Archive | November 24th, 2019

Nazi regime imposes Palestine lockdown for Jewish New Year

A man carries a Palestinian flag as a reaction to demolition of some of Palestinian houses by Israel in Sur Baher town on the southeastern outskirts of East Jerusalem on August 02, 2019 [Wisam Hashlamoun / Anadolu Agency]

A man carries a Palestinian flag as a reaction to demolition of some of Palestinian houses by Nazi regime in Sur Baher town on the southeastern outskirts of the Palestinian Capital Jerusalem on August 02, 2019

Nazi regime sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for three days for the celebration of the Jewish new year.

Nazi military statement said all crossings between the Palestinian territories and ‘Israel’ will be closed and entry to the Nazi state.

During periods of closure, Palestinians are prevented from working in the Nazi state or accessing medical treatment.

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Why Edinburgh should twin with Gaza

Gaza-Edinburgh twinning campaign

Edina, sister-up with Gaza!

Joe Spailpeen writes:

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to ask a direct question of your country’s leader. I was lucky enough to get just that at an event in this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival. Following a chat between Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and Indian writer Arundhati Roy, the former opened up the discussion, inviting questions from the audience. My arm shot skywards, ready, primed to ask: “Given that Arthur Balfour hailed from East Lothian, near here, do you agree that the idea to twin Edinburgh with Gaza is a blessed initiative?” Who? What? A daft, silly question and waste of an opportunity you might think. But is it? 

Imagine someone came to your door and said that since their ancestors lived here 2,000 years ago, the house really belonged to them. One can guess the standard response were it a Scots door.

Imagine someone came to your door and said that since their ancestors lived here 2,000 years ago, the house really belonged to them. One can guess the standard response were it a Scots door. But the following day they come back with the police who say, yes, the law says they have a right to half your home. Imagine further that they invite all their family and friends from all over the world to come and live in your home and now, over 70 years later they occupy upwards of 80 per cent of the house. Would you call that a catastrophe? A Palestinian would, but he or she would give it in Arabic: Nakba.

But who has the time and energy to worry about Palestine? We’ve Brexit, possible extinction and Scotland’s latest fiasco attempt to qualify for a major football tournament on our collective plate. What’s more, Palestine is a dense topic. It’s one of those unfathomable, never-ending problems akin to solving a Rubik’s cube when severely colour-blind. Even those who support Palestinian rights can’t agree: one-state, two-state, blah blah. Fair enough. I can remember two teachers in a modern studies class at high school staging a debate, one as an Arab, the other an Israeli, that descended into a theatrical shouting match that ended with big Mr Hamilton banging his palm on the desk and storming out of the room. Highly entertaining, but what did we learn? 

Twinning with Gaza is not a solution but a very modest proposal for the people of Edinburgh… to concretely and positively affect the lives of people long in dire need of our help: the people of Gaza.

Presumably, the lesson was that this dispute has no solution agreeable to both sides and that, unfortunately, such troubles do exist in the world. In fact, that about sums up what we still learn about that part of the world as adults. Twinning with Gaza is not a solution but a very modest proposal for the people of Edinburgh, or any city for that matter, to concretely and positively affect the lives of people long in dire need of our help: the people of Gaza.

Today, what remains of Palestine is either under military occupation or as former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron characterised Gaza, “an open-air prison”. Two million people are crammed into a prison in one of the most densely populated regions of the Earth. Not an ideal context in which to raise children, but this particular prison is packed with one of the youngest populations on the planet; most Gazans are kids, 51 per cent of whom are under 18 years of age. 

According to the World Bank, Gaza has an economy that is 90 per cent dependent on government expenditure, UN and other external donations. Barely an economy at all. UN reports state that 95 per cent of the water there is not fit to drink and Gazan health professionals are on the verge of declaring an epidemic with the resultant rise in water-borne disease. Access to electricity is confined to just a few hours daily and some of these endless reports now debate over the point in the near future at which Gaza will actually become unlivable. Perhaps it would be better if, as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yitzhak Rabin put it, Gaza would just sink into the sea.

Seventy per cent of Gazans are also refugees. Refugees, as we know, are people who flee war and terror. Yet the people of Gaza have endured a series of “operations”, a handy euphemism for massacres, including that of children. From these, there is nowhere to flee – unless it is, of course, it is into the sea. 

… every capital city in the UK should at least “sister-up with Gaza”.

Peppe Pio

I remember while living in Italy some years ago, I met a saintly character called Peppe Pio. It was from Peppe I first learned of the Balfour Declaration, a public announcement issued by the British government declaring British support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine in 1917, then part of the Ottoman Empire. It effectively promised the support of the most powerful state on the globe at that time for a Jewish state on land where 90 per cent of its then population were non-Jews. And it was pioneered and bears the name of one Arthur Balfour – a Lothians man.

Peppe and I spoke a lot on these matters and he was unequivocal in his condemnation of Britain’s role in Palestine’s plight, and in arguing that every capital city in the UK should at least “sister-up with Gaza”, as he put it. 

On returning home to Auld Reekie earlier this year, I was both amazed and delighted to discover that such a campaign to twin Edinburgh with Gaza did in fact exist, that a small group of activists were trying to realise Peppe’s idea by collecting signatures on a petition to say sorry for Balfour and to sister-up with Gaza. Should I have been surprised? Many think of Edinburgh as a very snobbish city, a bastion of conservatism, but like all cities, there is more than one Edinburgh. Burns wrote:

Thy sons, Edina! social, kind,
With open arms the stranger hail;
Their views enlarged, their liberal mind,
Above the narrow, rural vale;
Attentive still to Sorrow’s wail,

Whether or not the city Rabbie described ever really existed, if you wanted to prove it accurate now and the city were to do that by choosing to twin with another municipality, where in the world should it choose? Whose cries of distress should it acknowledge? Looking around the planet today, there’s no lack of candidates which, campaigners tell me, is a stock response from some among the city’s elected officials – “we can’t twin with them all”. One even opined: “Why don’t we twin with Tel Aviv’? This from a Labour Party councillor. Where in the world today will you find people enduring what anthropologist Patrick Wolfe has called, “the logic of elimination” if not Gaza?

For me, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe got it right when he described the Edinburgh-Gaza twinning campaign as a “blessed initiative”. The choice of the word “blessed” is an interesting one. It can mean that something is holy or hallowed; what is more holy than helping those ignored and forgotten who suffer, Frantz Fanon’s, “The Wretched of the Earth?” As someone who writes beautifully and clearly on what she calls, “the physics of power”, Arundhati Roy knows well-enough whose boot is on whose neck in her understanding of historical and current relations of power in the region. And she certainly knows of the name Arthur Balfour. I can still remember the thrill I felt when I thrust my arm up to ask the question. In truth, I can think of no-one I’d rather be sitting next to the First Minister when I asked it.

“Blessed” can also be used to refer to something welcome or longed-for. In these divisive times, what could be more welcome than a proposal that brings people together, one-stater, two-stater; independista, unionist; Brexiteer and Remainer? It also means that something is approved or endorsed. The current mayor of Gaza supports it. Given that Glasgow is currently twinned with Bethlehem and Dundee with Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, why not our capital? And why not with Gaza?

Twinning, or sister cities, developed as a phenomenon following World War II to foster friendship and understanding among different cultures and between former foes. Could the twinning of Edinburgh with Gaza, though to an extent symbolic, not at least recognise and begin to take responsibility for the role played by a son of the former in the plight of the latter? Responsibility, as Canadian physician Dr Gabor Maté defines it, is not about blame or that you caused something but the ability to respond in the present moment to what’s happening. 

This response could provide practical assistance to a people under a brutal and illegal siege. Help with sewage, clean water and general infrastructure provision for instance. Young people in Gaza are turning to programming as a way to break their confinement; groups such as Gaza Sky Geeks offer a community with 50 per cent unemployment some economic option, for cyberspace is the only territory that Israel cannot sanction. And Edinburgh is a city that needs IT skills big-time, with most work presently going to India. 

