and the restoration of their unofficial alliance after the recent Eastern Economic Forum, its flagship international media outlet RT proved that it still retains some degree of editorial balance by interviewing both the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (PMIK) and the Taliban within the past week, signaling that Moscow still has an intent (however vague at this point and imperfectly practiced) to “balance” regional affairs.


Russian-Indian relations have returned to the unofficial alliance that used to characterize their ties during the Old Cold War following Moscow’s support of its partner’s “Israeli”-like unilateral moves in Kashmir and the successful outcome of the recent Eastern Economic Forum, but that doesn’t mean that Russia has given up on its 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia.Russia’s “Multilateral Strategic Stability” Proposal Could Bring “Balance” to South Asia

The “Multilateral Strategic Stability” (MSS) proposal that some of its experts made last week to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly hints that there’s a desire among certain figures who contribute to formulating foreign policy to see to it that their country retains as much strategic autonomy as possible despite the rapidly changing global situation, something that isn’t always messaged by its publicly financed international media which have more or less taken India’s side when reporting on regional issues.

That’s why it’s all the more commendable that Russia’s flagship international media outlet RT recently aired exclusive interviews with the Pakistani Prime Minster and the Taliban, both of which India is adamantly opposed to, thus showing that that the company still retains some degree of editorial balance in spite of the enormous strides that Indian influence has made in Russia since this summer. Coupled with the recent MSS proposal that interestingly coincided with these interviews, it’s clear that Moscow is signaling that it still has an intent (however vague at this point and imperfectly practiced) to “balance” regional affairs. India might have thought that it had succeeded in “buying off” Russia after Modi clinched billions of dollars’ worth of deals at the Eastern Economic Forum the week prior, so it must have been extremely surprising for observers from that country to all of a sudden see RT of all outlets making very unexpected editorial decisions.

That doesn’t mean that the outlet’s traditional bias in favor of India is going to immediately disappear, but just that its executives clearly made the choice to “balance” that out a bit with the two interviews that they just conducted despite India officially being against both of their guests.

It should be noted that these interviews were extremely high-level ones that couldn’t have taken place without approval from the company’s leadership, especially in the case of the Taliban since they’re still formally designated as a terrorist group per Russian legislation, but an exception must have been made owing to the unique circumstances of their political representatives’ arrival in Russia following the abrupt collapse of the US’ promising peace talks with the group. Through this publicly financed entity’s actions, Russia was able to indirectly send the message to India that its foreign policy won’t be “bought off” no matter how many billions of dollars its partner pours into the country.

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U.S. and ‘Israel’’s Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

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Latest Astana Peace Process Summit Highlights U.S. and Israel’s Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

By Sarah Abed,

The focus of this particular summit was on restoring peace and stability in Syria by forming a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution, as well as defeating terrorist factions in Idlib.

Will the US Use Greece to Block Russia in the Black Sea?

By Paul Antonopoulos,

The Trump administration last week made its first major step to create a Greek-centric NATO corridor following United States Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, announcement that his country intends to acquire the strategic port of Alexandroupoli.

Turkey’s “Refugee City” Proposal for Syria Amounts to Demographic Engineering

By Andrew Korybko,

Turkish President Erdogan’s recently announced proposal to build a “refugee city” in Northern Syria amounts to demographic engineering intended to stop the creation of a “Kurdish Corridor” there and also prevent the region from fully reintegrating into Damascus’ fold after the war.

China-Thailand Military Cooperation. Shifting Global Balance of Power

By Joseph Thomas,

Recent news of Bangkok signing a 6.5 billion Thai Baht deal with China to procure a naval landing ship (a landing platform dock or LPD) further illustrates growing ties between Beijing and Bangkok in the sphere of military matters.

Boris Johnson Government, Accused of “Misleading” the Queen, Goes on Trial

By Johanna Ross,

The UK government’s decision to prorogue parliament till 14th October is to be scrutinised by the highest court in the land on Tuesday, after it was ruled by a Scottish court last week that it ‘misled the Queen’ by suspending parliament.

The Magnitskiy Myth Exploded

By Craig Murray,

Magnitskiy did not uncover corruption then get arrested on false charges of tax evasion. He was arrested on credible charges of tax evasion, and subsequently started alleging corruption. That does not mean his accusations were unfounded. It does however cast his arrest in a very different light.

Will the US Farming Crisis Determine the Next President?