There are also concrete examples of what can be achieved from Glasgow and Dundee; for instance, the latter’s donation of refitted fire engines by the city’s fire brigade union. There are Gazan students studying in university in these cities now who would not be there were it not for the initiative of these councils. The prospects too for educating the people of Edinburgh on the current and historical situation in Palestine would improve, including both the British and Scottish governments’ responses to that reality.

A former First Minister once spoke of an independent Scotland being a beacon of progressiveness. Independent or not, this act might prove an example that went beyond mere words, one which could spark other cities to follow suit. Would it be fair to say that the more cities that twinned with Gaza around the world, the more likely it would make those planning any future “operations” think again, possibly saving lives? And if not, might it not help ensure we are better informed of such actions if and when they do occur? Any reasonable person would have to say, yes. That alone might seem reason enough. In which case, someone has to be first, so why not Scotia’s darling seat?

In 2014, after much debate and discussion, Scotland was asked whether or not it wanted to be an independent country. A big part of the conversation then involved what kind of country it hoped to be. What values did it aspire to both domestically and internationally? It seems likely this national chat is to be rekindled. Whatever her direction of travel, in the UK or not, in the EU or not, who could reasonably object to Scotland’s capital twinning with Gaza? No boycott is even proposed, no divestment nor sanctions requested. Did the First Minister think it a good idea?

Sadly, I didn’t get to ask the question as Sturgeon didn’t pick me to ask one. Those assembled didn’t get to hear her or Arundhati’s response and no discussion was generated. In February 2020 however, Edinburgh city councillors will meet to discuss it. And with enough support, might declare to the world that Edina can indeed still hear and display solidarity with the people most egregiously impacted by this ‘greatest mistake in imperial British history’.

If you agree, please sign the petition here.

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NSA Gave ‘Israel’ Access to All US Citizens’ Communications Data, Leaked Documents Show

US also cooperated with helping Israelis conduct targeted assassinations against Hezbollah, no surprise there(RT)


Frustrated by a legal ban on sharing intelligence with Israeli operatives conducting targeted assassinations against Hezbollah, the NSA crafted a loophole giving them total access even to US citizens’ data, leaked documents show.

The Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU), the NSA’s counterpart in Tel Aviv, convinced the Americans to circumvent the legal prohibition on providing surveillance data for targeted assassinations during Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, according to the newest revelation from the archives obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Using the familiar rationale of “terrorism” to excuse cooperation they knew was illegal, the NSA and ISNU found a workaround using the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that provided the Israelis with all the intel they needed, according to an October 2006 article in the NSA’s internal publication.

To ISNU, this prohibition [on sharing data for targeted killings] was contrary not only to supporting Israel in its fight against Hizballah but overall, to support the US Global War on Terrorism,” said an article in SIDToday. 

Its author, whose name is redacted, details the “late-night, sometimes tense discussions” he had with ISNU officials who believed they deserved an exemption from the US prohibition on abetting targeted killings.

The documents don’t include details of what “arrangement” was eventually worked out with the ODNI, but the Israeli military used American data to lay waste to Lebanon’s civilian population, much like the tech-enhanced US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose kill-counts swelled with civilian victims after they received access to NSA targeting data.

Israel repeatedly, and in some cases egregiously, violated the laws of war,” Human Rights Watch reporter Nadim Houry told the Intercept, adding that the Israelis “engaged in indiscriminate aerial attacks” and cluster bombing against “civilian infrastructure that was not tied in any way to the armed conflict.”

This ‘strategy‘ had a name – the “Dahiyeh doctrine” – and Israeli officials admitted it was deliberate, but despite this brutality, they were unable to win the war. A leaked presentation about the NSA-ISNU relationship notes that “public confidence in IDF erodes” and “IDF image damaged” after the seemingly-outmatched Hezbollah fighters were able to keep the Israelis at bay. Nevertheless, the IDF was, according to the presentation, “Gearing up for Round II.

Apparently unsatisfied with the legal loophole the Americans had created for them, the Israelis sought and received full access to the NSA’s massive surveillance data troves after the war. A 2009 memorandum of understanding officially gave ISNU unrestricted access to the NSA’s raw intelligence data – including the phone and internet records of American citizens and citizens of third-party countries. Only American officials’ data was excluded, on an honor-system basis (with ISNU instructed to “destroy upon recognition” any records originating with a government official). Almost no strings were attached to this bonanza – the Israelis could even release the identities of Americans whose information had been scooped up in the dragnet, as long as they asked the NSA for permission first, and could pass the data on to anyone at all if the names were redacted.

While a leaked presentation calls ISNU “NSA’s most valued third party partner,” it also suggests there was “high anxiety” among the Israelis “heavily reliant” on NSA data for support. One slide reads “What Did ISNU Want? Everything!!!” and complaints about the Israelis’ “robust” spying on Americans crop up frequently in the Snowden archives. The NSA did not seem to mind, because the Israelis were very, very grateful for all the information.

Throughout all of my discussions – no matter what the tone or subject – ISNU stressed their deep gratitude for the cooperation and support they received from the NSA,” the SIDToday article reads.

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Nazi regime is silencing the last voices trying to stop abuses against Palestinians

Israel is silencing the last voices trying to stop abuses against Palestinians.

Israeli impunity
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

It has been a week of appalling abuses committed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank – little different from the other 2,670 weeks endured by Palestinians since the occupation began in 1967.

The difference this past week was that several entirely unexceptional human rights violations that had been caught on film went viral on social media.

One shows a Palestinian father in the West Bank city of Hebron leading his son by the hand to kindergarten. The pair are stopped by two heavily armed soldiers, there to help enforce the rule of a few hundred illegal Jewish settlers over the city’s Palestinian population.

The soldiers scream at the father, repeatedly and violently push him and then grab his throat as they accuse his small son of throwing stones. As the father tries to shield his son from the frightening confrontation, one soldier pulls out his rifle and sticks it in the father’s face.Video Player00:0000:46


It is a minor incident by the standards of Israel’s long-running belligerent occupation. But it powerfully symbolises the unpredictable, humiliating, terrifying and sometimes deadly experiences faced daily by millions of Palestinians.

A video of another such incident emerged last week. A Palestinian man is ordered to leave an area by an armed Israeli policewoman. He turns and walks slowly away, his hands in the air. Moments later she shoots a sponge-tipped bullet into his back. He falls to the ground, writhing in agony.

yishai porat@yishaiporat

הערב במהדורת השבת ב- @newsisrael13 נביא תיעוד בלעדי של אחד מלוחמי מג”ב מבצע ירי בכדור ספוג לעבר פלסטיני שלא מהווה סכנה וידיו באוויר

הפלסטיני שרצה להיכנס לישראל הורחק בידי לוחמי מג”ב ובעודו חוזר לשטחים נורה בגבו ללא כל סיבה ונפצע85017:57 – 2 Nov 2019Twitter Ads information and privacy867 people are talking about this

It is unclear whether the man was being used for target practice or simply for entertainment.

The reason such abuses are so commonplace is that they are almost never investigated – and even less often are those responsible punished.

It is not simply that Israeli soldiers become inured to the suffering they inflict on Palestinians daily. It is the soldiers’ very duty to crush the Palestinians’ will for freedom, to leave them utterly hopeless. That is what is required of an army policing a population permanently under occupation.

The message is only underscored by the impunity the soldiers enjoy. Whatever they do, they have the backing not only of their commanders but of the government and courts.

Just that point was underlined late last month. An unnamed Israeli army sniper was convicted of shooting dead a 14-year-old boy in Gaza last year. The Palestinian child had been participating in one of the weekly protests at the perimeter fence.

Such trials and convictions are a great rarity. Despite damning evidence showing that Uthman Hillis was shot in the chest with a live round while posing no threat, the court sentenced the sniper to the equivalent of a month’s community service.

In Israel’s warped scales of justice, the cost of a Palestinian child’s life amounts to no more than a month of extra kitchen duties for his killer.

But the overwhelming majority of the 220 Palestinian deaths at the Gaza fence over the past 20 months will never be investigated. Nor will the wounding of tens of thousands more Palestinians, many of them now permanently disabled.