By F. William Engdahl,

At a time when farm income has fallen dramatically over the past several years, the Trump Environmental Protection Administration just dealt a further severe blow to the market for corn used to produce ethanol for E10 fuels.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on U.S. and ‘Israel’’s Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

Latest Astana Peace Process Summit Highlights U.S. and ‘Israel’s’ Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

By Sarah Abed

Global Research,

The fifth Syria-focused Astana process summit took place in Turkey’s capital, Ankara on Monday. Since the summit’s inception in 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have engaged in trilateral discussions regarding resolving the Syrian conflict. The focus of this particular summit was on restoring peace and stability in Syria by forming a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution, as well as defeating terrorist factions in Idlib. 

Immediately prior to the summit in Ankara, President Rouhani blamed Israel and the United States for tensions in the Middle East. He stated,

“Today, what is taking place in this region and has concerned many countries of the world is the result of erroneous plans and conspiracies of the United States,” he also said, “We have declared time and again that regional issues must be resolved by regional countries and through dialogue.”

President Rouhani said,

“If we want the establishment of real security in this region, a full stop must be put to acts of aggression by the US and provocative interventions by the Zionist regime. Otherwise we will witness the continuation of insecurity.”

President Rouhani also stated that weapons and intelligence are being provided to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by the United States and Israel to carry out military activities in Yemen.

Since last year when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 JCPOA agreement also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, relations between Washington and Tehran have steadily devolved and worsened.

Over the weekend, Washington blamed an attack on Saudi oil fields on Iran even though Yemen’s Houthis claimed full responsibility. On Monday, in a national security meeting, U.S. military leaders provided President Trump with several possible actions that can be taken against Iran, including a cyber-attack or physical strike on Iranian oil facilities or on the Revolutionary guard assets.ISIS Last Stand; End Times for the Caliphate

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in a tweet,

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.  There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

He also tweeted,

“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”

In the Syrian war, Iran and Russia are staunch supporters of the Syrian government whereas Turkey and the United States have called for President Bashar’s ouster and supported opposition factions including terrorist groups.

During the Ankara summit, Iranian President Rouhani stressed that constitutional reform and elections will naturally take place once security concerns are dealt with, he also made note of the United States negative role in the conflict.

President Rouhani said,

“We all support the unity of Syria and its territorial integrity, and we are all against the presence of foreign forces in … this country, who came here without any invitation by the lawful government of Syria,” criticizing the United States for their hand in prolonging the war and complicating the peace process.

President Erdogan said prior to the meeting that the three leaders will discuss the latest developments in Syria as well as “ensuring the necessary conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and discussing the joint step to be taken in the period ahead with the aim of achieving a lasting political solution.”

President Erdogan urged for the creation of a “peace corridor” for the return of refugees from Turkey back to Syria and insisted that the US backed Kurdish militias not be allowed to exist there, referring to them as terrorist groups. He also spoke against the separation of Syria.

In line with President Rouhani’s take President Erdogan noted the absence of positive steps taken by the United States in Syria, and that the countries participating in the trilateral talks would proceed in their efforts.

President Putin mentioned that diplomats from all three countries have worked on facilitating an agreement for forming Syria’s constitution with the involvement of both Syrian government and opposition representatives.

President Putin added that establishing a new political process would “contribute to security” not only in Syria but in the entire Middle Eastern region and made note of the importance and major concern of “fighting terrorism” in terrorist held Idlib province. “We agreed to continue our joint efforts to eradicate the terrorist hotbed,” in Idlib, Putin said, “and Russia is ready to support the Syrian army in launching local operations directed at rooting out the terrorist threat, wherever it appears.”

The irony of Turkey (much like the United States), allegedly fighting terrorism while simultaneously supporting terrorist organizations is a blatant contradiction and cannot be under-stated, both nations have neither the legal nor moral right to make decisions or impose their will on the sovereign Syrian nation and its people.

Posted in USA, Iran, Russia, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Latest Astana Peace Process Summit Highlights U.S. and ‘Israel’s’ Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

Will the US Use Greece to Block Russia in the Black Sea?

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

The Trump administration last week made its first major step to create a Greek-centric NATO corridor following United States Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, announcement that his country intends to acquire the strategic port of Alexandroupoli. If Athens is to accept such a proposal, the country would be contributing to a geopolitical escalation. The US is attempting to push Greece, a traditional rival to Turkey, closer to them at a time when Ankara continues to defy NATO by strengthening its relations with Russia.