There is an equally disturbing trend. The Israeli public have become so used to seeing YouTube videos of soldiers – their sons and daughters – abuse Palestinians that they now automatically come to the soldiers’ defence, however egregious the abuses.

The video of the father and son threatened in Hebron elicited few denunciations. Most Israelis rallied behind the soldiers. Amos Harel, a military analyst for the liberal Haaretz newspaper, observed that an “irreversible process” was under way among Israelis: “The soldiers are pure and any criticism of them is completely forbidden.”

When the Israeli state offers impunity to its soldiers, the only deterrence is the knowledge that such abuses are being monitored and recorded for posterity – and that one day these soldiers may face real accountability, in a trial for war crimes.

But Israel is working hard to shut down those doing the investigating – human rights groups.

For many years Israel has been denying United Nations monitors – including international law experts like Richard Falk and Michael Lynk – entry to the occupied territories in a blatant bid to stymie their human rights work.

Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW), headquartered in New York, also felt the backlash. The Israeli Supreme Court approved the deportation of Omar Shakir, its Israel-Palestine director.

Before his appointment by HRW, Shakir had called for a boycott of the businesses in illegal Jewish settlements. The judges accepted the state’s argument: he broke Israeli legislation that treats Israel and the settlements as indistinguishable and forbids support for any kind of boycott.

But Shakir rightly understands that the main reason Israel needs soldiers in the West Bank – and has kept them there oppressing Palestinians for more than half a century – is to protect settlers who were sent there in violation of international law.

The collective punishment of Palestinians, such as restrictions on movement and the theft of resources, was inevitable the moment Israel moved the first settlers into the West Bank. That is precisely why it is a war crime for a state to transfer its population into occupied territory.

But Shakir had no hope of a fair hearing. One of the three judges in his case, Noam Sohlberg, is himself just such a lawbreaker. He lives in Alon Shvut, a settlement near Hebron.

Israel’s treatment of Shakir is part of a pattern. In recent days other human rights groups have faced the brunt of Israel’s vindictiveness.

Laith Abu-Zeyad, a Palestinian field worker for Amnesty International, was recently issued a travel ban, denying him the right to attend a relative’s funeral in Jordan. Earlier he was refused the right to accompany his mother for chemotherapy in occupied East Jerusalem.

And last week Arif Daraghmeh, a Palestinian field worker for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, was seized at a checkpoint and questioned about his photographing of the army’s handling of Palestinian protests. Daraghmeh had to be taken to hospital after being forced to wait in the sun.

It is a sign of Israel’s overweening confidence in its own impunity that it so openly violates the rights of those whose job it is to monitor human rights.

Palestinians, meanwhile, are rapidly losing the very last voices prepared to stand up and defend them against the systematic abuses associated with Israel’s occupation. Unless reversed, the outcome is preordained: the rule of the settlers and soldiers will grow ever more ruthless, the repression ever more ugly.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi regime is silencing the last voices trying to stop abuses against Palestinians

God Save the Queen. The US Destruction of the British Empire

By Larry Romanoff

This is a little-known and never-discussed part of US history, but yet one of the major factors that propelled the US to its overwhelming manufacturing and economic supremacy after the Second World War. It involves the final destruction of the British Empire, for which no thinking person would have regrets, and also the conditions obtaining after the end of World War II. The First World War caused Britain to lose about 40% of its former Empire and wealth, and the Second World War completed this task, but not without the little-known predatory intercession of America.

During the Second War, Britain needed huge volumes of supplies of food, raw materials, manufactured goods, armaments and military hardware. But Britain’s factories were being destroyed by the war, and in any case lacked sufficient productive capacity. Britain also increasingly lacked money to pay for those goods, its solution being to purchase on credit from its colonies. Canada, India, Australia, South Africa, and many other nations supplied England with necessary goods and war materials, on promise of future payment. The plan was that after the War ended, Britain would repay these debts with manufactured goods which a rebuilt Britain would be able to supply. These debts were recorded in the then British currency of Pounds Sterling, and maintained on ledgers in the Bank of England, commonly referred to as “The Sterling Balances”.

After the Second War ended, the US was the world’s only major economy that had not been bombed to rubble, a nation with all its factories intact, and able to operate at full capacity producing almost everything the world needed. The US had enormous capacity to supply, but the many countries of the British Empire, whose economies were in sound condition and had money to pay, were refusing to buy from the US since they were waiting for the UK to rebuild and repay the outstanding debts with manufactured goods. The US government and corporations realised that this enormous market consisting of so many of the world’s nations, would remain closed to it for perhaps decades, that it would have little or no commercial success in any part of the former British Empire so long as those Sterling Balances remained on the ledgers in the Bank of England. And this is one place where the true nature of America comes into sharp focus, an incident which serves better than many to illustrate the story of American “fair play” and of the US creating “a level playing field”.

At the end of the war, Britain, physically devastated and financially bankrupt, lacked factories to produce goods for rebuilding, the materials to rebuild the factories or purchase the machines to fill them, or with the money to pay for any of it. Britain’s situation was so dire, the government sent the economist John Maynard Keynes with a delegation to the US to beg for financial assistance, claiming that Britain was facing a “financial Dunkirk”. The Americans were willing to do so, on one condition: They would supply Britain with the financing, goods and materials to rebuild itself, but dictated that Britain must first eliminate those Sterling Balances by repudiating all its debts to its colonies. The alternative was to receive neither assistance nor credit from the US. Britain, impoverished and in debt, with no natural resources and no credit or ability to pay, had little choice but to capitulate. And of course with all receivables cancelled and since the US could produce today, those colonial nations had no further reason for refusing manufactured goods from the US. The strategy was successful. By the time Britain rebuilt itself, the US had more or less captured all of Britain’s former colonial markets, and for some time after the war’s end the US was manufacturing more than 50% of everything produced in the world. And that was the end of the British Empire, and the beginning of the last stage of America’s rise.

Americans have been propagandised into believing that their country selflessly supported the European war effort, and generously planned and financed the entire rebuilding of all of war-ravaged Europe. Their heads are full of ‘lend-lease’, the “Marshall Plan” and much more. But here we have three silent truths: One is that the US assisted Europe and the UK primarily because it needed markets for its goods. US corporations found little purchasing power in the European nations that were now largely destroyed and bankrupt, and without these markets the US economy would also have crashed. It was commercial self-interest rather than compassion or charity that prompted the US financial assistance to the UK and Europe. All the US did was provide large-scale consumer financing for the products of its own corporations, with most of the ‘financing’ never leaving the US. The Marshall Plan was mostly a welfare program for American multinationals. The second truth is that Europe and England paid heavily for this financial assistance. It was only in 2006 that Britain finally paid the last installment on the loans made to it by the US in 1945. The third is that the post-war financing of Europe was not primarily for reconstruction but as the foundation for an overwhelming political control that has largely persisted to this day. Funds from the American’s vaunted Marshall Plan were spent more to finance Operation Gladio than European reconstruction.

As William Blum so well noted in one of his articles, the US was far more interested in sabotaging the political left in Europe than in reconstruction, and Marshall Plan funds were siphoned off to finance political victories for the far right, as well for the violent terrorist program known as Operation Gladio. He also correctly mentioned that the CIA skimmed off substantial amounts to fund covert journalism and propaganda, one of the conduits being the Ford Foundation. As well, the US exercised enormous economic and political restrictions on recipient countries as conditions for the receipt of funds, most being used to help re-entrench the European bankers and elites in their positions of economic and political power (after a war that they themselves instigated) rather than to assist in reconstruction. In the end, the Europeans could have done as well without this so-called ‘assistance’ from the US, and Europe would have been far better and more independent today had they refused the offer. The conviction of most Americans that their nation ‘rebuilt’ Europe is pure historical mythology created by propaganda and supported by ignorance.

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The New Cold War: Russia’s “Stealth Capable” 955 Borei-class Submarines. US-NATO’s Aegis Ashore Missile Defense

By Padraig McGrath

On October 29th, the Norwegian news-outlet NRK broke the story that between 8 and 10 Russian submarines, including Sierra II class submarines, had begun naval exercises in the North Atlantic. This is one of the largest Russian naval exercises focused on submarine-warfare since the end of the cold war. It is likely that one of the core purposes of this exercise is to test the stealth-capability of the Russian subs, and of NATO forces’ abilities to track them as they push through the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom gap (abbreviated “GUIK-gap”), a closely monitored strategic bottleneck. The Sierra II class sub has a titanium hull, enabling it to submerge to greater depths than steel-hulled submarines, and it is also much quieter than most other submarines.

In the event of a conflict, these submarines could be deployed to adopt a defensive posture, in order to protect Russian ports on the Barents Sea or Russia’s strategic holdings in the Arctic, or to threaten the American eastern seaboard. Since activating its 2nd Fleet, the US Navy has significantly increased patrols in the North Atlantic and in the area of the GUIK gap. The United States Navy also operates a detachment of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft out of the Keflavik base in Iceland.

The following day, October 30th, the Borei-A-class submarine Prince Vladimir test-fired the Bulava ballistic missile from the White Sea to a target in the Kura missile-range in Kamchatka. This is the first ever test of a Bulava missile. The Bulava has a range of about 8,000 kilometres, and each of its independently targeted warheads delivers a payload the equivalent of 150 kilotons of TNT.

Northern Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev stated that the submarine Prince Vladimir is completing its state trials this year, during which all its armaments will be tested, before it is scheduled to enter service in December. The submarine will be operational in the Northern Fleet.

So far, the Sevmash shipyard has delivered 3 Borei-class submarines to the Russian navy, serving in the Northern and Pacific Fleets, with 4 more Project 955 Borei-class submarines under construction. Project 955 Borei-class submarines are designed for improved acoustic stealth, and each of them will carry 16 RSM-56 Bulava missiles as standard, with each missile carrying between 4 and 6 nuclear warheads.Bid for naval dominance: Russia significantly boosts nuclear fleet

The day after that, October 31st, President Putin was in Kaliningrad, inspecting the Yantar naval shipyard and the corvette “Gremyashchy,” launched in 2017.

In addition, 5 tests of the MIRV-equipped RS-28 Sarmat missile are planned for early 2020, with the Sarmat scheduled to enter service in 2021. This intercontinental ballistic missile is reportedly equipped with multiple hypersonic MIRV’s (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles), designed to evade missile defense systems. According to Russian government sources, the Sarmat can carry up to 15 warheads, has a range of 10,000 kilometres, and is capable of destroying an area the size of Texas.

All of this has been necessitated by the Aegis Ashore missile defence system, operated by the United States in Poland and Romania. However, let’s set the intercontinental ballistic missile issue aside for the purpose of our discussion here, and focus on the submarine issue, which is an underemphasized aspect of very many geo-strategic bones of contention.

This hardly needs to be explained with regard to Crimea – losing the naval base in Sevastopol would have been detrimental to Russian geo-strategic interests. At present, there is still a standing agreement between Russia and the western alliance that no submarines carrying nuclear weapons are deployed in the Black Sea.

From Crimea, let’s move on to Syria. Tartus is a small base, used by the Russian navy primary for provisioning, but it would suddenly become a radically more valuable strategic asset in the Mediterranean if the Bosphorus were ever blockaded. The western alliance had many, many reasons for prosecuting its proxy-war in Syria, and Tartus is certainly not the first item in that long list, but it is nonetheless one reason among many. The question arises as to what responses might be provoked from the United States if the Russian Defence Ministry ever decided to expand the Tartus base’s operational capabilities. Even if the defence ministry’s military planners were imprudent enough to consider such a move, President Assad would be unlikely to consent, given the resulting risk of re-igniting the Syrian conflict.

One of the problems common to many of the Russian navy’s most strategically important bases is the narrow sea-corridors to which they have access. Submarine-hunting is easier in small and easily monitored bodies of water such as the Baltic (Kaliningrad), the Black Sea (Sevastopol) and the Sea of Japan (Vladivostok). Even the Mediterranean is not expansive enough to allow Russian subs to disappear. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Russian Defence Ministry is commissioning considerable numbers of new generation, stealthier subs in response to the Aegis game-changer.

This also makes the Northern Fleet in Murmansk particularly key to the effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, with no American fleet in immediate proximity. Furthermore, the point cannot be over-emphasized that with 17 million square kilometres of resource-rich territory but a population-density of only 8 persons per square kilometre, maintaining the effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear deterrent is an existential necessity.

In this regard, the strategic role of the Aegis Ashore missile defence system deployed by the United States in central Europe is essentially aggressive. There are many economic and geo-political factors feeding into the current lamentable state of Russia’s relationship with its western partners. However, it is very highly arguable that the deployment of Aegis Ashore in central Europe is singularly the biggest driver of the current geo-political and geo-strategic impasse, and consequently also the most influential driver of new Russian weapons-development.

Posted in USA, Campaigns, RussiaComments Off on The New Cold War: Russia’s “Stealth Capable” 955 Borei-class Submarines. US-NATO’s Aegis Ashore Missile Defense

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II

When America and the Soviet Union Were Allies

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

To read this article in other versions, click: French, German, and Russian.

First published November 4, 2017. Revisions to the English Text, December 10, 2017

On March 1st, 2018 president Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of advanced military technologies in response to renewed US threats to wipe the Russian Federation off the Map, as contained in Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

It should be understood that these US nuclear threats directed against Russia predate the Cold War. They were first formulated  at the height of World War II under the Manhattan Project when the US and the Soviet Union were allies. 

***

According to a secret document datedSeptember 15, 1945, “the Pentagon had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union  with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas.

All major cities of the Soviet Union were included in the list of 66 “strategic” targets. The tables below categorize each city in terms of area in square miles and the corresponding number of atomic bombs required to annihilate and kill the inhabitants of selected urban areas.

Six atomic bombs were to be used to destroy each of the larger cities including Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa.

The Pentagon estimated that a total of 204 atomic bombs would be required to “Wipe the Soviet Union off the Map”. The targets for a nuclear attack consisted of sixty-six major cities.

To undertake this operation the “optimum” number of bombs required was of the order of 466 (see document below)

One single atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima resulted in the immediate death of 100,000 people in the first seven seconds. Imagine what would have happened if 204 atomic bombs had been dropped on major cities of the Soviet Union as outlined in a secret U.S. plan formulated during the Second World War.

Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bomb attack, 6 August 1945

The document outlining this diabolical military agenda had been released in September 1945, barely one month after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August, 1945) and two years before the onset of the Cold War (1947).

Video produced by South Front

The secret plan dated September 15, 1945 (two weeks after the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, see image below) , however, had been formulated at an earlier period, namely at the height of World War II,  at a time when America and the Soviet Union were close allies.

It is worth noting that Stalin was first informed through official channels by Harry Truman of the infamous Manhattan Project at the Potsdam Conference on July 24, 1945, barely two weeks before the attack on Hiroshima.

The Manhattan project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II in December 1941. The Kremlin was fully aware of the secret Manhattan project as early as 1942.

Were the August 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks used by the Pentagon to evaluate the viability of  a much larger attack on the Soviet Union consisting of more than 204 atomic bombs? The key documents to bomb 66 cities of the Soviet Union (15 September 1945) were finalized 5-6 weeks after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings (6, 9 August 1945):

“On September 15, 1945 — just under two weeks after the formal surrender of Japan and the end of World War II — Norstad sent a copy of the estimate to General Leslie Groves, still the head of the Manhattan Project, and the guy who, for the short term anyway, would be in charge of producing whatever bombs the USAAF might want. As you might guess, the classification on this document was high: “TOP SECRET LIMITED,” which was about as high as it went during World War II. (Alex Wellerstein, The First Atomic Stockpile Requirements (September 1945)

The Kremlin was aware of the 1945 plan to bomb sixty-six Soviet cities.

The documents confirm that the US was involved in the “planning of genocide” against the Soviet Union.