The port of Alexandroupoli is of particular importance to US policy in not only the Balkans, but especially to Russia. It is also an important energy route as the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is in the region. The port is also important for transportation as it is strategically located close to the Turkish-controlled Dardanelles that connects the Aegean/Mediterranean Seas with the Black Sea, and therefore Russia.

With the acquisition of this port, NATO and US forces may be in the Balkans in only a few hours and can easily stop Russian trade with the world via the Black Sea by blockading the Dardanelles. With Turkey increasingly defying NATO – in which Greece is also a member state of – by improving relations with Russia and buying the S-400, the US can make Greece more aligned with it under the guise of ensuring Greece’s security.

Turkey violates Greece’s maritime and air space on a daily basis, Erdogan makes continued threats to invade the rest of Cyprus. Only weeks ago he made a speech in front of a map that shows Greece’s eastern Mediterranean islands occupied by Turkey, and days ago Turkey removed the inhabited Greek island of Kastellorizo from online maps to claim sovereignty over oil and gas reserves, while continuing threats to flood Greece again with illegal immigrants, among others. Greece undoubtably has an extremely aggressive neighbour.Video: Quitting Cold Turkey

With Turkey illegally occupying large areas of northern Syria and Cyprus, and illegally intervening in Iraq, Greece must deal with an extremely provocative and expansionist-driven neighbour. With Russia traditionally remaining silent on Turkish provocations towards Greece, it is unlikely that Moscow will stop doing so now that relations are flourishing between the two Black Sea neighbours.

The US are trying to capitalize on Erdogan’s aggression towards Greece by attempting to pivot Athens towards them. If the Greek leadership decide to accept the US offer, it will be a powerful blow towards Turkish expansionism in the Aegean and will create a major security threat for Russia. As Greece is a rival of Turkey, the fact it prioritized creating a powerful navy and air force that could block the Dardanelles if needed, might embolden Greece to take direct actions against Turkey’s continued aggressions and threats.

Despite Greece being an economically ruined country today with a demographic crisis, it still maintains high military standards. This is reflected with Greece having the best pilots in NATO, in which Turkey is also a member of. In maritime matters, Greece has a far superior navy and experience in the Aegean. The Greek Navy has a long tradition and has never been defeated in combat. For this reason, Greece’s navy is one of the most important world naval powers today, at a military and commercial level. Although Turkey’s army makes it one of the largest in the world, it is rendered useless in any war with Greece. Although Greece has a significant maritime border with Turkey, the land border is only 200km long, making it easy to fortify.

With security against Turkey’s continued aggression being a major priority for Greece, the US ambassador is trying to woo the country into allowing the privatization of the port of Alexandroupoli. He stated: “Alexandroupoli is a crucial link to European energy security, regional stability, and economic growth, so it makes sense that the United States and Greece have chosen here to work together to advance our shared security and economic interests.”

With his emphasis on security, it will likely spark huge debates in Athens as it needs security assurances but will also not want to provoke Russia, a country that Greeks see with fraternity when remembering their shared Christian Orthodox faith and Russia’s military and diplomatic role in securing Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Although Russia is unlikely to back one side or another, a US-controlled port in Alexandroupoli can significantly weaken Russia’s Black Sea capabilities.

If comments by the National Defense Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, of the newly elected neoliberal government is anything to go by, it can be expected that Athens will allow Alexandroupoli to become a US-controlled port. He said that the “use of the port by the US Armed Forces” will be allowed “when there is [certainly] a need” for it, especially as Greece’s current “strategic defense relationship with the US and cooperation” are strengthened, “thereby contributing to regional stability and security.” In direct reference to Turkey, he also said “Greece is ready at any time and moment to defend and safeguard in full its sovereign rights.”

In order to avoid a US naval base on the other side of the Dardanelles, Russia should take a position it has proven to be capable of, and something the US lacks experience in- peacebuilding. If Russia can act as a mediator between Greek and Turkey, it might be enough to avoid Athens pivoting towards the US so that it can ensure its security. Russia has proven in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere that it is willing to serve as a mediator in international affairs. With Moscow currently having amicable relations with Ankara, Russia being viewed positively by the majority of Greeks, being a regional country to both Greece and Turkey, and having its owned vested interests in the region, Russia is in a unique position to be able to mediate mutually to find a lasting peace between Greece and Turkey, and to prevent the US acquiring the port of Alexandroupoli.

Posted in USA, Greece, RussiaComments Off on Will the US Use Greece to Block Russia in the Black Sea?

‘It’s My Party….’