Let’s cut to the chase. How many bombs did the USAAF request of the atomic general, when there were maybe one, maybe two bombs worth of fissile material on hand? At a minimum they wanted 123. Ideally, they’d like 466. This is just a little over a month after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Of course, in true bureaucratic fashion, they provided a handy-dandy chart (Alex Wellerstein, op. cit)

http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1945-Atomic-Bomb-Production.pdf

Pentagon Plans to Destroy Dozens of Soviet Cities and the So-called Cold War

The Nuclear Arms Race

Central to our understanding of the Cold War which started (officially) in 1947, Washington’s September 1945 plan to bomb 66 cities into smithereens played a key role in triggering the nuclear arms race.

The Soviet Union was threatened and developed its own atomic bomb in 1949 in response to 1942 Soviet intelligence reports on the Manhattan Project.

While the Kremlin knew about these plans to “Wipe out” the USSR, the broader public was not informed because the September 1945 documents were of course classified.

Today, neither the September 1945 plan to blow up the Soviet Union nor the underlying cause of the nuclear arms race are acknowledged. The Western media has largely focussed its attention on the Cold War US-USSR confrontation. The plan to annihilate the Soviet Union dating back to World War II and the infamous Manhattan project are not mentioned.

Washington’s Cold War nuclear plans are invariably presented in response to so-called Soviet threats, when in fact it was the U.S. plan released in September 1945 (formulated at an earlier period at the height of World War II) to wipe out the Soviet which motivated Moscow to develop its nuclear weapons capabilities.

The assessment of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists mistakenly blamed and continue to blame the Soviet Union for having launched the nuclear arms race in 1949, four years after the release of the September 1945 US Secret Plan to target 66 major Soviet cities with 204 nuclear bombs:

“1949: The Soviet Union denies it, but in the fall, President Harry Truman tells the American public that the Soviets tested their first nuclear device, officially starting the arms race. “We do not advise Americans that doomsday is near and that they can expect atomic bombs to start falling on their heads a month or year from now,” the Bulletin explains. “But we think they have reason to be deeply alarmed and to be prepared for grave decisions.” (Timeline of the Doomsday Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2017)

IMPORTANT: Had the US decided NOT to develop nuclear weapons for use against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place. 

Neither The Soviet Union nor the People’s Republic of China would have developed nuclear capabilities as a means of “Deterrence” agains the US which had already formulated plans to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union lost 26 million people during World War II.

The Cold War List of 1200 Targeted Cities: 

This initial 1945 list of sixty-six cities was updated in the course of the Cold War (1956) to include some 1200 cities in the USSR and the Soviet block countries of Eastern Europe (see declassified documents below). The bombs slated for use were more powerful in terms of explosive capacity than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Source: National Security Archive

“According to the 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. Major Cities in the Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

Source: National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2015 – The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors,  their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout.  Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw.  Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015

List of Cities

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive, op. cit.

From the Cold War to Donald Trump

In the post Cold War era, under Donald Trump’s “Fire and Fury”, nuclear war directed against Russia, China, North Korea and Iran is “On the Table”.

What distinguishes the October 1962 Missile Crisis to Today’s realities:

1. Today’s president Donald Trump does not have the foggiest idea as to the consequences of nuclear war.

2, Communication today between the White House and the Kremlin is at an all time low. In contrast, in October 1962, the leaders on both sides, namely John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev were accutely aware of the dangers of nuclear annihilation. They collaborated with a view to avoiding the unthinkable.

3. The nuclear doctrine was entirely different during the Cold War. Both Washington and Moscow understood the realities of mutually assured destruction. Today, tactical nuclear weapons with an explosive capacity (yield) of one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb are categorized by the Pentagon as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

4.  A one trillion ++ nuclear weapons program, first launched under Obama, is ongoing.

5. Today’s thermonuclear bombs are more than 100 times more powerful and destructive than a Hiroshima bomb. Both the US and Russia have several thousand nuclear weapons deployed.

Moreover, an all war against China is currently on the drawing board of the Pentagon as outlined by a RAND Corporation Report commissioned by the US Army  

“Fire and Fury”, From Truman to Trump: U.S Foreign Policy Insanity

There is a long history of US political insanity geared towards providing a human face to U.S. crimes against humanity.

Truman globalresearch.ca

On August 9, 1945, on the day the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, president Truman (image right), in a radio address to the American people, concluded that God is on the side of America with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and that

He May guide us to use it [atomic bomb] in His ways and His purposes”. 

According to Truman: God is with us, he will decide if and when to use the bomb:

[We must] prepare plans for the future control of this bomb. I shall ask the Congress to cooperate to the end that its production and use be controlled, and that its power be made an overwhelming influence towards world peace.

We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

We thank God that it [nuclear weapons] has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in His ways and for His purposes” (emphasis added)

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Is Corbyn a Socialist and Does It (No Longer) Matter if He Isn’t?

Is this our last chance before the darkness falls?

By William Bowles

This is probably the most difficult piece I’ve ever had to write, at least about the Labour Party. My feelings about Corbyn and the Labour Party are on record, hereherehere and here, to name a few. The Labour Party is a party of Imperialism and always has been since its inception, well over a century ago. Even its high point in 1945, with the creation of the welfare state, occurred through pressure from below and just as today, capitalism was bankrupt and in crisis. The Labour government, in return for the Welfare state, saved capitalism from revolution (or collapse). The gains made during that critical period following WWII lasted about thirty years before the lords of capital started taking back what ‘we’ had tried to take from them and by 1975 we were clearly not equipped to resist. In part, the Labour Party was directly responsible, in fact it was party to the attacks on the Welfare state and the working class.

But is this election different? Can we expect a Corbyn-led government to turn back the tide? Can we even expect an attempt at turning back the tide? Frankly, I don’t think we have much choice, after all, what else is there? The left, such as it is, is bankrupt and devoid of revolutionary ideas so the Labour Party, at this critical juncture, is all we have.

Does Corbyn have a socialist programme? Of course not. At best it’s a rehash of 1945 but minus most of the reformist stuff, so the same old social democracy then, the one that was effectively neutralised ages ago. But desperate times require desperate measures.

The question is, if by some chance we do get a Labour government on December 13, what kind of government will it be? What kind of space will Corbyn and his (not very reliable) team be able to carve out of our rank neoliberal, Victorian times? In a word, what are we voting for and what are the chances of getting any of Corbyn’s diluted reforms, carried through?

If Labour’s 2017 election manifesto is anything to go by (not the leaked, draft manifesto), then we may see some minor changes for example, ending zero hours contracts and maybe a rollback of some of the NHS privatisation. But the real question to ask is whether even these limited reforms will be possible in the current climate? The hysterical climate of fear that’s been created about Corbyn’s alleged views on pretty much everything he touches now or has in the past, makes it virtually impossible for a Corbyn-led government to function as it would want to.

Of course, the first hurdle would be the size of the Labour majority. To be potentially effective, it will have to be able to survive alliances in opposition and given the politics of the Lib-Dems, the Greens and the SNP, anything is possible, especially getting stabbed in the back.

Politics, such as it is, is so poisonous, so corrupt and driven by personal ambition and sheer greed for power and/or money, that frankly, will it make any difference to most of us which party gets elected? Well that’s the hope isn’t it, that Corbyn will attempt at least to reverse or ameliorate the worst of the neoliberal destruction of the gains made since 1945. That’s what inspired so many to support Corbyn and put an end to this reactionary attack on the working class and the gains that have been made.

All of my lefty/liberal friends are desperate for a Labour victory, the thought of more Bojo and the backward and reactionary Tories is more than they can bear and who can argue with that!

Capitalism is in crisis, a crisis like no other, compounded by the environmental catastrophe that capitalism has unleashed on our planet. So you would think that extraordinary times would demand extraordinary measures.Why I Defend Jeremy Corbyn but Don’t Support Him

So where does the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn sit in all this mess? In a way, they’re all of a kind. Everyone is in denial about something. Corbyn’s earnestness, his sincerity in the face of the atrocious red-baiting and slander he has put up with contrasts with the ‘cosiness’ of Extinction Rebellion and the almost masochistic enjoyment in how it deals with the arrests of its members. In contrast, Corbyn turns the other cheek whenever these slanderous lies are hurled at him.

In the name of maintaining “party unity” with the Blairites, he has presided over the NEC’s expulsion of Livingstone, Jacqui Walker and Marc Wadsworth. Just last week, while Corbyn stayed silent, Chris Williamson was told by the party’s pro-Corbyn NEC that he would not be able to stand as an MP in his Derby North constituency. Williamson, like Sultana, had merely pointed out that the anti-Semitism campaign is “proxy wars and bullshit”—the “weaponisation of antisemitism for political ends.” – ‘Corbyn refuses to fight ramped-up bogus “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt’, WSWS, 12 November 2019

Are we to ignore Corbyn’s vacillations simply in order to get Labour elected? It’s the lack of response by Corbyn over the witch hunt against him and other anti-Zionists that raises questions about Corbyn’s ability, once in power, to pursue the agenda that has made him so popular. Many who support Corbyn, will no doubt put these questions to one side, just as Corbyn, in pursuit of ‘party unity’, ignores the Israeli-funded attacks made on him but frankly, it doesn’t give me much confidence in Corbyn’s ability to ‘stay the course’ once elected.

We live, or try to, by rules that no longer apply. Labour’s nostalgia about 1945 exemplifies the paradox. And it’s arguable that the left as whole, lives by rules that probably have never applied. Much is wishful thinking and wishful thinking, just like moralising, will get us nowhere.

Somehow, thinking about who (or what) to vote for on December 12, seems ludicrous, yet just as with the totally unnecessary Brexit Referendum, ludicrous votes do serve a purpose, of a sort anyway. They give us the illusion of control over events, when it’s obvious that the opposite prevails. We are neither informed nor equipped with the necessary knowledge or skills to do much of anything, let alone possess the political will to see things through.

But in spite of this, you would think that choosing between Corbyn and Johnson would be a no-brainer for any decent, progressive person, and you would be correct. Clearly, if you put Corbyn next to Johnson it’s obviously a no-brainer except of course (I think I said this in 2017), you’re not voting for Corbyn, you’re voting for the Labour Party. It’s a Labour Party that’s divided between its base and its superstructure. In reality, there are two Labour Parties and it’s a bit of irony that the superstructure, the Parliamentary Party and the Party’s bureaucracy are firmly a part of the political class that runs (or pretends to) the country but it’s supported by the base, the Constituency Party and its tens of thousands of members, and these two entities couldn’t be further apart.

So really the question a would-be Labour voter needs to ask is what to expect from a Labour government with Corbyn at its (titular) head but in reality, run by the same old political elite? What could we expect it to do when confronted with for example, some of the quite radical proposals passed at the Labour Party conference in September?

The Grassroots

It was obvious, to me at least, that Corbyn’s best bet for moving the Labour Party to the left and away from its Blairite, neoliberal reality, was to mobilise the tens of thousands that grassroots organising had brought onboard with Corbyn as its figurehead. After all, the Labour Party was suddenly the biggest political party in Europe! But it created a dilemma for the Labour Party bureaucracy and the majority of the PLP. Mobilising the Constituency Labour Parties would have created a mass base with which to challenge the power of the bureaucracy and the PLP. But this never happened. Instead, the Right mounted a disinformation campaign using the ‘anti-semitism’ tag (amongst others, notably the ‘unelectable’ tag), to vilify and marginalise Corbyn and others on the left of the Labour Party in the eyes of the public. How successful the campaign has been will no doubt be revealed come election time.

The second objective should have been to dump the right-wing MPs by changing the selection rules for candidates but again, this wasn’t done either. The Blairites maintained their control of Parliamentary Party and the Party’s bureaucracy. They write (and therefore enforce) the rules.

Then came the coup de grace, Momentum, a key tool for reaching the marginalised and the young who never voted, and primarily the work of John Lansman, Corbyn’s former election agent, was taken ‘in-house’. No longer could it reach out to potential supporters unless you first joined the Labour Party. The key tool that mobilised the thousands who joined the Labour Party was effectively sidelined. The centre reasserted control.

Yet what choice do I have? The alternative is to abstain as there’s no other party worth voting for as far as I’m concerned. So assuming a Labour victory, what are the chances of a grassroots mobilisation bringing pressure to bear on a Labour government to enact even a few of the policies voted for at the Labour Party conference?

Back in 2017 in a piece I wrote about the then snap general election, I quoted from a piece on the WSWS Website which highlighted the contradictions between what Corbyn wanted as laid out in his draft manifesto and what the final, published manifesto stated. By the time the real power in the bureaucracy had finished ‘editing’ Corbyn’s draft, very little was left of the original. Opposition to Austerity had been watered down to some reforms but leaving the body of Austerity in place. So too with Corbyn’s opposition to Trident nuclear weapons and his ‘reluctance’ to start a nuclear conflagration.

I’m minded to say, this time, so what? Yes, the arguments WSWS presents are true, the Labour Party is an imperialist party but can Corbyn, if supported by a grassroots movement, move beyond its imperialist past and its Blairite present? Is the situation so dire that Corbyn, aka the Labour Party is all we have got and we’ll just have to make the best of a bad bunch?

Maybe it’s the last chance we have to halt the headlong rush into barbarism but only if we mobilise the masses of Corbyn supporters, which of course, if successful, runs the risk of splitting the Labour Party in two which, just like the Conservative Party, has passed its sell-by date and splitting the Labour Party could be the best thing we’ll ever do for British politics.

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Is the Middle East Beginning a Self-Correction?

By Alastair Crooke

“Two years, three years, five years’ maximum from now, you will not recognize the same Middle East”, says the former Egyptian FM, Arab League Secretary General and Presidential Candidate, Amr Moussa, in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Mousa made some unexpected points, beyond warning of major change ahead (“the thing now is that the simple Arab man follows everything” – all the events). And in reference to the protests in Iraq, Moussa says that Iraq is in “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis — emphasizing that “the discord between Sunni and Shia is about to fade away.”

The present regional turbulence, he suggests, is [essentially] a reaction to the US playing the sectarian card – manipulating “the issues of sect and religion, et cetera, was not only a dangerous, but a sinister kind of policy”. He added however, “I don’t say that it will happen tomorrow, but [the discord between Sunnis and the Shi’a fading away], will certainly happen in the foreseeable future, which will reflect on Lebanon too.”

What we are witnessing in Iraq and Lebanon, he adds,

“are these things correcting themselves. It will take time, but they will correct themselves. Iraq is a big country in the region, no less than Iran, no less than Turkey. Iraq is a country to reckon with. I don’t know whether this was the reason why it had to be destroyed. Could be. But there are forces in Iraq that are being rebuilt … Iraq will come back. And this phase – what we see today, perhaps this is the — what can I say? A preparatory stage?”

Of course, these comments – coming from a leading Establishment Sunni figure – will appear stunningly counter-intuitive to those living outside the region, where the MSM narrative – from Colombia to Gulf States – is that the current protests are sectarian, and directed predominantly at Hizbullah and Iran. Certainly there is a thread of iconoclasm to this global ‘Age of Anger’, targeting all leaderships, everywhere. In these tempestuous times, of course, the world reads into events what it hopes and expects to see. Moussa calls such sectarian ‘framing’ both dangerous and “sinister”.

But look rather, at the core issue on which practically all Lebanese demonstrators concur: It is that the cast-iron sectarian ‘cage’ (decreed initially by France, and subsequently ‘corrected’ by Saudi Arabia at Taif, to shift economic power into the hands of the Sunnis), is the root cause to the institutionalised, semi-hereditary corruption and mal-governance that has infected Lebanon.

Is this not precisely articulated in the demand for a ‘technocratic government’ – that is to say in the demand for the ousting of all these hereditary sectarian Zaim in a non-sectarian articulation of national interests. Of course, being Lebanon, one tribe will always be keener for one, rather than another, sectarian leader to be cast as villain to the piece. The reality is, however, that technocratic government exactly is a break from Taif – even if the next PM is nominally Sunni (but yet not partisan Sunni)?