By Philip A Farruggio

Global Research,

Borrowing from the 1963 Lesley Gore song I’ll Cry If I Want to: “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, you would cry too if it happened to you.” Well, if you still subscribe to this phony Two Party/One Party system, as they say in the world of commerce ‘ Buyer beware!’. It is no coincidence that for as long as many of we baby boomers can remember, our nation has been controlled by this phony adversarial  political system. Yes, as we can see in 2019 that the current party in power, the Republicans, have moved completely off the charts with their ultra right, Neo Fascist agenda. So much so that even socialists like yours truly are actually contemplating voting this one time (especially for those of us in Florida), for the ‘lesser of two evils’ Democrats. This violent, racist white supremacist mindset is becoming contagious and must be pushed back… finally!

Trump and his backers, the true ‘Deep State Military Industrial Empire’, have succeeded in sucking in millions of blue collar and white collar Americans. They play upon the covert and sometimes overt racism that many white citizens have.

The Republicans, for generations, have used the tactic of ‘Keep the black and brown skins away from our neighborhood and our schools… and our children’ to get the votes needed.

Of course, along with that undertone of rhetoric, they also played the Fear Card of terrorism, both overseas and of course right here at home. It was they who concocted the use of the word Homeland to mirror what Goebbels used (Fatherland) to trumpet German ethnocentrism.

The Republicans always celebrated America having a strong military. How many times has this writer have had to hear ‘Thank you for your service’ when the embedded mainstream media interviews a military person? Did they ever consider doing the same for a sanitation worker who picks up and carries the nasty garbage away from our homes? Or to a teacher, earning 10% of the pay that military contractors AKA mercenaries earn? Of course , the real tragedy is when the Republicans, now under Trump and his super rich cabinet, peel away most of the regulations and safety net that the majority of his ‘Base’ need. It is tragic to see millions of Amerikan workers, continually screwed by Trump and Co.’s corporate pals, wearing those silly red hats as they  scream and yell in joy at his rallies. Why? Well, what has always been the only alternative, according to the empire’s rulebook, that some of Trump’s base can turn to is…A Carefully Scripted Election Campaign. “Don’t Step in the Tawanka!”

The ‘lesser of two evils’ Democrats. This is the party, the national party, that made sure that Bernie Sanders was sabotaged in 2016. They wanted Neo Con Miss Hillary to assume the mantle that Neo Con Obama carried for this empire, after having it passed to him by Neo Cons Junior Bush & Cheney, who received it from Neo Con Bill Clinton.

As is the case today, when Sanders has to face a slew of middle of the road presidential hopefuls, with just about all of them marginalizing his ideas. They want him OUT! Why? Even though Sanders waited until just recently to really go after one of the two major roots of our nation’s demise, the obscene military spending and militaristic mindset, he has always and relentlessly gone after the other one. For years Sanders has explained how the super rich are getting a free ride on the backs of we working stiffs, many of whom are part of Trump’s base. Sanders wants to tax them accordingly and stifle the bountiful profits the corporate megaliths are earning.

He wants the ‘less than 1%’ to pay more to help subsidize a comprehensive Medicare for All, and not the watered down versions many in his own party are seeking. Sanders understands that tens of millions of working stiffs cannot afford the housing prices that this predatory absentee landlord culture is billing them. When his newest plan to protect renters and create millions of government run affordable housing units was just announced, all the hacks in the embedded media sang the usual tune.

They, along with Sanders’ own party members, will sing ‘How can we afford it?’ Well, if only Sanders and anyone else with even half a conscience would answer: Tax the super rich and drastically cut the military spending! Why is it that you never hear, even from so called ‘Progressive Democrats, that over HALF of our federal  income tax revenues goes down that Pentagon created rabbit hole? Sanders occasionally  does ‘dance around’ that, but it is taboo most of the time. HIs compatriots, (excluding Ms. Gabbard), and Sanders himself play that stupid ‘Russia did it’ card along with vitriol for Socialist run Venezuela.

Sadly, there is no hope for us within this Two Party/One Party con. Yet, for the time being, as Noam Chomsky has said on many electoral cycles: “Hold your nose and vote out the Republicans!”

And then, once we can see the racist, white supremacist anti LBGT rhetoric off of the mainstream, we true Socialists can begin speaking truth to the Democrats we helped place into power. We will need to educate our neighbors, especially the youth of this nation, to focus on curtailing this empire , the super rich and the two parties they control.

Posted in USAComments Off on ‘It’s My Party….’

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