And just for clarity’s sake: An end to the compartmentalised sectarian constitution is in Hizbullah’s interest. The Shi’i – the largest minority in Lebanon – were always given the smallest slice of the national cake, under the sectarian divide.The US Is Pushing Lebanon into the Arms of Iran and Russia: US Sanctions Affect the Local Economy

What is driving this sudden focus on ‘the flawed system’ in Lebanon – more plausibly – is simply, hard reality. Most Lebanese understand that they no longer possess a functional economy. Its erstwhile ‘business model’ is bust.

Lebanon used to have real exports – agricultural produce exported to Syria and Iraq, but that avenue was closed by the war in Syria. Lebanon’s (legal) exports today effectively are ‘zilch’, but it imports hugely (thanks to having an artificially high Lebanese pound). All this – i.e. the resulting trade, and government budget deficit – used to be balanced out by the large inward flow of dollars.

Inward remittances from the 8 – 9 million Lebanese living overseas was one key part – and dollar deposits arriving in Lebanon’s once ‘safe-haven’ banking system was the other. But that ‘business model’ effectively is bust. The remittances have been fading for years, and the Banking system has the US Treasury crawling all over it (looking for sanctionable Hizbullah accounts).

Which brings us back to that other key point made by Moussa, namely, that the Iraqi disturbances are, in his view, “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis … and that will reflect on Lebanon too”.

If the ‘model’ – either economically or politically – is systemically bust, then tinkering will not do. A new direction is required.

Look at it this way: Sayyed Nasrallah has noted in recent days that other alternatives for Lebanon to a US alignment are possible, but have not yet consolidated into a definitive alternative. That option, in essence, is to ‘look East’: to Russia and China.

It makes sense: At one level, an arrangement with Moscow might untie a number of ‘knots’: It could lead to a re-opening of trade, through Syria, into Iraq for Lebanon’s agricultural produce; it could lead to a return of Syrian refugees out from Lebanon, back to their homes; China could shoulder the Economic Development plan, at a fraction of its projected $20 billion cost – and, above all it could avoid the ‘poison pill’ of a wholesale privatisation of Lebanese state assets on which the French are insisting. In the longer term, Lebanon could participate in the trade and ‘energy corridor’ plans that Russia and China have in mind for the norther tier of the Middle East and Turkey. At least, this alternative seems to offer a real ‘vision’ for the future. Of course, America is threatening Lebanon with horrible consequences – for even thinking of ‘looking East’.

On the other hand, at a donors’ conference at Paris in April, donors pledged to give Lebanon $11bn in loans and grants – but only if it implements certain ‘reforms’. The conditions include a commitment to direct $7 bn towards privatising government assets and state property – as well as austerity measures such as raising taxes, cutting public sector wages and reducing social services.

Great! But how will this correct Lebanon’s broken ‘business model’? Answer: It would not. Devaluation of the Lebanese pound (almost inevitable, and implying big price rises) and further austerity will not either make Lebanon again a financial safe-haven, nor boost income from remittances. It is the classic misery recipe, and one which leaves Lebanon in the hands of external creditors.

Paris has taken on the role of advancing this austerity agenda by emphasising that only a cabinet acceptable to the creditors will do, to release crucial funds. It seems that France believes that it is sufficient to introduce reforms, impose the rule of law and build the institutions – in order to Gulliverise Hizbullah. This premise of US or Israeli acquiescence to this Gulliverisation plan – seems questionable.

The issue for Aoun must be the potential costs that the US might impose – extending even to the possible exclusion of Lebanese banks from the dollar clearing system (i.e. the infamous US Treasury neutron bomb). Washington is intent more on pushing Lebanon to the financial brink, as hostage to its (i.e. Israel’s) demand that Hizbullah be disarmed, and its missiles destroyed. It might misjudge, however, and send Lebanon over the brink into the abyss.

But President Aoun, or any new government, cannot disarm Hizbullah. But Israel’s newly ambiguous strategic situation (post – Abqaiq), will likely hike the pressures on Lebanon to act against Hizbullah, through one means or another. Were Aoun or his government to try to mitigate the US pressures through acquiescence to the ‘reform’ package, would that be the end to it? Where would it all end, for Lebanon?

And it is a similar conundrum in Iraq: The economic situation though, is quite different. Iraq has one-fifth of the population of neighbouring Iran, but five times the daily oil sales. Yet the infrastructure of its cities, following the two wars, is still a picture of ruination and poverty. The wealth of Iraq is stolen, and sits in bank accounts abroad. In Iraq, it is primarily the political model that is bust, and needs to be re-cast.

Is this Moussa’s point – that Iraq presently is in the preparatory stage of choosing a new path ahead? He describes it as a self-correcting process leading out from the fissures of sectarianism. Conventional Washington thinking however, is that Iran seeks only a Shi’i hegemony for Iraq. But that is a misreading: Iran’s policy is much more nuanced. It is not some sectarian hegemony that is its objective, but the more limited aim to have the strategic edge across the region – in an amorphous, ambiguous, and not easily defined way – so that a fully sovereign Iraq becomes able to push-back against Israel and the US – deniably, and well short of all-out war.

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NYT’s “Leaked” Chinese Files Story Covers for Terrorism

By Tony Cartalucci

The New York Times has once again exposed itself as an organ of US special interests operating under the guise of journalism – contributing to Wall Street and Washington’s ongoing and escalating hybrid war with China with a particularly underhanded piece of war propaganda.

Its article, “‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims,” at face value attempts to bolster allegations made primarily by the United States that China is organizing unwarranted and oppressive “mass detentions” of “Muslims” in China’s western region of Xinjiang.

But just by investigating the quote in the headline alone reveals both the truth behind what is really happening in Xinjiang, why Beijing has reacted the way it has, and that the United States, including its mass media – is deliberately lying about it.

Ten paragraphs into the NYT article, the quote “absolutely no mercy” appears again – only this time it is placed within proper context. It was the response Beijing vowed in the aftermath of a coordinated terrorist attack in 2014 that left 31 people dead at China’s Kunming rail station.

NYT

Source: NEO

The NYT would write (emphasis added):

President Xi Jinping, the party chief, laid the groundwork for the crackdown in a series of speeches delivered in private to officials during and after a visit to Xinjiang in April 2014, just weeks after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people at a train station, killing 31. Mr. Xi called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy.”

The NYT – which has actively and eagerly promoted every US war in living memory – would unlikely flinch at the notion of the US showing “absolutely no mercy” against “terrorism, infiltration, and separatist,” yet it demonstrates a particular adversion to it in regards to Beijing just as the prominent newspaper has done regarding Syria and its now 8 year struggle against foreign-funded terrorism.

Despite claiming to have “400 pages of internal Chinese documents” – the most damning allegations made by Washington and indeed the NYT itself – are still left unsubstantiated.

This includes claims that “authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.”  No where in the NYT article is evidence derived from these documents to substantiate that claim.

Dubious Origins 

Like much of what the US media holds up as “evidence” to bolster establishment narratives – the “leaked files” come with it doubts over their provenance, translation, and the context and manner in which they are being presented to the public. There are also the lies of omission deliberately presented by the NYT and others covering this recent “leak” that need to be considered.

The NYT itself admits (emphasis added):

Though it is unclear how the documents were gathered and selected, the leak suggests greater discontent inside the party apparatus over the crackdown than previously known. The papers were brought to light by a member of the Chinese political establishment who requested anonymity and expressed hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping culpability for the mass detentions.

Regardless – nothing appearing in the NYT article is actually a revelation of any kind. China has made its policies clear regarding terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang. Like every other nation on Earth – China refuses to tolerate violent terrorism and the extremist ideology used to drive it. These policies – when presented out of context as the NYT has deliberately done – appear heavy-handed, oppressive, unwarranted, and authoritarian.

If presented together with the very real violence, terrorism, and foreign-sponsored separatism emanating from Xinjiang – the policies take on an entirely different and understanble light.

Terrorism in Xinjiang is Real, But Omitted When Reporting Beijing’s Counter-terrorism Efforts

The Western corporate media itself has even repeatedly covered deadly terrorism carried out by a minority of extremists among China’s Uyghur population. However – they do so in the most ambiguous way possible – and refuse to mention it when subsequently covering Beijing’s attempts to counter it.

For example, CNN in a 2014 article titled, “China train station killings described as a terrorist attack,” would report:

A day after men armed with long knives stormed a railway station in the southwest Chinese city of Kunming, killing dozens of people and wounding more than 100, authorities described what happened as a premeditated terrorist attack. 

The article also admits that Xinjiang is beset with “frequent outbreaks of violence,” in reference to waves of violent terrorism carried out by Uyghur separatists, but falls far short of qualifying just how bad this violence has been.

The BBC would extensively elaborate on what CNN meant by “frequent outbreaks of violence” in a 2014 article titled, “Why is there tension between China and the Uighurs?,” reporting that (emphasis added):

In June 2012, six Uighurs reportedly tried to hijack a plane from Hotan to Urumqi before they were overpowered by passengers and crew. 

There was bloodshed in April 2013 and in June that year, 27 people died in Shanshan county after police opened fire on what state media described as a mob armed with knives attacking local government buildings

At least 31 people were killed and more than 90 suffered injuries in May 2014 when two cars crashed through an Urumqi market and explosives were tossed into the crowd. China called it a “violent terrorist incident”. 

It followed a bomb and knife attack at Urumqi’s south railway station in April, which killed three and injured 79 others. 

In July, authorities said a knife-wielding gang attacked a police station and government offices in Yarkant, leaving 96 dead. The imam of China’s largest mosque, Jume Tahir, was stabbed to death days later. 

In September about 50 died in blasts in Luntai county outside police stations, a market and a shop. Details of both incidents are unclear and activists have contested some accounts of incidents in state media.

Some violence has also spilled out of Xinjiang. A March stabbing spree in Kunming in Yunnan province that killed 29 people was blamed on Xinjiang separatists, as was an October 2013 incident where a car ploughed into a crowd and burst into flames in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

While the NYT also references deadly terrorism in Xinjiang – it does so in a muted, secondary fashion, attempting to decouple it from Beijing’s motivations for pursuing policies with “absolutely no mercy” in response.

One need not imagine what would follow if such violence took place on US or European soil or the polices demonstrating “absolutely no mercy” that would undoubtedly follow not only domestically, but across the globe against nations perceived – or claimed – to have been involved.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington D.C. precipitated a now 20 year long “War on Terror” which has evolved into multiple ongoing wars, military occupations, and covert operations across scores of nations. The US Department of Defense’s own newspaper, Stars and Stripes, in a recent article titled, “Post 9/11 wars have cost American taxpayers $6.4 trillion, study finds,” would admit (emphasis added):

American taxpayers have spent some $6.4 trillion in nearly two decades of post-9/11 wars, which have killed some 800,000 people worldwide, the Cost of Wars Project announced Wednesday. 

The numbers reflect the toll of American combat and other military operations across some 80 nations since al-Qaida operatives attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington in 2001, launching the United States into its longest-ever wars aimed at stamping out terrorism worldwide.

By comparison, China’s attempts to rehabilitate extremists through education and employment is a far cry from America’s global war – in which as many have died, as the US claims China is “detaining.”

This is before even considering that out of the 80 nations the US is waging war and killing people in – the one nation from which the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from – Saudi Arabia – has not only been spared, but is sold record-breaking amounts of US weapons and hosts US troops to protect it from regional states it openly attacks with legions of armed extremists espousing the same toxic ideology that motivated the 9/11 hijackers.

The US Sponsors Xinjiang Unrest 

Worse still, the US has been repeatedly caught jointly-sponsoring the very strain  of extremism allegedly behind the 9/11 attacks in its various proxy and regime-change wars beforehand and ever since.

Not surprisingly, there is also evidence that the US is fueling the violence in Xinjiang itself as well as recruiting extremists from the region to fight in US proxy wars abroad – most notably in Syria. These militants are then returned to China with extensive experience in terrorism.

US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America (VOA) in an article titled, “Analysts: Uighur Jihadis in Syria Could Pose Threat,” would admit (emphasis added):

Analysts are warning that the jihadi group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in northwestern Syria could pose a danger to Syria’s volatile Idlib province, where efforts continue to keep a fragile Turkey-Russia-brokered cease-fire between Syrian regime forces and the various rebel groups. 

The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, the TIP has been one of the major extremist groups in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011. 

The TIP is primarily made up of Uighur Muslims from China, but in recent years it also has included other jihadi fighters within its ranks.

Uyghur recruits have been trafficked through Southeast Asia where – when discovered, detained, and deported back to China – are followed by protests from the US State Department.

When Thailand refused to heed US demands that Uyghur recruits be allowed to move onward to Turkey – where they would be armed, trained, and sent into Syria – a deadly bomb would detonate in Bangkok killing 20. The bombing was linked to the Turkish terrorist organization, the Grey Wolves, co-sponsored by the US for decades to augment NATO’s unconventional warfare capabilities.

The US government’s own National Endowment for Democracy (NED) openly funds fronts operating out of Washington D.C. espousing separatism with the NED’s webpage detailing its funding of these groups even including the fictional name of “East Turkestan” used by separatists who reject the official designation of Xinjiang which resides within China’s internationally-recognized borders.

The inclusion of the term “East Turkestan” implies US support for separatism as well as the very real, ongoing deadly terrorism demonstratably used to pursue it.

And more than just implicitly supporting separatism, US government support in the form of NED money is admittedly provided to the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which exclusively refers to China’s Xinjiang province as “East Turkistan” and refers to China’s administration of Xinjiang as the “Chinese occupation of East Turkistan.” On WUC’s own website, articles like, “Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist,” admits that WUC leader Rebiya Kadeer seeks “Uyghur independence” from China.WUC and its various US-funded affiliates often serve as the sole “source” of allegations being made against the Chinese government regarding Xinjiang. As the US does elsewhere it lies to fuel unrest in pursuit of its geopolitical agenda, allegations regarding Xinjiang often come from “anonymous” sources based on hearsay and lacking any actual physical evidence.US Fueling Terrorism in China

The US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” network even maintains a “Uyghur Service” which pumps out daily accusations aimed at stirring domestic tension within China, and smearing China’s image internationally. RFA allegations are uncritically repeated by other Western corporate media networks in an attempt to bolster the impact of this propaganda.

US Gaslighting on a Global Scale 

The US through its policies and propaganda – including this most recent NYT article – accuse Beijing of “repression” for responding to very real, admitted, and extensively documented deadly terrorism plaguing China.

At the same time, the US pursues a global war spanning 80 nations and resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands, destroying entire countries, and displacing or otherwise destroying the lives of millions.

While citing “terrorism” as a pretext for its global aggression, it is simultaneously fueling the very armed extremism it claims it is fighting against. This includes the very real terrorism the NYT attempted to downplay to maximize the propaganda value of its “leaked files” story – despite other Western media networks covering this terrorism for years.

Not only is this US policy disjointed, deceitful, and deadly – it is incredibly dangerous. It is essentially a low-intensity version of what the US has been doing in Syria and had previously done in Libya leading to the North Africa nation’s destruction.

It is all but a declaration of war against China – not through direct military intervention – but through armed proxies, propaganda, and a deliberate, concerted effort to sow instability, division, and strife across Chinese society.

Coupled with economic warfare aimed at crippling China’s economy – Beijing finds itself a nation under siege. The fact that it has not responded to this very real, demonstratable existential threat with a fraction of the violence and global-spanning destruction the US has employed to fight its fictional “War on Terror,” is the best proof of all that the dystopian authoritarian regime the NYT tries to portray Beijing as – is as fictional and nonexistent as journalism is at the NYT’s office.

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on NYT’s “Leaked” Chinese Files Story Covers for Terrorism


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